Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Which Do You Prefer?

November 5th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

If you had the choice

(Click on picture for a larger image)

(Left) St. Michael's Church, Rochester; (Right) Parish Church of Marco de Canevezes, Portugal

Left Photo: needs no explanation.

Right Photo: I’m figuring you might need a little help understanding this one so here is a brief description that appears on the ounodesign website which is the picture source for the Portugal church:

“Even for a non-believing non-churchgoer, church architecture can be extremely compelling. This is not surprising given the fact that church architecture is specifically designed for inspiration, contemplation and the freeing of the mind from distractions and harrassments, rather than for more utilitarian or venal purposes (not that religion can’t be venal too, but that’s a different issue). With increasing social secularization it strikes me that this meditative effect is what many of us are trying to achieve in our own spaces, for better or for worse. Of course it’s this modern mood of expansive whiteness that is being emulated, rather than the dark, gargoyle-ridden behemoths of European stone cathedral architecture. This church, which seems to be more about soothing the mind than fearing god,..”

Here is the exterior of the Portugal Church.

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10 Responses to “Which Do You Prefer?”

  1. Mike says:

    The one of the right looks like the inside of my washing machine.

    “This church, which seems to be more about soothing the mind than fearing god,..”

    This author doesn’t have a clue what the “fear of God” actually means.

  2. Gretchen says:

    I half expected the church in Portugal to have a big sign on the side reading “Circuit City”! That tiny building in the left of the photo looks much more church-like.

  3. Robert says:

    I remember some 14 years ago at my parents’ funerals, my nephew, who is a lawyer, walked into St. John’s [Humbolt St.] and said “this is church” after attending St. Paul’s in Webster!

  4. Bernie says:

    Gretchen: I had the very same reaction. I want to walk past that big thing on the right over to that little building on the left and find out what’s inside. A very telling reaction!

    Mike: Not only does he not have a clue as to the meaning of “the fear of God” but shockingly unaware, as a designer, of the symbolic meaning of gargoyles and gothic church architecture.

  5. Bernie says:

    Gretchen: I was going to crop out that little building on the left but decided to leave it in. Glad I did.

  6. Scott W. says:

    When I worked for Toyota, there was a story floating about that Porsche asked one of the higher-up Toyota guys to come to their factory for ideas on how to be more efficient. He asked to see the engine assembly plant. They went into a building with engine parts stewn all over it and the Toyota guy reminded them he wanted to see the assembly plant. When they said that this in fact was the assembly plant, he replied, “This not assembly plant! This warehouse!”

    I get the urge to blurt something similar in certain churches. “This not church! This warehouse!”

  7. Mike says:

    When I first saw the photo of the Portuguese church I wondered if the center portion slid open to reveal a telescope.

  8. Faithful says:

    “With increasing social secularization it strikes me that this meditative effect is what many of us are trying to achieve in our own spaces, for better or for worse. Of course it’s this modern mood of expansive whiteness that is being emulated, rather than the dark, gargoyle-ridden behemoths of European stone cathedral architecture.”

    What? Is this person serious?

    The White Church in Portugal is U-G-L-Y. I can’t believe there is a person who is actually trying to defend it! That person ought to be commited- or arrested for having no fine taste!

  9. Bill B. says:

    I have been in some modern designed churches over the years that struck me as odd; “this is a church?” situations. Seems our tastes are wildly all over in thoughts of what looks holy and what doesn’t. The odd ones we have here will only go away when there are mega churches. Just for an example; if we decline to a point where many churches are closed and a regional parish structure is planned, that might mean we have an opportunity to create a Gothic type of structure. One in the north of region, south, etc. Radical, but possibilities abound.

  10. Gretchen says:

    Bernie, thanks for NOT cropping out the beautiful little building on the left. The juxtaposition of the two is striking!

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