So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Friday, September 26, 2014

Christ Cathedral Renovations Update

Websites with information concerning the renovation of the former Crystal Cathedral:
—Be prepared for a minor assault from pop-up windows.
—Two pages of images accompanied by description (see below). There is a link to an architecture page which is currently not loading.
—Official announcement of design plan.
Among the Cathedral design features are included the following developments:
  • The former theater-style seating will give way to pews arranged antiphonally on either side of a raised altar. (One wonders which path the opening and closing processions will take?)
  • Three entries will be reconfigured as the Bishop’s Door, Baptistery and Pilgrim’s Entry to the east, and the spaces inside each entry will be distinctive.
  • In the center of the cathedral’s worship space will be the altar, sitting atop the predella (a raised platform) and visible from all pews. A large metallic baldachin and carved crucifix will be suspended above the altar, with the cathedra (bishop’s chair) to the north and the ambo to the south (Curious!). The mezzanine level will be reconfigured to support music performance in multiple configurations.
  • The cathedral’s new stone floor and lower walls will recall the earth, while the glass vaulting overhead frames the heavens.
  • Upper surface areas will be constructed with acoustics, lighting, solar heat transmission and ventilation in mind, as well as environmental comfort and visibility... . To minimize the transmission of heat and light from the glass walls and ceiling, the firm has designed an algorithmically complex series of quatrefoils made up of triangular metal sails in various stages of openness. By arranging open and closed “petals” on the inside surface based on the angle of the sun, natural light will be modulated and glare will be reduced.
  • Below the sanctuary, the undercroft will include the Chapel of St. Callistus, the bishops’ crypts and columbarium, a bride’s room, family room, choir practice room, sacristies and support functions. Silver travertine paving will follow the stairway down from the entry level through arched galleries and into the chapel.—OCCatholicNews. 

Click on images to enlarge.


  1. Gotta be a Debbie downer on this one. No matter what they are doing, it's still going to be ugly. It was Protestantly designed and modern to the extreme to the start in architecture, so much you cannot renovate and go back no matter how hard you try

    1. To a large degree, I share your concerns. While leaving room for a little optimism, I expressed as much in a previous post: see

      The "theatre in the round" thing drives me crazy. The "antiphonal" seating at least preserves a sense of sitting 'in choir'. Too bad the nave, however, is cut in half. So much for the idea that the Body of Christ is (should be) unified on the same level. The congregants who sit in the upper levels are further removed from the unity of the gathering main assembly. Ironically, having people sit above the altar confirms the tendency of modern designs to elevate man above God. It's bad enough we have in many modern(ist) church buildings people other than the choir (who mystically represent the heavenly choir) elevated above the altar.

      I'm still disappointed that the Diocese of Orange didn't opt for an original design by Duncan Stroik or someone of his calibre, of a building located on another property. I understand the financial considerations, and yes, the purchase was a bargain as far as real estate goes.

      I am surprised at the outcome of the redesign which involved Brother William Woeger, the consultant who led the design for the Oakland travesty. Given his influence, the Christ Cathedral re-design could have deviated much more from anything resembling a Catholic plan. His hand can be seen in the four floor candlesticks and the practically non-existent tabernacle hidden in a separate chapel, among other crypto-protestant innovations. Brother Woeger typically dismisses with a rather arrogant tone any criticism of his designs. Frankly, his designs display the same arrogant rejection of history and Catholic identity. He tends to render liturgical concepts abstract, concepts that are meant to find expression in clear, theologically precise forms, not structures that are only remotely connected with our heritage. My hope for architectural renewal is restored by the fact that Fr. Longenecker's parish is building a beautiful traditional romanesque church.

      The challenge that the Christ Cathedral design presents for the entrance and closing processions is still a concern. I'm guessing that the procession will enter from one side, down the central aisle, and depart down the central aisle the other side...?

      I am thoroughly glad that they got rid of the jumbotron screens, as far as I can tell. And, I'm also glad the design contains a choir loft. The position of the ambo seems incoherent with regards to the direction of the proclamation of the Word of God.

      Thank you for your comment, Julian!


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