Thursday, June 14, 2012


Compare these first two pictures to the last picture and see what something like this could actually look like, Catholic! What in the name of all that is good and holy would cause any Catholic bishop to approve this look and then not demand that it go back to the drawing board and then think, wait a minute, we had it right about 50 years ago?

Now this is what a similar style building like above did that makes the best out of a bad situation and in doing so maintains Catholic identity, spirituality and piety:

Look at this grand renovation and the old high altar (third picture) what does this say symbolically to the trained and untrained Catholic?

Decorations the center of worship in a truly uninspiring configuration, what the heck is this?

Let's move the altar to the side wall rather than where it was designed to be, this should make Catholics really feel close to one another, just like an enclosed circle!

This is the iconoclast of the reformation period's modern day influence on a Catholic Church--most Presbyterian Churches look more Catholic than this! Is there any wonder why there is a loss of Catholic identity amongst Catholics? The law of prayer is the law of belief, but this is lawlessness!

Then there is this cheap, little Butler Building, basically a metal building with sheet rock and cheap facades and but this looks Catholic and looks inspirational--what happened to this and why are we doing these horrible things above?


ytc said...

Some reasons:

No substantive guidance from Rome

Vatican II as commonly perceived by clergy and laity alike

A talent base that shrunk from 1950-1990 (but which has since significantly rebounded)

Egotistical architects

Narcissistic "liturgists" | Side note: I advocate for the profession of "liturgist" to all but disappear

Pushover bishops

Modernist priests

Tasteless priests

A Church which has almost completely forgotten the absolute importance of beauty and what it does to the soul

Nutty nuns

Wimpy priests who give up their authority to "committees" because they're too afraid to lead God's people or are narcissistic and only want to be popular

A liturgy that, even when celebrated well, does not demand a beautiful setting

Iconoclastic agenda-driven diocesan "building committees" that need to be slapped

Gabby said...

The top picture is exactly how my church is built, but the set-up in this one is much nicer than the one in my parish. This 'architecture'is common in my diocese, where building supplies had to be flown in or brought in by boat. The only church in the area that is different is the one that used to be the Cathedral, now Basilica, and that because there was a road to bring in supplies and they used stones from the rivers and lakes in the area.

Joseph Johnson said...

The second picture reminds me a lot of the new St. Paul's in Douglas, GA. They have one of those partition walls in the center (where the tabernacle should be) and their tabernacle (the last time I was there) was on the side.

Carol H. said...

I've attended churches like the top pic before. They are supposed to represent Noah's ark (if you turn the pic upside-down you will be in the ribs of a large wooden boat).

The pic with the yellow drapes in the ceiling remind me of a parade I attended as a child in London. The Harri Krishnas were riding a float decorated very much like that flower display, and were handing out daisies to the crowd.

Modernist buildings highlight our loss of focus, we attend Mass to worship Christ, not to display modernism. How did it get this way? You've said yourself, Father, that traditional minded seminarians used to be ridiculed in the very Seminaries that should have been teaching them the rich traditions of our faith. Thankfully, Father, there are now a few Priests, like you, whose eyes have been opened to the damage done by these displays of artistic liberality, and are now working hard to revive authentic Christo-centered worship, devotion, and architecture.

God bless you!

Vonny Von said...

What diocese are these from? The Papal Nuncio should talk to the Bishop or Bishop emeritus...

Henry said...

ytc, you have listed merely superficial symptoms of the disease. Reasons for it are quite another thing. From one who was there and observed the iconoclastic destruction--e.g., sledge hammering of a beautiful old consecrated altar--up close and personal, actual reasons that motivated the destroyers:

(1) The same motive as that of the protestants during the Reformation--to destroy traditional faith and worship, specifically, to eradicate the sacrificial interpretation of the Mass and belief in the sacral character of the priesthood.

(2) A mass hysteria, essentially the same in kind as that responsible for witch-burnings in previous eras.

The maniacal eyes and faces of even priests and nuns I observed--as they not only threw sacred vessels, vestments, and statues in the dumpster, but frequently felt compelled to destroy them first--indicate that (1) and (2) were one of a piece.

As were the destruction of sacred architecture, of the liturgy, of traditional beliefs, of beauty in art and music. Sacred architecture in particular, because it was an expression of traditional faith and liturgy.

Henry said...

Another one worthy of your portfolio:

Scroll down far enough to see the "Beam me up, Scottie" Blessed Sacrament chapel.

Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

The good news is that there will be a market for these 'spirit of V2' churches when enough of us finally come around to our senses. They can be sold to Protestants, community groups, etc. Traditional church architecture aids our thoughts and prayers to Heaven keeping our focus on God. Modern design puts the emphasis on us - sinners. The results speak for themselves.

