Sunday, September 15, 2013

From Crystal to Christ, The Evolution of Orange County's Famed Cathedral

Christ Cathedral

(Photo by MARK BOSTER/Los Angeles Times)

The L.A. Times has an interesting take on how the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County is taking pains to turn the Crystal Cathedral into a more Catholic-friendly cathedral:

"The exterior will always be the Crystal Cathedral, at least for a while," said Duncan Stroik, a professor of architecture at Notre Dame and editor of the publication Sacred Architecture Journal. "Catholic on the inside, but kind of Protestant on the outside."

Those who have taken on the project recognize that their assignment is a intimidating one, but they also have faith:

They can turn the Crystal Cathedral into the Christ Cathedral.

The diocese bought the Crystal Cathedral campus in 2011 for $57.5 million, beating out Chapman University in bidding for the Garden Grove property after Schuller's ministry filed for bankruptcy.

The diocese launched a $53-million undertaking to refurbish the complex, moving the congregation of nearby St. Callistus to the Christ Cathedral campus and handing over the old Catholic church to the Crystal Cathedral's refugees. (The transition hasn't gone without tension: The removal of engraved markers, called Walk of Faith stones, during the construction process has upset some of the Schuller followers who bought them.)

Walking the cathedral grounds, Neal marveled at what the Catholic Church has acquired: The Richard Neutra-designed Arboretum, where experts were at work restoring the architect's original vision. The cultural center, so futuristic in its design that it stood in as Starfleet headquarters in a "Star Trek" movie. And his favorite place, the Chapel in the Sky, the penthouse peninsula of windows from which he could see the far reaches of the diocese's domain.

Read more here.

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