ON SECOND THOUGHT

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010 | Uncategorized

Many jokes have been made here about how the Church of England is a Church Nobody Goes To Anymore and so how about returning Westminster Abbey, Wells Cathedral et al to the British Catholic church what with the Anglicans not using them anymore?  Normally, I’d be all for it except for those times British Catholics demonstrate that they don’t deserve to get them back.

48 Comments to ON SECOND THOUGHT

Perpetua
August 31, 2010

That really reminds me of a spider.

Don Janousek
August 31, 2010

UGly with a capital “UG.” Looks sorta like a burger drive-in circa 1956. Expect the Fonze to cruise by any minute. Rama-lama-ding-dong.

Katherine
August 31, 2010

I clicked on the link to the papal site just to be sure Damian Thompson wasn’t pulling our legs. Yuck.

FW Ken
August 31, 2010

Katherine, such a joke would be in taste as poor as that which designed this monstrosity.

That said… I’ve seen worse.

Todd
August 31, 2010

I just hope they keep the liturgical dances away so the embarassment doesn’t compound. Uh-oh…can the puppets be far away?

Allen Lewis
August 31, 2010

That is just too Too. Architectural Autoeroticism!

It is a shame how the Roman Catholic Church allows architects to make fun of her and then get paid for it!

Paula Loughlin
August 31, 2010

I guess the music needed a proper setting.

Floridian
August 31, 2010

This design was chosen because of budget restraints.

The committee went into a vault somewhere and pulled out a old unused plan from the 50s-70s that the architect is long dead and the firm defunct so they won’t have to pay architect’s fees.

Floridian
August 31, 2010

But – what is that huge white disc in the ceiling? A mirror?

Marie Blocher
August 31, 2010

All it needs is a rotating mirror ball.

Ed the Roman
August 31, 2010

You all HAVE heard the one about not knowing where the Catholic church is, not finding anyone who did, and then just asking for the ugliest building in town, haven’t you?

Janjan
August 31, 2010

wow……and I thought my day couldn’t get any worse.

Dr. Mabuse
August 31, 2010

That’s so crappy, I don’t know what to say. They know the Pope will hate it, and they don’t care. Sometimes I think that Catholics right now are like the Israelites who lived through the Golden Calf Affair – we’re all doomed to wander around in a parched desert until the entire foul generation that participated in the horror dies off.

FW Ken
August 31, 2010

Oh course, you non-Catholics reading this should know that a favorite Catholic past time is grousing about The Terrible State of the Church Today.

It’s what we do.

:-) :-)

Truth Unites... and Divides
August 31, 2010

“Oh course, you non-Catholics reading this should know that a favorite Catholic past time is grousing about The Terrible State of the Church Today.”

There are some liberal Catholics who are grousing about Rome’s purported misogyny.

Christopher Hathaway
August 31, 2010

Well, look on the bright side. Whe the Muslims take over it won’t feel like such a loss when they turn this into a mosque.

Don Janousek
August 31, 2010

Floridian: The huge white disk symbolizes a 45 which has a song which has a good beat and is easy to dance to, a la Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. “And now, please welcome Chubby Checker and his new hit, The Twist.”

Clifford
August 31, 2010

As a licensed architect, let me say this in the most professional, constructive way possible – eeeeeech. That says ‘holy sanctuary’ the same way a ’74 Pinto says ‘Born To Run’. The canopy looks like a giant Mars robot built by a bunch of MIT geeks, complete with articulating legs and a flip-up parabolic radio antenna. It only needs a few JPL stickers on the side to be truly complete.

Fuinseoig
August 31, 2010

It’s a temporary site, though, isn’t it? I mean, now that they’ve finally stopped wibbling and have decided on where they’re going to have the beatification Mass, this is just an outdoor site that isn’t going to be permanent?

*sigh*

At least they included a crucifix.

SouthCoast
August 31, 2010

Holy crap. Literally…

Christopher Johnson
August 31, 2010

Hey, Clifford. Don’t be ripping Pintos. I used to drive a ’74 Pinto. One of the ones that blew up if someone rear-ended them. I actually did get rear-ended hard(totalled it) while driving that thing. Shortly after we got the work done to prevent it from blowing up if someone rear-ended it.

Payton
September 1, 2010

If they could ‘miraculously’ come to their senses, they could skip the beatification and go straight to cannonization.

Ed the Roman
September 1, 2010

Hey, Payton, at least it wasn’t while you were on the way to get the work done. That really would have sucked.

