Beliefnet
Rod Dreher

Andrew Sullivan kindly linked to last week’s Ugly Churches post here, which has brought in a new group of commentators. You might want to revisit the post to read the new stuff in the comboxes. I had a good laugh over this comment:

You’re out of your league here, Mr. Dreher. Why is it you did not choose any – ANY – of the godawful 19th and early 20th century Roman churches in the US that are cheap knock-offs of neo-gothic architecture? I suppose that any building that looks like the platonic ideal (i.e. the gothic church of your dreams) is going to fall short. It’s sad that you publish this without any understanding of the principles involved in contemporary liturgical design and architecture. But it’s a lot easier to criticize what you do not understand. I have to say that the St. Mary church in Florida (i.e. your Oscar Mayer comparison – probably because of color scheme) is really stunning. Both the reservation chapel and the gathering space are strikingly beautiful. But what do I know? I’m just a church theologian who works in the field.

Mercy me, what would we do without church theologians to tell us what’s beautiful and what’s not?
UPDATE: O frabjous day, we have more entries! One reader writes:

I have long thought St. Malachy’s in Burlington, MA to be a travesty of architecture and an insult to all that is sacred… it looks to me like a collection of outsized Easter eggs, viewed through a kaleidoscope while tripping on acid… the psychedelic egg theme is repeated in the interior in technicolor stained glass, plasterwork, windows, etc, ad nauseum. It’s hard to believe, but the photos on the church website don’t do justice to what is an all-out assault on the eyes in person.

She’s right, it’s pretty horrible. This Googie-ish parish is 1964’s idea of the future. Is it a Catholic church, or is it a Green Mountain Bay State outpost of Spacely Sprockets?
UPDATE.2: Ah, an entry from another religion: Behold, the Mosque of Ming the Merciless! Oh, and here’s an extremely ugly Washington church whose dying congregation can’t afford to maintain it anymore, but which the government insists must be preserved because its Stalinist aesthetic is deemed important. Maybe they want to keep it standing as a monument to What Not To Do in Architecture.

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