Monday, July 12, 2010

Isn't That The Point Of Tradition?

California Catholic Daily is reporting that the Diocese of Orange is going ahead with plans for a new cathedral. And from the comments, it will more like the Los Angeles armadillo or the Oakland cooling tower than the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe or the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Houston. This is not surprising that the architect is the same one that was used in Oakland. Great another ugly, modern church. No, I am not certain, but I would bet money on it. The ethos of modern architecture is opposed to an orthodox theology of church architecture.

Three specific things occur to me about this. First, given that the bishop will likely be retiring soon, wouldn't it be better to allow his successor to guide the whole project? Second, the diocese states that they don't want to 'copy the past'. In one sense, this could be good. After all, it likely wouldn't be a good idea to replica St. Peter's in Santa Anna. However, the meaning seems more like, "We don't want past architectural principles to inform and guide our current effort." This doesn't seem to be very Catholic to me. It speaks more of an ethos of rupture and discontinuity than one of continuity and tradition. Third, the primary concerns in design seem to be environmentalism, ethnic sensitivity, and ecumenism. While none of these are bad per se, I would think that authentic Catholic worship and iconography would be more important.
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