Thursday, September 25, 2014

OF CRYSTAL AND MASCULINE AND FEMININE : TWO STYLES OF CATHOLIC CHURCHES

This is a great video and shows how the EF is very masculine but also appeals to the feminine!
This shows how men like crystal too!

Currently slated for dedication as Christ Cathedral in early 2016, the following video lays out the process behind the liturgical redesign – and, for the first time, reveals the anticipated result:



While the main church is the climax of the project (an effort funded as part of a $100 million capital campaign), much of the 35-acre campus has already been put into use by the Orange church: the diocesan offices and a school moved into other buildings there last year, and 11 weekend Masses are now celebrated in three languages at the campus'Arboretum – the site's first structure erected by Dr Robert Schuller – which opened as Catholic worship-space in mid-2013. In the future, the plot will likewise host the West Coast base of EWTN under a recently reached agreement.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very disappointed to see the altar in the middle of the church.

Anonymous said...

HOLY CR*P! Can't wait to hear what you Traddys have to say. Y'all seem to love gaudy. I haven't seen any evidence that Jesus does though. I imagine He's a little bit embarrassed by the whole thing.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Eh? Jesus loved the Temple in Jerusalem! And Jesus inspires beauty in architecture by the power of the Holy Spirit? Certainly you jest!

Anonymous said...

Well I am what you call a "traddy" and I think the cathedral looks fine. My only issue with it is that the main body of the church seems to be missing an image of Our Lady. Other than that, when you are working with a glass box there is only so much you can do.

And we don't love "gaudy" we believe a church reflects heaven on earth anticipating the heavenly liturgy as revealed to St. John in the scriptures, which was very liturgical and I guess what you would describe as gaudy. I mean the golden crowns, the white vestments, the incense, the jeweled walls, the candlesticks etc.

JusadBellum said...


The problem with modern architecture in general is a fundamental lack of human anthropology. People are treated as intelligences not people of flesh and blood, different sexes, different ages.

Now, certainly the ancient basilica's were just Roman administrative structures re-purposed for worship. But then the Roman's built them for a pleasant experience for hundreds of people.

The Gothic took the same basic layout and added an explosion of sculpture, painting, and stained glass work so that ANYWHERE a child might look (distracted as humans can be), he or she would see some religious icon, some element that would lend itself to a Biblical thought. Even in the very number of columns and windows - usually an even number or if odd, then 3 or 7. If even, then 2,4,6,8,10, 12, 24...

You won't find many 9 or 11's in the ancient Churches much less random odd brickwork or random odd shapes in glass or random, asymetical walls or empty spaces.

The problem with this particular building will be that the walls and ceiling are monotonous and yet striking - people WILL look at them and see....nothing that reminds them of God or the New Jerusalem, or any of the images in the Bible.

If they color coded them for the 12 courses of stone in the New Jerusalem, or used other motifs that would immeasurably help people meditate on, be reminded of, topics of the Word of God that they've come to listen to and commune with.

Anti-septic, sterile lines and materials tend to militate against the sacred. God is said to be surrounded by the angels, the glory of God, the 24 elders etc. not surrounded in a sterile metal or stone emptiness.

If a 3 year old child can't find any image that captivates his or her heart, doesn't intrigue and excite them with wonder....then it's not worth spit.

Kermit said...

I think it is very masculine to appreciate beauty and to be the protector and provider. Those are masculine roles. It is feminine to nurture. God provides us with the sacraments and protects us. Our Blessed Mother nurtures and consoles us. A priesthood that provides the sacraments and protects them against profanation is masculine. A priesthood that "shares" the sacraments and turns the Mass into a romper-room singalong is seriously feminized. That kind of Mass turns men off. Cold.

Architecturally, vacant-looking churches with little or not religious art feel unmasculine. Low ceilings bereft of verticality don't reach up to heaven, but make us look around to see who is serving cookies. Beauty should be present to be appreciated and protected. The most masculine building I've ever been in is the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.. It is filled with beautiful religious art, but in the midst of all the beauty there is an overwhelming, overpowering sense of the power of Almighty God.

Anonymous said...

An interesting tid bit....Philip Johnson, the architect of the Crystal Cathedral was called the best known, openly gay architect in America. He had a partner of 45 years.

Pater Ignotus said...

"Anti-septic, sterile lines and materials tend to militate against the sacred.'

Jus - could you explain how you come to this conclusion?

Robert Kumpel said...

