can you tell difference…

UPDATED 2/4/09: Amazingly enough no one correctly identified all 12 structures. Only three people got all but ONE right. The ones that seemed the most difficult to identify were numbers 1,3,6,11. If I had to declare a winner it would be the first individual who answered all but one correct. And that person was…

RC!. He only missed number 7.

Followed by cslord who missed number 1 and Rocky who only missed number 6. Your prizes are untold blogger fame and glory and bragging rights.

Here’s the big reveal. I plan to come back to this post and link the source for each structure for verification. Please be patient with me.













… a big “thank you” to all who participated. I hope you enjoyed this year’s contest. Comments have now been re-opened.

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Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Derik

    My guess is as follows (U = Utilitan Structure, C = Church)1 U, 2 U, 3 C, 4 U, 5 U, 6 U, 7 U, 8 C, 9 C, 10 C, 11 C, 12 C.This is fun!

  • john

    +JMJ+I hate to say it, but I think they are ALL churches.Arrgh!

  • Dixie

    1. C2. U3. C4. C5. U6. C7. U8. C9. C10. C11. C12. CAlthough 3 could be a library. These are some outrageously ugly buildings. :(

  • The Crescat

    No winners yet but good guesses!

  • Mark Tan

    1. C2. U3. C4. C5. U6. C7. U8. U9. C10. C11. C12. U

  • Diego

    Veni Domine Iesu!

  • The Crescat

    Mark, nice try but no cigar.

  • Patm

    1 – C2 – C3 – C4 – C5 – C6 – C7 – U (Please. Please.)8 – C9 – C10 – C11 – C12 – C

  • polarbear


  • Mark Tan

    Arrrgh… I’ll try again!!!!1. C2. C3. C4. C5. U6. C7. C8. U9. C10. C11. C12. U

  • The Crescat

    Nope. Nope. and Nope. No winners yet. *NOTE: If you see your submission above please do not comment on it.

  • Fr. D.

    1=p2=u3=c4=u5=u6=c7=c8=c9=c10=c11=c12=uFr. D.

  • The Crescat

    Sorry, Fr. All good guesses though.

  • Innocentius

    1. Utilitarian structure2. Church3. Church4. Utilitarian structure5. Utilitarian structure6. Church7. Utilitarian structure8. Utilitarian structure9. Church10. Church11. Utilitarian structure12. Utilitarian structure

  • The Crescat

    Sorry Simon-Peter, nope. Quite a few of you are getting stumped on the same 4 ones.

  • Enbrethiliel

    +JMJ+Ooooh! I’ll play! =D1. U2. C3. C4. U5. U6. C7. U8. C9. C10. C11. C12. UI can’t wait for the answers. Thanks for this fun post. =)

  • The Crescat

    Nope. :-)

  • Deirdre Mundy

    1.U2.C3.U4.C5.C6.C7.U8.U9.C10.C11.C12.CBased on the shape of the parking lot and those glass squares for windows, #3 looks a lot like a school. Schools are ALL about atriums, these days…..But #2 is definitely one of those new-fangled mega-church thingies!

  • The Crescat

    again, the same 4 ones keep triping every one up, sorry Deirdre.

  • Familias católicas


  • Fr Longenecker

    I thought the church was a correctional institution.

  • Tom

    My guess is that the utilitarian structures are 1,4,5,and 11.

  • Paul Bernacchio

    I would guess all of them…Let me give you two of the ugliest and weirdest churches you will ever visit. St. Mary's Rockledge, Florida. This one should be on your list Please see view the "new church"I have been in there and it looks like it was designed, created and built by a committee of science fiction writers. The other one is closer to home St. Jean Vianney in Baton Rouge. see;=2048&w;=1536&sz;=478&tbnid;=VB9PW8OPhB1d1M::&tbnh;=150&tbnw;=113&prev;=/images%3Fq%3Dpictures%2Bof%2Bst%2Bvianney%2Bcatholic%2Bchurch%2Bin%2Bbaton%2Brouge,%2Bla&usg;=__-kOAVm_oDb0ESsJ58WR8sVIcNLw=&sa;=X&oi;=image_result&resnum;=2&ct;=image&cd;=1 With it's cold concrete slab walls with the holes from the rebar visible to all parishioners and its panoramic view of a slum like duplexes, this church begs the question: what were they thinking?

