Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We Didn't Start the Fire

It's been a rather humble day. I woke up late, there was stress at the office, dinner was not ready on time, and I burned my attempt at honey-glazed carrots. Our VSC retreat this coming weekend sounds long overdue.

It's been a humble day for the Catholic Church too, what with two clerical scandals blooming. Lately I have been addicted to the updates on AmericanPapist, reading that blog's insightful coverage of the bishop who turned out to be a Holocaust denier after his excommunication was lifted and the founder of the Legionaries of Christ/Regnum Christi apostolate who turned out to have a history of sexual *ahem* indiscretions. Ugh. Just typing that makes me ill. It's bad enought that these things happen, but now of course the secular media can use this as fuel for existing dislike of Pope Benedict or priestly celibacy.

The icing on the beleagured cake was another calamity - Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago caught fire in the early morning. Holy Name was one of the case studies in my church architecture project; I feel lucky that I made it there before the restoration work and fire damages. This morning I reviewed all my pictures from my visit, remembering the afternoon I spent scurrying around with my tripod and Theodora the camera. Smoke billowing from the cathedral roof was a heartbreaking sight, but from what I read online, damages are mostly water-related. I heaved a sigh of relief reading that a sprinkler system protected the ceiling panels like these:
The cathedral already sustained enough damage in the 1960's. Overzealous Cardinal Cody ripped out stained glass windows, the gothic reredos, and anything else he deemed too out-of-step with the post-Vatican II times. In return the cathedral got wrought-iron fixtures that have not borne the decades well. I couldn't help hoping today's events might mean the end of the "Weber Kettle Grill tabernacle."

Holy Name has been around for over a century; it will rebound. So can the Church. The foundation and framework are still there. We just need to put out the flames, dry everything off, and repair what was rotted.

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