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Knights of Columbus to purchase cash-strapped Pope John Paul II Cultural Center

August 03, 2011

The Knights of Columbus have agreed to buy the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, in Washington, DC, from the Detroit archdiocese.

An ambitious project conceived by Detroit's Cardinal Adam Maida, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center opened its doors in 2001. But the center never succeeded in drawing a healthy number of visitors, and the project was plagued by severe budget shortfalls.

The Knights of Columbus will reportedly pay $22 million for the center, of which $20 million will go to the Archdiocese of Detroit. That payment will enable the archdiocese to pay off $18 million in loans still due on the building, but will not nearly match the more than $50 million the archdiocese has invested in the project.

The current head of the Detroit archdiocese, Archbishop Allen Vigneron, said of the sale: "I am most grateful to the Knights for stepping forward to make this transaction a reality." The Knights of Columbus announced plans to expand the Center's exhibits and preserve it as a museum dedicated to the late Pontiff.


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