Crystal (Catholic) Cathedral renamed St. ….

Pane by pane.

I saw this in the LA Times:

On the plaza of the future Christ Cathedral, 3,000 chairs and 7,000 water bottles awaited the faithful. On Saturday, before Mass welcomed families from St. Callistus Church to their new home, an organizer said into the microphone: “Those sitting in the sun will get more blessings from God.”

The service on the grounds once belonging to the Crystal Cathedral started on time at 4 p.m., as a parade of priests led by Bishop Kevin Vann let their words — English, sprinkled with Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese — embrace the multicultural crowd.


There was a lot more but I have two points to make.

First, multi-cultural? BAH! I think that using all those languages would have manifested disunity, just as the unfortunate Babel Incident did. If only the Catholic Church, the Roman Rite, had a common language that everyone could use. Gosh. Wouldn’t that be great?

Second, I like that the church was named St. Callistus! An ancient saint, too. How refreshing not to have something like “Living Faith Fellowship Community”
“Fluffy Lamb like Nice Jesus Pastoral Center”.

Speaking of odd names for churches, check out this amusing blog post. HERE.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. acardnal says:

    It is crystal clear to me that this is a most certainly “paneful” scenario.

  2. Mari Kate says:

    Sorry Padre but the name for the Crystal Cathedral is now “Christ Cathedral” not St. Callistus.

  3. rodin says:

    Looks like that blog post is an “oops”!

    Looks like that blog post is an “oops”!?

  4. rodin says:

    Sorry abut the dup. I’ve no idea how that happened.

  5. jesusthroughmary says:

    I think what is happening is that the parish of St. Callistus is being merged into the new cathedral parish, St. Callistus Church is closing/being taken over by the Crystal folks, and Crystal Cathedral will become Christ Cathedral, of which the St. Callistus folks will be parishioners.

  6. Bob B. says:

    It was ugly as a protestant TV church and it remains just as ugly.

  7. A Sinner 2 says:

    It was the Hour of Power the started me on the long road leading to my return to the Church, so the building’s conversion to a Catholic Cathedral doesn’t disturb me. (And there are far worse buildings constructed as Catholic churches and cathedrals, including the former St. Callistus —

    This quote, however, does:

    “‘Here we will honor the human person,’ Smith said.”

  8. NickD says:

    I wonder how the work being done to the interior will turn out. Will it actually be Catholicized? Or will it be hum-drum like it was when used by the Protestants?

  9. Mari Kate says:

    it is supposed to be in the process of Catholicization right now. Praying it won’t be as bad as Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles. The sad thing is that the soon to be former location of the Diocese of Orange which is known as Marywood, a sprawling green oasis is being sold. It truly is a beautiful property and it is a shame to lose it. Progress?

  10. jmoran says:

    Pane by Pane. Now that made me laugh out loud!

  11. HyacinthClare says:

    I advise skipping the link to the other funny-named churches. The site is pornography… at least it was with my browser.

  12. Bob B. says:

    Brother William Woeger, F.S.C., was hired by the diocese as the liturgical consultant – his projects have included serving as designer/consultant for the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.
    Between this, the LA cathedral and all the churches built since the mid-60’s or so, California has more Protestant churches than anyone else!

  13. Giuseppe says:

    I love the name Christ Cathedral. Granted, I know that it is important for a church to have a patron saint, but I sometimes like the idea of cutting out the middleman and going straight to the boss. Between Sunday morning cartoons, I used to watch Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power from the Crystal Cathedral, and I found the building to be gorgeous, with the sunlight like that of creation. It rocked in comparison to my newly renovated 1970-80s church, which looked slightly less religious than a Marriott Hotel lobby.

  14. Geoffrey says:

    While the structure is a monstrosity and I know the interior won’t be perfect, considering what they have to work with, I cannot help but be overjoyed that it will now be a Catholic cathedral.

  15. Mari Kate says:

    I have heard from many of my fellow Traditional Catholic friends that the new Christ Cathedral is truly beautiful. Yes Giuseppe, agreed. Something about “Christ” Cathedral has a beautiful ring to it. May it be the home of many new conversions.

