Friday, March 30, 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

This Blasted Apparatus

Blogger's photo download is acting squirrely again. I'll post in the morning.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sorry for the Delays

Between the weather and a lack of energy, I've been negligent. There'll be more posts tomorrow.

St. Alphonsus, Peru

I've posted pictures of the exterior of St. Alphonsus before. It's a very simple, but dignified, structure. The interior isn't quite so simple, and it has some interesting details. Notice the vaulting. It's almost a stalactite effect. Never saw that in such a small church. Good windows, good statues. If that white object at the far left is the font, it looks like an impressive one. The altars have, obviously, been redone at some time, but they were done very well. Overall, it's a good design and worthy of one of the diocese's most historically important parishes.
My thanks to Alex Fries for the picture. More will follow.

St. Mary, Norwalk

Isn't this remarkable? I had known about the blue lights behind the altar, but never imagined what it would look like at night.
I've been offered the use of a very good collection of photographs of St. Mary's, by Alex Fries, a member of the parish who is helping with their website. Keep up the good work, Alex, and my thanks.

St. Mary, Norwalk

St. Mary's seems to have some very high quality windows. I'll post more, as time goes on. This picture, and the one below, are courtesy of Alex Fries.

St. Mary, Norwalk

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Our Lady of China

Maybe posting this is what got the wind up among the scurvy curs.
Our Lady of China, pray for your suffering people.

Better Days Ahead

I should be able to get back on a regular posting schedule soon.

They Got the Goods on Me

I want to check later, to be sure it's not just a glitch, but all my blogs seem to be banned in China. Why? In a word, Catholic. I'd been getting a lot of hits from there, in the last couple weeks. An increase like that seems to arouse interest in the slime that runs the place. Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be talking that way about the leadership of our bosom buddy and partner in trade, should I? I'm not going to tell you my opinion of that, but you should damn well be able to guess.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

St. Martin de Porres

Magnificent church. Murals, arcade, baldachin, everything first rate. It was "renovated", though.
The less said, the better. They've done a lot to detract from the dignity of the Mass. At least, they left the place semi-intact, so the damage can be repaired.

Posts on the way

Try again late this morning.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Still Not Up To Much

Light posting for the rest of the week.

Sacred Heart, Bethlehem

These are rather old pictures, so I'm not sure what the current situation is. Magnificent. Everything a church should be. It never ceases to amaze me what lengths people went to, even in quite small towns, to give the Church its due.
Interesting vaulting. The star ( or flower? ) pattern in the windows is unusual.

There Are Ways...

If people don't go to confession, something has to be done.

Monday, March 19, 2007

System Problems

The Blogger photograph upload seems to be out of whack. I'll try later.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

This Is Interesting

This picture of Our Lady is made of parrot and hummingbird feathers. Juan Batista Cuiris made it, in Michoacan, Mexico, sometime between 1550 and 1580. It's one of the few surviving examples of this Aztec art. It was sent to Spain, and, through the Habsburgs, ended up in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Who Says There Aren't Any Superheroes Left?

SS. Peter and Paul, Old South End

One of my favorites. I've posted on it a number of times. This time, I'd like to mention the school building, at the right. They made it fit rather well with the church, itself. Notice that scrolled gable and the little cupola. It's all added on to the front of the old church.

A Bit Worn Out

I'm just not up to doing much posting, this morning. I'll try to do a bit more tonight.

A Thought

In case you haven't noticed, I have a great respect for the long tradition of the Church. I tend to think we'd be better off with the Tridentine Mass. But I love the Novus Ordo, as well. ( Some of the ways it's been abused are a different story. ) I prefer churches that look like churches, not meeting rooms. I want our churches to be worthy of the title House of God. It isn't really all that hard to achieve.
In the last fifty years, the quality of church design has taken a nose-dive. Praise God, that's changing. I look forward to that change continuing.
The Diocese of Toledo has many beautiful old churches. I want to do everything I can to make sure that fact is recognized. The Diocese also has many beautiful newer churches. That needs to be recognized, as well. Every time I comment on a church, I try to find something good to say. Something to encourage. Only once, have I failed. Considering the horror stories I've heard from elsewhere, we're doing pretty well. Just remember this. When I criticize, I do it with a recognition that we need to strive, within the norms, ( It's the departures from those norms that I criticize. ) to make every parish church a place of beauty and a worthy House of God.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why Am I A Catholic?

