Friday, September 26, 2008

Cathedral of Christ the Blight

It has come to pass. The Cathedral of Christ the Light for the Oakland Diocese is NOW OPEN.

Dear God I hope this is the last of the Cathedrals to be built that are as ugly as sin. (Actually, there are a couple in process, but I have hope the era is over). At any rate, this design is just horrible. Horrible.
"It was really driven by the Bishop wanting a certain traditional image — an image of Christ borrowed from a sculpture at Chartres Cathedral in France — and by Craig Hartman, working out how we could take this historic image and make it appropriate for this modern cathedral,"
(I know I'm taking the quote out of context, but this is a typical description of the Cathedral as a whole)

Oh. I'm so depressed. This is 'traditional'? Why? Because it's got a repeating motif of the Vesica Piscis? Ugh. It could just as easily be read to be an 180 foot vulva as a mandorla.
"Further the places and requisites for worship should be truly worthy and beautiful, signs and symbols of heavenly realities." —Catechism of the Catholic Church, #253
or:
"Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ." —Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1192

I wonder if Christ finds His Cathedral 'truly worthy and beautiful'. I wonder if the people in it will see the 'signs and symbols of heavenly realities' placed there, and will understand what they mean (without a brochure). I wonder if there are any sacred images, and if there are, if they will nourish our faith. I wonder if there could have been a better way...

UPDATE: HERE ARE THE FOLLOW-UP AND RELATED ARTICLES:

There is No Prayer There (commentary on the exterior of the Cathedral)

Cathedral of Christ the Blight part II (replies to objections to my commentary)

Raiders of the Lost Art (commentary on the interior of the Cathedral and its art)

Missing the Middle (or Central) Term (commentary on the placement of the Tabernacle in the Cathedral)

2 comments:

Ignoramus said...

Without your guidance, I would have assumed right away it was a astronomical observatory. Now that you have explained things, I realize that no one in that building will be looking towards the heavens.

The Vitruvian Duck said...

Compositum ex Contrariis

Great line. I can analyze the form or marvel at the substance. Beauty.

My only fear is that the one-liner I have prepared for my next post on this Cathedral is going to be too easy for you...and you might already know what it is.