If on the East coast, then why not the West coast?

L.A. Catholic wrote about the spectacular Traditional Pontifical Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC and then mused:

Wonder when the Latin Mass will next be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels here in ole L.A.?

Infernal climate change may need to be monitored for a long time.

Brick by brick, folks.

Bp. Slattery’s Sermon in Washington DC – unforgettable

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. tjtenor2 says:

    Certainly not until Mahoney retires, methinks…

  2. optimist says:

    Funny you should ask….


    Solemn High Nuptial Mass, Mission San Juan Bautista, Saturday, April 24.

  3. Nathan says:

    IMO, the critical part to pulling off the glorious Solemn Pontifical Mass here in Washington was the hard work and dedication of a number (steadily increasing, Deo Gratias!) of holy priests who have been transformed by the TLM.

    Not to diminish in any way the work of the legions of holy laymen and laywomen, who have labored now for three decades, but the telling difference between the critically important Solemn Pontifical Mass sung by (+RIP) Cardinal Sticker in St Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC, in May 1996, and last Saturday’s Mass sung by Bishop Slattery was the number of priests, especially young priests, who attened in choro and were widespread in the pews as well. I counted 50 priests and religious processing in “in choro” not counting the sacred ministers. 50 priests and religious in choir! What an enormous blessing!

    There will be a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the cathedral in LA when there are enough priests who love the TLM and are spiritually transformed by it to provide the impetus for such an event to happen.

    As much as I am grateful, as a layman, for Pope Benedict’s pastoral solicitude for us in Summorum Pontificum, I am convinced more and more that the real purpose of the motu proprio is for the sanctification and salvation of priests.

    In Christ,

  4. Cristero says:

    @ Optimist, if that is your real name… Thanks for the shout-out, as the kids say nowadays.

    Now about that Nuptial Solemn High Mass at Mission San Juan Bautista this past Saturday. Not only did we have a Solemn Hign Mass with a Traditional Wedding, but the Schola of San Juan Bautista also did the Mass for Three Voices by William Byrd. It moved one down to the soul!

    Clips of the Schola should be up in the next day or so at their Youtube site, http://www.youtube.com/montereytlm

  5. becket1 says:

    Do you really think the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels here in ole L.A.is really set up for such a glorious Mass. Do they have altar rails installed and a high altar.

  6. Daniel says:

    What comes closest to being the West Coast equivalent of the National Basilica? I’ve not looked that close at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, it does not seem I’ve ever heard much complimentary about it. The cathedral in San Francisco resembles the inner workings of a washing machine, and didn’t seem like it had a particularly large seating capacity. While some of the Mission churches are very nice (including San Juan Bautista), that don’t seat large crowds. Are there any large and beautiful cathedrals or basilica’s on the west coast?

  7. Geoffrey says:

    There is a basilica in California: Carmel Mission Basilica aka the Shrine of Blessed Junipero Serra. Venerable John Paul the Great once visited it and prayed there.

  8. Nathan says:

    Becket1: Point well taken, but I wouldn’t underestimate the ingenuity of trads when given the opportunity. NLM has pictures up of Abp. Burke’s Solemn Pontifical Mass in Essen, Germany, a space that appears to have some of the problems of Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2010/04/pontifical-mass-of-msgr-burke-in-essen.html.

    Germany is a great example of making holy use of an ugly space. The FSSP apostolate in Stuttgart has, for at least a decade, offered the TLM in one of the absolutely architecturally hideous churches I’ve ever seen (by the Porsche factory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen), with no altar rail and a free-standing altar without a pradella. It is amazing what they can do every Sunday when they set up.

    Just looking at the photos, the problems with Our Lady of the Angels is the altar being on a level lower than the throne, no altar rail, and the throne behind the altar facing toward the nave rather than towards the altar.

    I’m no expert, but if there ever is an opportunity for a Solemn Pontifical Mass there, I think that there are folks out there who could deal with them appropriately.

    In Christ,

  9. Which is the largest Catholic church on the West Coast?

  10. edwardo3 says:

    You’d be surprised what could be accomplished in the Cathedral of Los Angeles. All you need is a painter or two and a few very large canvases…

  11. edwardo3 says:

    Maybe re-create a Bosch Altarpiece for LA.

  12. Paul M says:

    Hi Fr,

    According to this link, OLA is the 3rd largest cathedral in the world: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/usa/american-cathedrals

    Here is link to OLA page: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/usa/los-angeles-cathedral-of-our-lady-of-the-angels
    Look at the picture on the top-right: looks like a massive space shuttle!

