The timing of this is wrong

The following essay was written in the Spring, 2012 issue of Sacred Architecture by Duncan Stroik, a founding faculty member of Notre Dame’s classical program at the school of architecture. Stroik designed the chapel at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California and Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine in La Crosse, Wisconsin, a vision of Cardinal Raymond Burke, who served as the ordinary there. 

Three miles from Disneyland there is another famous theme park, which proclaims itself as “America’s Television Church.” The Crystal Cathedral, perhaps the first mega-church in the United States, is about to undergo conversion classes so that it can finally get the cathedra and bishop it has always wanted.

The Diocese of Orange, California, has purchased the thirty-one-acre property and its four buildings for $53 million, a steal even in this real estate market. Realizing that recent cathedrals built from scratch have cost upwards of $200 and $250 million on the West Coast, retrofitting sounds like a financially savvy move.

However, turning this prismatic beacon of televangelism into a house of God may be easier said than done. Does this purchase signal a new role for Catholic charity: to buy up properties of bankrupt Protestant ministries? If so, there may be some good opportunities in the future. How does the bishop encourage full, active, and conscious participation in the liturgy by purchasing one of the buildings most associated with religion as theater?

Begun as an open-air service at a drive-in theater, the church was designed around Rev. Schuller’s flamboyant preaching. Associated with glitz and money, it was the site of fancy and expensive holiday celebrations including trapeze artists, live animals for Christmas, and a lavish $13 million production called Creation.

Said to be the first all-glass structure built for religious purposes, it is associated with the feel-good theology of the 1980s. How to convert a building like this and at the same time disassociate it from its founder and his theology? Crystal Cathedral Ministries was a religion about self-promotion, and, appropriately, its main buildings were designed in disparate modernist styles by three well-known architecture firms: Richard Neutra, Philip Johnson and John Burgee, and Richard Meier.

Each building is a personal expression of the architect, so that together they create a campus without much to unify them. Perhaps what may be of more concern to its future owner, the Neutra tower (1968) does not meet earthquake codes and the Crystal Cathedral (1980) and the Welcoming Center (2003) are high maintenance glass and metal buildings. This could be an expensive investment.

Can the Crystal Cathedral be converted to a Catholic Cathedral? We shall see. After all, the much noted cathedrals of Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are all expressionistic modernist sculptures.

The diocese has said that they will not change the exterior of the church and will not compromise the architectural integrity of the 2700-seat interior. Yet, without a radical transformation the building will always come across as a technological mega-church rather than as a sacred place

It needs to be totally gutted and reconceived. And even if the interior can be functionally retrofitted for Catholic liturgy, many believe that its identity will always be that of the Crystal Cathedral.

One of the major criticisms of Catholic architecture during the past fifty years is that it has incorrectly adopted many of the forms of low-church Protestantism: the theater form, a fear of sacred images, asymmetrical layouts, vacuous sanctuaries, minimalist liturgical elements, prominently placed Jacuzzis for baptism, and the banishment of the Blessed Sacrament to the baptistry. The altar area becomes a stage with a focus on entertainment alongside praise bands that perform upbeat m sic.

In response, liturgists have argued that all of these things are simply the outgrowth if not the requirement of Vatican II. Are they finally admitting their agenda by purchasing a ready for TV mega-church complete with a jumbotron and three huge balconies for the “spectators”?

The timing of this is wrong. A whole new generation of priests, laity, and theologians has grown up with this stuff and find these Protestant innovations dated and lacking in substance.

They desire an architecture that grows out of the Church’s rich tradition and that will enable them in worship. Asked what cathedrals should look like in the twenty-first century, they point to Saint Patrick’s in New York, Saint Peter’s in Rome, Notre Dame in Paris, and other obvious suspects. These are buildings constructed hundreds of years ago, yet continue to speak to believers and unbelievers alike today.

A timeless architecture built for the ages, a cathedral should be a durable building constructed out of masonry, transcendent in height, and directional in length.

Unfortunately for the new generation and their children, the Orange diocese has chosen the opposite direction and will foist on them a building that is of its time and not particularly suited to Catholic worship and devotion.

Twenty years from now, it will not matter that Orange got a really good deal whereas another California diocese quadrupled its budget. People will simply ask if it is a beautiful cathedral, worthy of the Creator.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:43 AM By Clinton
Excellent article. It does beg the question, will the Diocese of Orange build a Catholic cathedral to properly honor and adore Our Lord or will it build a paean to modernism? We have the Rog-Mahal as an homage to Roger Cardinal Mahoney, will this be Bishop Brown’s spectacle to glorify himself?


