Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Liturgical Art of Leonard Porter

From Creative Minority Report:

The next installment on Creative Minority Report's quest to show who is out there doing good work in the liturgical arts profiles painter Leonard Porter of New York. Porter is part of the under-40 crowd who was trained as a Modernist painter. Some years ago he rejected his Modernist training and taught himself to paint in the classical tradition. His specialty is the painting of scenes from classical mythology, but in recent years has been kept busy doing some religious and liturgical painting. His first large mural (21 feet wide) was for the Sacred Heart Chapel at the Catholic cathedral in Sioux Falls, SD.

This image of Christ Enthroned With Angels and Saints dedicated to the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart earned him great praise from the client and the traditional art community, and beyond Porter's obvious and virtuoso technical skill is a layering of narrative and detail which equals or surpasses any art painted in all of Christian history.

Another of his works is a small devotional painting of St. Dominic's Eighth Way of Prayer. This small 11"x14" painting nonetheless contains an incredible level of detail and layers of symbolic meaning including a background including the Cathedral of Albi, France, the center of the Albigensian heresy which Dominic founded the Dominican Order to combat.

Porter is just now completing another mural for a church in Fort Worth, Texas of Christ enthroned with imagery based on the description of heaven in the Book of Revelation. This mural shows Christ surrounded by the 4 winged creatures and the rainbow, with all of humanity washing clean in the Blood of the Lamb below. Particularly good are Porter's still life symbolic details, like the oil lamp (image of Christ's light) in the shape of a pelican, another image of Christ because the mother pelican was believed to feed her young from the blood of her own breast.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Creative Minority Report: List of People Not to Hire for Church Architecture - A Catholic Blog: Religion, Politics, Current Events, Humor, and more.

A quote from CMR
"If you like the last gasps of the 1970s, theories of liturgical architecture which depart from the authentic meaning of Vatican II, and a "We Are Church" approach to liturgy and building, this is the place to go for information. Otherwise, consider it a list of people NOT to hire. A valuable resource indeed."

Veterans of many wasted restoration projects are singled out here. Personally, I would hesitate to automatically reject all of the listed consultants and architects, yet, to save time, it is a good practice to use this lis of a guide on what to avoid. That is reject the advice from the Envision Church website and use traditional architects and liturgical designs.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Did Preservation Actually Work?

Notoriously corrupt, obsessed with Foie Gras, leftist by degree, dictatorial by nature, the Aldermen of Chicago have been (accurately in most cases) called many things. However, in Brendan Reilly, we have at last found somemone moderately concerned with the public nature of the built environment. Reily put the squeeze on developers wanting to crush Jarvis Hunt's 1927 marble clad Lakeshore Athletic Club, owned by the notoriously history-hostile Northwestern University.

Yes, the ordinance stinks, and yes it infinges on property owners making right minded people dependent upon a vile bunch of crooks to preserve Chicago at its most beautiful. But, in this case I can only thank Alderman Reilly for maintaining a lakefront gem. Three Cheers for Brendan Reilly!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Motu Proprio

There is a wealth of information about Motu Proprio on the web that is worthwhile.
1) For technical details: Try the New Liturgical Movement at Sean Tribe's smart blog about the Liturgy.
2) For a serious look at how to implement Traditional Latin Mass, the Institute of Christ the King website is excellent.
3) For some high-spirited commentary and enthusiasm, Matt's Holy Whapping Blog is tops
4) For some occasionaly amusing logo'd items It's Better in Latin is out there a bit.
5) Fr. Philips and the Society of St. John Cantius is one awesome place for the Latin Rite. The website is not up to date, but the Mass is timeless.

My own take:

1) More sacramental delivery is good. The Latin Mass pulls people into the Church and connects with the long history of the Church via the Eucharist. Hugely positive effect.
2) The buildout and logistic operation of the pre-1933 physical church is setup for the Roman Rite. Churches look better when built at designed. The post 1933 church, especially the post 1967 church could use a re-arrangement. Now is a good time to make Churches look like Churches rather than grocery store or bombsites.
3) The mainstream press is a dumb and divisive organization. There really needs to be little controversy stirred up over the Motu Proprio, as most places have Latin Masses as it is. As Msgr. Schmitz explains, the Latin Mass is a Liberalization and very Orthodox Liturgy, contrary to the press condemnation of it as a Conservative throwback. UPDATE: Fr. Neuhas also shows the Liturgical Liberalism of the current Pope in First Things.
4) The unpleasant blog posts about the Archdiocese of Chicago website not mentioning the Motu Proprio are also uncalled for. The Archdiocese of Chicago has been a great supporter of the Latin Mass at St. John Cantius, The Institute of Christ the King, and at St. James in Highwood for many years. I would expect little change necessary in the Archdiocese of Chicago to further support the Latin Mass, as it is already supported quite well, with a top notch group of clergy and institutions. Besides...the poster the Archdiocese is promoting looks really nice, and it looks like it has my book photos on it.
6) The only time I ever met with a Cardinal at the Vatican, he asked me what people in Chicago thought of the Latin Mass. I told him about St. John Cantius, and the way they brought out over 750 people (on Election Night) for a truly awesome All Saints Day mass. He said "Good, I think we should just allow the Latin Mass. It has worked for 2000 years, why not now?"

Motu Propio-Learning about the Classical Roman Rite

Tired of going all the way to Nebraska to learn about the Roman Rite? Well look no further than the glorious South Side of Chicago, because the Institute of Christ the King is offering training in the Classical Roman Rite.
A great addition to the Chicago Archdiocese, the Institute of Christ the King has been celebrating the Roman Rite ever since they came to Chicago in 2003, shining the Light of Christ in the Hyde Park-Woodlawn neighborhood.
Need more information? Contact Cristina Borges (yes, Cristina from EWTN) here.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

St. Louise de Marillac with St JtB

The Chapel at St. Louise de Marillac at 721 N. LaSalle in Chicago was the the setting for the Order of Malta Mass Celebrating the Feast of St. John the Baptist. Flags, robes, a baptism, homily by Cardinal Francis George, and the most serene music by a choral quartet from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel highlighted a very beautiful Mass.

Thanks to the Federal Association of the Order of Malta for the kind invitation to the Mass and to Catholic Charities for hosting 75 + Knights (from as far away as Bohemia) at their Chapel.

The Chapel is quite picturesque, worthy of better than my snapshots, but here are two starter shots.