  16. RomanticTradition says:

    As a young Catholic teen of the Diocese of Orange, I’m mixed about our new Cathedral. Firstly, I’m glad that we’ve actually taken it over, it’s been a inner Traditionalist dream of mine for us to acquire such a beacon of the center of Orange County culture to claim for the Church. You can see that Crystal Cathedral Cross from far away, and now those who walk to it, walk into the arms of the True Religion instead of Evangelicals. But on the flip side, I KNOW they are going to WASTE millions of diocesan money collected from our Capitol Campaign on a modernist, 70s, retro-renovation that will most likely be hideous and unacceptable. I hate how the liberals in our diocese have a monopoly on Church renovation here… because our diocese grew so fast in the 60s-70s that gave modernist architects an open season to experiment with a load of crappy contemporary designs that are falling apart and ugly monoliths as a testament to that time period. Even our most “traditional” Churches, due to the youth of our diocese, are still quite modernist. You can’t escape from it, we’re like a modernist wasteland. It was so bizarre when I explored the great Cathedrals of Europe because it was refreshing to finally get an idea what Churches actually looked like before, carpets, rainbow stain-glass, disorienting liturgical arrangements, and asymmetrical Church axis!

  17. Mike says:

    Using all of those other languages does, in my view, invoke disunity. Using Latin (a novel concept) would have eliminated that. Additionally, the church does not look much like a church aught to look. I wonder if they went to the expense of installing a communion rail with the intent of using it… which was not the case in the cathedral or in parishes of the bishop’s former diocese.

  18. Hank Igitur says:

    Should have left this place vacant for the space aliens when they invade.

  19. StWinefride says:

    RomanticTradition, I’m sorry you don’t have a beautiful Catholic Church to worship in :(
    In Europe, it’s not just the Cathedrals that are stunning, in my little country there are a lot of village Churches that are also untouched – like this one, built in 1759, one of my favourites – it’s open all day too:

    Hoping that it remains so for generations to come!

    Deo Gratias!

  20. Maltese says:

    Would make a nice convention center; but a cathedral??

  21. Ben Kenobi says:

    “If only the Catholic Church, the Roman Rite, had a common language that everyone could use. Gosh. Wouldn’t that be great?”

    Greek? ;)

  22. liebemama says:

    I agree with Mike about the languages. One need only to look at the Miami Diocese under the old leadership, before Bp. Wenski. Masses were in at least 3 languages, none of them Latin. No one I knew in S. FL felt any connection whatsoever to the Cathedral/Bishop and were looking north to Palm Beach and St. Augustine for any kind of direction. It was a wasteland!

  23. VexillaRegis says:

    Not the most beautiful church I’ve seen, but their organ is a magnificent instrument! It has over 200 stops and five manuals (+ pedals, of course ;-))

  24. jaykay says:

    Wow! That instrument is really interesting! And it’s apparently also connected to the carrillon, which can be played from the console. Wow again! Although with a rank of 44 (et iterum dico: wow! ) 32′ stops, I wonder how all that glass has survived?

  25. VexillaRegis says:

    jaykay: Wow is certainly the right word to describe that instrument! Looking at the disposition on Wikipedia I could *only* count to nine 32′ stops. But that’s more than impressive! Add to that a 64′ La Force!!!!

    For you who aren’t familiar with organ terms, 64′ then is the length of the lowest pipe in the organ. 21 metres. It’s extremely unusual to have such low “sounds”. Most organs have 16′ ranks in the pedal and/or manual(s), a 32′ is a luxury.

  26. Darren says:

    Well, it looks like Newark, NJ’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Hearth will lose the ranking of largest organ in a Catholic Church in the USA. What a shame… a beautiful beautiful Cathedral loses that rank to a glass monstrosity.

  27. iowapapist says:

    Father’s reference to the “Babel” incident brings to mind the question I have asked myself for many years. I fail to understand how eminent church theologians haven’t made the connection between vernacular language use at Mass and the Tower of Babel. Ben Kenobi: according to an acquaintance, steeped in linguistics, Greek is not as suitable for liturgical use as it is does not have the necessary precision (an attribute of the Latin language). The ambiguity of the Greek language has resulted in the misapprehension that Christ’s brothers and sisters were actual siblings and not relatives. Personally, I think that Greek is still preferable to that which we currently have. Also, (digression) kudos to acardnal for his “paneful” pun which I found to be most sill-y.