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:13 AM By Thomas Edward Miles
Give me Saint Thomas Aquinas Chapel any day!! Window washing, that’s a great job for the bishops of California!!!


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:46 AM By Stan Williams
Duncan Stroik asks: “People will simply ask if it is a beautiful cathedral, worthy of the Creator?” My response for many years is a hearty YES. The Crystal Cathedral has always been an example of a “best practice” in sacred architecture. The symbolism of its design from the shape of and ratio of the glass panes to the welcoming in of nature to it’s “view” of heaven — is more inspiring than most of the ancient cathedrals of Europe who are cold, dark and dank (and empty, too, by the way). What Duncan and many of his ilk seem to forget is that their taste is just that. While church architecture does have a history and meaning behind it, so do structures as a Crystal Cathedral. A picture frame doesn’t always have to be flamboyantly brocaded in guided gold to be sacred as most Catholic art work in Churches seem to think. Duncan Stroik demeans the Crystal Cathedral because he thinks it is flamboyant. Huh! And St. Peter’s is not flamboyant? I have been in many different Catholic Cathedrals. Most of them are inspiring sacred spaces. But I have also been in the Crystal Cathedral, and it surpasses all in its inherent ability to uplift the spirit to God. Do you think it was accidental that Schuller named it a Cathedral? Not at all. I think God inspired him to do so, because of who owns it today.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:59 AM By Dottie
I prefer the timeless archetecture of the Catholic Church which includes the ability to say both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Masses, and the Tabernacle is centered on the Main Altar, and includes a large Crucifix behind the Altar, Statutes of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and stained glass depicting some Holy Scriptures. It is too bad that many Bishops have opted for the Protestant syle.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 6:18 AM By JMJ
Gee, I thought that I was the only one that could see that this monster was NOT right for a Catholic Church, but, then, again, Thankfully, I don’t live in California where one of these days, that building will come down with a loud crash and be no more. God is getting ready, are we?? +JMJ+


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 7:02 AM By Robert Lockwood
Is it any wonder our Church today is so fragmented when it comes to teaching and worship. These cathedrals are monuments to the Bishops egos – reference Oakland’s $190 million and only half paid for. When you combine these monuments with the takeover of our liturgy by the musical directors you get places impossible for the post Vatican II generations to be Catholic.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 7:38 AM By Joseph
I love the traditional look but STOP already! The church building doesn’t make a Church! The Church is the body of Christ and we are the body. The HOLY MASS is what matters. There are hundreds of Mass taking place around the outside in a tent under a tree by missionaries. Let’s focus on keep the Mass Holy and the Priest and Lay Holy. And by the way, this building was approved the Holy See. How appointed you Pope?


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 7:42 AM By Laurette Elsberry
The author is right. Twenty years from now there will probably be no real Catholic Church in America at all. Obama and his handlers and those that inherit the “left” from them will make sure of that.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 7:46 AM By MacDonald
Friends, I personally love Gothic churches, especially in Europe where they are authentic, and not merely later copies. However, a bit of history can help us overcome hysteria: “Gothic architecture does not imply the architecture of the historical Goths. The term originated as a PEJORATIVE description: it came to be used as early as the 1530s by Giorgio Vasari to describe culture that was considered rude and barbaric. At the time in which Vasari was writing, Italy had experienced a century of building in the Classical architectural vocabulary revived in the Renaissance and seen as the finite evidence of a new Golden Age of learning and refinement.”


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 7:51 AM By MacDonald
Furthermore, one of the glories of Gothic architecture was that it enabled builders to contract churches there were full of LIGHT, rather than dark — just look at the Sainte Chappelle in Paris, whose walls were almost solid (stained) glass. The so-called “Crystal Cathedral” (which should never have been called a cathedral before, as it was not the seat of any bishop) tries to imitate this vision of light.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 7:59 AM By Irene
How sad is this? What doesn’t the Diocese of Orange get about Jesus? The Son of God came into this world in a dirty smelly stable; never owned a home or property for that matter and was even buried in a borrowed grave. This monstrosity of a building goes against everything we have been taught about following in Jesus’ footsteps in this life – not owning anything; trusting that God will provide all we need…and 53 million dollars – imagine where that money could have gone……This just breaks my heart. God help us all.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:12 AM By Joe
Agreed! May the following sentence from your article ring true: “A whole new generation of priests, laity, and theologians has grown up with this stuff and find these Protestant innovations dated and lacking in substance. They desire an architecture that grows out of the Church’s rich tradition and that will enable them in worship.” We can only hope the newest generation of Catholic priests, laity and theologians do in fact rediscover and reinstitute the Roman Catholic Church’s own rich and beautiful traditions – and perhaps have learned, as the saying goes, that the grass is not always greener …


