Thursday, August 1, 2019

ORANGE COUNTY'S CHRIST CATHEDRAL

AIRPLANE TERMINAL OR CHURCH?
MY SINS CAN'T WITHSTAND THE GLARE!
77 MILLION BUCKS OF OC DOUGH BOUGHT THIS.

Here's how this week's arts and culture column begins:

Let me say up front that my idea of the ideal Catholic church is a teeny, slightly down-at-the-heels chapel, say one of the “capillas” in and around Taos, New Mexico: whitewashed walls streaked with candle smoke, bloody statues of Jesus, tin retablos. On Sundays, if you’re lucky, maybe an accordion player.

On July 13, as usual, God had other plans. That was the night I journeyed to Garden Grove for a lollapalooza event at Christ Cathedral.

Formerly known as Crystal Cathedral and owned and operated by Protestant televangelist Robert “Hour of Power” Schuller, the church has been scooped up by the Diocese of Orange, subjected to a $77 million renovation, and as of July 17 is now open for weekend worship.

To celebrate, the diocese (which ministers to 1.2 million faithful) threw a black-tie bash, including a cocktail reception, a program and concert, and an elegant dinner by Patina in the Cathedral Plaza.

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

This was a tough column. I had to really tone it down, and then the paper, which to its credit gives me incredible leeway, had me tone it down some more, and then they toned it down still further.

Here's a bit that didn't quite make it in:

I’m no art critic, but if I were in charge of building a cathedral, I’d first off hire an architect who loves Christ and attends daily Mass. A Mass-goer would know a church is the last place you want to be exposed to the sterile glare of the operating room. A church should be hushed, with a gloomy corner or two, and the merciful twilight of a convalescent home.

A church needs a splash of blood-red: say, a  beautifully-crafted stained-glass window of the Annunciation, or even a “corny” statue of Jesus pointing to his Sacred Heart: imagery, however high or low, that speaks of consecrated time and space; of a world beyond this one; of sin, redemption, eternity, and sacrificial love. 

Anyway, all the best to the Diocese of OC. And thanks for the dinner!


THIS IS MUCH MORE MY SPEED.
GLOOMY, SHADOWED, AND PLENTY OF
PLACES TO HIDE YOUR FACE IN YOUR HANDS,
WEEP, AND PRAY.



4 comments:

  1. There must be a humble little Catholic church somewhere in Orange County, I hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'm sure there are many, Michael--Orange County is a big place...

      Delete
  2. What a lovely ending... I loved your description of Johnson's "chippendale dresser" building. Thank you for your work. I am glad you had a good time and a good meal, and now have a "fancy dress." You are a great writer and inspire me every time I read one of your pieces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Herman, thank you so much and welcome aboard! Glad to have you.

      Delete

I WELCOME your comments!!!