William B said...

Vonito, these are from the Archdiocese of Detroit, with Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who previously was responsable for the Christ Our Light Cathedral in Oakland California. Vigneron has only been archbishop of Detroit for a couple years, but he is planning on closing and selling several parishes over the next few years. We can only hope and pray it is these modern, ugly parishes that are the ones chosen to be closed and sold.

Bill Meyer said...

"Scroll down far enough to see the "Beam me up, Scottie" Blessed Sacrament chapel."

I cannot find the words....

Templar said...

Carol....I believe that's the Barque of Peter and not Noah's Ark that the upside down ship's hull is supposed to represent. Or are you implying we're all a bunch of animals? LOL

Templar said...

My Father's Parish is comprised of a Pyramid (The Church proper) and a Geodesic Dome (Social Hall). Me and my siblings refer to Masses there as "Hootenanny's".

Jake said...

The church in the first two photos has potential. The altar needs to be completely renovated, but I kind of like the "Noah's ark" ceiling.

Similarly, the photos of the "side altar" church. Again, the altar needs to be completely renovated, and pews need to replace those chairs, but from the photos, it has nice, arched stain glass windows, and a choir loft. Definite potential.

But that Circe de Sole church with the streamers... ugh... sell it now!

Carol H. said...


Noah and his family were in the ark as well. Maybe the architects were hoping in their modernistic minds that they were saving us from the flood of traditionalism?

Henry Edwards said...

Bill, can you look at the photo

without thinking "Beam me up, Scottie"? As for me, I'd probably be afraid to go in there.

William B said...

Here's some more ugly churches in Michigan:

This one is the ultimate in modern multi-purpose meodiocrity.

This one defines 1970s tackiness, the era of "All In The Family" and "Mary Tyler Moore" and Pintos and Gremlins.

This one looks more like a florist shop than an Altar.

This one has the plain, generic, Mega-Church vibe going.

This one looks like a set made for a high school musical.

This one looks like it belongs in the food court of a shopping mall.

This one looks like the Altar is on one of those rotating floors used at auto shows.

This one is perhaps the ugliest. Looks like someone's basement reck-room.

Lord God, please intecede in the Archdiocese of Detroit, where it is needed the most.

Carol H. said...


It looks like a cross between a transporter-room and a sauna. Very scarey!

I wonder if this is what purgatory looks like.

rcg said...

William B., that sixth one down looks like a refurbished salt barn for the state highway dept. maybe they just use it in the summer as a chapel.

Anonymous said...

William B, I clicked on the mega-church one. I really wish I hadn't. The other thing that kind of disturbs me is the "Resurrexefix" that's come to "replace" the Crucifix in some of these handy-dandy iconoclastic parishes. But, I suppose that given that we think that sin and suffering are "so passe," then the Crucifix must be, too. /sarcasm.

YTC: "Narcissistic "liturgists" | Side note: I advocate for the profession of "liturgist" to all but disappear."

Hear, hear. Or, if anyone feels like giving them another chance, either they can read Ratzinger and Guardini, or they're gone. Period.


William B said...

The reason there are so many ugly churches in Michigan is because John Cardinal Deardon was a participant at the Vatican II council, and he moved the "spirit of Vatican II" in the Archdiocese of Detroit much quicker and with more gusto than many other dioceses across the world.

But just so people reading this don't wrongly think all there is in Michigan is ugly churches, here are some examples of some beautiful ones.

This one is the most thriving parish in its vicariate... and it also happens to be the only parish in its vicatiate to offer the EF every weekend (Saturdays at 6pm). The church was built in the 1990s.

This one is a post-Vatican II ethnic Italian parish.

This one is a historic church in Hamtramck, traditionally a Polish neighborhood, but now dominated by muslims.

This one is a great example of modern yet sacred.

Another example of something modern, yet is able to exhibit a sense of awe.

This one is an example of how to be both modern and traditional.

This one is a glorius traditional and historic building.

Shrine of the Little Flower. Pictures do not do this building justice. You must see it in person. It was built by Father Charles Coughlin, who had a national radio program years before Fulton Sheen.

This one is a historic building in the city of Detroit, and one of the only other parishes to offer the EF weekly. Sadly, many of these historic buildings will be closed due to the city of Detroit becoming a deserted ghost town in the last 25 years.

Gene said...

No, no Carol...Purgatory looks like Chuck E. Cheese...LOL!

Unknown said...

Henry started to hit on this in his post. What we are seeing in these photos is clear. Clear as crystal. To not see it is to miss the whole point of what the reformers after Vatican Council II were all about. The reformers wanted to do away with anything which might cause scandal to the Protestant mind. And they succeeded. There is nothing that the reformed churches have in them which is difficult for a Protestant to accept.