  13. Agellius says:

    When the Latin Mass will *next* be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels?? It never has been!!

    Paul M:

    Funny that the only beautiful objects depicted in those photos — the stained glass and the crypt of St. Vibiana — are things taken from the *old* L.A. cathedral.

  14. Seumas says:

    To have a Solemn High Mass in that… thing… would be close to a sacrilege. Actually, to celebrate Mass there at all is an insult to God, or rather to have built it for that purpose is.

    God’s house ought to be the best we can give him, but instead they have built Him something Satanic. And that is no hyperbole; Satan is the father of ugliness just as he is the father of lies and evil.

    Beauty, Truth and Goodness are objective things, and are closely related, like facets of one jewel, and they are all part of the nature of God. Their opposites–ugliness, falsehood and evil–are directly or indirectly of Satan.

    So, what do you think it is, to have the highest earthly expression of Beauty, Truth and Goodness (the Mass) inside what is a very low expression of ugliness (and not out of necessity, as in a poor country or time of persecution when Mass must be celebrated in poor hovels or warehouses, or in the military in wartime when Mass is celebrated in tents or using the hood of a Jeep for an altar, but when we build something ugly for the purpose of celebrating Mass and choose to celebrate it there)?

    To me, it seems similar–in principle–to receiving Holy Communion in mortal sin (or at least in a bad state of mind). In both cases the goodness and very presence of God is entering into an abode that is distorted by evil.

    I know some would say “it’s just a building, sheesh” But things of our material world have power. They can affect us positively or negatively, they can form or distort our minds, heal or disease our souls… and the words of our hands and minds can also either give glory to God, or not.

    Everything we do should help to order our minds and souls correctly; how much more should our places of worship do this? Everything we do should give glory to God, how much more–oh so very much more–should our churches give Him glory?

  15. Don’t be surprised with a trad’s creativity. We can get some of the externals, I’ve written to my new archbishop in hopes we may get a Pontifical High Mass, maybe at my parish of St Therese, maybe at OLA, we’ll see.

  16. Geoffrey says:

    “God’s house ought to be the best we can give him, but instead they have built Him something Satanic.”

    That is a bit over the top! I am no fan of the architectural design of the LA Cathedral, but it is still a duly consecrated church!

  17. Sieber says:

    For those in the Los Angeles area, you may like to come and take a last fond look at St. Charles Church in Toluca Lake. The wreckovation draws nigh. Those faithful who signed petitions in front of the church have been thanked for their opinions. The project, which had been stopped cold eight or nine years ago, has reappeared in all haste and fury before the installation of our new archbishop. (Post Hoc, coincidence???)

  18. TNCath says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised that when Coadjutor Archbishop Gomez becomes Archbishop Gomez if he doesn’t eventually celebrate a High Mass eventually.

  19. Ioannes Andreades says:

    What about St. Vincent’s on Adams and Figueroa? I believe that the altar rail is still there: http://bigorangelandmarks.blogspot.com/2007/11/no-90-st-vincent-de-paul-church.html

  20. Jakub says:

    According to the Cardinal Mahony, only 1% of the Archdiocese members are interested in a Latin Mass…

    Tired of hearing “we don’t do that anymore”…

  21. Re: the LA Cathedral, pretty much everybody acknowledges that the saint tapestries are also lovely. So that’s one thing, for sure.

    As for creativity, if you’ll scroll down, you’ll see that this wedding photographer actually manages to make the cathedral look good! Amazing work!

    Looks like you could install communion rails, if you wanted. But all you really need for comfort is a priedieu down front, or maybe a kneeling cushion.

    What that place really needs is a big colored canopy or curtain behind the altar — probably behind that etched glass thing, but maybe in front of it. I mean, it’s crying out for some color other than beige cement brown. Liturgical season colors would be nice.

  22. Well, of course there’s some less than optimal stuff going on in the wedding photos. People don’t know any better, these days. But I’m just pointing out the look of the cathedral, not the rest.

  23. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Jakub, even if it’s only 1 percent, out in L.A. that means 30,000 Catholics.

