Ugly as Sin

Michael Rose wrote a book called Ugly as Sin talking about Post V2 churches.

Lately I made the realization that even Secular Hollywood understands that too. Anytime I have seen the inside of a Catholic church in ANY TV show or Movie it is always a Pre Vatican 2 church and very exquisite.

Deep down inside they (Hollywood) may try to misrepresent what our faith is or its teachings but even they know how beautiful traditional churches should look

I doubt that it is the real reason why they show older churches. My take is that Hollywood uses older churches because they want to use some kind of stereotypes about Catholics. Can you imagine if the average soap opera viewer would see some of the most liberal parishes in the USA (Halloween Masses)? Do you think that they would say that the Church is evil because She is stuck in the past?

Nothing in Hollywood has to do with aesthetics, only with pushing things to make a buck.

Michael Rose’s book is very well done. I highly recommend it.

Ugly as Sin

Exactly. Ever seen a movie or fictional tv show, for example, with a female Christian clergyman in it? Even though there are plenty out there, and even a fair few female ‘bishops’, they’re not represented on film.

Ever seen one where a Christian clergyman of any description wears no clerical collar? Again there are plenty such in real life who aren’t commonly portrayed on film.

Now another one - how many do you see where a Catholic priest is portrayed in a 100% positive light? I’ve seen a rash of 'em on crime shows and in sensationalistic movies about child abuse and such, but not so many anywhere else.

Hollywood does indeed deal in easily identifiable images, not in reality. Besides which so many movies are actually period pieces and set in pre-Vatican (and pre-NO) times.

I agree. Also, I think that since many people in Hollywood aren’t Christian, they aren’t aware of the differences between Christian denominations, so they tend to blend together.

In Arrested Development (a great TV show that deserved a better fate) the young man dates a pastor’s daughter. Yet he also talks about his girlfriend attending Mass.

I thought the Priest in Exorcism of Emily Rose was seen fairly positivley.

I think - for the most part - you are correct.

Haha, yes many modern churches are exceedingly ugly ;).

It is good then that Hollywood shows the older churches, even if they dont portray the Church itself in a good way.

I agree that many Churches are ugly. Some due to “remodeling” like mine, some are just being built that way. I think the traditional older Churches are chosen simply so people know it is a Catholic Church being depicted. :slight_smile:
If they were to chose some in my area one would not know if they were Catholic.:o

unfortunately. however, SHOULDN’T a church be easily recognized? (rhetorical question, esp. in this forum)

The current church structure of the parish I’m a member of was built in the '70’s. I wouldn’t call it ugly, but it is plain. Thank God, the pews aren’t in-the-round are anything like that. But I would love to see more statues and more stained glass. We got new Stations of the Cross a few years ago. They are very large, heavy, golden mosaics. They almost look out of place, but I wouldn’t trade them. Our tabernacle is golden looking, but kind of plain. Now the tabernacle from our old church building is so beautiful. It’s white and looks like a tiny cathedral or castle (fit for a King). They use it in the reception hall, for First Communion, so the children can take their pictures by it. And they use it for the St. Joseph’s Altars. I don’t know why they didn’t just use it in the new church for the Eucharist.

I agree with you Karen. Although I am not a member of what is our joint geographical parish, I’ve attended often enough. Very 70’s. And those pressed wood arching beams? My great room has the same thing. (The same contractor who did those pressed wood beams for the parish used them in his own first home [which I bought]. Unfortunately, he is not Catholic but a member of that church next to Taco Bell.)

They didn’t use it for the same reasons that the original tabernacle at the cathedral wasn’t used in the renovation. It was “spring time for the church”. I find it ironic that so many of the marble statues and holy water fonts, etc. which were given away to parishoners in the renovation of the cathedral back in the late 60s have made their way back “home” and are being incorporated into the current architecture. It is even more ironic that the pipe organ and choir loft we had in the cathedral was ripped out during the renovations; replaced by the great electronic organ; and when that bellied up in 1989, both pipe organ and choir loft returned to the cathedral. :thumbsup:

It is patently obvious that either IC in DS needs to be enlarged or we need a new church here where we live. Although the last new parish created in BR was Blessed Sacrament and that was back in 1976.

Take Five! :stuck_out_tongue:

My “take” is that they use a traditional setting because they need to get their point over promptly, and the nondescript architecture that is unique to the Novus Ordo (even if not all instances of Novus Ordo architecture are nondescript) simply fails to indicate the setting.

I agree and was about to post the same thing. I imagine the people who do sets for movies and TV would look at a sterile looking Catholic church and realize "this doesn’t look “Catholic”’ in their mind or the veiwers.

There is a similar thing when they portray religious sisters or nuns. The only one I have not seen in habit is on Law & Order. And the funny thing is, even I question if she is supposed to be portraying a real Catholic sister or if they just called “Sister” or if she was one, perhaps she left the order but still does the work.

I’m not unaware of the stereotypes (and is a traditional looking church such a bad one?) but I’m more concerned with the portrayals of devout Catholics as crazy, criminal, judgemental and otherwise bad.

Hollywood, with all its warts and wrinkles, has grasped a concept that many in the church are trying very hard to cover-up: the reality of symbols. Symbols speak a whole story without saying a word. They reach back into time and resurrect all sorts of images from one’s past and feelings that have surrounded previous exposure to similar symbols. They are the pictoral equivalent to parables. They say a lot with only a little.

Hollywood doesn’t have time to sit and explain that someone is a nun. They just show the woman in a habit and everyone immediately knows what’s up.

It’s too bad we have to learn a lesson from Hollywood, of all places, when it comes to our own symbology!

While my personal taste is in accordance with Michael Rose’s critique of the more recent movements in Church architecture, it does bear pointing out that there have always been such criticisms of Church architecture. Many people felt that Baroque and Rococo styles–which I love–were ugly as sin, as they were seen as excessive frivolity. In fact, the term “rococo” became a derogatory term in common parlance.
When it comes to how churches are built, there will always be some happy folks, and some unhappy folks.

I have no doubt that is true. After all some Cardinals were aghast against Michaelangelo painting Adam and Eve in the nude in the Sistine Chapel. I liked how Michaelangelo dealt with them: “Why do you bring me fools to judge my work” However I think that current architecture is something that is really drastic and devoid of true Catholic devotion.

I mean some people think that having the tabernacle in the church takes away from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Go figure that!!:eek:

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