At RNS David Gibson relays an open question the Philadelphia archdiocesan seminary is discerning: selling valuable works of art. The seminary rector, Bishop Timothy Senior on the matter:
It’s not a museum. It’s a seminary. (It) is in very serious financial condition. My mission is to put the seminary in a sustainable situation.
The potential sale of the art, some of the art, is part of a strategy, perhaps, to find a way to maintain our core mission. No decision has been made. We’ve identified a number of paintings we believe are more valuable. The institution is not in a position to give away these works.
I hope the core mission is training people for ministry. As for the art, I don’t know. The article cites most of it is in storage. If the art is truly valuable as art, then it seems to make sense to get it out to places where it can be viewed, enjoyed, and inspire people. If we’re talking closets, then the arch is sitting on valuable property and it’s in the bank. Better to invest and/or spend than sit. Plus, it’s not an all-or-nothing deal is it? Sell what’s in storage. Maybe form a committee of lay people from the arch and let them decide what to do and how to do it.