Should the Bishop Have Bought the Crystal Cathedral?

Three miles from Disneyland there is another famous theme park, which proclaims itself as “America’s Television Church.” The Crystal Cathedral, perhaps the first mega-church in the United States, is about to undergo conversion classes so that it can finally get the cathedra and bishop it has always wanted. The Diocese of Orange, California, has purchased the thirty-one-acre property and its four buildings for $53 million, a steal even in this real estate market. Realizing that recent cathedrals built from scratch have cost upwards of $200 and $250 million on the West Coast, retrofitting sounds like a financially savvy move. However, turning this prismatic beacon of televangelism into a house of God may be easier said than done.

Does this purchase signal a new role for Catholic charity: to buy up properties of bankrupt Protestant ministries? If so, there may be some good opportunities in the future. How does the bishop encourage full, active, and conscious participation in the liturgy by purchasing one of the buildings most associated with religion as theater? Begun as an open-air service at a drive-in theater, the church was designed around Rev. Schuller’s flamboyant preaching. Associated with glitz and money, it was the site of fancy and expensive holiday celebrations including trapeze artists, live animals for Christmas, and a lavish $13 million production called Creation.

Said to be the first all-glass structure built for religious purposes, it is associated with the feel-good theology of the 1980s. How to convert a building like this and at the same time disassociate it from its founder and his theology? Crystal Cathedral Ministries was a religion about self-promotion, and, appropriately, its main buildings were designed in disparate modernist styles by three well-known architecture firms: Richard Neutra, Philip Johnson and John Burgee, and Richard Meier. Each building is a personal expression of the architect, so that together they create a campus without much to unify them. Perhaps what may be of more concern to its future owner, the Neutra tower (1968) does not meet earthquake codes and the Crystal Cathedral (1980) and the Welcoming Center (2003) are high maintenance glass and metal buildings. This could be an expensive investment.

Can the Crystal Cathedral be converted to a Catholic Cathedral? We shall see. After all, the much noted cathedrals of Oakland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are all expressionistic modernist sculptures. The diocese has said that they will not change the exterior of the church and will not compromise the architectural integrity of the 2700-seat interior. Yet, without a radical transformation the building will always come across as a technological mega-church rather than as a sacred place. It needs to be totally gutted and reconceived. And even if the interior can be functionally retrofitted for Catholic liturgy, many believe that its identity will always be that of the Crystal Cathedral.

One of the major criticisms of Catholic architecture during the past fifty years is that it has incorrectly adopted many of the forms of low-church Protestantism: the theater form, a fear of sacred images, asymmetrical layouts, vacuous sanctuaries, minimalist liturgical elements, prominently placed Jacuzzis for baptism, and the banishment of the Blessed Sacrament to the baptistry. The altar area becomes a stage with a focus on entertainment alongside praise bands that perform upbeat music. In response, liturgists have argued that all of these things are simply the outgrowth if not the requirement of Vatican II. Are they finally admitting their agenda by purchasing a ready for TV megachurch complete with a jumbotron and three huge balconies for the “spectators”?

The timing of this is wrong. A whole new generation of priests, laity, and theologians has grown up with this stuff and find these Protestant innovations dated and lacking in substance. They desire an architecture that grows out of the Church’s rich tradition and that will enable them in worship. Asked what cathedrals should look like in the twenty-first century, they point to Saint Patrick’s in New York, Saint Peter’s in Rome, Notre Dame in Paris, and other obvious suspects. These are buildings constructed hundreds of years ago, yet continue to speak to believers and unbelievers alike today. A timeless architecture built for the ages, a cathedral should be a durable building constructed out of masonry, transcendent in height, and directional in length. Unfortunately for the new generation and their children, the Orange diocese has chosen the opposite direction and will foist on them a building that is of its time and not particularly suited to Catholic worship and devotion. Twenty years from now, it will not matter that Orange got a really good deal whereas another California diocese quadrupled its budget. People will simply ask if it is a beautiful cathedral, worthy of the Creator.

This editorial first appeared in issue 21 (Spring 2012) of Sacred Architecture and is reprinted with permission.

Duncan G. Stroik

By

Duncan G. Stroik is a professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame where he helped implement a new curriculum in classical architecture in 1990. He played a central role in the revival of interest in sacred architecture that led to the formation of the Society for Catholic Liturgy and the journal Sacred Architecture, of which he is editor. He is the author, most recently, of The Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence, and the Eternal (2012).