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:15 AM By Robert Bushloe
Amen! Let us move past the vacuous artifices of the ’70’s into the timeless and eternal beauty of the sacred; where Heaven meets earth in the Divine Liturgy.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:18 AM By Dan
Duncan, you took the words right out of my mouth. But a question: how do you “gut” a glass church without breaking glass? Without destroying its essential character? Oh, I forgot, that’s the point of your article! The Diocese of Orange is getting the cathedral its bishop deserves.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:45 AM By JLS
Irene, stables are not normally dirty and smelly. Animals are normally clean. The Gospel is not about divesting oneself of property, but of worshiping God and loving neighbors (the neighbors part being the formiddable part in many cases).


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:48 AM By JLS
Joseph, lots of things approved by the Holy See turn out to be screw ups … such as the Pope’s butler, in case you have been remiss in your news reading.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:50 AM By JLS
stain each panel of glass with holy images.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:29 AM By St. Christopher
Mr. Stroik’s article is correct. Excellent job by California Catholic Daily for publishing same. The Crystal Cathedral is wrongly inspired and will not work as a place of Catholic worship. Of course, there will be no kneelers, as you all knew that there would not be; warnings have already been given. And, there will be no (or very, very few) sacred images or anything too “Catholic” placed in the “church”. Why? Because it would “compromise the architectural integrity” of this monstrosity. You can see how major compromises are made (as with Vatican II itself): first you have an idea, wrapped in Catholic identity, then you insist, once an action is accomplished, that “nothing can be changed” then, over time, faith follows form and function: no central tabernacle, no kneelers, the complete protestantization of the Mass. Complete vanity of Bishop Brown and of the many liberal staffers that live to drive down the tradition of the Church in favor of an awful form of hand-holding, Broadway-based song singing, priest-entertaining Mass. This was, and is, a simply awful idea. The present article brilliantly gives the many reasons why. How in the Vatican failed to see this, when the purchase was put forward for review? Protest should begin now, so that the poor parishoners of Orange, CA are not presented with another awful Oakland, or San Francison, or Los Angeles “brutalist” architecture sink-hole of a building for its “cathedtral”.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:47 AM By Dana
Laurette, I’m surprised at your cynicism. Don’t you believe God has any power? I’m sure many in Soviet Russia thought they would never see an end to communism but in less than Solzhenitzen’s lifetime, he was able through the Grace of God to help him and other believers (Reagan &Thatcher) to bring it to an end The truth will always out. Always. Sometimes it takes longer than others but no tyrant or his works have ever survived. Napoleon? Hitler? As far as Mao goes, it’s just a matter of time. Perhaps even in our lifetime we may see a huge religious explosion when the Chinese people have finallly had enough brutality, lies, corruption and evil..


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 9:51 AM By Ray
This building is more of an architectural landmark than a church.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 10:26 AM By Loraine
Duncan Stroik is accurately viewing church architecture through the prism of creating a sacred place. The Diocese of Orange is accurately viewing The Crystal Cathedral “Associated with glitz and money” through the prism of Hollywood’s flamboyant version of liturgical Dancing with the Stars.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 10:40 AM By Bud 
Bishops et.al. should be forbidden to use the building of Cathedral’s as their “swan song” and/or competition between others and themselves. How close is the what some including myself consider a monstrosity within a few miles of the commercial Chrystal Cathedral. It’s proximity to Disney Land is very appropriate as is the reputation of the rest of California. I have personally visited the entire campus of the TV church in it’s better days. This should be stopped and later sold at a profit. How does the Ladie’s Windex Guild get recruited? ;o)


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:03 AM By steve
I cannot even imagine that my Bishop Soto (Sacramento, formerly of Orange) would approve of this travesty. Our churches need to look like churches. I want to walk in and have my breath taken away by the awe and grandeur, firstly by Our Lord, and then by the building in which He happens to be…..People of Orange, our prayers are with you….


