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Oakland Cathedral Update

Perhaps the greatest theological failure of our age is making progress. The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland California is taking shape. As it takes shape, it is living up to the age-old maxim that if a church doesn't look like a church, it will look like something, and people will decide what that is. Case in point: "Our Lady of Maytag" for the Cathedral in San Francisco, California, which shares odd similarities with a washing machine agitator. Perhaps the Oakland building is the "Our Lady of the Laundry Basket" to go with Our Lady of Maytag above. Maybe it is the lost building of the UN, separated at birth. Maybe Our Lady is just sad, and can't laugh at the things we believe in when it comes to architecture. The local bishop described it as follows: "to enter the cathedral is to experience the world as God intended it at creation and as he restored it through redemption." I sure hope not. I can't imagine a world restored looking like a glass and steel building based on the premises of Modernism.

But as this project rises, two questions come to mind:

1. Which is better, Cardinal Mahony's cathedral in Los Angeles or this? Why?
2. What name would you give this cathedral project in Oakland?

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23 comments:

Anonymous said...

As much as I hate to say it, I think Mahony wins on this one. The LA cathedral is ugly, but at least it looks like a church. An ugly, modern, chaotic church, but still a church. This one...well, it could be any number of things. A convention center, an eco experiment, who knows.

Anonymous said...

I actually think that the LA cathedral is not a bad building - not to my taste - but not bad as a building. However, it is awful as a church. This Oakland cathedral is awful no matter what it is supposed to be. It looks so squat and deformed among the glass and steel that it makes them look attractive by comparison - which isn't easy. It is so non-descript that it is hard to say what it looks like - washbasket is pretty fair.

Anonymous said...

Our Lady of the Upside down Bundt Cake

Patrick Archbold said...

Our Lady of Kentucky Fried Chicken

jon said...

i can't imagine how many of these the scandal's bankruptcies saved us from. (sadly, it took away some beautiful churches as well..)

Renee said...

Looks like a nuclear power plant.

A Simple Sinner said...

You know the decommissioned LA Cathedral - Saint Vivianas - which was "in such poor repair" it was sold today serves as a banquet hall, having been repaired ans spruced up. Except for the sadness that it is no longer a church, to look at it you would never know it was in such poor repair it had to be sold...

So it is with great hope that 50-100 years from now, Oakland's space-ship-ecclesia will be converted into a really nice chic wedding reception hall, mall, or airport concourse (granted that will take significant urban plannig) and they can get on with the business of building something a wee bit more traditional.

Then again, maybe it will grow on me.

KaleJ said...

Our lady of the spilled coffee cup. Just add daily Haugen-Haas sweetener and some non-orthodoxy creamer for a sickening treat.

Anonymous said...

It looks like one of those cakes that you expect a stripper to come out of.

Anonymous said...

a giant blue Rolo?

Deirdre Mundy said...

I agree with Renee - Perhaps we should call it "Our Lady of the Atom?"

On the plus side, maybe it's a plot by the diocese to save money by generating its own power!

Vox said...

Can anyone say, "earthquake?"

Patrick Archbold said...

"Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house."

Apparently, in Oakland, they would. So there you have it.

Cathedral of Light Under a Bushel Basket.

Anonymous said...

I vote for "Our Lady of the Nuclear Power Plant."

Anonymous said...

It looks like a giant igloo

Anonymous said...

Football, perfect shape.

Anonymous said...

Simply horrendous.

Anonymous said...

Has any of the commenters been to the Cathedral?
The exterior may not look very church like, but has some very nice symbology in its construction. ie: it looks like that for a reason. Please take some time to learn more, you may learn to love it. The inside is really wonderful, and the digitally influenced Christ image is just plain cool.

Anonymous said...

"cool" is hardly a theological goal we desire to reach.

Anonymous said...

This monstrosity is a disgrace and one more instance in which vapid deconstructionists have succeeded in denying us our religious partrimony as Catholics. I pray that the new bishop will decide to begin having ordinations, the annual Chrism Mass and othere diocesan liturgies at various churches throughout the diocese. The expressed reason will be to "bring the diocese to everyone no matter how far awy they are," but of course, the real reason will be to stage a silent protest against this disgrace for a church (let alone a cathedral) and to begin remote plans for its ultimate conversion into the bingo hall for which it is properly designed. Following that, perhaps a Catholic architect can be found to design a suitable cathedral for Oakland.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't have to look up some website to find out the meaning of the building. It should be obvious.

Anonymous said...

shame shame shame--the new cathedral in los angeles and the new one in oakland make me ashamed to even be a catholic! both of these will be the butt of jokes--what a terrible legacy the american church is leaving for my chidren--richard fawell rancho mirage ca

Pennycake said...

"Some people leave money for the improvement of public buildings. I can leave dynamite for the improvement of public buildings."
-G. K. Chesterton

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