Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My diocese is to close centenary churches by the dozens

For any who do not know, Cleveland is now home. Within the next 15 month something like 50 churches are set to be closed. Many of these churches are over 100 years old and are of museum quality...something you would not be surprised to see in Europe.

I recognize the given reasons for their closing...lack of priests, lack of money, and a basic lack of persons in the pews on any day of the week.

Over the years, I have come across many arguments on the importance of beauty in the life of man. Many people claim that good art uplifts mankind. I have even heard the argument that, in the end, it is beauty which will convert this earth to faith in God.

I have no sense of loss, shame, or remorse when a novel architectural sham of a round church is converted to a green house, parking lot, or trash depot. I cringe when I see some the truly magnificent churches of Cleveland on the verge of auction, emptiness, and/or leveling.

I'm very curious to hear from others: what role does art and beauty, particularly beautiful architecture, have in the day to day life of man? What role should art have in our daily lives? What does decidedly ugly architecture do to mankind?


  1. To answer your question, I quote novelist Mark Helprin, from A Soldier of the Great War:

    "I asked myself, why do I love, and what is the power of beauty, and I understood that each and every instance of beauty is a promise and an example, in miniature, of life that can end in balance, with symmetry, purpose, and hope--even if without explanation. Beauty has no explanation, but its right perfection elicits love."

  2. Kyle, what a great quote! Perhaps the elicitation of love is what is prompting many at some churches to be ready to die for their beloved, a romeo and juliet of parishioner and building...