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:10 AM By Catherine
Duncan Stroik, May God bless you for your wonderfully truthful essay. If anyone thought that the Crystal Cathedral was “glitzy and flamboyant” before, just wait if someone such as SACRA FORMA gets a hold of the design.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 11:51 AM By Anne
Good criticism. Everyone was so enthusiastic about this purchase, but perhaps we need to rethink this.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:30 PM By Matthew
As much as people here want to denigrate the purchase of the Crystal Cathedral Campus I’m fairly sure the land itself is worth $57.5K I don’t think there’s any question that the CCM would have been able to sell a vacant 41 acre lot for more than $57.5M As for the structure itself, one look at it and you would know it’ll be around for as long as someone maintains it. As long as someone replaces any broken glass and keps the frame painted, it’ll last indefinately.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:35 PM By Matthew
Architect Duncan Stroik is showing some clear envy for master architect Philip Johnson who designed the Crystal Cathedral. Get over it already Stroik, you’re not in Johnson’s league. You designed a nice cookbook chapel at Thomas Aquinas College. Hurray, nice job. Don’t demean yourself and your reputation by writing negatively about that which you will never realize in your own portfolio.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:37 PM By Matthew
The last place I want to attend Mass is in a bowling lane like church sitting behind a pillar. Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine seems to fit that definition.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:16 PM By Sylvia
Steve, I would not mind it at all if Bishop Soto went back to Orange County then maybe we would retain our priest. FYI, Bishop Soto was not in Sacramento Diocese when cathedral was remodeled.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:20 PM By JLS
Matthew, are you saying that you love to worship in glass sardine cans with lots of glitter to keep your vacuous mind entertained?


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:41 PM By Dave N.
I’m not sure Stroik is one to talk–he has some duds to his credit as well. I was recently at a church he designed from the ground up, located in Kentucky. The church may have originally been conceived as something else, but It ended up looking like a Masonic Hall or a 17th century government building (or maybe even a bank). The Church has been converting buildings to sacred use for centuries; this is really nothing new. Plus, who says that a new cathedral designed by the Diocese would have been any better? In fact, it likely would have been worse.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:54 PM By Greg K
As a Catholic (and Notre Dame grad) living in 2012 (not 1512), I find it anachronistic to worship in a building that inauthentically mimics medieval church archicture. The church is a living body, and must be modern. These wonderful Crystal Cathedral buildings speak to the modern worshipper. Neutra’s “drive-in” church responded to the needs of the worshippers. Stroik presumably doesnt attends mass in medieval style robes – why does he need a medieval set piece in order to worship? To build knock-offs of old European cathedrals today is like making a fake Disneyland version of history. Kudos to the diocese!! BTW- I love my modernist parish church that was purpose-built for Catholic worship – there are many beautiful modernist and innovative Catholic churches built in the 50s, 60s and 70s by wise Catholic parishes/dioceses and their beauty no less reflects the glory of God than dark old cold stone faux-cathedrals. God bless architect Richard Neutra – and Rev. Schuller for the wisdom of getting the best talents of the day to build God’s houses.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 2:23 PM By Carol
The TAC chapel is cold, passe and unoriginal. Freshman Renaissance Art 101. But it is pretty, you do feel you’re in a church, and there’s nothing overtly offensive or disruptive about it as with “modern” architecture by its very nature. TAC is not great, but it’s not awful. I’ll take TAC any day over this glass monstrosity.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 2:41 PM By Matthew
Our beloved California Mission style was once derided as being “ugly”, “crude” and “unsuitable” for the celebration of the sacraments by those in Europe — people just like Stroik. Thank God we didn’t listen to them here in Alta California. The Crystal Cathedral is already a landmark. Unless they screw it up while trying to “remodel” it, it’s already one of the best known Catholic edifices in the USA. I wonder if they Holy See will bestow basilica status upon it? I think that would be most fitting. Please, please God, DO NOT allow them to ruin this wonderful edifice when it is “remodeled” for use.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 4:16 PM By Catherine
Poor Poor Matthew, Your telltale words are more to be pitied and prayed for than to be chastiised. Since when is the foot of the Cross mockingly referred to as a bowling alley? The answer is this….There will come a time in the Church when prideful men will choose to mock and insult the CROSS BECAUSE THE CROSS REMINDS THEM OF THEIR OWN GREAT NEED TO BECOME HOLY! I agree that your empty words do not sound like someone who would have been truly interested in steadfastly remaining at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ Crucified with Mary and the beloved apostle John. Matthew, That will be your greatest loss if you choose to not remain faithfully standing at the foot of the Holy Cross . What does it profit a man if a portfolio removes him from standing and remaining faithful at the foot of the Holy Cross!


