Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Two Very Different Dallas Churches

Again I bring readers a report on the very curious situation with regards to ecclesiastical architecture here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The first building shown is St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas, which, if the website is correct, is only fifty years old. Built in a plane, but well done neo-gothic style, it has survived the liturgical revolution more or less intact. The altar was brought out from against the wall, yet it is still suitable for more traditional rites.

Neo-gothic with plenty of color and not too many statues.

Correctly the Baptistry is an octagonal room at the back
of the church, behind the nave.

The other church is called St. Jude's and is located in Allen. Its style is an unusual
blend between modern brutalism and the traditional layout, although not
the traditional decorative style.

The center of attention is unclear here. Yes, that iron plank on the wall is
the tabernacle door.

The transepts and altar are arranged such that
everyone gets a view of the "action"

The place lights well, but has no distinctly Christian
architectural features. I have seen banks with similar
ceiling patterns.

The Stations of the Cross seem to be charcoal drawings of
scenes from Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ

Oh boy....

A fascinating processional cross


  1. While talking about Baptism some time ago at our Liturgics class, the priest was explaining why the baptismal font is now near the altar in many of our churches. According to him, the location of the baptistery's location has varried over the centuries according to the different emphases in understanding of the sacrament. The current location is just that. Since the current understanding puts an emphasis on the integration of the neophyte into the community of the faithful, and the faithful congregate within the church, it doesn't make sense for the baptistery to be "outside" the church edifice, like most old baptisteries are; not to mention the fact that the faithful would be "unable to see the baptism since they are located in the nave and the baptistery isn't".
    It's the most idiotic explanation I've ever heard. Concerning this matter, there are three reasons why I think the font is placed near the altar in many churches nowadays:
    1 - Liturgical laziness. Since Baptism in the NO now mostly takes place within the context of the Mass, instead of the priest leaving the sanctuary and going to the baptistery with everyone, then coming back after having baptized the neophyte, to save time the font is placed in the vicinity of the altar.We can't have long liturgies, after all...
    2 - Complete disregard for the Church's tradition;
    3 - The "we have to see everything" mentality taken to the extreme.

  2. Dear Rad Trad. That Processional Cross is so wrong it is funny

  3. St. Thomas Aquinas is a nice church indeed. I am 99% positive that the FSSP used to have weekday Masses at St. Thomas Aquinas before they were able to buy their own building (Mater Dei, which you wrote about some time ago). I recall going to this church with some friends for Ash Wednesday in 2003. On Sundays the FSSP used a Carmelite convent chapel--I went there once or twice, and from what I recall the chapel was packed, but basically just a bare brick box.