Friday, May 16, 2014

Yet Another Dallas Church. They Just Get Stranger and Stranger

First order of business is podcasts. I know very little about them but two readers have independently suggested I attempt to produce some. Should any of you think this a worthwhile endeavor (those of you who know what my voice sounds like know it is not!) suggest a topic or two and I will mull it over.

Now on to the day's material. Every church I visit in this area is progressively stranger and stranger. The first church I saw was St. Francis of Assisi in Frisco, a modest attempt at Romanesque which, as Rubricarius pointed out, did not entirely work owing to the ceiling, but which was an interesting none the less. Then I went to a pair of Byzantine churches and St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas, each good representations of what a parish ought to be. Then I came upon this bereft barn and St. Jude's, both very.... modern and.... pastoral....

With every new parish I find that evidence for the complaints Catholics have made for the last seven decades about the decline of Church architecture. When I lived in the northeastern United States churches tended to look more or less the same as they did prior to the mid-20th century. Yes, a great many were "wreckovated" and some were re-modeled with a forward altar, yet the integrity of the buildings usually survived. With the death of American cultural Catholicism in the 1960s and 1970s and the influx of Mexican immigrants to Texas very few "traditional" looking parishes from the "old days" survived in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Almost everything is new and monstrously repulsive, an aesthetic assault on those of good taste and piety! Worse than being ugly, these edifices, aside from altars and crucifixes, have no discernibly Christian features! Today's feature could well have been a rented venue or a local cinema.

The approach

The ticket desks. No kiosks apparently.

The holy water font?

It is no holy water font. It is a baptismal barque!
I took a sniff just to be sure and confirmed my
suspicion of chlorination.

It looks strange enough as is. The stain glass windows
depict nothing in particular other than the vague outline
of a crucifix and some Roman numerals one assumes correspond
to the Stations of the Cross.

Then I realized that the sanctuary is "sunken" to create a
theatrical effect. The lighting arrangement seems to agree
with this intention.

Not quite the traditional Roman choir style either!

It begs the question: why imitate the Evangelical megachurches and promote
an entertainment-focused style of religion? The protestants have always
and will always do it much better than us.


  1. In my experience, podcasts work much better if there is more than one "host". Two or three people discussing a topic usually works best.

  2. And, yes, none if the churches in Plano are well made. It's no surprise that the Latin Mass people in Irving have a large segment of wealthy to upper middle class Catholics from Plano and the North Dallas suburbs in general.

  3. I'll try to answer your question: because they actually would like to be Protestants (but remaining in that sort of "elite" the adjective "Catholic" gives to them). Since they no longer believe - I'm not judging their souls, just their external behaviour - in Tradition (they think it is somewhat old fashioned), that is the logical result. This also happens in Spain: Catholics see themselves superior to Protestants, but they imitate them in their worship.

    And there is also the quantitative factor: there are many clergymen, and laymen, who see those mega-churches with quite thousands of people gathered, and they envy Protestants to do so. Put these factors together, and you have something like this (sorry, it is in Spanish):

    Kyrie eleison

  4. Some days ago I was reading your post on Winchester Cathedral, and I loved your exposure of medieval Liturgy and piety (there were tears running down from my eyes when I compared that with the piety not of today, but of 1962). I think the topic of medieval worship would be an interesting one, if you want to make a podcast - and, I agree with Lord of Bollocks: it would be better if there were more than one host.

    Kyrie eleison

  5. Obviously you never seen pictures of the new Holy Trinity basilica in Fátima.

    1. You mean this airplane hangar?


      Here's the chapel with permament exposition of the Blessed Sacrament

  6. I get the baptismal font burial with Christ reference...but c'mon...

  7. I left the Protestant community to get away from this nonsense...sigh.

  8. Architecture is Faith realised in form and so we get this imitative crap owing to the execrable ecclesiastical epoch of man-centered whatever'n'hell its is we now have. This is Puritanism on an acid trip.

    That is why it is so important for Catholics to get out of this crummy country whenever they can and go to some country where the Incarnationality of Faith is architecturally realised in even the humble and simple churches.