Sunday, November 20, 2011

Orange Diocese Buys Monstrosity 'Crystal Cathedral' Monument to Modernism

It seems that the bankruptcy judge has ruled that the Catholic Diocese of Orange will get the monstrosity 'Crystal Cathedral' for a mere 57.7 million dollars! The LA Times gets it right when they write, "the Crystal Cathedral, a monument to modernism in faith and architecture..." And so we see what happens when we let modernism infect the Church, rather than amputating it. It grows and grows, and now 57.7 million dollars given to the Orange Diocese by Catholics will pay for a monument to the modernist heresy that has been ransacking the Church for years now.

An Orange County bankruptcy judge ruled Thursday that the Crystal Cathedral, a monument to modernism in faith and architecture, will be sold for $57.5 million to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which plans to consecrate it as a Catholic cathedral. (Nov 18th)
Link to entire article here


scotju said...

Disneyland is also in Orange Co. It's a pity that they didn't enter the bidding war for this monstrosity. They could have disassembled the CC and moved it to Fantasyland. Tinkerbell cold have blessed it by sprinkling pixie dust on it!

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Matt, very rarely have I ever disagreed with you. This is one of them. Modernism in architecture is not the same at all as modernism in philosophy or theology contrary to the assertions of an uniformed LA Times reporter. What Modernism is in architecture is merely that form follows function. In fact, I would argue that Modernism in architecture is a good thing-it is a rejection of the Protestant notion that creation is bad. Frank Lloyd Wright homes are "modernist" in design. The Abbey at Our Lady of the Genesee is modernist in architecture. As St. Paul tells us, in a very real sense, we can see the Creator in His creation. Good Catholic art, including architectural artwork,that reflects attributes of God should be lauded. The aesthetic that form follows function has the capacity of capturing many of God's attributes. Modernist architecture should not be rejected out of hand solely because it looks "new" or differs from previous forms. The issue should be whether the worship space follows the Church's emphasis on nature as a good creation of God. Modernism at least in architecture very much has the capacity to do that. The fact that there is a perception that there has been many failures is simple-bad art does not reflect God like good art does.

I, for one, will be highly interested to see how the Diocese of Orange will convert a worship space that is designed to focus on the Word of God into a woship space that focuses on the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. Until then, I am going to withhold judgment on the worthiness of the purchase.

God bless!

Matthew Bellisario said...

Hi Paul, thanks for stopping by. I hope you are well! Its been awhile. Its always good to be challenged once in awhile. Let me kindly respond.

For the most part I find little if anything that is worthy of being called art that falls into what is considered to be "modern." For example, nothing that Frank Loyd Wright produced is worthy of being called "art" in my opinion. His architecture is boring and uninspiring. It is closed in on itself. That being said, even if you subjectively find that type of "art" or architecture personally appealing, I would objectively not find it fitting for liturgical worship use. Right off the bat the "Crystal Cathedral" fails the test out of the gate. Little can be done to it make it an appropriate place of worship because its very design does not lift the mind or heart to God. It is firmly rooted in the world and does not inspire. A good litmus test is, if you have to tell someone that the building is a Church, then you have a problem out of the gate. If you have read 'Ugly as Sin' by Michael Rose you may get my point. Likewise I find the Abbey you mentioned to be horrid and uninspiring. It appears that they stole the design from one of those 'Land of the Lost' episodes that used to be on TV, where those Sleestack creatures used to hang out. Its a huge dark triangle with horrible glass windows in it, neither of which do anything to lift the heart and mind to the God we worship.

I do agree with you that creation is not bad, and I agree that we can see the creator in architecture. The problem resides in the fact that Church architecture must maintain certain qualities about in order for it to be worthy to function in such a capacity. In my opinion, this monstrosity does not qualify.

Paul Hoffer said...

Matt, having been inside the abbey sanctuary and having prayed there a number of times, I would respectfully disagree with you. Having been made materials found or made on the grounds by the monks themselves, the structure fits very well in the Benedictine tradition.

I have participated in Masses in NM on mountain sides and in chapels where deer bound through the congregation. I have participated in Masses held under a dining tarp and in little country-side chapels in both NE and SE Ohio that was less ornate than the local Baptist or Methodist churches. Once, I even attended in Mass in a cave. Given that Our Lord suffered being born in a manger in a little stable so mean, that he gave Himself in the Eucharist in a darkened upper room in some nondescript house, I think that a Mass said following the rubrics can elevate and ennoble any worship space. I do believe that the Crystal Cathedral has potential to be turned into a wonderful sanctuary.

As it presently stands, the Crystal Cathedral is not fitting for a Mass to be held there. That said, I do think that it could be.

A last note: I take great comfort from the purchase that the Holy Spirit is still actively working in Our Lord's Church. The fact the Catholic diocese purchased an edifice that was designed by a deranged anti-Catholic athiest Neo-Nazi which he considered his personal lifetime crowning achievement and is going to ennoble it and turn it into a grace-filled place where Mass will be celebrated shows me that God works and turns a positive even out of the worst of circumstances.

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Bellisario said...

Hi Paul, thanks for the response. I do not disagree with you that we can attend Mass in the places you described with great reverence. However, we are referring to a Cathedral here and not a cave or a Mass said at an outdoor pilgrimage site. When we build a Cathedral it should be the best man has to offer God. Of course if out of necessity the church has no money than we just have to make due with whatever we have, however we are talking 60 million dollars here to just get started, not including renovations. There is nothing that can be done to the outside, period.

I also believe the Holy Spirit works through the Church as well, but that does not mean that everything the bishop decides is God's will either. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one my friend. I hope things are well with you up north! Take care and may God bless and keep you.