  28. Indulgentiam says:

    Sorry but that looks like a Las Vegas casino

    What ? Did somebody decide to give the Tower of Babel another go?

    Imagine being in a different country, your homesick and then you walk into a Catholic Church for Mass. The Mass is the TLM, the familiar, your home, sigh. Once every Catholic in the world could PRAY the Mass in almost any Catholic Church in the world, that’s unity.

  29. inexcels says:

    Agreed that using a slew of different languages when addressing crowds would only serve to promote disunity.

    That said, using Latin would have been even worse since few to no people in the audience would have understood a word of it. I sure wouldn’t.

    Before using Latin to cross cultural boundaries can work, you are going to need to somehow ensure that fluency in Latin becomes a widespread characteristic of average-Joe Catholics… a project that would probably take a full generation, if not longer, even with superb organization.

    Good place to start might be to try to convince some Catholic schools to include mandatory Latin in their curriculum and spread the practice from there.

  30. Indulgentiam says:

    inexcels says:Good place to start might be to try to convince some Catholic schools to include mandatory Latin in their curriculum and spread the practice from there.”

    OR you could cut out the middle-man and order a Latin primer—
    With accompanying dictionary.
    Henle Latin also has excellent text. And teach yourself and your children the language of the Church. Need help? Seton homeschool has excellent Latin counselor and their prices are beyond reasonable, God bless them.
    Let us recall what happened, in the last 50 years, when parents entrusted catechesis to somebody else. We are their primary educators and we will be judged accordingly.

  31. Kieninger says:

    Could you imagine every square foot of that clear glass covered by magnificent stained glass images of saints and heavenly imagery? If the diocese proposed that, they would get donations from around the world.

    Regarding the “odd church names” link, in the little village of Liberal, Oregon (yes, it really exists!), the local church bore the carefully-worded sign, “Evangelical Church at Liberal.”

  32. anilwang says:

    inexcels says: ” you are going to need to somehow ensure that fluency in Latin becomes a widespread characteristic of average-Joe Catholics”

    It’s a chicken and egg problem. I went to a Catholic grade school and didn’t learn Latin. I learned Latin in a public high school along with 2 other students. The teacher explained, Latin used to be extremely popular but since no-one uses it any more, there’s no interest in it. That likely explains why its not part of a typical Catholic School or even public school education.

    If you want to promote Latin, you have to start with the liturgy and actually implement Vatican II by making Latin prominent within the liturgy. Because we’ve declined, we have to start at the common hymns and prayers. Because they are common, you should already know what they mean so there should be no diminishment of understanding. Once this is standard, the Liturgy of the Eucharist needs to be in Latin. Again, most of the Liturgy of the Eucharist is standard and repeated so, you should already know what they mean so there should be no diminishment of understanding. If there’s any doubt, cards can be available which translates the Latin into vernacular.

    Modifying the Liturgy of the Word is more problematic precisely because people do what to understand what is said and there is a great deal of variation. That being said, there’s no reason the common prayers and rubrics (e.g. “Dominus Vobiscum” / “Et cum spiritu tuo” ) can’t be Latinized precisely because they are repeated and everyone should know what they mean.

    If all these are done, the NO would be a lot closer to implementing Vatican II than the average NO liturgy and it would be much easier to attend a vernacular liturgy you don’t understand (i.e. you might not understand the gospels and readings (just bring your missalette), but nearly every other part of the liturgy should be familiar). So the need for “multicultural” liturgy is greatly reduced.

  33. phlogiston says:

    It may be ugly and modernistic (I repeat myself) but it is an improvement over the Taj Mahoney.

  34. Bob B. says:

    StWinefride There are so many nice little churches in Europe. Luckily, I was able to see a lot of them during my 8 years in Germany (Stuttgart) some 30 years or so ago. It always seemed that every little town had an old church that was worth seeing, though sometimes the snows of winter made the insides of many of these churches almost an icebox.

  35. Gallia Albanensis says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with the legitimate use of multiple languages, nor do I see how it manifests disunity. If anything, the more languages under the umbrella of Holy Mother Church, the more is shows her universality.

