Captain’s log, star date…

No, it isn’t the Captain’s seat on the Starship Enterprise. It’s the cathedra in Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. For more, see here.



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6 responses to “Captain’s log, star date…

  1. Louise

    Oh, for the love of God…

  2. John Weidner

    Reason #339 why tradition is indispensable. I’ll bet the designer truly believed he was being creative and breaking new ground…

  3. Louise

    Bearing in mind that hideous church design has been around for ages. There are lots of pre-Vatican II chuches which are equally hideous.

  4. Anonymous

    Are these the fruits of the liturgical renewal?

    If so, we can’t get the SSPX back quickly enough and encourage continuity with Tradition.


  5. Schütz

    The deep sadness is that this monstrosity was installed in what was once a pristine Gothic cathedral.

  6. Peregrinus

    I don’t think Detroit Cathedral was ever a “pristine Gothic cathedral”. It was constructed over a period of about forty years, starting in 1912, by which time the Gothic revival was already nearing its end. The long duration of the construction period, combined with budgetary pressures, meant several changes of architect, and changes of design, during the construction. Like many designs of the late Gothic revival, it mixes stylistic Gothic features with a melange of other styles. For example, in the (disproportionately wide, by Gothic standards) nave of the Cathedral, undoubtedly Gothic windows are placed above shallow segmented arches characteristic of the “beaux arts” style then popular in America. Nothing wrong with any of that, but it makes it rather pointless to object to later additions on the basis that they aren’t Gothic.

    The throne you illustrate was added in about 2003, but not in isolation. It forms part of quite extensive renovations which aimed (among other things) to improve the sense of light and space in the Cathedral (which was criticised as dark and poky at ground level) with extensive use of light, white smooth surfaces, and of angles drawing the eye upwards towards the windows. The total glazed area of the building was increased, and glass prisms were used within the Cathedral to redirect and spread light.

    The photograph does not flatter the throne, which is not designed to be seen in isolation, from close up, but rather from the nave, and as part of the overall composition of the sanctuary, where its materials reflect the white marble of the altar, and its angular shape reflect the form of the organ pipes, above and behind the sanctuary. The apparently lopsided angle of the structure in your photograph is balanced by an equal but opposing angle in the design of the ambo, which faces the throne on the other side of the sanctuary.