  • Tom Murtagh

    It has always mystified me how dirt-poor immigrants of the last century could construct beautiful churches while today, with Catholics in the socio-economc mainstream, construct modernistic disasters which express utter contempt for the past. The “theater in the round” layout enables the music ministry to dominate every mili-second of the proceedings. The “open” layout encourages a “gathering” of the community to engage in chit-chat which is the result of being placed in a structure without the focal point of the altar or tabernacle or any reminder of being present in a house of God.

    I attend church every Sunday and Holy day – but I can only recall a handful of times of actually attending mass.

    • Sarah M

      “I attend church every Sunday and Holy day – but I can only recall a handful of times of actually attending mass.”
      You have a low opinion of the Eucharist then…Also Mass is usually capitalized. 

      • Scott W

        Unfortunately not all of us have profound mystical experiences every time we receive communion.  It looks and taste like a very simple bread to us poor souls.

        • JTLiuzza

           Well Scott when you’re “worshiping” in what looks like a dental office with a bunch of people who are dressed to do some garden work, and the sacristy is being invaded by everybody and their brother (or sister) also dressed as if they were heading to the beach, and the Eucharist is being literally “handed” out as if it were a scooby snack, it’s no wonder your experience receiving our Lord is no different from you eating a piece of toast.

          The ridiculous novus ordo liturgy aside, the Eucharist you receive is indeed the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.  The fact that the novus ordo surrounds such a profound mystery with such staggering banality tells you all you need to know about the ridiculous novus ordo church which is even now in it’s death throes.

          You should be deeply moved every time you receive Him.  That you aren’t is not so much your failure but that of those in charge of the Church.

          Please seek a TLM, properly offered, and stay away from the novus ordo missae that has so obviously damaged your reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.

          You will be in my prayers, Scott W.

        • Abouttrout

          Scott,

          It is bread to remind us of the body of Christ and wine or juice to remind us ohis His previous blood.  Jesus is with us spiritually when we take part in the Lord’s Supper.  In no way is Jesus sacrificed again and again.  By the way some churches make you fast before you take part in the Lord’s Supper.  Read the Bbile it states that right after they had eaten, Jesus served the Lord;s Supper.  There was no waiting period,  That is man made and another sign of “man” wanting to be in control.  I cna hear God saying, “Let my people go!”

        • Matt

          Scott:

          God’s presence is extremely subtle, because He does not wish to impose Himself on us. Next time you receive Communion, meditate on this verse: “A bruised reed he shall not break. A smoldering wick he shall not quench.” (Isaiah 42:3). Then keep your eyes and ears open for the subtle ways in which God will make His presence known in your life.

        • buckeyepastor

          “Not all of us have profound mystical experiences…”
          Scott, only a few blessed souls have mystical experiences every time they receive Holy Communion.  The rest of us just ask for the grace to be faithful to the struggle.  Don’t look for the consolations of God;  rather, accept God Who gives consolations when He knows that it is best for us.

      • Tom Murtagh

        Quite the contrary – I have a very high opinion of the Eucharist.  The Eucharist, the focal point of the mass, has become lost in the cacophony of praise and worship music and all of the socializing before and during mass.  The architecture does not lend itself prayerful respect.  It is designed for a performance.

        The “final straw” for my discontent with the current liturgy/architecture was the request from our bishop to bow in reverence before receiving communion to “remind us of the sacredness of communion.”  Excuse me! What have we been doing here for the past 30 minutes?

        According to Pew, 60% of Catholics do not recognize the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  Dispute the number if you will, but even if only 1% do not, does this not speak volumes of the deterioration of liturgy to instill / inspire a relationship with our Lord.  When we walk into a church it should look like a church. 

        • James Stagg

          Had you ever received the Eucharist in the open field with artillery noise in the background, rain pouring down, and your boots in mud up to your ankles……………………..then you might complain about your “problems” with architecture and celebratory sounds.

          Give G-d thanks you have a priest, a roof over your head, and an opportunity to focus on receiving the Body and Blood of One Who didn’t have a “lovely” church in which to preach.

        • Jim Nolt

          The Bible tells us that Christ was crusified once and only once for all our sins.  There is no way that Christ is crusified over and over as requested by a preist when ever that priest calls for such a thing.