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 4:43 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
I can tell you what my friend the Late Archbishop Tomas Clavel who was in exile from the Communist in Panama and served as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Orange told me after he was given free tickets to the “Christmas Pageant”. He thought the so called pageant was a Hollywood style extavaganza and the the so called Cathedral was a “House of Glass”. Just looking at the picture supplied here of the interior tells that it will be difficult to make that into a House of God for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What else would you expect from a “bishop” who keeps an ex-Dominican priest who teaches Diaconate candidates that “belief in the bread and wine actually becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, borders on canibalism! I know what most if not all of my bishop friends would have done with this ex-Dominican for teaching that, and it would not have been considered very nice by you liberals. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 4:58 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
The Crystal “Cathedral” was a built to honor a human being, Schuler (who lost it), and now it has been bought with the faithfuls hard earned dollars to honor a man who, judging by some of his actions, may not really believe in the True Presence, at least one of his honored teachers of Deacon candidates doesn’t! By the way, I believe we still have that statement on file. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:35 PM By John Feeney
Regarding the Crystal Cathedral, the modernists obviously love it. Maybe it’s the new Tower of Babel.


Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 6:06 PM By Angelo
I never heard of the California Missions as “ugly”, “crude” and “unsuitable”. They were built by European Priests from Spain. In the same style as European Churches. Priests from the FSSP some years ago went on pilgrimage to Mexico. They were astonished by the Grand Cathedrals and Basilicas of Mexico. One Priest said, “Its ironic that these Churches in Mexico rival those of Spain, and it was the Spaniards who built them.” Of course by the Spaniards and Natives of this great land. My forefathers did’nt have to go to Europe, Europe came to us. Lauds Tibi Christi!


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:38 AM By Maryanne Leonard
Angelo, have you been to the missions? Have you been to the major cathedrals of Europe? I have, and believe me, there is a difference. True to form, many Europeans looked down on the simply magnificent missions created by humble and dedicated padres and native Americans and felt obliged to criticize them broadly. By European architectural standards of the day, our early Catholic structures in California were indeed simple, though magnificent in their powerful significance. Splendidly humble, they were dedicated to exquisitely magnificent service to God and mankind. The people who inspired the building of these missions and the newly faithful who built them and lived on them together changed the course of history that continues to reverberate unto the modern day. God hears our prayers whether offered up from on high in a castle tower or down as deep as possible in a bullet-riddled foxhole, paying no mind to the relative architectural merit of any structure in which we choose to worship. All of God’s creation is so magnificent that anytime we are physically in the midst of God’s green earth, we are in the most wondrous cathedral ever designed.


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 5:57 AM By irene
JLS, Jesus told his disciples to leave everything, and follow Him. (The rich man who could not give away all he had to follow Jesus for example) He meant trusting in God providing for all we need, and not being attached to things. It is in the Gospel, throughout the New Testament.


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:03 PM By Matthew
I really do feel sorry for those that believe that all “churches” must be long and skinny with most not being able to see the sanctuary. Get over yourselves already. Churches look like they did due to limitations on construction technologies and materials. I am all for making use of ALL OF GOD’S GIFTS to produce churches that better allow people to see and hear what’s going on. I’m not entirely sure the Crystal Cathedral does this but I do know the belief that all churches must be like bowling lanes is simply poppycock.


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:07 PM By Matthew
Angelo: Then you need to read more about the history of the Alta California Mission. These churches were DESIGNED by priests and built with local labor AND local materials. The dearth of skilled tradespeople (at most of the Missions) and materials bore the California Mission Style which was originally deemed “ugly”, “crude” and “unsuitable” for the celebration of the sacraments. Do your homework next time.


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:17 PM By Matthew
The Crystal Cathedral is a beautiful and monumental church. It’s an award-winning edifice that will one day be a spectacular setting for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Spectacular indeed unless it is ruined when it is “remodeled” by the Diocese of Orange which I pray it is not. I am looking forward to attending a future Easter Vigil Mass at the Crystal Cathedral. I am already looking forward to the sound of the gorgeous bells in the tower, the beautiful and huge pipe organ and the ethereal feeling of being inside such a wonderful space at night. Beats sitting behind a pillar in a bowling lane church 400′ from the altar any day. For you nattering nabobs of negativity — just stay home.


