A few weeks ago, I posted a story about new doors on Toronto's Our Lady of Sorrows Church. I was told about these a few months ago, their unsuitability on the Church. I drove by to take a look a few weeks ago. The story of the new doors remained pretty quite until Toronto's archdiocesan owned Catholic Register (funded by a "surtax" from the cathedraticum, the parish tax levied on the collection plate, in case one wonders how it survives in the age of blogs) reported on it with a photo and a note underneath, "the new $400,000.00 doors."
Yes, that is right, $400,000.00 (plus or including shipping) for two doors.
Now, I am the first to give glory to God through fine things and beautiful churches and art. Yet, the most beautiful liturgy could be celebrated on a rock or in a barn with possibly more edification; given the state of the Church today and the manner in which Her liturgy is celebrated by priests and treated by people, that is more likely the case.
The original doors can be seen on this painting by Toronto artist David Crighton. One is impressed by the symmetry and playfulness between the coffered doors and round stain-glassed windows beside them.
A commenter is quite annoyed with me for shining some light on the doors and the cost.
From the combox of the post highlighted above:
"I'm going anonymous with my reply as I live in fear of Vox and his rapier fingertips."I suspect that my anonymous friend does not like the fact that blogs allow the faithful to stand up to these clericalists. Think of what our parents and grandparents could have done with the knowledge and tools a half-century ago to stop the wreckovators from destroying our historic churches. Here in Toronto, few High Altars survive and only one intact communion rail and it was only a wrought iron affair in a suburban 1950's era church. The fine wood and marble, including the one here at Our Lady of Sorrows were smashed or used as parking curbs. Perhaps my writer should ask how that happened and how the mensa in this fine church was destroyed.
"Take a look at the last picture. The door (singular) was a gift to the parish from a group of wealthy Catholics within the Archdiocese, including several wealthy parish families."
I am very happy that "wealthy Catholics" contribute to the development and beautification of our churches but there is a larger issue. Did these "wealthy Catholics" specifically ask to spend their money on bronze doors or did someone in the parish go shopping for the bronze doors and seek out the money later to pay for them? Is this money that could have helped other parishes meet their Family of Faith goal? Was it good stewardship to spend the generous gift of our "wealthy Catholic" on two new and unnecessary doors? There was nothing wrong with the existing doors and they suited the building's original Lombard design.
"It was NOT purchased with Family of Faith dollars (The Archdiocesan long-term funding strategy and Pastoral Plan - Vox) and thus NOT by unknowing Sorrows parishioners at large."Ah, I see, so you have been getting pressure from the little people as to the accountability of the campaign. Then good that I am doing this, you should thank me now as they will know that it was other peoples $400,000.00 that went for these doors."This is fact. More facts: The door was created in Italy by one of the foremost sculptors of our time, Ernesto Lamagna (www.ernestolamagna.it), former secretary for sculpture at the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters."How wonderful for this sculptor. I am glad that you chose excellence over a Canadian. I visited his website, I'm not terribly impressed though I imagine some are. So what? The point is they were not necessary, they do not suit the building and they were $400,000.00!"He has created masterpieces for many Catholic churches around the world. The panels, frame (and keys!) are cast bronze and, as one might well imagine, weigh a whole lot (sorry but I don't have a number - suffice to say that the crane and crew struggled). The shipping alone amounted to tens of thousands of dollars. Plus installation."Yes, it must have been quite the undertaking, I trust the walls can support them. You admit that the cost was "Tens of thousands of dollars" for "shipping alone?" So, is that on top of the $400,000.00? Are we now looking at say, oh, I don't know ... $450,000.00? What the heck, why don't we just say a half million?
"The door is a piece of fine art. Eye of the beholder, remember? These eyes behold a beautiful work that matches astonishingly well with the architecture of the church."They don't actually. The wood coffered oak doors designed by the architect were in the Lombardy Style and were designed for the building. They reflected elements of the interior ceiling as the doors did to the ceiling at St. Pius X Church on the same street one parish east...Oh, wait, they spent a few hundred thousand tearing out the original ceiling for angels with faces painted replicating parishioners ... what am I thinking!"It tells two moving stories remarkably well. It will be something people come to see, study, photograph and write about for generations. And you, dear reader... Have you come to see the door? The parish and indeed the archdiocese, is blessed to have it."
I've seen it from the street, that was enough. Yes, a work of art they are, they do not suit the building, nobody should have spent a half million dollars on two doors!
"In 1964/65 many cried foul at the exorbitant cost of the pipe organ ($37,500)"Indeed as I indicated, a Casavant and the finest tracker organ in Canada. A masterwork for the Glory of God and His praise in the liturgy and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; a thing desirable for solemn worship."and many more hated the mosaics and were shocked by their cost."They are beautiful and tell the story of the rosary and the Life of Christ and His sorrowful Mother. We have been decorating ceilings and walls with biblical stories since the catacombs. They catechise. they inspire, they help contemplate. They keep a daydreaming mind of a simple human being focussed on all that is holy. Doors do not, once you're in, you're in.Beautiful things - be they a pipe organ, marble panels, mosaics, a bespoke icon,Bespoke? My such an erudite word. That icon was not necessary, what was removed for it was necessary, the Altar Cross original to the reredos was relegated to a side wall, no additional art or colour was necessary in this Church, art for art's sake is not what is needed when what is lacking is proper worship and catechesis! Were you ashamed by the crucified Lord?"or a door - COST MONEY. How much money is reflective of the times in which they are acquired. "What soul will be saved by sitting and contemplating the doors. If you care so much about St. Michael the Archangel then recite the prayer after Mass. Did you know the Cardinal Archbishop of this place tried to get the priests of Toronto to do this until he was scorned by them as the prayer was "so negative." True story!"Oh and the carpet is burgundy, not brown, and is cleaned regularly, thank you very much. It will be removed soon enough in favour of a newly restored sanctuary floor."How wonderful and while you're at it, restore the wrecked and discarded marble communion rail and encourage people to kneel to receive Our Lord. You might also consider the mensa on what was the High Altar and how about a conference in the parish on the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite so that it might take place there every Sunday. How about the Ordinary Form celebrated "ad orientem" as it was intended and the GIRM calls for if you actually read it? How about homilies by visiting priests that don't undermine the teaching of the Church on the family. (I do have a recording, after all)Looking forward to Vox's take on Renovations: Phase Two - 'The Cube'. Should be quite a ride (and read!)Is that a hint on what you will do with the Altar? Perhaps you should publish a picture or rendering on the webpage of the plan for the sanctuary.
|Original doors courtesy of C.VanderWouden Photography|
They should also listen carefully to certain homilies and know that if a priest tells them that the "family" is something other than what the Church has always taught, even should society or the state call it so, it is not the case and know that St. Domenic would not be amused.