Thursday, May 8, 2014


I have gone on record that I do like some modern church architecture, not all to be sure, because most are horrible, but some are nice in the modern sense.

With that said, I like classical and neo-classical church architecture the most. For example, St. Joseph Church in Macon is neo-Romanesque French Revival which was common here in America toward the middle to the end of the 1800's. It is not classical Romanesque in the least.

The Diocese of Raleigh had been planning to build a new cathedral (there current one is the smallest in the USA seating only 300) at the cost of $90 million! However, their fund raising has fallen short as many Catholics today think it is better to build shopping center complexes that cost a whole heck of a lot more, or tall skyscrapers that cost even more to house offices of commerce rather than houses of worship that rival the cost of businesses.

So Raleigh has scaled back their new cathedral to only $40 million. It is still beautiful and I hope the trend of a more classical look for new construction of churches continues. This cathedral will seat 2000. Please note the altar railing and placement of tabernacle (which drives some liturgists to the brink!):

 Now here is another church kind of neo-Romanesque too. I like it and I don't. I find it sterile and minimalist but it is better than so many newer churches built in the last 30 to 40 years. What do you think?



Anonymous said...

"However, their fund raising has fallen short as many Catholics today think it is better to build shopping center complexes that cost a whole heck of a lot more, or tall skyscrapers that cost even more to house offices of commerce rather than houses of worship that rival the cost of businesses."

Really. I wonder why that is?

Could it be that for the last 50 years the Catholic Faith has not been preached from the pulpit?

Could it be that the Catholic Faith has not been taught for the last 50 years in Catholic schools?

Could it be because for the last 50 years the Mass has been reduced to a pseudo Protestant gathering?

Could it be that bishops worldwide actively hid priests who were raping the children of the laity?

Could it be because religious orders like the Jesuits have actively worked to undermine the Faith for the last 50 years?

Could it be because nuns have abandoned not only the holy habit but all resemblance to religious life and have been a source of scandal for 50 years?

Gee, it's just a guess from a lowly lay person but I would think the reason Catholic people no longer care about the Faith is because those entrusted with the care of their souls were to concerned about smelling like them and not feeding them.

There is nothing uncharitable in the above remark Father, please publish it whether you agree or not, after all we aren't Pravda yet. That is called sarcasm before anyone has a tizzy. I know this is the USA and we don't relly have an actual organization called Pravda. So don't get upset.

Anonymous said...


The reason the construction was scaled back was due to the excessive amount asked of the faithful: $100 million?! Way too much to build this type of cathedral. There were many questions from people about what all of that money was going to be used for and frankly, the Diocese was unable to provide good answers.

So, we are now at the much more reasonable amount of $40 million.

Compare that amount to the $10 million it cost to build the beautiful new church for St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest and you begin to see why we questioned the $100 million price tag for the new cathedral. Don't get me wrong. I am a big supporter of a new Cathedral, which we badly need, but we did not need to spend $100 million on it.

Catholic said...

They could save some money by ditching the table thing that is blocking the altar.

John Nolan said...

The first set of drawings are fine, and show a well proportioned sanctuary and a noble altar which allows celebration in both orientations.

The second set (photographs) show an interior which is a bit stark and minimalist for my taste, but the architecture is less important than the liturgy which it frames; the classic Roman Rite with its attendant music will compensate for any amount of architectural infelicity, whereas no amount of Gothic splendour will elevate a mundane modern celebration. If you don't believe me, I suggest you try ND de Paris - glorious architecture, astounding organ, very mediocre liturgy (and deliberately mediocre).

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord that Churches are being built with Communion railings. The Wake Forest Church is wonderful and maybe $90 million was little too aggressive. I always derided the myth that beautiful Churches are too expensive, but all brick barns are somehow so much cheaper. Brick is not an inexpensive material! St. Cathrine's is a wonderful testament to what can be done within a reasonable cost. I'm a happier person having seen it and it gives us hope. Thanks Anon 8:53 AM

Pater Ignotus said...

As much as a bishop wants to have a substantial cathedral - and cathedrals should be substantial - there are costs that can be managed.

It cost Baltimore $37 million to renovate the Basilica of the Assumption, an enormous and, to many, unnecessary expenditure. The BEST marble, the BEST reproduction glass, the BEST fabrics - these things add up fast.

Beauty and functionality really can be achieved without adding hand made mosaics, pietra dura floors, hand carved pews, and the like. Even if one's goal is to make the building an offering of "the best" to God, "the best" doesn't always have to be (nor should be) the most expensive.