Christopher Hathaway
September 1, 2010

This realy does epitomize western culture to a Tee. I imagine the builders of the great cathedrals looking down and thinking, “You have building materials and technologies we couldn’t even imagine, and THIS is what you build?!” It’s the same in literature, art, music and liturgy.

Dr. Mabuse
September 1, 2010

Isn’t it funny that in movies or on TV, when filmmakers want to set a scene in a church, they NEVER portray it like this. They ALWAYS find a very traditional setting, with nice stained glass, statues, candles, wood panelling (they’re often rather dark), Gothic lines and prominent crucifixes. Usually TV “churches” look more Catholic than anything you could hope to find in the real world. And it doesn’t matter if the show is “pro” or “contra” religion – the art designers just instinctively know how a church is supposed to look, and they know that they can draw on an automatic reaction on the part of the viewer when they present the traditional style. Something like this would be so jarring, so counter-intuitive, a viewer would be distracted by its ugliness, and would wander off into thoughts like “What IS this thing? This is supposed to be a church? How could anyone connect this with God?” and that’s why artists won’t touch this modern style. It’s only religious eggheads who think that they can bulldoze their way through thousands of years of human aesthetics and force this garbage onto people, and they’ll be able to get away with it. Some superficial types think that merely being contrary is a sign of lofty development and superior sensitivity.

Mark Windsor
September 1, 2010

Just wait till the Giant Puppets of Doom turn up for the Introit, sung to Sesame Street’s theme song.

Sibyl
September 1, 2010

To be fair, the architectural form serves its purpose pretty well as a temporary open-air shelter designed to project sound and provide protection from weather. It is simply a bandshell – like the Hollywood bowl – but with added religious symbols.

Why the big flat circle behind the crucifix? Is it a big projection screen or for light/sound effects?

godescalc
September 1, 2010

It’s only religious eggheads who think… they’ll be able to get away with it.

Sadly, they often are able to get away with it.

There are some liberal Catholics who are grousing about Rome’s purported misogyny.

It’s an inclusive church – everyone has something to gripe about!

Truth Unites... and Divides
September 1, 2010

Quit your griping.

When all the construction is done, it’ll be a wonderful place to take and receive the Holy Eucharist.

Dr. Mabuse
September 1, 2010

Yes, so far they HAVE gotten away with it, frequently. I just hope that when this addled generation finally dies out, there will be left some talented Catholics who can find their way back to sensible design and art. Benedict XVI managed to come through Vatican II and the modern era with his head screwed on right, after all, and he’s not the only one.

Dr. Mabuse
September 1, 2010

(Heh – I said “addled”. That’s one of my mother’s words; haven’t heard it – or said it – in ages!)

Flambeaux
September 1, 2010

No, it won’t be a wonderful place for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. It is not sacred. It is not universal. It is not beautiful.

Like so much of what Modernism has wrought in the last century, it cannot be put to the flame quickly enough.

Robbo
September 1, 2010

I’m afraid poor old BXVI will be “addled” if that Host of the Titans swings down and beans him.

midwestnorwegian
September 1, 2010

I keep going back to the Planet of the Apes bomb-worshiping scene….

trespinos
September 1, 2010

Sad to say, Pope Benedict has had to put up with this kind of extremely kitschy outdoor Mass environment (“sanctuary” just seems wrong here) a number of times during his travels abroad and even in Italy. I expect he must view it as a penance he’s been given to endure.

Still, none of these temporary structures are as depressing as the modernistic permanent eyesores that have been built in recent decades at the shrine locations of San Giovanni Rotondo, Fatima and Guadalupe.

The topper? In November, the Holy Father will travel to Barcelona to be present at the inauguration of divine services in A. Gaudi’s Expiatory Temple “Sagrada Familia”. Now, I’m not sure how many folks would agree that that church could be described as beautiful; nevertheless, this intriguing theologian-Pope, who has spoken and written so much about beauty, has made his choice to be there in person. The photos of him celebrating Mass against the backdrops of that bizarre church should get a lot more attention than any from his English ceremonies.

Truth Unites... and Divides
September 1, 2010

If it’s a strictly binary choice between

(A) Taking the Holy Eucharist at this new Catholic Sanctuary

or

(B) Not taking the Holy Eucharist because this new Catholic Sanctuary is really ugly

What should people do?

I would think (A). The diocesan hierarchy and above obviously approved the construction of the new sanctuary. Why not follow?