          • TheZore5

            Yes, Christ went through crucifixion once on Calvary but He is the eternal Priest at the Father’s right hand and at everymass he offers that one-time death again to His Father for the sins in the world TODAY. Without that offering our world would have long ago been crushed by god’s wrath. The Eucharist is more important to this world than the Sun, giving us the graces we need to continue to hold fast to Christ despite a culture which has gone so wrong. “Eternal Father, I offer you, the Boday, the Blood, The Soul, The Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord jesus Christ in reparation for my sins and the sins of the whole world.” that is what happens at mass. The Eucharist is the Bread of Life which sustains the life in our soul just as physical bread sustains the life of the body.

        • dJp2jon

          “it should look like a church”
          But no picture to instruct us?

          • Drpruner

            Sorry- something went seriously wrong with the post process.
            Doug

        • I would really love to hear a recording of those religion classes given to baptized children of Catholics at the parish level and up including the Jesuits.
          That precisely is where our Church has faltered and split in two. 

    • JTLiuzza

       “It has always mystified me how dirt-poor immigrants of the last century could construct beautiful churches…”

      That goes to a comment I made above regarding how proper churches speak through time.  All those people who built those beautiful churches with their nickels and dimes are telling you and I today what was important to them, important enough to sacrifice for.

      What does modern man pool his resources to build?  Billion dollar football stadiums for his Sunday entertainment. 

      A hundred years from now, if western civilization still exists, our descendants I think will not look at us with too kind an eye.  We live in the moment, worship at the altar of self-indulgence, and consume with reckless abandon, even using money our kids and grandkids will have to pay back.

  • Faithfulinprayer

    I really feel that you can make any place on earth a “house of worship” worthy of our creator. Even if it is just in a barn with a manger and plenty of animals. The building itself it not important. It is the hearts of the worshippers attending as we worship the Lord in the liturgy.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      There is a pretty little chapel near Aix-en-Provence, dedicated to Sainte Victoire, Virgin & Martyr.

      It began life as a temple to Victory, built to commemorate the victory of Gaius Marius over the Teutones in the nearby battle of Aquae Sextiae in 102 BC.

    • JTLiuzza

       I would disagree.  Lex orandi lex credendi.  Putting forth our absolute best for God is always required.  A proper place of worship enhances the faith.  The sights, sounds, smells all matter.  We are sensory creatures.

      In addition, a proper church or cathedral speaks through time to our descendants as to what really mattered to us.  I know for modernists what their ancestors believed is irrelevant but the modernists are wrong.

      I agree with Professor Stroik.

    • Andonthisrock

      Look, while it’s true that our heart matters, and we could have a reverent Mass in a garage or a cabin (which I’ve experienced), the buildings we build or choose reflect how we view the liturgy. This crazy glass house reflects a view of the liturgy as Protestant, Anti-Blessed Sacrament, Modernist, and non-directional. 

      “The building itself is not important”? Just because you “really feel” this way doesn’t make it *true.* In Maryland’s anti-Catholic history, Catholics were allowed to build church buildings *as long as they didn’t look like churches.* This fact alone points to a general awareness of how a church “should” look. The building, while not an end in itself, is extremely important in affecting our hearts in worship. 

    • Scott W

      It’s hard to get the hearts moving in the right direction in some of the office buildings that pass for churches today, as well as fighting through the noise, glad-handing, bad jokes by the pastor, and the sentimental we-centered music.  So I actually agree with you in that I would prefer a barn or true Franciscan simplicity to what we often have today.

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  • John

    As someone has mentioned, the Church are those gathered in His name for the Eucharist and the building is somewhat incidental.  Vatican II suggested that we have more focus on the altar as the focal point of Eucharist.  Sometimes we get so gaudy (EWTN) that the Mass and the Eucharist is lost in all the fru fru.  After all the statues and ornaments in the church are to help us focus on what is going on and when they distract they are not doing their job.  The Cathedrals mentioned are beautiful and a testimony to their age.  We should have testimonies to our age.  I see nothing wrong with the glass Cathedral and it was a wise business move.  It is up to us as the Body of Christ to make it a Catholic, holy ground and space. 

    • JTLiuzza

       I agree, John, that the glass cathedral is a testimony to our age.