These days, you often hear that line in the press and in the title of a book by a rather pompous two-bit academic, who WILLS remain nameless. In those cases, it's usually a preface for a rant on why the Church needs to stop being stubborn and bow down to the superior wisdom of whoever is doing the ranting. Praise God, there's a new trend. Every day, I find more people who use that line as a preface to a serious discussion of what's good about the Church.
As for me? Well, I can be a bit of a pompous windbag at times, but, on this subject, I'm completely in earnest. Why am I a Catholic? Well, I could give you a thousand reasons and keep us both up all night, but they would all be incidental. They'd all be secondary. They'd all pale in comparison to the one most important reason why I'm Catholic.
I am a Catholic because I'm absolutely convinced it's true. That's it.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

A wayside shrine on Broadway, in the Old South End.

Most Pure Heart of Mary, Shelby

Here's a closer view of the facade. The brickwork and stone accents are very good.

Sacred Heart, Bethlehem

It's amazing that the area around Shelby has two such exceptional churches. Sacred Heart is just so good I don't quite know what to say. Everything about it is first rate. I have some other pictures of it to post tomorrow, so I'll try to find appropriate words.

St. Michael, Pray For Us

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How About Linguistic Globalism?

There's a good post on the universality of Latin at Just Doing My Best .

St. Augustine, Napoleon

Better picture than I've had before. The tower is very good. There are two interesting features that I hadn't noticed before. Those gabled entries flanking the tower are a really nice touch. So are the little pinnacles at the corners. I'll have to find a recent picture of this one.

Old St. Michael's, Findlay

Good work. The best feature is the base of the spire. I like those little turrets.

Good Shepherd, East Toledo

I found this picture of the interior, credit to the Chronicle. It's not very detailed, but it'll do until I can get better ones. The first thing you'll notice is the altars. Exceptional, and beautifully preserved. On the high altar, a statue of Our Lord, the Good Shepherd is flanked by St. Patrick and St. Boniface. The side altars are just as good. You'll also notice the murals and stencilling in the lunettes and the ceiling of the apse and side chapels. It's incredible work and I can't believe how well preserved it is. An interesting detail is the frieze of sheep that runs across the apse. It appears to be a later addition, but is every bit as good as the original work. To the left, the rectangular item is a very good painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I'm still amazed by the place. Everyone needs to realize that this interior is one of Toledo's greatest treasures.

Posts On The Way

Check back around noon.

Another Quote From Sacramentum Caritatis

"This relationship between creed and worship is evidenced in a particular way by the rich theological and liturgical category of beauty. Like the rest of Christian Revelation, the liturgy is inherently linked to beauty: it is veritatis splendor. The liturgy is a radiant expression of the paschal mystery, in which Christ draws us to himself and calls us to communion…"

FYI: There's a permanent link in the Vatican section of the sidebar. Have a look. There are a lot of new links in the Resources section, too.
UPDATE: Fr. Martin Fox, of Piqua, has some good remarks at Bonfire of the Vanities. Here's a quote, but follow the link and read the whole post.
"Some wonder why I asked you to learn some prayers in Latin. I reiterate: Vatican II said to do it; so did Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and now Pope Benedict XVI. This is not “going back,” it’s continuing to embrace our tradition, rather than leaving it behind."
What worries me is the potential use of scare tactics by the people who want to force a 60's/70's form of freeform liturgy on a Church that, by and large, doesn't want it. No one is talking about returning everything to Latin Tridentine. What's being discussed is the use of the great heritage of the Church to enrich an evolving liturgy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Couple More Items From Sacramentum Caritatis

As far as I'm concerned, one of the best suggestions is the one about moving the sign of peace. It's a frequent distraction, when people insist on keeping it up even after the Agnus Dei starts. Where it's done now, it seems like an intrusion. Much better elsewhere.

