A reader says
You guys do realize, do you not, that among the pagan deities carved onto the door of the L.A. Cathedral is Quetzalcoatl, the bloodthirsty Aztec demon-god to whom tens of thousands of human beings were sacrificed, and whose worship Our Lady of Guadalupe came to crush.
Lord knows I hold on to honor for Mahony by my fingernails, sheerly due to the honor due his office and not to the man, and from the pictures I’ve seen, I think the Cathedral is a big ugly bunker more suited to an armory for orcs than for a Church. But I have to ask: in what context is Quetzlcoatl on the doors? After all, St. Peter’s has an Egyptian obelisk in the plaza–with a crucifix on top of it. If our Lady is depicted triumphing above all the pagan gods (as the statue appears to suggest with her standing on the moon like the Virgin of Guadalupe), then I don’t know that there is a theological problem, just an aesthetic one.
But then, I haven’t seen the doors so I could be all wet. The best picture I could find on the Web has no detail and no explanation of the squiggly little images on the doors and what they mean. Any help here from you artistic and iconographic types would be appreciated.
By the way, I have not weighed in on the cathedral much beyond the general observation that it looks pretty ugly to me for the simple reason that I’ve just seen a few pictures without explanation of context, leaving me with the general impression: “Gee, that’s pretty ugly.” As with all questions of artistic merit, I have only the wisdom of Cookie Monster to go on: “Me not know art. But me know what me like.” If some artistic whiz out there wants to pull a Sister Wendy on me (“When one wooks at the cathedwal…”) and deepen my thimble-deep understanding of the architecture, I’m all ears.
As to the scattered pictures of the opening Mass, I’m not going to freak out since, again, I’m not enough of a liturgical nitnoid to know what is and is not appropriate. Apparently some people freaked out over some Vietnamese nuns doing some sort of liturgical dance. I, for one, have no idea whether this is appropriate in Vietnamese culture or not, nor what a bishop can and cannot permit in his own diocese. And, most of all, I believe life is simply too short to rub acid on my skin over this. I’ll let the liturgy experts work out whether it was an abuse or not. Not my diocese, not able to do anything about it, not gonna get angry and ruin my day (assuming, which I don’t know) that it was an abuse.
Where’s James Akin when you need him?