  • The Crescat

    "I thought the church was a correctional institution."Does that make you the warden, Fr. L?And as for the latest 2 guesses from Familias & Tom… nope and nope.

  • AlephGamma

    Is my assumption that all churches are Catholic correct?

  • The Crescat

    sadly, yes. The ones that are churches are Catholic.

  • Winefred

    Here goes:1 = U2 = U3 = C4 = U5 = U [prison]6 = C7 = U 8 = C9 = C10 = C11 = U12 = CCan’t wait to find out if I passed.

  • Derik

    Lets try again1 U (Priests quarters)2 C (Picture from the back)3 C (alternate entrance)4 U (the logo)5 U (seminary dorms?)6 C (not the 1st without windows)7 U (that balcony)8 C (apse with a view?)9 C (picture from the back)10 C (I think I saw it before)11 U (that flag pole)12 C (from the back)

  • Rich Horton

    Here I go:1. C2. C3. C4. U5. U6. C7. U8. C9. C10. C11. C12. CI’m sure that was just dreadful…but not as dreadful as every single one of these buildings.

  • The Crescat

    nope. nope. and again nope.

  • Simply Catholic

    I would say 1.C2.C3.U4.U5.U6.C7.U8.U9.C10.C11.C12.C

  • Derik

    I Can’t wait for the results

  • The Crescat

    ooooo, simply Catholic…. so close yet so wrong.

  • Darrell


  • The Crescat

    Darrell… again nope. But again, getting closer.It seems everyone is missing the same four.

  • Jane

    1. C2. C3. C4. C5. U6. C7. U8. U9. C10. C11. C12. C

  • The Crescat

    Jane, nice try but again nope.

  • _

    1 – C2 – C3 – C 4 – C5 – C6 – C7 – C8 – C9 – C10 – C11 – C12 – CDo I win?

  • The Crescat

    francis… no.

  • stthomasmore1535

    1. U2. C3. C4. U5. U6. C7. U8. C9. U10. U11. C12. C

  • The Crescat

    sorry, stthomasmore1535.

  • Quantitative Metathesis

    Ooo! Fun!1.U2.C3.U4.U5.U6.C7.U8.U9.C10.C11.C12.C

  • The Zapman

    And with my .02% chance:U – Utilitarian (including possible alien spacecraft)C – Church (including possible alien spacecraft)1) U2) C3) U4) C5) U (Panopticon, right?)6) C (possibly alien)7) C8) U9) C10) C11) C12) C

  • RC

    Hm:1: c2: c3: u4: u5: u6: u7: c8: u9: u10: c11: u12: c

  • Mary Kay

    All except 10 as church:1. Church (even though it looks like a store with apartments)2. Church 3. Church4. church (even though it looks like a bunch of airport hangars)5. Church6. Church (closing my eyes as I write this)7. Church (even worse than the orangy-red Slinky look-alike)8. Church 9. Church10. Utilitarian (looks like a greenhouse)11. Church 12. Church

  • Gabby

    1. U2. C3. U4. C5. C6. C7. U8. C9. C10. C 11. U12. C

  • Luís Guilherme Fernandes Pereira


  • the Savage

    Trying the “wisdom of crowds” theory, with one guess.1. c2. c3. c4. u5. u6. c7. u8. u9. c10. c11. c12. c

  • LauraZ


  • Debbie

    My guess is they’re ALL CHURCHES!I was married in a church resembling #10! It was a WWII-era US Navy chapel, now demolished I believe! :-(

  • Marcos

    Hmmm…ccucucccccccRight, right?I guess I’m wrong, though =P

  • Babs


  • Angelicbob


  • cavehippo

    1 U2 C3 C4 U5 U6 C7 U8 U9 C10 C11 C12 C

  • Christina

    1. C2. U3. C4. U5. U6. U7. U8. U9. U10. U11. C12. C

  • KMcNalls

    Hmmm….1 C2 C3 C4 U5 U6 U7 C8 U9 U10 C11 C12 C

  • Simply Sister Mary

    U – 1,5,7,8C – 2,3,4,6,9,10,11,12For what it’s worth!

