Christ’s Cathedral: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

What disturbs me is the “antiphonal” seating. I’ve been in those kind of churches and it is difficult to focus together on the action at the altar when you’re watching the people on the other side. On the other hand, in such a vast space should all the seating be “straight up and down” large numbers would be miles away from the altar. The debates must have gone back and forth.

fontWhat’s good? I think the building itself makes one of the best modern cathedrals I’ve seen. It is light, airy and speaks of heaven in an otherworldly sense. It is not brutally utilitarian. It has a sense of space, glory and attempts to lift one to another plane. The icon of Christ in the narthex seems both modern and ancient. It does provide some continuity.tabernacle

What’s bad? It breaks the great tradition rather than developing the great tradition. It’s iconic and iconoclastic at the same time. This is a problem because our language of worship is built up from the images, signs and symbols–including architectural styles–from the past. The danger is that Catholics will go into a building like this and not find any connecting points. Like most modern, unique buildings it exudes a certain hubris. Its a bit “hey! look at me!”

What’s ugly? I’m afraid the baptismal in the shape of a cross is a tacky and hackneyed idea, and what on earth is that tabernacle in the separate Blessed Sacrament chapel? Surely these are the areas where some tradition and continuity could have been brought in and developed.

On the whole we have a modern cathedral for a modern age. In my opinion it could be worse.

Much worse.

Further Reading: Beauty and Poverty- Thoughts on Building a Beautiful Church in the Poor Part of Town; Are You a Beautiful Temple?