Over the past year this blog has posted a number of entries about the unique and distinctive architectural stylings which have besot the diocese of Dallas with some remarkably unattractive churches ranging from unfulfilled potential to outright horrid with most falling somewhere in the middle. We now know why. The answer is to be found at the University of Dallas.
At the heart of the University of Dallas—hidden mostly out of sight by the twenty trees in the city of Irving—rests the Church of the Incarnation. Designed to look like a womb, the students have taken to calling the church St. Fallopius.
The first view inside the edifice disorients the visitor, as he stares across the
narthex atrium at the other entrance. Off to the right is a Eucharistic chapel which meshes Our Lady of Guadalupe with Soviet brutalism.
As when one enters the church proper, there is no center of view in the chapel.
On the left side of St. Fallopius' atrium is the statue of Mother and Blob, accented tastelessly by a faux-oriental, faux-copper lamp.
In front of the Mother and Blob stands, or, rather, rests a few steps down, the chlorinated font.
45 degrees left is the main worship area (cannot call it a nave and sanctuary), again disoriented.
The entrance invites one to drift to the right, where the aisle twists around this uteral space.
On the floor are some crosses and words meant to pass as Stations.
Artificial light directly above in the ceiling illuminates the "station."
The center view fools one into assuming the church proper is symmetrical when,
in truth, the concert grand piano and choir stage adjoin the altar space.
Again, the faux-copper lamps stolen from a sheikh's palace.
Not only do they use the Gather hymnal, but they spent money on
embossed copies made with high quality paper. Bad taste is expensive.
I gave myself a quick C-section and escaped the womb of St. Fallopius. Immediately outside I happened upon this ordinary, but quite well made marble statue of Our Lady in prayer. "J" told me that this statue of the Virgin was carved by a university art student for use in the chapel, but it was placed out in the elements because the style was discordant with that of St. Fallopius.
Why tell you all this information and show you these lurid images, dear readers? I have not neglected care for your senses. On the contrary, I wish to fulfill your minds. This building, directly, and the other ugly churches in the diocese of Dallas, indirectly, are the work and responsibility of one man: Lyle Novinski.
Lyle Novinski designed St. Fallopius and, quite inexplicably, established himself as an expert on liturgical art and architecture in the Catholic tradition, so much so that the previous bishop of Dallas gave him veto and reviewing rights over every new church erected within the diocese. Novinski must take efficiency and brutality as his inspirations, having eviscerated all concept of maximalism and tradition. In one lecture he regales the listeners with tales of the English bicycle wheel: take anything away and it fails, add anything and it becomes redundant.
Unfortunately, God is not a bicycle wheel and the worship of God does not take inspiration from recreational vehicles. God is a maximalist Who demands fitting praise and worship. Arranging a metal and brick silo with a few Marian images and a stone block altar does not make St. Fallopius a church in any traditional sense, only in an efficient sense. Brutalism kills beauty, which is a great sin in itself. People are more readily captivated and oriented to God by beauty than by rhetoric or logic. Beauty is often the start of conversion, it has kept a great many weak souls within the bounds of the saving ark for centuries, and it tells the reverent among pagans that the Church offers something that they might understand. Removing beauty, as Mr. Novinski and the previous bishop of Dallas have done in many places, is a crime in itself, a great spiritual crime for which there is no immediate expiation.
Below is a feature on the man behind St. Fallopius from a local news agency.