  • Jayna

    1. Utilitarian Structure2. Church3. Church4. Church5. Utilitarian Structure6. Church7. Utilitarian Structure8. Utilitarian Structure9. Church10. Church11. Church12. Utilitarian Structure

  • Mark Tan

    1.U2. C3. C4. U5. C6. U7. C8. C9. U10. C11. U12. U

  • Al

    1. U2. C3. C4. U5. U6. C7. U8. U9. C10. C11. C12. C

  • Mark Tan

    I am getting a little restless…. =( a curse to all liberals who put me in this dilemma of not knowing the difference between a church and utilitarian structures!!!!!!!!!!Argh!!!!!!!!

  • Mary Liz

    Just a guess…1. C2. C3. U4. C5. U6. C7. U8. C9. U10. C11. U12. C

  • The Crescat

    Wow… Still no one has accurately identified all 12 structures. Only a hand full have even come remotely close. I don’t know if I should be glad you’re enjoying the challenge or saddened these structures exists to the point where one can’t tell the difference.

  • The Crescat

    Again, if you are positive about one structure don’t post the details here. Let every one have a fair chance at the challenge. Thanks.

  • jeanette

    I think it’s:1.U2.C3.U4.C5.U6.C7.U8.C9.C10.C11.C12.U

  • The Crescat

    Jeanette… No, I’m sorry. Poeta…no fair hitting up the photographer for details. :-P comment removed.

  • NiceLady

    1. A really bad house-hunting choice. Let’s mark this one #0 for “No way!”2. A bank where both money and people are kept locked up all day.3. A temple to a pagan goddess or the new church for RCWomenPriestesses.4. A really bad experiment in solar paneling.5. Currently, a meeting place for whirling dervishes who needed an unobstructed space; previously a Christian church built from the bricks of an ancient Roman temple.6. The space ship from the invading Puppet Masters [Robert Heinlein].7. A prison designed by an architect on LSD.8. The Tin Man’s outhouse?9. An giant alien bug . . . . Runnnnnnnnnn!10. Oh! A cute little Quonset hut left over from WWII.11. A fake egg for Mrs. Godzilla to incubate!12. A huge, gigantic primitive explosive grenade . . . . to take out Mrs. Godzilla?

  • Seminarian TLG

    As a seminarian hoping to serve (with your prayers) in a beautiful church someday (hopefully not on this list!), I’ll guess:1.U 2.C3.C4.U5.U6.C7.U8.C9.C10.C11.C12.C

  • Amy

    1. P/U2. C3. C4. P/U5. P/U6. C7. C8. C9. C10. P/U (that's a quonset hut)11. P/U12. C(Dave & Amy)

  • fdarcy


  • Kelseigh


  • cslord

    I submit that the churches/chapels are numbers 2,9,10, and 12, while the others are utilitarian structures.

  • Fr. Marie-Paul

    Of course all are utilitarian structures, but I don’t think philosophical answers will cut it. So here goes.1) church2) church3) church4) church5) utilitarian6) church7) utilitarian8) church9) church10) utilitarian11) church12) utilitarian

  • Babs


  • Laura The Crazy Mama

    I think that 2,5,6,7, and 12 are churches.

  • MaroniteCatholic

    1) U2) C3) C4) U5) U6) C7) C8) U (not big enough to be a church)9) C10) C11) C12) C

  • The Crescat

    Day 3 and still no winners but I really like Kelseigh answers for sure. Do you guys want hints or want to know who was the closest to getting them all right?

  • peregrinator

    Having carefully checked to make sure I didn’t have the same answers as someone else AND having signed up for Google, here are my guesses:1. Stumped- just stumped U??2.C3.C4.U5.U6.C7.C8.C9.C10.C11.C12.CLet me know if I’m close?