That being said, the bishops of then and now have taken the bait; hook line and sinker.

When vertical theology left the building (literally with Elvis in his film, Change of Habit) in favor of horizontal theology, the idea Catholicism went right along with it, for the most part. Oh sure, we keep some of the language, we keep some of the devotions, we keep some of the trappings, but by and large, the faithful lost faith.

How can I say that? Where are they? Churches are empty, the faithful stopped assisting at Holy Mass. Convents are empty, the nun's became radical feminists. Seminaries and rectories are empty, the priests have quit their vocation. And by quit, I mean quit. They had vocations to the priesthood, but the reformers talked them out of it and the bishops just let them go.

The reformers told the priests that they were no different than a Protestant minister. Not in so many words, but by their actions. They took the Mass away from the priest and put it in the hands of the faithful. They took the priesthood away and put it in the hands of the faithful. They took the churches away and put the people in their place. The role of the priest was reduced to that of presider.

I'll elaborate. When they changed the Mass, after Vatican Council II, the priest ceased to celebrate the Mass. He now presides over the assembly who celebrates. This is most evident in the Liturgy of the Word. Prior to the reforms, the priest did everything in the Mass of the Catechumens. He prayed the prayers at the foot, he prayed the confiteor, he prayed the kyrie, he prayed the gloria, he prayed the collect. Now all of those things are either optional or they have been taken over by the faithful save the praying of the collect, which is all the priest does in the entirety of the Liturgy of the Word. The priest, prior to the reforms proclaimed the epistle, the gradual/tract/alleluia, and gospel. After the reforms, the priest does none of that if there is a deacon and none of that save the reading of the gospel if there is no deacon.

Quite literally, the faithful have taken over the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word and the priest sits passively and allows it to happen. He is the President of those assembled. Nothing more. So, his role after the reforms was reduced from celebrating the Mass to presiding over the assembly. With the priest left with nothing to do and half of his role removed, is it any wonder they left? Quite literally the priest lost his identity and his vocation wasn't lost, it was ripped away.


Unknown said...

Secondly, they took the idea of ministerial priesthood and took that from the priest too. By a deliberate and exacting change, the royal priesthood was thrust into the role of ministerial priest. Laymen who had no business in the sanctuary were put there. They have been inserted into all phases of the Mass. And they have diminished the role of the priest, not only in the Liturgy of the Word, but also in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. They are EMHC's. They are commentators, They are ministers of the sick. They have literally invaded all of the roles which properly belong to the priest. Oh sure, he still consecrates the host and wine, but that is out of necessity. The rest of the Mass has been rendered optional for the ministerial priest and has been squarely put in the hands of the royal priesthood. There is a big difference. The role of the faithful is to worship. The role of the priest is to minister. Not vice versa. To thrust the faithful into the role of minister is to...well...Protestantize the Mass.

The Mass went from being celebrated at the altar to being presided from the chair. The altar of sacrifice has been lost to the assembly. The altar of sacrifice has been reduced to a mere table and the Sacrificial offering is now just a meal. The theology has changed. And it shows by the lack of faithful, the lack of priests, and the lack of religious.

The reformers vision has all but been accomplished. This can largely be contributed to two men. Paul VI and John Paul II. Paul the VI implemented the changes and John Paul II perpetuated them. It has fallen upon Benedict XVI to try and sort the liturgical mess.

We can talk about architecture, but architecture is just a symptom of a larger problem. And it is a visible symptom. The move from a Catholic theology with regard to the Mass (vertical) to a Protestant one (horizontal). There is nothing different between the modern Catholic churches and a Lutheran church or even a Methodist church. However, if you walk into a traddy chapel, it is clearly Catholic and it is very distinct.

My long winded point? Fix the architecture. But implore priests to fix the Mass. It is in their privy to do so.

Finally, I will say this. Which seminaries in the US are the fastest growing? Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denton (FSSP) and St. Thomas Aquinas in Winona (SSPX). Which orders of women are attracting vocations? (traditional and conservative orders such as the Nashville Dominicans). And which segment of the Mass is gaining the most attendance through growth each and every week? The TLM. It is no mystery. The Catholic faithful want to be Catholic, priests...let them be Catholic.


William B said...


**standing ovation**

Jake said...

The second to last photo (the "lawless" one) looks like a ski lodge to me.

William B, I love St Clare of Montefalco. Its beautiful. An example of how all "modern" altars should be.

Anonymous said...

John Cardinal Dearden... wasn't he parodied in an episode of "M*A*S*H" as Cardinal Reardon?