  • poetcomic1

    The concept is ultra-pagan.  Light is sacred and integral to traditional Catholic worship and is ‘hidden’ and ‘revealed’.  All the great traditional churches evoke a sort of ‘holy twilight’ evocative of our ‘through a glass darkly’ state in this Vale of Tears in which we receive glimpses of eternity and ‘the gleam of hidden gold’.  The triumphalist blaze of ‘present glory’ that is the crystal cathedral is a kind of ‘metaphysical lie’ and seems sort of dedicated to the worship of the blazing Southern California sunshine more than to God. The Crystal Cathedral is Big and Stupid and Tacky.

  • somebigguy

    Did nobody at this diocese– including the bishop– read Cardinal Ratzinger’s “Spirit of the Liturgy”?

  • hombre111

    I was a little stunned when Bishop Brown bought the glass cathedral. Like the author, I associate it with Protestant Evangelical flamboyance. But we will see what can be done. One of the reasons the diocese was so budget conscious was because it had paid out multiple millions because of the sex abuse scandal.  I know Bishop Brown pretty well. He is a practical, no nonsense sort of guy. Somebody must have convinced him about some interesting possibilities.

    By the way, as a pastor, I served in a couple of really modern churches and some traditional churches. I decided that the most important thing to consider is cost, especially heat and air conditioning. Beauty comes second after practicality. I prefer the more traditional style, but again, practical things like heating bills. Some of my younger confreres have built monumental churches soaring to the sky like some kind of Romanesque abbey church. Wouldn’t want to pay those heating bills. And then they had no money left over for class rooms, adult facilities, etc. and etc..

    • Bmarrs

       Bishop Brown was first here in Idaho.  There is a church about 4 miles from where I live.    My daughter said it looks like a ware house, an ugly looking one. 
      I travel 13 miles to the next nearest church to attend mass in a church that has some semblance of a Catholic Church.
      We have several mega size churches, reason is because the is a loss of priests.  The men are not entering the seminary.
      The pope said very clearly that churches already built did not have to be reconfigured to in the round.
      I know of several churches that reduced their setting by at least half to reconfigure the interior.  The in-the-round is more important than how many are seated in the church.

    • Charles Martel

       Bishop Brown may be practical and and no-nonsense, but apparently he has other, very disturbing attitudes: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/060420

      • hombre111

        Followed up the long long article in your link. There is a self-appointed parallel magisterium in the Church, which seems to include you. Many of the gripes in the link are about debatable subjects, with the will of the Holy Father and Orthodoxy not nearly as clear as you imagine.

        As bishop, he has the right to tell people to stand. I endure the kneelers, who want to show everyone else that they are holier than most. I just love it when the adoring mouth comes open, with strings of phlegm and spit trailing from the top of the mouth and over the tongue. I put the Body of Christ onto that grotesque spot. As often as not, the oh-so-pious recepient is what priests call “a snapper,” someone who moves their mouth forward, clomping it shut, covering my finger with spit, which I then get on the next host and hand on to the next recepient.

        • Charles Martel

          Hombre,

          Thanks for your very candid response.  I’m sorry that you have such feelings of revulsion toward the flock entrusted to you.  Perhaps a few weeks with the Missionaries of Charity might help.  

          Many of the concerns raised in the link I provided are to do with sexual morality, and are hardly debatable.  It seems to me the problem isn’t a “parallel magisterium” of traditionally-minded believers, but a strain of heterodox and pro-homosexual clericalism exemplified by the disgraced Rembert Weakland.

          • hombre111

            No revulsion at all toward the flock. They keep me human. Some revulsion toward the communion on the tongue crowd, who need to be informed that communion on the tongue means people are sharing their spit.

            • Wills

              Hombre: I receive on the tongue to remind me I am not in charge. I kneel because it is a position of humility and one i do not assume anywhere but church. I cover because my veil is the only item of clothing I wear only for Christ and it helps me set apart thT time interiorly. I am not holy and I do these things because they help me remiove myself from myself and begin to have a sense of awe and worship. I am sorry it offends you. And for the record, receiving in the hand passes on just as many germs. So does sharing a chalice. I am as a physician unaware of any great epidemics associated with receiving on the tongue.