"Nuclear fission"? Very good way of putting it:

"The substantial conversion of bread and wine into his body and blood introduces within creation the principle of a radical change, a sort of "nuclear fission," to use an image familiar to us today, which penetrates to the heart of all being, a change meant to set off a process which transforms reality, a process leading ultimately to the transfiguration of the entire world, to the point where God will be all in all."
Our Lady of China

An Important Day

You'll find a link to the text of Sacramentum Caritatis, in a post below. It's a very powerful, moving exhortation. I'd encourage everyone to read it.
By the way, the picture is from St. Mary's Church, in Greenville, S.C. In the sidebar, you'll find a new section called "Blogs". There, you'll find Random Thoughts , by Fr. Jay Scott Newman, and Standing on my Head , by my friend Fr. Dwight Longenecker, both priests at St. Mary's.

St. Michael's, Kelley's Island

Our friend Kevin Hammer has been at it again. Another interesting find. This time it's a website with some pictures from St. Michael's on Kelley's Island. You'll find it HERE. Just do a keyword search for "catholic" and you'll find pictures of the church and some very good ones of a procession. We need to see more of those.
Now, my opinion of the building? I love it. Simple but beautiful. That tower is very well done. Look at the top section and the corner buttresses at the base. I have to see this one someday.
I found this wonderful painting, by local artist Joe Corso. I hope he won't mind my posting it if I tell you to go to this WEBSITE for information about notecards and prints. There's more of his work, as well. We need to encourage good artists, like Mr. Corso.

Most Pure Heart of Mary, Shelby

See what a master of the art can do with brickwork? Glorious. That recessed arch over the entrance is fantastic. Looks like there's good stone accents, too. All that's missing is a bell tower ( This one cries out for an Italian campanile. ) but you can't have everything. Overall, grade A.
The interior is even better. Shades of Romanesque Ravenna ( The Italian one, not the one at the other end of the state. ) Look at those columns and the design work over the arches. Hope the murals haven't been mucked about with. This one's a gem.

Please Bear With Me

I'm having some AOL problems and everything is slow as molasses in January. I haven't been able to get this blog to load completely since yesterday morning. I'm going to do a couple posts, in addition to the one below, and hope for the best. More will follow tomorrow. Hopefully, the problem will be over by then.

Sacramentum Caritatis

I just did a quick preliminary reading of Sacramentum Caritatis, at ZENIT. Everyone but the "spirit of Vatican II" crowd and the most intransigent "preserved in amber" sorts should be very pleased. The Holy Father knows what he's doing. Just the thought of making sure seminarians learn Latin, chant, and art history makes me feel a lot better. Among many good points, the following quote is particularly appropriate.
"A solid knowledge of the history of sacred art can be advantageous for those responsible for commissioning artists and architects to create works of art for the liturgy. Consequently it is essential that the education of seminarians and priests include the study of art history, with special reference to sacred buildings and the corresponding liturgical norms. Everything related to the Eucharist should be marked by beauty. Special respect and care must also be given to the vestments, the furnishings and the sacred vessels, so that by their harmonious and orderly arrangement they will foster awe for the mystery of God, manifest the unity of the faith and strengthen devotion"

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'm Annoyed

Posting today is like trying to wade through a vat of jello. There are a couple posts from late last night. Other than that, check back tomorrow. I have an interior shot of Good Shepherd and several other items.

System Slow

I'll post later this morning.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Francisca Bauer, Sister of the Woods

Our avid researcher Kevin Hammer has found a real gem. It's an article in Ohio History, about Francisca Bauer, a remarkable nun who settled in the Norwalk area after fleeing the persecutions in her native France. HERE it is. It's well worth reading.

Liturgical Bloopers

Abuses aren't funny. Accidents, however, can be hilarious. Have a look at THIS. Hat tip to Angela Messenger.
Stained glass. c1480. Metropolitan, New York.

