Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Update from Springfield

After multiple phone conversations with people associated with the project at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Springfield Illinois, I can report the following:

1) There are pleasant (even Orthodox) people working on this project.
2) There are unpleasant people working on this project
3) Changes to the High Altar have not been finalized.
4) Changes to the Altar Rail have not been finalized.
5) The design of the new Altar has not been finalized.
6) Per the Architect, the drawings on the internet are accurate.
7) Statement 6 conflicts with statements 3 and 4. If the drawings are accurate, the High Altar is smaller, and the altar rail is now curved.
8) The Liturgical Design Consultant working on this project tends to make things look like a living room at a wealthy person's house in around 1980. Slick, secular and needing a redesign within 10 years.

My suggestion to the general public:

A) Donate generously with conditions attached that the High Altar be kept in tact, Altar Rail kept in place, and if you're in the mood, leave the pews and baptistry alone.
B) Contact the Bishop/Diocese politely to express your support for traditional architecture
C) Attend any information sessions held by the Diocese to express your support for traditional architecture.

My suggestions to the Hierarchy

A) Adhere to the Liturgy without fashion.
B) Adhere to the Liturgical intent of the original architect, Joseph McCarthy
C) Provide accurate, consistent information to the public about this project.

As always, I recommend prayer and fasting.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In Memorial of Archbishop Rahho

Paulos Faraj Rahho, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of the Iraqi city of Mosul, who was kidnapped last month, has been found dead near the city. May he Rest in Peace.

Here is a profile of the Chaldeans

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Springfield Cathedral and Editorial Policy at the Society of St. Barbara

Like most internet publications, the Society of St. Barbara has a mix of first hand reporting, submitted stories, and syndication from other sources. Our recent coverage of the construction plans at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has drawn on all three methods to frame story of complex renovation being performed at one of the most beautiful Churches in the United States, and indeed, one of the most representative Churches of American Architectural excellence.

As vowed to St. Barbara, we publish and will continue to publish a defense of traditional art and architecture in this Blog. That publishing will include judgment calls when evaluating news submitted by confidential sources, as has been the case in many postings here. However to suppress what most likely is reliable information that could lead to the destruction of an architectural masterpiece is to be a part of mangling that masterpiece. I won't do it.

The Liturgical Restoration business is not straightforward. Decisions are made that are later changed. Funding comes in based on an initial plan, only to be shifted when another plan comes about. Exposing these sorts of decision to scrutiny is necessary and proper reach a more close to optimal goal.

With regards to the Liturgy, the plan for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Illinois has some major flaws as released, and even greater unreleased flaws per sources who have contacted the Society of St. Barbara. After marble is ripped out, pews are removed, floors upended, it is difficult and expensive to put things back into place. Now is the best time to ask "How do we best maintain an Roman Catholic Masterpiece in America"?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sun-Times as Doomsayers

The Frontpage of the Chicago Sun Times headlines this morning shouts "Everything has changed: Fewer Priests, Empty Pews, Shuttered Schools" in article purportedly announcing the new exhibit on Chicago Catholicism at the Chicago History Museum.

Never one to actually believe much of what I read in the Sun-Times or elsewhere, I attended St. John Cantius this morning. The Liturgy was beautiful. The pews were full, catechism classes were humming along afterwards, as were confessions and coffee hour.

I took a drive over to St. Sylvester's which has been mentioned as not drawing enough faithful. People were lined up out the door, on this unusually nice day to hear the mass. The parking lot was jammed.

Not suprisingly, everyone that the Sun-Times talked to had a pleasant nostalgia (they spoke with author John R. Powers, no less), or a sense that the sky has already fallen dooming our Archdiocese. The Sun-Times completely neglected to speak with anyone who had noticed any resurgence in the Church, which has happened and continues to happen, just like it has in the Archdiocese for the last 150 years.

Fr. Greely recalled some laymovements that had went under, and happily enough mentioned that Fr. Barron has a thriving ministry, though I think Fr. Barron would be perplexed at Fr. Greely's description of him as "point (ing) in the direction of new structures which will replace those that collapsed", as I see Fr. Barron continuing the tradition of great preachers, rather than replacing them.

So, what did the Sun Times have to say about the Chicago History Museum exhibit? Not much of anything.

Next time: A preview of the Chicago History Museum exhibition,

Latest from Springfiled

This altar to be removed (the one in back, please go ahead and remove/replace the table in front). Why? Anyone out there that can explain the importance of ruining a Masterpiece? Why not slash the Mona Lisa too?