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"?


Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that you comment on the plans, especially since the plans have not been finalized. Everything has been marked as preliminary. There are no plans to "rip out" the altar rail; what is proposed is a widening of the entrance to allow better accessibility during processions (the current gate barely allows two people to fit through).

I'm afraid that some of your sources have their own misguided agendas; from what I've read on yours and other blogs, they either haven't read anything since renovations were proposed back in the 1990s or chose not to review the preliminary plans (or even come to the open house).

I support your cause in maintaining architectural integrity; I cannot support spreading of rumors, innuendo and, in some cases, outright lies.

Thank you.

Boots said...

Very very good post. However a few things.
1. It looks as if the sanctuary will remain at its current height, it appears that there will be ramps added at the side of the sanctuary.

But the question remains.. Why change the configuration of the steps to curved and rip out some fine metalwork? The Curve seems to have ZERO reason for it, other than some sort of "gathering."

2. The reredos with the tabernacle does not appear in the plan to be removed, but rather the one in front that is the "temporary" altar referenced in the article linked below.

3. What will the new "atrium" look like, and is it really necessary?

4. The photos in the article linked do show some nice cleaning done of the ceiling.

5. If as the article says, there is just some cleaning and a reconfiguration of the sanctuary, why close the dang church for a whole year?

Anonymous said...

If you have been inside the Cathedral, you will have seen why it will take so long for the restoration/renovation. There is a need for plaster work, painting, restoring the detail work and more; this does not include the work that must be done on the roof, nor does it include the electrical and plumbing upgrades. The work on the ceiling that was shown in the photographs was not a complete restoration; it was akin to a "sample" of what could be done, and was done relatively quickly. The real work would take much longer and would be more intricate.