FW Ken
September 1, 2010

OK, it’s NOT a a “sanctuary” – that a journalist’s word. As Sibyl said, it’s a temporary open-air shelter designed to project sound and provide protection from weather. It is simply a bandshell – like the Hollywood bowl – but with added religious symbols.

In an earlier era, the big circle on top would serve to reflect sound out to the crowd. These days, I doubt it’s anything but a horizontal counterpoint to the U-shaped frames. My parish church predates electric amplification and you can see how various structural elements helped the people hear the action in the apse (itself a sound amplifying element).

Poking fun at this monstrosity is… well… fun, but let’s be real. As I recall, it’s more than Benedict had in Washington D.C., or JPII had in San Antonio, on the site that became Seaworld. At San Antonio, the site had huge speakers, and if memory serves, one blew over. Our diocese had a 40th anniversary Mass in the local convention center, and the stage set was kitschy in it’s attempt to emulate a church. It happens.

Anyone who refuses to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus because the site doesn’t meet their aesthetic standards… well, I can’t think of a nice way to finish that sentence.

Flambeaux
September 1, 2010

I wouldn’t refuse…but I wouldn’t attend, either. This…thing…is not Catholic.

Flambeaux
September 1, 2010

FW Ken,
I remember skipping that anniversary Mass, too.

I cannot wait until this meddlesome generation who gave us the Silly Season and the present insanity go to their reward. It will not be too soon.

Fuinseoig
September 1, 2010

I do think that the Sagrada Familia is beautiful, in a very extradordinary way. It’s an extrememly organic looking building, almost like a coral reef that has grown in this manner and not like a built design.

I never thought I would like it, and my reaction does tend to be “Er – um, yeeeesss…” but on the other hand, at least the architect had a definite vision, and he was a devout and orthodox Catholic, so I don’t worry about strange occult symbolism or meaningless modern platitudes in his work. Besides, it still looks ten times more like a church than a lot of the designs I’ve seen around the place.

As for the outdoor Birmingham construction, at least it will only be temporary (which means that it can be broken down and will not remain as a blot on the landscape). I do wish they could have been a bit more courageous about having proper imagery for that stained glass effect thingy at the back, for one instance, but on the other hand, at least with the new Marini in charge, the Papal vestments this time round should not qualify as an entry on Christopher’s other blog.

:-)

The Little Myrmidon
September 1, 2010

Well, at first glance it reminds me of the Flying Nun’s wimple.

As for “has a good beat; you can dance to it…” I give it a 65 (sound of popping gum…)

FW Ken
September 1, 2010

Flambeaux –

I was at the 40th anniversary, and nearly wept with joy to see Bp. Iker with 20 of his priests process in office wear with other honored ecumenical guests. They also presented a beautiful icon of St. Michael the Archangel to the diocese on this occasion. The Catholic and Episcopal dioceses in Fort Worth have not always related so well.

They used the same setup for the all-school Mass today, or so I saw on the 6pm news.

I’m still working on the Sagrada Familia. My tastes are more Cistercian, which stress simplicity. Cistercian architecture creates beauty through form and scale, not decoration. In fact, the faux windows on this site remind me of Cistercian grisalle windows.

WannabeAnglican
September 1, 2010

I thought they were going to beatify Newman, not make him roll in his grave.

Sue Sims
September 2, 2010

Well, now, Newman couldn’t easily roll in his grave, since there were no remains there when they opened it. I agree that it’s a shame that the thing says ‘stage’ rather than ‘sanctuary’, but hey, we’ll be looking at the Holy Father as far as we can see him – I’ll be there, DV. More worrying is that I’m the ‘pilgrim leader’ for my deanery and we’ve just received the message that our coach leaves at 1.45. That’s 1.45 AM, folks… The journey will take between two and a half and three hours, and Mass doesn’t start till 10.00. Even considering the huge numbers of coaches parking and the mile walk from the coach park to the ground, there are going to be a lot of people hanging around in the open with nowhere to sit for quite a long time. I wonder how many people are going to drop out.

Fuinseoig
September 2, 2010

Oh, Paolo. That’s hideous. It makes the L.A. Cathedral look like a vision of beauty.

Paolo
September 2, 2010

Fuinseoig, I tell you: during my stay in Umbria – visiting Assisi, Perugia, Gubbio, Todi – I’ve passed several times close to this thing, and I always thought it was a (ugly) warehouse. Only after a week someone told me it actually is the diocesan church, commissioned by the Italian Conference of the Bishops…

I didn’t explain the fact to my children.

FW Ken
September 3, 2010

Nice version of the Pachelbel, though.

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