  • The Crescat

    peregrinator… not even close. Sorry.

  • Mark Scott Abeln

    I notice that nearly everyone makes the same guess on some of these photos.

  • Ferrygull

    1,5,7 are prisons/utilitarian structures, the rest are churches. Reminds me of the song our director of music decided would be the anthem for our parish’s 125th anniversary, “Gathering Place” or some such title “…as we gather in this place.” This place? What place? Oh, is this a church? Who knew?

  • rocky


  • Derik

    Once again1 C2 C3 U4 C5 U6 C7 U8 U9 C10 C11 C12 C

  • Nicolle

    Giving it a shot:1. U2. C3. U4. U5. C6. C7. C8. C9. C10 C11. U12. C

  • Winefred

    No hints — but can we get a cut-off date? As somebody (I think it was Cecily Cardew) once said:”The suspense is killing me — I do hope it will last.”

  • The Crescat

    … so STILL no winners.

  • The Crescat

    I guess the cut off date will be midnight tonight if no one gets it before then. Only one person got all but one right. The rest keep missing the same 4.

  • tjwasik


  • Blog


  • Hank

    1 U2 U3 U4 U5 U6 U7 U8 C9 C10 C11 C12 C

  • The Crescat

    still no winners.

  • Hank

    1 U2 U3 C4 U5 U6 U7 U8 U9 C10 C11 C12 C

  • Mr Flapatap

    1) C2) C3) C4) C5) C6) C7) C8) C9) C10) C11) C12) C

  • Fr. Joseph Lody


  • The Crescat’m sorry.

  • Simply Catholic

    Ok, I will try again1. U2. C3. U4. U5. U6. C7. U8. C9. C10. C11. C12. C

  • DalkullanJewelry

    I’ll give it a try:1. u2. c3. u4. u5. u6. c7. u8. u9. u10. c

  • Barb the Evil Genius

    My guess:1. Utilitarian2. Church3. Church4. Utilitarian5. Church6. Church7. Utilitarian8.Church9. Church10. Church11. Church12. Church

  • DalkullanJewelry

    Oops, sorry, here’s the last two:11. c12. u

  • Servant of Truth

    They are all utilitarian structures, the Church is made up of her people.Hat Tip to: Saint Lawrence

  • The Crescat

    No body wins!!!!!

  • Wade Condict

    1. c2. c3. c4. u5. c6. u7. c8. u9. c10. u11. c12

  • Wade Condict

    12. c

  • The Zapman

    Take two:U, C, C, U, C, C, U, C, U, U, C, C

  • Babs

    One final try:1U2C3U4U5U6U7U8C9C10C11U12U

  • Derik

    Please delete my last comment, I made a mistake

  • The Crescat

    Less than five hours to go & still no winners.

  • rocky

    I’ll give it another try:1.U2.C3.U4.U5.U6.U7.U8.C9.C10.C11.U12.C

  • john

    +JMJ+Of course, with 12! possible answers, we could be here a while. Last guess:I think they are all churches except numbers 6, 8, and 11.

  • The Crescat

    3 1/2 left and still no winners. ok.. so you got a bit more time than that… of course I do not plan to get up at midnight and check the blog. You have till around tomorrow-ish, when I get a free moment. I do have a life, I swear it!

  • cslord

    Last guess:2,3,9,10 and 12 churches, others non-churches.

  • ScienceMom

    1. P/U2. C3. C4. P/U5. P/U6. C7. P/U8. C9. C10. C11. C12. C

  • Gabby

    Making another attempt.1 U2 U3 C4 U5 U 6 U7 C8 U9 C 10 C 11 C12 U

  • Carolyn

    All churches except 3 and 11

  • The Zapman

    Third time’s the charm?U, U, C, U, U, C, U, C, U, U, C, C

  • California Girl

    “The suspense is killing me–I do hope it lasts.”WIlly Wonka (Gene Wilder’s)

  • Darrell

    1.C2.C3.C4.U5.C6.U7.U8.C9.C10.C11.C12.CMight be a different test for buildings originally designed to be churches.