              • hombre111

                I cheerfully give Communion to kneeling people, aware that they are trying to express a faith far greater than the person in front or behind them. Just wanted people to be aware of the ick factor, when we get to share spit, thanks to Communion on the tongue.

                • Wills

                  Cheerfully while thinking to yourself they are trying to show themselves holier than most? You did say that and it is a rash and unwarranted judgment. Hombre try to get over the ick unless you eschew the chalice as well And if the ick gets that much in the way find another way to serve. A great percentage of the world receives that way and find great joy in it and great humility.Perhaps you need to step back and refocus?

                  • hombre111

                    Of course they are trying to show they are holier than most. But I take them where they are, thanking God that everybody in line is not doing this, thanking God that they did not do a three-fold prostration before presenting themselves for Communion. As for the ick factor, unless you have looked down at open yap with phlegm stringing down…. Oh, you have, you are a doctor and can wash your hands.  But ick is ick. One bishop made a point of this when people received Communion that way. He had a server follow with a basin, water, and a towel. Every time he got spit on his fingers, he washed it off. Took a while to give Communion to all those holy people.

                    • Andonthisrock

                      Father “hombre,”

                      How dare you judge these peoples’ intentions as “holier than thou” self-righteousness! It is absolutely preposterous (and un-Christian) for you to claim to be able to read their hearts!

                      As regards the ick factor: if communicants would actually be *trained* how to receive on the tongue, this would not be a problem. I give the priest as big a target as possible, just like I was taught. If the priest touches my tongue, that’s his fault. But if he does, I don’t wail and cry about it. I suck it up and move on, thankful to receive Jesus in the first place. 

                      That said, I am taken aback by your namby-pamby squeamishness to the human body. In a world of instant sanitizer and compulsive handwashing, we have lost so much of our sense of sacramentality. You are a priest of God, and I would kiss your hands, which bring us the Eucharist. But I imagine that would gross you out so much you wouldn’t let me offer you such respect. 

            • Charles Martel

               Sorry, can’t agree.  This is not so if Host is placed on tongue with proper technique. 

              • hombre111

                Apart from the fact that the arthritis in my hand makes it really difficult to perform the proper maneuver, only about one out of four people know how to receive Communion on the tongue. There are the snappers, who clamp down on your fingers before you can get them out of their mouths. There are the twitchers, whose moving heads make the tongue a difficult target. There are the forward marchers, who move their heads forward as you place the Host, thus enveloping your fingers in their spit. As I said, it is the ick factor. I keep meaning to preach on this but I don’t want to encourage the holier than thou.

    • Warren

      “Beauty comes second after practicality.”

      And therein lies the problem. A false dichotomy is in vogue that pits the two considerations against each other. Modern technology can accommodate both considerations quite well. The Co-Cathedral of The Sacred Heart (Houston) is one of several worthy edifices that comes to mind.

      Sadly, what lacks most is a willingness by liturgists and parishes to more frequently draw on the creative talents of architects such as Stroik (and his talented students!) and McCrery Architects who can bring together beauty and the practical concerns.

      The human spirit soars when given a challenge, a challenge founded on building a suitable tabernacle for the Holy Eucharist, praising God and building a spiritual home for God’s people. Such a home reminds people that the Gospel is a living reality. Such a home is place where poor and rich can worship the Lord. People are more willing to invest time, effort and resources to realize a project of supreme worth and sustain it (through the centuries) even if it means time, effort and resources are stretched to their limits. 

      The argument in favour of building glorious buildings dedicated to God is in the buildings themselves that have endured for centuries. The ancients had to face the same practical concerns as we do, yet they managed to construct glorious temples, look after the poor, build hospitals and schools and preserve western civilization. We moderns, on the other hand, allow our weak sense of commitment to determine our priorities. Meanwhile, civilization decays and we whine about costs.

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  • Bill K.

    “The diocese has said that they will not change the exterior of the church and will not compromise the architectural integrity of the 2700-seat interior. ”

    Not sure how feasible this would be…but couldn’t they swap out the plain glass for stained glass depicting various gospel stories, stations of the cross…etc.  That would make the cathedral much more liturgically orthodox and keep the structure in place.  With the right imagination this could be a very liturgically orthodox looking structure! 

    Just a thought.

    • SouthCoast

      $$$$$$$

    • Thomas

      Stained glass is extremely expensive.