    The parish down the street from me makes several nods to the formerly “ethnic” parishes that have been consolidated into it, especially its own original language, French. This only seems right and proper. To me it is as natural as rain to honor your history and not totally re-varnish it every time the population happens to change.

    At the same time, if you’ve ever been a parishioner where there are sizable populations of different language speakers, then you are know that there are all sorts of issues of Christian charity involved, and also more pragmatic problems, that very much differ according to the parish and its cultures.

    This is an incredibly complicated (and frequently local) concern. While I admire and support Latin in the Roman Rite – preferably in every Mass to one degree or another – I don’t think it’s appropriate to make broad-brush judgements about what should be done everywhere about an issue of prudence, or presume that every use of multiple languages is a leftist political statement (granted, it sometimes is).

    Let’s also remember that the Roman Rite (in all its “forms”) is really and truly the Global Rite – it is in use by perhaps 97% of the world’s Catholics. While this is not an excuse for all sorts of wacky, low-church “inculturation,” it does mean that if you’re yearning for the uniformitarianism of the recent past (which was not in evidence in the Patristic church), then you are likely to be disappointed.

  36. Old Church Slavonic ;)…but I must say the Crystal (now an actual) Cathedral is an improvement over the Taj Mahony (not by much though)….Monterey, San Diego, Sacramento and Santa Rosa aren’t in the competition for ugliest Cathedral in California, thanks be to God.

  37. Art says:

    “If only the Catholic Church, the Roman Rite, had a common language that everyone could use. Gosh. Wouldn’t that be great?”

    Christian Aramaic ;-) Pray as Jesus would have prayed!

  38. rbbadger says:

    The Diocese of Orange is very close to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The former bishop, Bishop Tod Brown, is a close friend of Cardinal Mahony’s. They attended seminary together with Cardinal Rigali and Cardinal Levada. These sorts of multi-cultural liturgies are very popular in the archdiocese and in Orange as well.

    I am curious what they will do with the interior. There’s not a lot to work with. On the other hand, they will inherit one of the largest and most glorious pipe organs in California. The pipe organ was designed by Virgil Fox and was built by Fratelli Rufatti of Padova, Italy.

    I spent a couple of years in the major seminary in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. While I don’t remember those years with a great deal of fondness, I did have a teacher who loved chant. While he is emphatically a supporter of the forma ordinaria, he once seriously proposed saying Mass in Latin over these sorts of multi-cultural things.

    I do value the many cultures which makes America such an interesting place to live. However, my criticism of the multi-cultural liturgies are that they take a showcase of each culture without really doing justice to any of them. It’s a sort of liturgy meets “It’s A Small World”.

  39. iowapapist says:

    Gallia Albanensis:

    The use of multiple languages manifests disunity as 1) not everything can be translated literally, 2) Some languages contain inherent and unavoidable ambiguities and 3) dissidents within the Church (of both clerical and lay variety) will manipulate the language to further agendas which are not always consistent with Church teaching. If “lex orandi, lex credendi” is truly a part of our faith, then it is critical that we all pray using language which conveys identical meanings. Additionally, the use of vernacular languages at Mass promotes a form of nationalism which is at odds with our belief in unity among Catholics. I remember an Hispanic man with whom I was discussing the merits of the priest at a particular Basilica. He agreed that the priest was a holy man, but complained that he wanted to “see a brown man offering Mass.” Ethnicity should not compete with faith and the belief that the Church is “catholic” (i.e. universal).

  40. av8er says:

    My mother-in-law, a non denominational Christian, loved to talk about this guy who would preach from this beautiful glass cathedral in Orange, CA. I can’t help but feel a little satisfaction that the Catholic “flag” is now flying from there. Better to gain a building for the One True Faith than loose one to false teachings.

    Acardinal’s comment made me actually laugh out loud.

  41. jaykay says:

    VexillaRegis: well I didn’t actually count, I just went to a site dealing with great organs of the world. But I didn’t catch the 64′. Wowissime! We’re talking Queen Mary horn here!! Foundation-shuddering stuff:)

  42. VexillaRegis says:

    jaykay: Yes, the 64′ rank might explain the leakes in the roof! ;-P
    After some research, I found this about La Force: That stop either has two pipes per key – one 32′ and one of 21 1/3′, so the biggest pipe is *just* 7 metres high, or, which is more likely, one pipe per key, i e the 21 1/3, which is supposed to be combined with a 32′.