  • The Crescat

    COMMENTS CLOSED. No more guesses….No one accurately identified all 12 structures. One person got all but one right so they’ll be declared winner later at the big reveal.

  • Donna

    Does anyone else think that Number 9 looks like a catfish?

  • rocky

    Since I’m one of the lucky guessers who only missed one picture, it behooves that I explain the (ir)rationale behind my guesses. In some cases my reasons were legitimate; in other cases I can only thank my luck. #1. Looks like a perfectly legitimate, though drab, office or utility apartment building. Nothing in it suggests an ugly church. So why did Carrie Cannonball include it? It must be because it IS a church!#2. Cannot be a utilitarian building because it has a perfectly useless feature: the taller section in the back. Ergo:it must be a church.#3. Not a church, it looks like a library or a grade school. I would have never guessed that it is a prison. Convicts are way, way, WAY too pampered in our country.#4. This set of huts is not organized as as a church. It looks like the premises of car and motorcycle mechanics.#5. Definitely a prison or an asylum for the criminally insane. Not even Mgr.Bugnini would have accepted this building for a church.#6. I missed this one. It is so alien that I thought it was a church. The cheerful red color should have warned me (post-V2 churches are drabber than that) but it didn’t.#7. So horrid that it could be either a church or a prison, but two features give it away: churches don’t have outside balconies or chickenwire fences.#8. Alien enough to be a church, but too small. It could have been an anglican church, since most Episcopalian parishes only include 20 to 50 people, but Catholic parishes are much bigger than that. #9. A huge mollusk swimming in the oceans of the fourth planet of Fomalhaut? Possibly. Or else a Catholic church inculturated in a Pacific island. #10. A perfectly legitimate quonset hut. It must be a church, for the same reason as #1: because otherwise there would have been no reason to include it. Incidentally, I’m not offended at all by provisional structures like this used as churches, when the parish or the diocese is too poor to afford a proper building. It is only the purposeful and expensive ugliness of new-wave architecture that disgusts me. Likewise, I’m not put off by a eucharist occasionally celebrated outdoors during, say, a scout camping trip, using a log for an altar, a guitar for the music and a poncho for a chasuble. But when you regularly and purposely use drab interiors, funky vestments and guitar music inside a church, when you could do things properly, then you lose me. #11. A neat eggshell, simple but not ugly. Looks like the auditorium of my alma mater, MIT. Not a church, new-wave churches are uglier than this.#12. So ugly it could equally be a post-V2 church or a prison, depending on whether the top of the tower hosts a set of bells or a machine gun nest. The photo shows a scaffolding inside the top room of the tower, which could hold bells but leaves no room for guards with machine guns. Ergo: it is a church. This is how I guessed.

  • Derik


  • The Crescat

    very logically well thought out, Rocky. I plan on hosting a ‘parade of rejects’ that will include all the ugly churches I was flooded with by readers that were disqualified bc of the obvious; crosses and name signs.

  • Donna

    Rocky,Regarding your comment about the quonset hut church, I was thinking the exact thing today. I have nothing against taking an existing structure and using it for a church; it’s the intentional building of something that is, in concept, alient to Christian tradition that bugs me.Cannonball,I love your contests. They are a lot of fun and give some of us an avenue for impishness.

  • Charivari Rob

    Rocky – “#3. Not a church, it looks like a library or a grade school. I would have never guessed that it is a prison. Convicts are way, way, WAY too pampered in our country.”Well, that photo bore a strong resemblance (in my mind) to the visitor’s entrance at MCI Framingham, MA (state women’s prison). Had to Google to convince myself it wasn’t the same.A modern annex like that is critical to processing visitors in an efficient and secure manner (especially without treating them like criminals themselves). The rest of the facilities are somewhat more, err… venerable? ….dated? …utilitarian?I’ve never come away from my visits with an impression of the inmates being “way, way, way too pampered”. Of course, the prison shown in this photo may reflect a different reality.

  • rightwingprof

    Assumption Greek Orthodox in Louisville, KY used to look like a quonset hut (not unlike your picture), but they built a new church.

  • Marco

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