No matter how hard I try, I always manage to get distracted at Mass. The problem is even stronger with kids. If I am in an modern church with abstract art here and there and mostly blank walls and weird designs, I am not just left feeling cold, but the distractions get worse. If I am in a church with lots of religious art, stained glass windows, statues, etc. I am surrounded by reminders of WHY I am at Mass and I find those reminders a welcome friend.

Anonymous said...

Kermit...assigning gender to buildings? Really? How about nature? The Rocky Mountains...male. The Grand Canyon...female. Am I catching on?

What about Sacraments? Male and female?

I really thought that there would be more buzz about the Crystal Cathedral. Will there be an altar rail?

Joe Potillor said...

Between LA, Orange, SF and Oakland, I don't know who's going to win the ugliest Cathedral in California Competition...

John Nolan said...

The first video, featuring Bishop Mark Davies and the ICKSP is inspiring, and points to the future.

The second - reminds me of Milton Keynes. Is this vast 'worship space' going to host decent liturgy? Masses in 'English, Spanish and Vietnamese(!)' would suggest otherwise.

Joseph Johnson said...

I just wish I could be in a parish like the one in the "Dome from Home" video. It makes me want to move to the U.K.!

Gene said...

Joe, It is LA, hands down!

Anonymous said...

The ICKSP, F.S.S.P. and yes eventually the S.S.P.X. when they come home to Rome, this is our future it will take time however. The Novus Ordo will soon wither on the already dying vine, for it cannot compare to the Mass of All Times the Novus Ordo with its silly and childish music, dinner tables, dancing girls, altar girls, lesbian nuns, polyester vestments, giant puppets, Liberation theology, social justice, guitars, drums, hand holding, kiss of peace and worse side by side with the TRUE MASS instituted by Christ himself not the fabricated Novus Ordo service created by six Protestant ministers and Bugnini a Free Mason will perish and the Mass of All Times shall prevail for Christ will never lets the gates of Hell prevail. God bless the ICKSP in their endever.

Pater Ignotus said...

I like the "solution" the architects offer for Christ Cathedral. It's an unusual space, but their ideas seem to work well.

These are preliminary drawings, so much could change as the process continues. The one thing I'd add would be:

Color. Polychrome statues in carefully designed niches/alcoves in the sanctuary area. Maybe a fine contemporary Persian-style rug under the altar, one that reflects the shape and design of the baldachin above the altar. Plants - with all that wondrous light, plants might flourish.

I favor the very clean look of the architecture, but would like it to be a bit warmer and addictions of color would help.



JusadBellum said...

Pater, I'd be happy to.

Recall in your mind eye all the great temples known to mankind.

From the Aztec to Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Jewish, Hindu, Cambodian, etc. the common denominator of temples and other 'sacred places' has been an opulence of idealized natural images or idealized human proportions.

What we don't see in the historic record is empty boxy blank walls.

Now, why do you suppose this is so? If, across 8,000 years of human existence, across all continents, all cultures, all religious traditions, it was only in the 20th century that architects began designing worship places with rough brick and concrete, empty voids and blank, white washed walls. Odd, 'futuristic' blocky colors, felt banners, etc.?

What does Vatican II warn us is the great threat of our age? Practical atheism. And what does atheism claim? God does not exist, nor do spirits, and men are just animals. So they have an antipathy towards 'sacred' places.

Now, they certainly design their 5 star resorts, operas, and sports stadiums with opulence. But then that's because they value those things. But Churches? No, they despise churches and Christianity.

Thus we get the ugly churches like St. John's Abbey with it's ugly, cold, stark lines, it's enormous red square, prominent white rhomboid sound system, stark windows and bell tower that...well.... what does that 'say'? No one knows. So it's pointless.

It's not at all surprising that from that ugly church an entire monastery developed a major sub-culture of de-humanization resulting in massive numbers of abuse cases.

God almighty instructed Moses on how to build the tent and later told people how to build Him a temple and it was gorgeous - symbols of plants, animals, and angels. All the Church designs and indeed the images of the New Jerusalem are pregnant with symbols and images including plants, water, jewels, angelic and human beings in a wedding feast. It's about as far removed from the sterile, blocky, empty voids of the Crystal Cathedral.

Now, I do think you can make that space usable - banners, paint, mosaic/art on walls, the behind the altar piece, etc. can all be retrofitted in if someone has even a tad of good taste.

Again, think of the children - could a 5 year old see some cherub peaking out at him? Would a 7 year old girl see some angel, saint, or Marian figure in a sympathetic pose and be inspired?

Might the stations of the cross or shadows lend themselves to a sense of personal connection?

