Catholic diocese ups offer for Crystal Cathedral

By AMY TAXIN | November 14, 2011 | 1:45 PM EST

File - In this Oct. 27, 2011 file photo, the Crystal Cathedral stands in Garden Grove, Calif. A buyer is expected to be chosen for the sprawling campus of Orange County's now-bankrupt Crystal Cathedral. A federal bankruptcy court judge could decide the fate of the ailing Crystal Cathedral Monday Nov. 14,2011 in a hearing aimed at approving a buyer for the church's sprawling Orange County grounds. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong,File)

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California Roman Catholic diocese has increased its offer for the Crystal Cathedral to $57.5 million.

An attorney for the Diocese of Orange revealed the new offer at a federal bankruptcy court hearing Monday in Santa Ana, Calif. Its previous offer was $55.4 million.

The bankruptcy court judge is evaluating terms of competing offers for the 40-acre property by the diocese and Orange County's Chapman University, which has offered $51.5 million.

The Crystal Cathedral was founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, whose sermons on the "power of positive thinking" evolved into an international televangelism empire with the "Hour of Power" broadcasts. The church filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year.