  • Kenny

    When you speak of a Catholic desire for an architecture that grows out of the Church’s rich tradition and that will enable the faithful to worship in, please do not neglect to mention Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ. 
    In the opinion of many, including myself, it surpasses St. Patrick’s in New York. 

  • Micha_Elyi

    Yeah, down with Proddy innovations!  Let us march en masse to our parish churches, hack out the pews and burn ’em.  Bolting on kneelers does not make a bench fit for Catholics.

  • Rb2

    One thing is for sure. When everyone is seated and waiting for the entertainment to start they’ll be clucking like chickens and scaring away any pre-mass in solitude rosary prayer people.

  • Avschartz

    Maybe you should visit and spend time with people of  our diocese before passing judgement.  The Crystal Cathedral was built as a place to worship the Lord and it will continue to be that post-Schuller.  It was a place that was built to call all people to see the glory of God, and now it will do so in an even more profound way.  You can argue on the cost, should it have been spent, shouldn’t we use the money for the poor, shouldn’t we start from the ground up?  None of these arguments beat the fact that this campus has so much more to offer, with all the property, buildings and potential for pastoral uses, not only for the local Church, but for the Universal Church as well.   I immediately cheered the purchase for these reasons and for the overall cultural significance of this property.  My husband and I drove through the proerty recently and it is quite impressive, even if vastly different from the Old World cathedrals.  Being from anywhere other than Southern California that probably does not make sense, but people who come to CA to settle may have the ability to see things for their possibilities in a way others do not.  Here in Orange County this Cathedral did not stand for the personal excess of the Rev. Schuller.  He is a respected man of faith and your disdain for him colors your perspective.  He is not perfect and his way of glorifying the Lord through the majesty of the building, ministry, shows, etc. is how our separated Christian brothers and sisters worship – why be so negative?  I love my Church, its rich liturgy and history, but there’s room for everyone and always opportunity to spread the faith, no matter how it looks on the outside.

    • Kenneth J. Wolfe

      Ugly is ugly — I don’t think anyone needs to spend time with people in the diocese to make that very simple determination.

  • john654

    Here is the reality. I lived in that area for 50 years.  The Crystal Cathedral is a glass house built on sand!

  • Matt

    Personally, I think the Crystal Cathedral is beautiful and inspirational, although I understand that taste in such things is highly individual. The chief architect, Philip Johnson, won an American Institute of Architectures’ gold medal and the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He was no pushover. Next time I’m in LA, I’ll make a point of dropping by for Mass. I just hope there are enough Catholics left to fill the many seats. 

    • Smokescreek

      I agree.  It’s beautiful and bought for the proverbial “song”.  Sacred heart Cathedral in Newark is delightful, too. Here, here for te Orange Diocese.

  • James Stagg

    Perhaps you have not visited any of the named buildings.  I have, including an ordination at the new Los Angeles Cathedral.  The word is “breath-taking”, as you would describe G-d’s pine forests across the Florida Panhandle, or G-d’s ditch, called the Grand Canyon, or G-d’s little mud mission church on the outskirts of El Paso, when you learn its history.

    The object of church architecture is praise of the Triune G-d.  Each of us (obviously) has a different appreciation of beauty……which is why He gave us so many of His DIFFERENT creations to view.  Why must we be limited to St. Pat’s in NYC, nice, but….oh, okay, or even to Notre Dame in Paris, that marvelous example of Gothic architecture with its LARGE, graceful, flying buttresses?  Why must we be limited in our praise and desire for beauty, when He is unlimited in his beautiful creations?

    Don’t you think these same arguments existed when we moved out of the catacombs to use those (no longer needed) pagan temples?  I’ll bet the same arguments went on then…”Oh, I felt so cozy with Peter, down underground.  Didn’t you think Paul looked so at home in his dungeon?  Now, Athanasius, when you go to Constantinople, don’t you offer the Eucharistic celebration in one of those Greek temple thingies.”

    C’mon.  Christ Cathedral will do just fine….even without “gutting”  the interior.  It may even draw former congregants to the REAL celebration of the Supper of the Lamb.  For people who live there, visit there, or just fly over, it will be a symbol of the Light of the World, our Savior.  I think that’s why they named it “Christ Cathedral”.

    Why don’t you plan to go see, rather than throw stones from far away?  

