Perhaps the greatest theological failure of our age is making progress. The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland California is taking shape. As it takes shape, it is living up to the age-old maxim that if a church doesn’t look like a church, it will look like something, and people will decide what that is. Case in point: “Our Lady of Maytag” for the Cathedral in San Francisco, California, which shares odd similarities with a washing machine agitator. Perhaps the Oakland building is the “Our Lady of the Laundry Basket” to go with Our Lady of Maytag above. Maybe it is the lost building of the UN, separated at birth. Maybe Our Lady is just sad, and can’t laugh at the things we believe in when it comes to architecture. The local bishop described it as follows: “to enter the cathedral is to experience the world as God intended it at creation and as he restored it through redemption.” I sure hope not. I can’t imagine a world restored looking like a glass and steel building based on the premises of Modernism.
But as this project rises, two questions come to mind:
1. Which is better, Cardinal Mahony’s cathedral in Los Angeles or this? Why?
2. What name would you give this cathedral project in Oakland?