    Are you a musician too? :-)

  43. jaykay says:

    Vexilla: musician, no. Despite my mother ‘s best efforts to teach me piano. But I’ve been in choirs since the age of 9. In the church choir I’m in (one of my 3) we’re right up beside the organ, one of the biggest in Ireland (Willis original). When the 16’s get going, we abandon all pretence to musicianship and just bellow:) So a 32’ … in my dreams.

  44. Jbuntin says:

    I don’t know what Bishop Brown had in mind for renovations but, I can tell you Bishop Vann will make it as beautiful as possible. When he was the Bp. of Ft. Worth, one of the first things he did was remodel the chapel at the diocese center. It was a cold and stark place and then Bp. Vann put in green marble and nice warm hardwood and pews not chairs. It was beautiful.
    But be prepared to dig deep in your pockets, he really knows how to throw a capital campaign!

  45. Jbuntin says:

    Oh, and as far as multi lingual services, get used to them. Bp. Vann is a fan of any language other than Latin. He is a good shepard and he had his hands full here. Ft. Worth is a very large diocese in square miles. Bp. Vann did his best to serve all.

  46. VexillaRegis says:

    You sing in three church choirs? You must be a tenor… ;-)
    I envy you the Willis organ, sigh.

  47. janeway529 says:

    I have, on good authority, heard that the Diocese of Orange is considering installing a baldachin, since it would be the most practical renovation considering the space that they have to work with.

  48. Marcus de Alameda says:

    Gallia Albanensis:

    I agree with IowaPapist post.
    Multi-language use at Mass does more to divide the congregation than unite. It does promote a soft nationalism and detracts from the universality of the pilgrim Church. Milking down the Mass to the common denominator of the audiance is a common practice of protestants (Note that I was brought up Methodist/Lutheran). For a test, attend a Lutheran (ECLA) service and witness the similarities of intent with a typical N.O. Catholic Mass. The more the N.O. Mass continues it’s key focus on the diversity of the people, and not on Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, then eventually the Mass will default into a community gathering of song and revelry where God is given definition by each individual (relativism). The Roman Catholic Church has a universal language for the Latin Rite, it’s called Latin! It should be used for the cannon of the Mass with good common language tranlations via the missal. The use of Latin in the cannon of the N.O. Mass, would set straight the path to unite the faithful in one language where it is most important. Until then, the protestant divide and nationalism via the Mass will proliferate to it’s own oblivion.

  49. joeclark77 says:

    When I first started inquiring into the Catholic Church I attended RCIA for a few weeks at a multicultural parish in the LA area (unfortunately it was at the end of their RCIA cycle, just before Easter, so I had to wait until the following year before I had made my decision to fully join the Church). I have traditionalist tastes (I read Fr. Z’s blog after all) but I will say that the multicultural stuff didn’t bother me nearly as much as some of the more bland modernist stuff I’ve seen since. The parish I attended had a Samoan choir at one of the Sunday masses which was by no means traditional but their hymns were glorious, a cappella, and uplifting to the spirit, despite being in a language I didn’t know. The pastor would typically have one of the readings read in Samoan, but I could read the English in the missal, and of course it was a modernist mass with lots of EMHCs and etc, but I’d gladly choose it over a lot of the more modernist masses I’ve seen in the city I now live in. One thing about those foreign-born priests is they’re less likely to be culturally “trained” for political correctness, and sometimes you get a real good homily.

    The Crystal Cathedral is beautiful. I attended a Christmas pageant there a few years back, and the production value would just blow your mind. (Perhaps that’s part of why they went bankrupt…)

  50. joeclark77 says:

    @Maltese and others: What you’re seeing in the picture Fr. Z posted is one of two buildings. I think you’d call it the auditorium or maybe “parish center” and it looks like a Protestant megachurch on the inside with movie-theater seating and a stage up front. It’s where I saw their big Christmas spectacular. The other building is the church or sanctuary (I don’t know what they call it) and it looks a lot more like a proper cathedral. Do an image search for the Crystal Cathedral and you’ll see what it looks like.

Comments are closed.