St. Gerard, Lima

I like it. That doubled triangle effect is a good touch. The vertical bands in the brickwork accent the height and avoid the blank wall feeling. Can't see much of the bell tower, but it looks good. Only one problem. Those gray doors stick out like a sore thumb. A paint job is in order. Otherwise, very nice.

The Difficulties of Toledo Architectural History

There's one big problem that anyone writing about Toledo's architectural heritage has to face. A lot of things have been said and written over the years that are way off base. Nowhere is this problem worse than in the highly subjective matter of inspiration. Such and such a building was inspired by this and that. Back in the early 20th century, Toledoans seem to have been of the opinion that an architect couldn't possibly have an original idea. Everything had to be copied from something else. This gives rise to a lot of very confusing speculation that can have the architectural historian saying "what the ...." rather often. One example is St. Stephen's. When it was built, someone got the idea that it was inspired by the Abbey of Pannonhalma. This is still being quoted. You'll find a picture of St. Stephen's below, that's Pannonhalma, above. What the....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

More From Roamin' Catholics

Today, I'll link to the page for DECEMBER. This one has a full slate of seven churches and only one fails to score a high mark.
1. Christ the King: This is a good design. The undulating line of the ceiling is very interesting. Never seen that done before. Beautiful work. The crucifix is magnificent, one of the best in town. I'd like to get a better look at those windows. They look like they add a lot to the design. Overall, not bad at all.
2. St. John the Baptist: Again, good. Nice altar. Looks like it's stone. Another very good crucifix. The glass looks interesting and I love that statue of the Holy Family. Once again, not bad at all.
3. St. Michael: Another winner. This seems to have been the month for particularly fine crucifixes. The whole reredos works well, with that grape pattern down the sides. There seem to be small murals on the side walls. I'll have to get a better look at that. Finally, those are seriously impressive candlesticks. Three for three.
4. Regina Coeli: There's one in every crowd. The building isn't bad. Rather nice, in fact. That's the only good thing I can say. Looks like they furnished it from Ikea. The building's a winner. The rest is a miserable failure.
5. Gesu: Another winner! This is wonderful work. That semicircular apse is in the finest tradition of ecclesiastical design. Everything about it is superb. The murals, the stone facing on the lower level. Background color might be a bit off, but that's nitpicking. Good altar, too. I have to get out there for a closer look.
6. Saints Peter and Paul: One of my favorites. Almost perfectly preserved. Just look at it! That altar. Notice the angel torcheres at the sides. One of the best notes is the gold glass mosaic insets in the altar, pulpit, and communion railing. Nice to see the rail hasn't been vandalized for the usual dimwitted idealogical reasons. It's a beauty and, let's face it, it's not in the way. Guess what. The rest of the building is just as good as the part in the picture. Due to its age and condition, it's one of Catholic Toledo's greatest landmarks.
7. Blessed Sacrament: This may be the best modern interior in the diocese. Magnificent! Good basic design. Excellent details. That Last Supper altarpiece is a gem. Didn't forget the crucifix, either. Good for them. The whole thing's beautiful. Good job!

Update: After writing this post, I looked at the website for Regina Coeli parish, hoping to find some further good point. I found two. The exterior design is very good. There are also two very good statues of Our Lady. It's a too bad the pitiful way the sanctuary is handled ruins a potentially good design.

Sacred Heart, East Toledo

I don't know what those Toledo church architects were drinking back around, say 1880 to 1910, but it certainly made them inventive. Wouldn't mind sampling it myself. Send a few cases to Duncan Stroik, out at Notre Dame, to distribute to his students.
Here's a case in point. It's completely out of the ordinary. Look at the upper parts of those towers. That arrangement of a semi-circular gable with subsidiary turrets at the corners is something I've never seen before. And those pointy domes! It's all downright weird, but it works. The whole thing is like something out of the best sort of fantasy novel. Then, he went on to throw in that central spire. Breaks every rule in the book but it looks wonderful. I have to go have a better look, when the weather improves. The arch over the main door looks very well done. The interior suffered after a fire, but there's a lot of good left in it. Remarkable building!