Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

“For God Omnipotent Reigneth”

October 1st, 2009, Promulgated by Gen

Is there any doubt?

I’m at a tremendous loss for words when I consider that some people prefer sanctuaries profane in their nakedness and sacrilegious in their treatment of the Blessed Sacrament over this.



9 Responses to ““For God Omnipotent Reigneth””

  1. Persis says:

    I am one of "those" people, who find "simplicity" much more appealing that all of the "eye-candy" (no disrepect intended, I am just not sure what else to call it)that is seen in this photo.

    I know that many on these blogs think that what was done to Sacred Heart is a travisty, yet as someone who has strong family ties to the Cathedral (my granparents have been parishoners since the early 60's and my parents were married there in the late 60's), I find the new space to be very comforting and peaceful in it's "nakedness".
    I think my favorite part of the renovated church is the crucfix that was found and re-hung above the sactuary. From what I understand, it was in at Sacred Heart in the 50's and removed during an earlier renovation because the beam that supported it was damaged. Before the organ was installled, the shadows that were cast on the back wall were a beautiful representation of the loving arms of God embracing His Son, as He hung on the cross between the good and bad thieves. It was a beautiful reminder to me, that even in his darkest hour, God the Father, was always with his Son, and is always with me also.

    The shadows are gone now, because of the organ (which from what I understand, was already designed when the crucifix went up, and was not in the original plans that Paul Fritz got when he was commissioned to build the organ).

    We could (and probably will) go back and forth about how the Cathedral was "desecrated", althought I really hope to avoid that.

    As I said earlier, I am a simple girl, I can find God almost anywhere-
    in a big ornately decorated church, on a path in the woods on a sunny fall day or in the face of a child teetering it's first steps. It is not the place, or the decor or even the people around me, it is what is in my heart, that brings me close to God.

    I am not saying that those who like the more ornate are wrong, as I believe neither opinion is right or wrong. I like both, I am just more comfortable worshiping in an environment where I do not have the distractions of "things" to take my mind of why I am there in the first place.

    Just my 2cents, please take it for what it is, my humble opinion!

    Peace to all!

  2. Dr. K says:

    "I think my favorite part of the renovated church is the crucfix that was found and re-hung above the sactuary."

    Wouldn't this crucifix be considered eye candy? 🙂

    There are area churches (i.e- St. Paul) that do not have a crucifix at all, but rather a cross, or a cross with the risen Jesus floating in front.

    "I am not saying that those who like the more ornate are wrong, as I believe neither opinion is right or wrong"

    The sad thing is, many area churches have been forced to change their interior appearance because somebody running the diocese thought that the look prior to renovation was wrong (not "up to code" so to speak with regard to the Council). Specifically, St. John the Evangelist in Spencerport, St. Ambrose, and others who were pressed to move their tabernacles and redesign their sanctuaries. There have been countless other churches that have been remodeled to become a rounded barren structure. All of our newer constructions are not ornate as well. So if neither style (ornate or simple) is wrong, I think we should see a more even split among ornate and simple parishes, rather than all parishes been forced to comply over time with simplicity.

    I tried my best not to get too deep into the SHC issue, haha.

    ~Dr. K

  3. Mary Kay says:

    Given the very strong feelings about the Cathedral, to bring it up and then say, "oh, I hope to avoid the back and forth" is either naive or provocative. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and jump in.

    There's a difference between simpler style and that of a gutted building, which was my reaction when I was in the Cathedral.

    A church is supposed to look like a church, specifically a Catholic church. True, one can find God in nature, but for millenia, worship has been in a space set aside just for worship. the Real Presence means something more than everyday.

    the distractions of "things" to take my mind of why I am there in the first place

    So I'll assume that your house is undecorated: no curtains, no wall hangings or pictures, no family photographs. If you do have those things, do they distract you from being with family or friends?

    If you do have a decorated house, then church decor is similar in that it enhances.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great discussion. I'd like to contribute my opinion in this matter.

    For me, I do not find an ornately decorated church to be a distraction. If one doesn't want to pay attention during the Mass, then he can do so whether or not the church is decorated. I for one find it distracting to have to look at the choir facing me at Sacred Heart Cathedral. All those faces and eyes wandering about is a greater distraction than any lifeless statue or painting will ever be.

    Many people like churches with religious items because it aids in their prayer. For example, some will stop before a statue of St. Therese and pray if they have a particular devotion to this saint. Once the Mass begins, the focus is on the altar, but for before and after Mass, religious items are an aid to prayer not a detriment. This is especially true when the tabernacle is not located at the front of the church, or even within the church proper as is the case at a number of Rochester churches.

    These are just my opinions.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting comparison, Mary Kay. My house is filled with photos and mementos of my friends and family, and it does not distract me when I spend time with them. So if the Lord's house is filled with religious items, it also doesn't distract us from spending time with God when we are there.

    Thanks for making this point.

  6. Persis says:

    Great comments. I do think though, some of you misunderstand my point. "Gen" asked a question, which I think is a perfectly acceptable question,(after all, it is his blog!) and I did my best to give my opinion. How my house is decorated is not really the point, but I will say that it too is very simple- not a lot of stuff on the walls, neutral color scheme, etc. The reason being, with my busy schedule, the minamalist approach is a better way to keep my house clean!

    That said, while I do find some ornamentation important, and I love the older style such as one finds at St. Stan's or St. Michaels beautiful and holy in every respect, for me, it is sometimes too much.

    As far as my feelings about the Catherdal, I am not trying to be naive or provocative, what I was trying to get across was that I did not want my comment to make this post and comments about the Cathedral. As I said before, Gen asked a question, and I thought that I would answer it.

    Please understand, these are my opinions, regarding what I find to be helpful, I mean no disrespect to anyone who holds a different opinion.

  7. Mary Kay says:

    Persis, none of the replies above misunderstood your point, but it does seem that you are somewhat oblivious to my point. The Cathedral is very much an open wound to many in this diocese. Certainly, you have the right to use it as an example. My point was that given the strength of the feeling about the Cathedral, you shouldn't be surprised when you get a strong reaction, even if you are just answering a question.

    How my house is decorated is not really the point
    um, you do recognize a rhetorical question when you read it, is that not so?

    I find it ironic that for a diocese whose raison d'etre is community, community, and more community, what you find most appealing about the Cathedral is it's "nakedness."

  8. Gen says:

    "Naked" churches is a very Protestant idea. Not that they don't get some things right, but just look at what happened to the parish churches of England during the Reformation. Utter disrespect.

    Utter disrespect can apply to the following contemporary examples: hacking apart Bishop Sheen's pulpit with no intent to preserve it, placing an organ in a more central location than the Blessed Sacrament, removing statues of Diocesan patrons and namesakes, the installation of a "baptismal pool" which looks more like a jacuzzi than a liturgical device, having the altar lower than the pulpit, and too many things to discuss here. There is a huge difference between simplicity and unCatholic "nakedness." A nice simple church would be St. Anne, what with the statues, the prominent altar, semi-prominent tabernacle and uncluttered sanctuary. Nakedness is having empty statue niches and a monstrous organ or mediocrity looming higher than Our Lord's majesty.

    Physical trappings aren't there to entertain or fulfill us. They are there to glorify in our human capabilities the true and glorious presence of God.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I won't comment on Sacred Heart
    it gives me a real pain in my back side.

    When I attended St Anne the beauty was certainly there but I often would get annoyed with the stampede at the end of Mass in front of the tabernacle. You could find yourself genuflecting in mid air.

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