Skip to comments.Should the Bishop Have Bought the Crystal Cathedral?
Posted on 08/22/2012 2:04:50 PM PDT by marshmallow
Three miles from Disneyland there is another famous theme park, which proclaims itself as Americas Television Church. The Crystal Cathedral, perhaps the first mega-church in the United States, is about to undergo conversion classes so that it can finally get the cathedra and bishop it has always wanted. The Diocese of Orange, California, has purchased the thirty-one-acre property and its four buildings for $53 million, a steal even in this real estate market. Realizing that recent cathedrals built from scratch have cost upwards of $200 and $250 million on the West Coast, retrofitting sounds like a financially savvy move. However, turning this prismatic beacon of televangelism into a house of God may be easier said than done.
Does this purchase signal a new role for Catholic charity: to buy up properties of bankrupt Protestant ministries? If so, there may be some good opportunities in the future. How does the bishop encourage full, active, and conscious participation in the liturgy by purchasing one of the buildings most associated with religion as theater? Begun as an open-air service at a drive-in theater, the church was designed around Rev. Schullers flamboyant preaching. Associated with glitz and money, it was the site of fancy and expensive holiday celebrations including trapeze artists, live animals for Christmas, and a lavish $13 million production called Creation.
Said to be the first all-glass structure built for religious purposes, it is associated with the feel-good theology of the 1980s. How to convert a building like this and at the same time disassociate it from its founder and his theology? Crystal Cathedral Ministries was a religion about self-promotion, and, appropriately, its main buildings were designed in disparate modernist styles by three well-known architecture firms: Richard Neutra, Philip Johnson and John Burgee, and Richard Meier. Each building is a personal expression....
(Excerpt) Read more at crisismagazine.com ...
The author seems to think that this former Protestant church can’t be re-purposed into a Catholic Cathedral, as if it is somehow permanently tainted. Strikes me as more of a rant than a reasoned argument.
Not holding my breath waiting for a dignified and Sacred Tridentine Mass to be celebrated in that monstrosity. A Woodstock Mass, sure.
It seats several thousand. If you can fill it, its a good buy. If you can't fill it, go and evangelize and fill it.
The Crystal Cathedral is a house of God. Hundreds of devout Christians worship there each Sunday.
I sure don’t think so! It has been my understanding that Catholic churches and cathedrals were created to reflect the glory of God and as such were made as beautiful as possible. Have you seen the Crystal Cathedral? It is one of the ugliest buildings I have ever seen! That’s just my opinion and today, many modern Catholic churches are also ugly IMO. Even if they got a good deal on it, I think it is a mistake.
No. I don’t understand it.
the meaning of thhe church is much more important than a mere building. must have been a slow news day, ir the press is trying to stir controversy
If it’s really that ugly it should fit right in with other modern buildings which could not be any uglier if they tried, and I’m sure they did.
If you want to see an ugly cathedral go to downtown Los Angeles and look at the Our Lady Queen of the Angels (AKA the Taj Mahoney). It looks like a giant warehouse. What a waste of money. I think it is good that the Diocese of Orange County is not wasting money like Cardinal Mahoney did. He insisted that his cathedral had to be bigger than Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Mahoney was a disaster.
Crystal Cathedral Ministries is a Christian denomination rooted in the Dutch Reformed Church that has numerous ministries and outreach programs. I disagree in many ways with their theology, but to say that the church is merely about self-promotion is grossly misleading.
And as for "modernist styles," how about the ultra-modernistic Our Lady of the Angels cathedral in Los Angeles? That could very well be the ugliest house of worship in the entire world.
weak article; nothing new here.
The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland is even uglier...absolutely horrific in every way! I like the old-time churches and cathedrals. They encourage worshipfulness and awe.
Excuse me, but our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, a living sanctuary of God. Enough of this worry if a physical building is acceptable.
What is it with the churches nowadays, these, whatchamacallit, gothic churches. Bunch a hooey if you ask me. All that expensive glass, huge windows, and fancy foo-fillerey, bah! Nothing but the futurist scribblings of a bunch of over-educated folks that went to expensive universities in France. What we need is a timeless style, something that goes back centuries. What's wrong with the Roman-style we used to use?
“How to convert a building like this and at the same time disassociate it from its founder and his theology?”
Doesn’t Crystal Cathedral have or had a big statue of Bishop Sheen in it? And it seems to me that a bishop has a lot to do with how ‘to disassociate a building from its founder and theology.’ For good or bad, sometimes starting with a Catholic building from scratch and disassociating like crazy. So go find the most liberal bishop you can, ask his advice, then do the opposite.
yes...if the price was right...
Just think of the savings to be had for the much reduced need for window washing. It might be easier to heat and cool, too?
One possible handicap --- un-reinforced masonry. Build a strong enough frame, with joists going wall to wall to help then support one another to give support for when the grounds get to shaking, and one can build walls from a lot of things. Including multiple layers of bricks.
An article written by a person with apparently little knowledge of the situation in the Diocese of Orange. I lived in this diocese for 24 years. It was spun off from the LA Archdiocese, and one of its existing larger Catholic parish churches, was turned into a cathedral. It was totally inadequate.
An opportunity to secure an existing house of worship that is 4 times the capacity, plus office and meeting space which will meet the diocese needs for a long time was a near miracle, especially considering the price.
The location is central to the entire diocese. I am confident the diocese has the ability to convert this facility into a beautiful Catholic cathedral. Certainly, it will be a far more fitting cathedral than the one built in LA by Cardinal Mahoney.