  • Jim Nolt

    Duncan Stroik shows his fears when he speaks about the Crystal Cathedral and about his doubts for the future of the church.  I suggest we place our faith in God, worship Him through the one and only mediator, Jesus Christ, as God commanded.  The Crystal Cathedral may have gone through bankrupsy but is that as bad as morally bandrupt? 

  • Amessage4steve

    I could imagine a gothic interior with a gothic reredos which points high into the heavens, clearly seen through the glass ceiling. The light of God cascading onto the High Altar and the traditional statuary surrounding the congregation. The play of natural light upon old world architecture with the backdrop of heaven’s glory could be just breathtaking.

  • Matt

    I think that the purchase of the Crystal Cathedral is a great opportunity to express the unity of Christianity by retrofitting a Protestant worship space into a Catholic church. It is a promising sign of the direction that we must head in, the unification of all Christians within the Catholic Church. The Anglican Ordinariate is an example of this trend. It is my hope that we will see more and more of this in the future.

  • Clement_W

    The Lord did say that he would send the Holy Spirit, The Advocate into our hearts and that He, with the Father and the Holy Spirit are dwelling in OUR HEARTS, making each of our hearts the ULTIMATE TEMPLE.

  • Francisco Samour

    The Cristal Cathedral is a beautiful building. If you want architecture to freeze in the 18th century then you live in the wrong reality. Things change, suck it up like a man and shut up.

  • Linus

    I thought the whole thing was nuts from the get go.

  • SouthCoast

    If you don’t like it, donate the funds to buy the land and build something else. My understanding is that they bought the Crystal Cathedral because it was available and would be less expensive and more time-efficient than building a new church from the ground up. Also, my one attendance at the concrete extravagalooza known as the L.A. cathedral, which bears an eery resemblance to a roofed version of the L.A. River channel, reminded mepowerfully  of the air raid drills of my Eisenhower childhood.

  • mhall46184

    Well said.  This shiny STAR TREK artifact should have been left alone by the Church.  Further, the thousands of folks who donated their coins to build the SchullerDom ignored, and the Schuller family further enriched.

    Shame.

  • Ikilope

    Even Gothic architecture was itself once an innovation stirring its own controversy in Europe.  While the idea of retrofitting this iconic structure might be cumbersome, as a symbolic gesture of the supremacy of liturgical and traditional worship over the mega-church self-styled Protestantism, I believe that this move is brilliant, inspired, and will speak volumes in generations to come.

  • Having visited the building, I have concluded  that it  can be reshaped  to serve the mass.  Over all it Like it much better than the Los Angeles Cathedral, whose only redeeming beauty  is its use of tapestries on its walls.  They vividly convey the communion of saints.   As for  modernity,  We don’t necessarily have to copy the past, and utility may lend itself to beauty. Look at the Gothic churches.  They represent a huge technological leap forward as well as a new aesthetic.  

  • grahamcombs

    Detroit has historically been a Catholic city and it is dispiriting to see over the years  the churches that have been and are being closed.   Some could serve as the cathedral of the archdiocese if that would become necessary.  As those here have said, our immigrant Catholic forebears managed to fund and create amazing sacred architecture for “ordinary” parishes.  I wonder if anyone has looked into the costs of moving and preserving these extraordinary sanctuaries.   But then as the comments preceding have also noted, it seems so much of the faith has slowly leaked from the faithful.   Perhaps it is just the Catholics I run into during the week but I rarely find my convert orthodoxy reaffirmed nevermind encouraged.     I’m not entirely sure why they’re Catholics if they want so much to “change.”    To be honest,  Catholics can be judgmental and unwelcoming to those who aren’t conforming to the blur of faddism.     It’s wearying.    Why are we recycling protestant structures when there is so much of our own that needs preserving?

    Graham Combs

  • It will always be the studio/motel with a cross on top and gaudy in its simplicity.  It is nothing more than a high rise hotel.   I still believe that there are enough cathedrals now that don’t even appear to be a Catholic Church to inspire prayer.   The Windex Basiilica is just another “bishop” competeing with the rest of the dioceses that will have a million special collections paying for this monster building.   
    ,

  • Bono95

    Jumbotrons, spectator balconies, 2700 seats, trapeze artists, live Christmas animals……. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell the televangelists from the game shows.” – Gordon Sumner (aka Sting)

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