I enjoyed scrolling through all these images of Catholic churches done in a “brutalist” style, collected and explained by Catholic architect Jason John Paul Haskins. Brutalism is not necessarily the most popular sort of church architecture, but it is interesting, and it has something unique to say. Haskins explains:
The thing is, I genuinely find many of these church buildings to be sacred, inspiring, beautiful, moving, rich, worthy… And not in simply an academic or historical study; in my time in my own experience, outside considerations of their original context or the intent of their commissioners, architects, and builders. And this is especially true when I participate in their completion in worship.
If nothing else, take a quick scroll through all the pictures.
This, from Massimo Faggioli in Commonweal, is a fun and interesting look at the papacy through the lens of The Crown, which many of us binge-watched this year. The papacy is, after all, a monarchy, so similarities and parallels abound. Faggioli:
Francis has in a way upended things; more than his predecessors, he has chosen to lower the shield that ritual provides, revealing himself and the person he really is. This has injected unpredictability into the operations of the Vatican—which prizes predictability—making some of its courtiers nervous, but allowing others to thrive. In The Crown, we see this unpredictability in Diana, who as “the people’s princess” creates a kind of upheaval similar to what Francis has done in denouncing the clericalism of his brother bishops and casting himself more as part of the people of God than of the Curia.
I didn’t expect to see Pope Francis and Princess Di mentioned in the same breath, but we are in the hopeful new year of 2021, so—let’s go! Here’s the link again if you’re interested.
I’m not sure what to make of this article from The Seattle Times, about ongoing demands for more transparency and accountability regarding the clergy’s complicity in the sex abuse crisis here in Western Washington.
Members of Heal Our Church, a Seattle-based alliance of practicing Catholics who seek a public review of how the Roman Catholic Church’s worldwide sexual abuse scandal secretly festered within the parishes of Western Washington, contend they’re being stonewalled by Archbishop Paul Etienne.
Heal Our Church has been seeking a meeting with the archbishop since January of last year, but of course, the coronavirus seems like an obvious mitigating circumstance. And a major, lay-led review of all this, as the article acknowledges, has already been done. But frankly, little of the hierarchy’s behavior in this matter makes me want to extend much benefit of the doubt.
On the other hand, I was surprised to see the McCarrick Report mentioned at the end of the article as an example of the clergy “circling the wagons”, rather than as an unprecedented act of transparency. It seems to me that something like the McCarrick report is exactly what Heal Our Church is asking for?
Regardless, the hierarchy certainly deserves all the suspicion and scorn it receives from the media, the public, and the faithful in this matter. That and then some.
The Archdiocese of Seattle published a list of credibly accused clergy and religious, which you can find here. All have either died, been laicized, or assigned to “private prayer and penance”.