As to the Rev. Schuller, I wonder how many Catholic priests could have accomplished what he did building-wise. Plus, fill it to capacity every Sunday.
1. The church is not a building;
the church is not a steeple;
the church is not a resting place;
the church is a people.
I am the church! You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus,
all around the world!
Yes, we’re the church together!
Really? Duncan Stroik is perhaps the most important American Catholic architect. His analysis of a situation that has caused so much consternation to so many Catholics, most with little or no fundamental knowledge of how architecture should relate, and traditionally has related, to worship, is of great importance to the Catholic national conversation. On what authority do you dismiss this?
He’s speaking above and beyond the situation in Orange. He is disregarding the pragmatism of the decision, which is central to your defense of this atrium. His concern is for the faith, for how it shapes our churches, how it influences the future. Pragmatism solves a practical problem right now in the most efficient way. To hell with pragmatism, I say! It rears its ugly head everywhere in the life of our Church, and we should resist it at every turn.
Great point. If some building isn’t fit to worship God in, then you are not a far cry from saying some people aren’t fit to worship God with you. You should be able to worship God just fine in a tent, a catacomb, or a rusty shack, if that is what you have to work with. God’s not going to be offended.
‘weak article; nothing new’:
6 weak short paragraphs;
its an initial reaction article;
I live near the Crystal Cathedral read everything on it;
I hope you stay impressed with the author though.
A church building is not something we worship God in, it is something we worship God with.
If you’re not worshipping God in it, then you’re doing it wrong.
That’s actually pretty simple. #1 is a prison, #2, probably a government or office building, so I’m going with #3, you know the building with the giant cross on the side.
If some building isnt fit to worship God in, then you are not a far cry from saying some people arent fit to worship God with you.
However, if any building is fit for use as a cathedral then you are not a far cry from saying that any action is fit to worship God with. Is anything at all suitable as worship or equally valuable? Can I go to a building, watch an NFL game with a cold beer and call that worship? If not then we are discriminating between various actions and motives as to their relative value as worship. If we can do this then we can also do it for the buildings we use as cathedrals. After all, physical churches are also elements of worship and should reflect the seriousness of our faith just as our actions do.
Sure, I can understand, in ideal circumstances, wanting the church to reflect the serious nature of your faith. What I’m saying is, we shouldn’t give in to that desire to the point where the external trappings of the worship seem more important to us than the spiritual act itself. God will not be any less pleased with me if I worship Him in a rundown shack instead of a majestic cathedral, as long as I am worshipping Him in good faith.
Now, if the place of worship is a rundown shack because we’ve simply neglected the upkeep out of sloth, or because someone’s been dipping into the maintenance fund, that’s a different problem entirely.
Designed to win Architectural awards,yet it was beat out by the small THORNCROWN CHAPEL in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Way to go, bishop, don’t leave a good property like this available for George Soros, Occupy Wall Street, or some bunch of mohammedans.
Way to go, bishop, don’t leave a good property like this available for George Soros, Occupy Wall Street, or some bunch of mohammedans.
Only if he intended to demolish it and replace it with something that looks like a Catholic Church instead of some fantastic skating rink.
LOL! Right over your head.
I was afraid people would notice that.
Did you post what you did to me as a safe direction to make such comment, or have you mistaken me with those whom mistake buildings for being "the church", and "the church" for being God?
Thanks for mentioning the Thorncrown Chapel, I had never heard of it before, what a beautiful building, it deserves to have won.
Boy,go play with someone else , but have your fun on FR w/o me.
No, I understood your implication perfectly fine. However, you still stated that you don’t worship God in a church building, which also implies, perhaps unintentionally, that there is no worship going on in said building.
Wrong again. I said that a church building is not something we worship in, it is something we worship with.
In other words, it is not merely a building, it is not merely a place, it is a tool we use for worshiping God. If it were just a place we worship in, then it could be any building, but because we consider God to be so important, it is important to offer our very best to God, in the same way that Abel offered his finest lamb to God. If the best we can offer is a humble shack, then that is as pleasing to God as the finest cathedral. But if we offer a humble shack not because it is our best but because we PRESUME to know that God doesn't care one way or another, then we are behaving like Cain, who offered the waste of his fields.
Now, if you're of the belief that Christians gathering in your home is the proper way to worship, then of course you would want your worship area to be clean and nice--the very best you could make it. You might want to replace that velvet painting of Elvis with a cross to help the worshipers focus on their worship. Perhaps you would run down to the Swap Meet to buy a nice roomy terrarium for the rattlesnakes. You get the idea.
It's the same as the argument about how to dress for Mass. If our best is humble attire, then God will be as pleased as if it were finery. But if we dress like slobs because we PRESUME to know that God doesn't care how we present ourselves for worship, then we are telling God that we don't give a hoot.
Of course, if a fancy cathedral or fine clothes are merely for prideful reasons, then that's really missing the point.
“Wrong again. I said that a church building is not something we worship in, it is something we worship with.”
The first half of that statement implies exactly what I said, even if you didn’t intend it. I’m not disputing your other implication, just pointing out what I though was a pretty obvious case of imprecise wording. If you had said, it’s not JUST something we worship in, but ALSO something we worship with, then you would not be making the implication that there is no worship going on inside the building. However, you didn’t do that, so the implication is there.
we should have something like this
thanks for your insights. It’s always good to hear from someone on the ground