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:19 PM By JLS
irene, once you leave everything: Seek first the Kingdom of God, and then everything shall be added to you”. The Gospel does not tell us to divest ourselves of material goods, but to do what the commandments say to do, which is to worship God. Eleventh and Greatest Commandment: Worship God, love neighbor as self. As Jesus was being led away to the scourging, St Timothy ran off naked, leaving all his clothing, although not willingly of course. Later he was clothed; thus, it is critical in understanding not to presume that a passage is literal. Literalism is a problem that the fundamentalists stumble over, and it results in the confused worship of the Bible instead of God.


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:27 PM By JLS
The street that Jesus carried His Cross from the palace to Golgotha was narrow. It is called the Way of Sorrows, or Via Dolorosa. It is in a way like a bowling alley in that when walking it, one is constantly pummeled by spiritual bowling balls. “If you cannot stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen” (Harry Truman, WC Fields, Arthur Godfrey, Dick Clark, Al Pushkin, etc)


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:38 PM By Catherine
“I’m not entirely sure that the Crystal Cathedral does this!” The truth prevailed. Praise the Lord! There is hope for Matthew.


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 3:49 PM By Catherine
Maryanne Leonard, No one stated that God cannot hear all prayers at all locations. That is not the point. This is about purchasing an incredibly ugly glass monstrosity that also just happens to be a Protestant Church. Yes, there are others that will try to call this a landmark deal. The giant ugly dinosaur on the way to Palm Springs, California is also another famous ugly landmark and just as unsuitable. The number one motivation for purchasing this very ugly glass building was a discounted fire sale price. You made the statement that our Lord pays no mind to the architectural merit of any structure in which we choose to worship. Maryanne, I wholeheartedly disagree with you about Our Lord not paying attention to the purchase of this building for this reason. A few years ago Blessed John Paul II asked the Western United State bishops to become role models of the early apostles by living humbly. I think that God absolutely does notice the imbalance of merit due when a lead shepherd pays greater attention in detail to the very expensive and luxurious home that the shepherd will choose for himself to reside in. Your words, “All of God’s creation is so magnificent that anytime we are physically in the midst of God’s green earth, we are in the most wonderful cathedral ever designed,” might sound ecologically appealing and nice but does this mean you are going to encourage other dioceses that you do not live in to purchase discounted ugly buildings so that diocese will have extra money to mail out disobedient memos? If a fire sale Protestant glass monstrosity is considered the best for Our Lord, then something is very backwards. If the Golden Rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, by using your standards, along with Blessed John Paul II instruction to live as humble examples, then some shepherds should consider living in discounted pup tents out in the green woods where their prayers will also be heard.


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:32 PM By John F. Maguire
John Feeney: Those who have called for the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass in what, strictly provisionally, I think might be called Our Lady of the Gardens Crystal Cathedral, can hardly be called modernists, certainly not modernist in the heterodox sense, which is this term’s sense as defined and condemned by Holy Church. See generally Desire-Joseph Cardinal Mercier, _Le Modernisme, sa position vis-a-vis de la science, sa condemnation par le Pape Pie X_ (Brussels: Action catholique, 1908) [English translation by Marian Lindsay: _Modernism_ (London and St. Louis: Burns and Oats/B.Herder, 1912)]; Jules Lebreton, S.J.,_Encyclique et la theologie moderniste_ (Paris: Beauchesne, 1908); and Arthur Vermeersch, S.J., _De Modernismo Tractatus_ (Brugis: Bayaert, 1910).


Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012 5:16 PM By Dana
JLS, I think you’re on to something! Imagine all this vast space redone in stained glass. Doners could buy one panel, one frame, according to their ability to pay. Imagine the creativity of artists creating the huge vista of sacred art. The play of color and light in this huge framework boggles the mind…I’m thinking of the Sainte-Chappelle in Paris to the second power. It could become the most beautiful church in the world! Letting God’s light shine through sacred icons is never a bad idea. ;o) Usually I’m always in favor of the traditional in sacred architecture, but maybe in this case what was a lemon could become a real great lemonade.

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  1. The Crystal Cathedral may be a soaring tower of light, but this does not mean it will be a good sacred space for the celebration of the Eucharist, especially if the modernists design it according to the style of LA’s Our Lady of the Angels, which has very little Catholic iconography and which could double as a Methodist or Protestant church. In the Crystal Cathedral I’m sure we will see “Catholic” images in the shape of space aliens, a twisted crucifix with an alien twisted corpus, and a Virgin Mary “statue” or icon that will resemble a load of plaster. One senses what is coming, and it is not good. Catholics should honor how the Orthodox Church never loses track when it comes to designing new Orthodox church-temples. In the Orthodox Church, tradition is never lost to chi chi Modernism.

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