Polemics & Exchanges

On the Beauty of Holiness

The lead pieces in the December issue (“The Beauty of Holiness”) are more mystifying than enlightening.  Much of this issue consists of supercilious ridicule of poor souls who try to honor God with imitative architecture and inadequate art, followed by sympathetic words for moral and social degenerates who were prudent enough to repent before dying—or at least, in one case, to repent of not yet repenting.  Several of the authors seem to be appealing to standards to which ordinary people can only defer but never really comprehend.  To read this issue with understanding, one would have to have wisdom greater than Solomon’s.

There is praise for cathedrals of the past, and even for Rome’s Pantheon, but we are not to imitate them.  Poor souls, Catholics and Anglicans, erect neo-Gothic churches as though they were medieval men and women, just as pitiably as Baptists and Methodists try to create buildings that no one could mistake for factories or grain silos.  Worse still are the pseudomodern structures better suited to chess competitions between computers than to the worship of the living God.  We simply do not know how to do it right, and Chronicles is not going to show us.

Chancellor Patrick’s essay (“Pugin and the Gothic Dream,” Views) is both confusing...

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