CLEVELAND, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, wants Cleveland to take over closed Catholic churches by eminent domain, leasing them back to social service groups.
In a letter to Mayor Frank Jackson, Kucinich, a former mayor of the city, argued the churches for generations have been important to the city's neighborhoods and not just for religious reasons, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. When St. Procop, a 110-year-old building serving a 137-year-old parish, was shut down last month, the action also ended programs that provided meals and groceries for low-income area residents.
"The deeds of title to the churches belong to the Diocese of Cleveland, but the rich cultural, ethnic and religious history belongs to the people of Cleveland. In the final analysis, it is the history of our city that is threatened," Kucinich said.
Kucinich described the churches as "gathering places for immigrants seeking both religious and political freedom."