Architecture is language. It's incarnational. You can make a building to drive people insane, or depress them, or enthuse and inspire them. It's all been done and it's baked into the warp and woof of our anthropology. That 20th century architects didn't produce humanely beautiful pieces says to me that they had no faith and no humanity. The Church got ripped off.

JusadBellum said...

Take the architecture of automobiles. You do know there's a science in the shape of the hood, head lights, and body work, right? Sports cars are designed to "look" powerful, fast, sleek. SUVs and Jeeps are designed to "look" rugged, durable, practical. Highly paid engineers strive to communicate various emotions and thoughts visually, not verbally.

Clothing styles - that too has a science and can reveal or communicate emotions or thoughts by color, cut, texture, etc. a really good example is the uniforms of the Star Wars saga - the storm trooper helmet incorporates a frown! That was a brilliant piece of architecture that expressed the emotion audiences were to have towards those white armored troopers: sinister and unhappy.

So we are surrounded all day long in our culture with graphic designs created to provoke emotion and communicate some idea to us.... that this isn't also going on in the design of Church buildings is preposterous. Of course it happens there, and especially there.

Theologically what this all means is that creatures are not interchangeable, that each has its proper place and hierarchy, that we can't treat all spaces and functions as generic (or people for that matter!). Not all are apostles, not all teachers. The empty warehouse look is fine for utility closets and warehouses. Not fine for the inside of a Cathedral.

George said...

It took over 180 years to construct the Cathedral of Notre Dame from the laying of the cornerstone to completion. What an magnificent structure-impressive in any age. Of course with modern construction equipment and methods such an edifice could be completed on a much shorter period today. The problem with building
a church like Notre Dame today would be cost the expense. Hence, this is why in our age that you started to see much more sparseness and simplicity in church design and construction. It's amazing to me when I think about it that people would invest so much time and effort in building a structure such as Notre Dame. Then again, back in the twelfth century the Church was much more predominant in the minds, hearts and lives of the people. We are starting to see a resurgence of the classical in church design. Modern construction methods and fabrication techniques are mitigating the cost factor. As far as the Crystal Cathedral, It can be "rehabilitated" by some re-design and construction on the interior. Whether discussing human beings or churches, it is what is going on in the interior and not outward appearance that is of greater import.

Anonymous 2 said...

JusadBellum:

So, how does the Church at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia rate under your criteria?:

https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x88f44dc974b0fc4d:0x6f2ad430b7671866!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4shttps://plus.google.com/101597136472302314264/photos?hl%3Den%26socfid%3Dweb:lu:kp:placepageimage%26socpid%3D1!5schurch+at+holy+spirit+monastery+conyers+photograph+-+Google+Search&sa=X&ei=jzImVPLDBo_0oASnrYKgBQ&ved=0CIUBEKIqMBI

Even though the architecture seems quite different from St. John’s Abbey, I assume it would not achieve a high score under your criteria, and yet it possesses a stark, austere beauty and most definitely has the feel of a sacred space when one is inside it. Can these monks have got things so wrong?

As for Christ Cathedral, “God is Light”? Isn’t there room for more than one style of architecture? Are our imaginations capacious enough? And the night sky – the greatest cathedral of them all: the whole of creation in worship?


Anonymous said...

"Maybe a fine contemporary Persian-style rug under the altar"

For the love of Pete, that statement shows a complete lack of Catholicity. Every altar, especially in a cathedral is THE symbol of Christ and the Church in her wisdom has said every altar especially in a cathedral is to be worthy, solid and immovable. The preference, certainly should be the norm, in the cathedral of a bishop. An altar isn't an ordinary table that you put a rug under.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pete appreciates your sentiments, I am sure.

Placing a rug under an altar doesn't transform the altar into an ordinary table. In our own cathedral two large Persian rugs cover much of the sanctuary floor and add, I think, great beauty.

In that large sanctuary a large rug could be used to enhance the beauty of the space.

John Nolan said...

The traditional sanctuary carpet is the 'cathedral square', which assumes a fixed altar at the east end. If the fixed altar is a forward free-standing one, the usual solution is to fit the carpet around it.

The recent fad for carpeting the nave (often wall-to-wall) is deplorable. It soon becomes scuffed and shabby, makes the church look like a mosque, and wrecks the acoustic. One priest I know inherited a fully carpeted church. When he removed it he found that the adhesive had damaged the tiles beyond repair and the whole floor had to be retiled at considerable expense. However, I've sung there and consider it money well spent.

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - Hence, the mantra of many church composers: "Carpet Bedrooms, Not Churches!"