"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Wednesday, June 26, 2002 From the Los Angeles Times of June 26, the latest on the new cathedral and the old, briefly excerpted here for those who balk at the newspaper's bothersome online registration.
Controversy has surrounded Our Lady of the Angels, and its scheduled opening threatens to increase the focus on larger problems in the Catholic Church. By Reed Johnson, Times Staff
Even under the best of circumstances, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels looked as if it might be a tough sell. Rising above the Hollywood Freeway in downtown Los Angeles, the nearly $200-million edifice is an imposing mass of modern design, a resolutely 21st century building wedded to the tenets of an old and tradition-minded faith. Though some observers have praised the spare elegance of architect Jose Rafael Moneo's work, others have derided the cathedral's high price tag and lamented an austere, abstract style that has put some observers in mind of an industrial plant.
To its most persistent critics, the cathedral-in-progress epitomizes the egotism and arrogance of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and the aloofness of a Roman Catholic archdiocese they felt had turned its back on its core mission by abandoning its former skid row location for a fancy new address. The weekly alternative newspaper New Times has dubbed it "the Taj Mahony," a phrase that has stuck in local op-ed pages. Yet these controversies pale in comparison to the child sex-abuse scandal that's shaking the U.S. Catholic Church to its foundations. Now, with the cathedral's anticipated opening less than three months away, some believe that Our Lady of the Angels could become an embarrassingly high-profile focus for the larger problems of the Catholic Church. At best, they suggest, the cathedral may be seen as an unlucky victim of terrible timing, at worst as a costly 11-story fig leaf trying to camouflage the shame of its spiritual custodians…
Once an Altar, Now a Stage;
St. Vibiana's, the defunct downtown Catholic church, is the venue for 'Crossings,' a refreshing production of six plays of updated Bible stories. By Diane Haithman, Times Staff
An out-of-place object becomes an accidental piece of public art in the parking lot of downtown's defunct St. Vibiana's Roman Catholic Church. The cream-colored cupola that stood atop the church's bell tower for more than 100 years now lies sideways on the pavement, as if someone ripped the top off a wedding cake and dashed it to the ground. Next to the cupola is the church cross, also resting on its side.
Both the cupola and the cross are victims of the 1994 Northridge quake, when severe damage led to hotly debated plans to raze the Spanish Baroque cathedral at 2nd and Main streets to make room for a new cathedral. Instead, St. Vibiana's will be redeveloped into a complex containing a performing arts center, hotel and restaurant--as a new cathedral, Our Lady of the Angels, goes up nearby. But for now, the cracked and peeling St. Vibiana's is being put to remarkably effective use as the home of "Crossings," a refreshing, emotionally direct production from Cornerstone Theatre Company, using updated Bible stories to explore the journeys of Catholic immigrants to Southern California…