Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Los Angeles's new Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels

I've always been interested in church architecture. I don't always remember the different parts of a church that I learned in Art History 101 (and 102), but I do spend a great deal of time looking around at the space during a Mass in a church that is new to me.

I approve of the new LA Cathedral, at least what I can make out from the website. It seems to include elements of modern design while maintaining the inspiration of awe that the best of Old World churches aspire.

A lot of newer churches I've been into lack artwork. The windows, which are sometimes not even stained glass, are increasingly abstract or merely tinged panels. Once you step inside, there is no obvious reminder the saint for which the church is named. I like religious art for art's sake.

No offense to any Protestants, but these new churches sometimes seem like Protestant assembly halls. The seating is arranged like a theater. The musicians are a rock band, with drummer, guitarist, and a lead singer with one of those hands-free microphones like what Britney Spears lip-synchs into while prancing around on stage. The priest is often a younger one whose homily style is that of an over-enthusiastic second grade teacher. A Mass which was once an overly solemn ritual with trapping has morphed into interactive performance art in attempt to be communitarian.

I don't want a return to the Tridentine Latin Mass, although I understand where those who do are coming from, but I do want a feeling that I am stepping into a place which is just a bit different from the world outside. I guess it all boils down to my personal preference for a little heterogeneity.
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