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Look what they have done to my Father’s house! July 12, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, secularism.

Reader SB sent me a photo which is very similar to one I think I’ve seen before. Not sure if I’ve ever posted it, or not.  Maybe I did.  I don’t have time to check because of this training I’m stuck in all day.  My friend thought this was from the 50s, but I’m certain it’s from the 20s or 30s.  Maybe WWII timeframe, but I think it’s early. Maybe MFG will let me know.

Whenever it’s from, it was a far more beautiful, uplifting, Catholic cathedral than what we presently have.


This is a big file, you can see a lot of glorious detail.

Drat it, I had lots more in this post, including photos of the cathedral as it is now.  I have no idea what happened to them, wordpress must have ate all that content.

As I was tried to say earlier, before wordpress intervened, one could assume the flags represent patriotism and nothing more, but given the history of the Church in this country, there is also the possibility of an Americanist influence.  I’ve been reading about the history of the Church in this country and how the heresy of Americanism, defined by Pope Leo XIII in 1899, has been part of the Church since this nation’s founding.  This particular history claims that the Church in the US has been protestantized by the dominant culture, rather than converting the culture to the Church. It further claims that this tendency has been the result of decisions made by the leadership, conscious or not, which always “bought into” the revolutionary ideas of “freedom of conscience” and just wanting the Church to be just another “denomination.”  Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus has rarely been loudly proclaimed in the US, and the last priest to make a serious effort to do so was thoroughly, completely squashed by the hierarchy, whatever the vagaries of his efforts were.

Nonetheless, what we have today is nearly iconoclastic in content, as can be seen from the current day photos of the cathedral. I am thankful the beautiful stained glass remains, but much other art has been removed, including lovely details along the ceiling:




I should note that it the marble altar rail you see in the old photo above that was removed in the early 70s and turned into curbs in the chancery parking lot.


1. Kevin Shook (@DFWSHOOK) - July 12, 2013

I remember once seeing a photo of the cathedral from the 1970’s. The Altar had been from the sanctuary and replace by a large “statue” of Jesus suspended from the ceiling.

2. Eric - July 12, 2013

48 stars on the American flag.

On July 4,1912, the U.S. flag grew to 48 stars.

On January 3rd,1959 the U.S. flag grew to 49 stars.

So I’d imagine this photo was taken somewhere within these 47 years (1912-1959).

tantamergo - July 12, 2013

Yeah, the flag narrows the date. But I think I’ve seen this before and if memory serves it was from the 20s.

But it could be from WWII as JP says.

3. Raul De La Garza III (@raul_delagarza) - July 12, 2013

It is very beautiful except that its marred by the presence of the flag of the United States. It makes it appear as if the Union were somehow to be worshiped and revered, though I am sure that this was not the intent. Imagine, if you can, that the flag were of a communist country such as China. Kinda puts things in perspective a bit, at least for me. Not to say that the Union is that far gone though we seem to be trending in that direction.

James Prime - July 12, 2013

I agree, but at least the flags are not in the sanctuary. According to the USCCB, the origin of displaying American flags in Catholic Churches began during WWII. Maybe that helps date the photo between 1941 and 1959.

4. Sal - July 12, 2013

If we could track down the coat of arms of the cardinal involved, that would narrow it down.
Or if there were any contemporary women in the photo, I could use my fashion-fu to date it.

5. MFG - July 12, 2013

I’m pretty sure this was for Bishop Lynch’s installation Mass in 1912. The High Altar was carved by Michael Coerver who I believe was one of several guys who started Dallas’ first Knights of Columbus council. His great grandson (?) is the pastor at St Rita’s, Msgr Bob Coerver.

tantamergo - July 12, 2013

You’re awesome! Did you send me that before?

6. Michael P. Mc Crory. - July 13, 2013

Just LOOKING at that first beautiful black and white church photo makes you feel like praying, which is what ‘it’ hopes you’ll do.

7. KathiBee - July 13, 2013

What struck me comparing the b&w photo to the modern day photos was what I’ll call, for lack of knowing the art-world term, “spacial symmetry”.

The current sanctuary is not proportional & your eye doesn’t know where to rest. The height & design of the walls & ceiling are proportional to the high altar & WAY out of proportion to the current OF altar. In the b&w pic, your eye goes directly where it should – the altar. The design of the ceiling & the woodwork directs your eyes there, and that is also where the eye rests. Even all the hanging stuff doesn’t, in the end, take your eye away from the altar. I personally like how not even a stained glass window is above the altar so as to not detract your eyes from the point of action. The architecture of the sanctuary speaks to the nature of the sacred space.

In the remodel, the eye scarcely even glances at the altar b/c you can’t really see it, and instead rests on either the stained glass or the framed picture of OLGuadalupe. The eye is actually seeking for the grand thing that the architecture speaks to, but doesn’t produce anywhere, and so it settles for the stained glass or the image of Our Lady b/c it has nowhere else to go. And from far enough back you can’t even tell it’s Our Lady, it just looks like a blob.

This isn’t so evident from the small picture at the bottom that looks like it was taken from the choir loft (in that one your eye does rest on the altar area b/c you’re looking down at it, but not necessarily the altar itself) but very evident from the first pic of the remodel.

It is really something how underwhelming the Cathedral sanctuary is. I’d never noticed the lack of proportionality before, I suppose b/c I’d not had the opportunity to compare before/after pix.

8. MFG - July 15, 2013

Tantamergo, I did not send that exact photo but I think I sent you other ones (of less quality) from the same day. Looking it other photos, it does appear its from his 1912 installation.

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