Where the Second Vatican Council and Modern Architecture Converge

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St. Francis de Sales, Oakland, CA, (ca. 1970)

The history of the cathedral of the Diocese of Oakland is instructive for understanding the early influence of the Second Vatican Council on the subsequent design of many Catholic churches. The recently-installed bishop of Oakland at the time, His Excellency Floyd Begin, the Diocese’ first bishop, had attended every session of the Council and returned in 1964 determined to renovate the existing cathedral, built in 1893, rather than spend a large sum on of money on a new one.

INFLUENCE OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL

St. Francis de Sales became known as the “…first cathedral in the United States to be completely remodeled according to the liturgical spirit of the Second Vatican Council”. (All quotations herein are from: Jeffrey M. Burns and Mary Carmen Bautista, We are the Church: A History of the Diocese of Oakland. Strasbourg: Editions du Singe, 2001). The enthusiastic bishop had a bold plan for remodeling the Cathedral:

“With the priest now facing the people, the bishop found the venerable stained glass windows behind the alter distracting. ‘The rather colorful windows in the sanctuary impeded the vision of the service, just like the headlights of an oncoming car do.’ The stained glass windows were covered over by redwood paneling. The interior was whitewashed and the exterior was painted in a creme color [it was red brick]. The alter rail was removed as were all the statues, except for that of Jesus. In sum, the remodeled building followed Vatican II directives and created ‘…an atmosphere conducive to participation, worship, and prayer.'”

The Cathedral interior before the renovation:

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The Cathedral interior after the renovation:

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The new altar:

st francis6 Continue reading “Where the Second Vatican Council and Modern Architecture Converge”

Fifty Shades of Degradation

Over at Bonfire of the Vanities blog Fr. Fox and his Archbishop, Dennis Shnurr, take a shot at the upcoming movie. The Archbishop had issued a statement to his priests:

The movie is a direct assault on Christian marriage and on the moral and spiritual strength of God’s people.We need to inform our people about the destructive message of this movie and to highlight the beauty of God’s design for loving relationships between a husband and wife in the bond of marriage.

I’m more inclined towards Fr. Fox’s wording:

This movie is filth; it is evil. I’m sure it’s pretty, and has lots of fine production values, yadda-yadda. I can think of no excuse for anyone to buy a ticket to it; or, for that matter, to buy the book. It is also intensely degrading, particularly toward women.

While Father might not see a reason to buy the book, a lot of other people did; what is worth noting is not only the book’s extreme sado-masochistic content, but its broad popularity. According to Wiki, it has sold over 100 million copies and was the fastest-selling paperback in U.K. history. Also, as I understand it, the vast majority of buyers are young women, who I suppose enjoy reading about the degradation of another young woman.

America has contributed quite a lot toward the perversion of Western society, The Kinsey Report, for example, which was a bestseller back in 1948, internet porn, …etc. etc. But the popularity of this thing strikes me as reflecting that our already-debased secular culture has reached a new low. If there is a chastisement, America should be first in line, (see previous post).

…rjt

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