  24. trespinos says:

    Just to continue the West Coast cathedrals survey:

    Oakland — similar problems to OLA, but a willing bishop
    Seattle — wreckovated to a fare-thee-well
    Portland — beautifully renovated at then-Abp. Levada’s instigation, though not completed until after he’d left; however, no high altar. Still, across the Columbia:

    St. James Church, (minor basilica status requested–not sure if granted). Built in 1884, when Vancouver, WA was still the seat of the Diocese (moved to Seattle in 1907), this Gothic style mini-cathedral would fit the bill for a medium-size congregation, not more. Classic high altar, communion rail, the works. But an event here could be easily overlooked; the LA area is where the demographics say the focal point needs to be–given time, and the new archbishop.

  25. Rob Cartusciello says:

    San Juan Capistrano. Newly renovated in a traditional manner. Absolutely gorgeous, and roomier than most of the other mission churches.

  26. TrueLiturgy says:

    Ioannes Andreades: St. Vincent’s is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the link!

  27. timelord says:

    How about the minor basilica of San Juan Capistrano? Father Brighenti and I have visited and celebrated Mass there several times. The rector is very good and the church is exquisite. Granda did the work on the sanctuary restoration. As they say in the UK, ‘just loooooooovely’

  28. Jakub says:

    The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is 8,762 square miles in size, so those 30,000 equal 3.42 people per square mile…

    Besides, the local parish priests in my neck of the high desert have little or no interest…at least at this time.

  29. joecct77 says:

    It is strange that the LA Times made mention of the Solemn Pontifical Mass, but nary a peep from the Washington Post??

    And now for some levity:

    Father and I went out to Mass
    Along with Father Goodwin
    And then we saw the altar boys
    Responding in the Latin!

    Extraordinary Form, keep it up
    Extraordinary Form is rigorous
    Chant for music
    Brick by Brick
    Domine non sum dignis!

    Father forgive me, I know not what I do!!

  30. Jerry says:

    re: Sieber – “The project, which had been stopped cold eight or nine years ago, has reappeared in all haste and fury before the installation of our new archbishop”

    Perhaps the parishioners could attempt to contact Abp. Gomez directly to request his intervention to put the “renovations” on hold until the plans can be reviewed?

  31. Patrick J. says:

    Surburban ::

    NO, and NO,

    The Cathedral is ugly, from any angle and no matter the photo/lighting/foreground/background. Gross.

    Ditto for these:


    Could go on the front cover of the “Watchtower.” Reminds me of the psuedo piety at the Los Angeles Cata-heretic Congress. And those robes. IF that is what heaven looks like….

    Just about everybody does what???

  32. Patrick J. says:

    Just my personal impression,

    Actually, I prefer the Watchtower, at least everyone in heaven is smiling:


    Why, re: the tapestries at Our lady of the Angels, in the “beatific vision” of inclusiveness, does it come across as forced, and with still Euros always still clearly in the majority, with a few tokens thrown in. I.e., five whites, one black, one Latino/Indian, one or two asians. Does not ring true. I mean, if your goal is to represent what heaven looks like, and you go out of your way to be obvious in depicting the gamut of humankind, why not make it more like it really will be. Lots of Asians (funny how this artist gives one of the (few) prominent Asians, in a different tapestry, a coolie hat, almost a caricature). This does not even come close to the minority/white make-up of Los Angeles. Then, eigty percent in robes, then just a few without, then the kid with tennis shoes – so again, the paintings, with the psuedo realism, are just odd, wierd, looking like they are attempting to be very PC, but not going all the way. Just well, odd. Again,

    This is beautiful?

  33. Patrick J. says:

    Sorry, bad link, try this for This is beautiful?:


  34. Patrick J. says:

    I like also St. Vincent’s on Figueroa St. and Adams (USC area) Los Angeles. Magnificent and seats 1200. As one might guess, staffed by the Vincentians. They are very nice and can be quite accommodating.

  35. Sieber says:

    Re: St. Charles wrekovation, see the Wikipedia entry on St. Charles Borromeo Church, North Hollywood, California. Oh yes, in my above entry I neglected to mention the magic word…..”Vosko”

  36. Henry Edwards says:

    A variant question from afar:

    Which will come first to the Cathedral of OLA–a transcendant EF Mass, or an OF Mass celebrated with all the beauty and reverence one could desire or imagine?

  37. robtbrown says:

    The interior of the LA cathedral doesn’t look nearly as bad as the exterior.

    Anyone looking for a clean sweep might check out the SF cathedral.


  38. irishgirl says:

    joecct77-Ha! Love your parody of ‘Yankee Doodle’! Very cool!

    A EF Mass in LA-and in that horror that’s called a cathedral? Don’t know if that will ever happen….

    Jakub-yeah, I’m with you; I’m tired of hearing that old remark, too!

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