Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Pope in Spain: What he said about Sagrada Familia.

A friend sent me the following.

The second question was: "What significance can consecrating a church such as the Sagrada Familia have at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Is there some aspect of Gaudi's vision that has struck you in particular?"

"The truth is", said the Holy Father, "that this church is also an appropriate sign for our own times. In Gaudi's vision there are above all three elements that call my attention. The first is the blending of continuity and novelty, tradition and creativity. Gaudi had the courage to make himself part of the great tradition of the cathedrals. Using a completely new approach, he dared in his own time to make the cathedral a place for the solemn meeting between God and man. And this courage to remain within tradition, but with a creativity that renews tradition and shows the unity and progress of history, is a beautiful thing. Secondly, Gaudi chose the tripartite structure of the book of nature, the book of Scripture and the book of liturgy. This is of great importance. Scripture is made present in the liturgy, it becomes real today, it is no longer a Scripture of two thousand years ago but is celebrated, made real. In the celebration of Scripture creation speaks and finds its true response because, as St. Paul tells us, creation suffers and ... awaits the children of God; i.e., those who see it in the light of God. This fusion between meaning and creation, between Scripture and adoration, is a very important message for today. Finally, the third point is that this church was born of a typically nineteenth-century form of devotion: St. Joseph, the Holy Family of Nazareth, the mystery of Nazareth. But this devotion of the past could be said to have a great deal of importance today because the problem of the family, the renewal of the family as society's fundamental cell, is the great theme showing us the way to build society and to create a unity of faith and life, of religion and society. The main theme here is that of the family, for God Himself became a child in a family and He calls us to build and live in families".
Thanks Fr. Joe.
As usual, New Liturgical Movement has excellent photos of the Pope's trip.


  1. Maria--

    I saw in a previous post that you were having difficulties at work...I willpray for you at Mass this morning...


  2. I've never really liked this cathedral, although I'm open enough to have a change of mind if and when I see it in person. To me, it looks like it's been constructed out of coral reefs! And recently, when I look at it, I start thinking "SpomgeBob." Very silly on my part, no doubt, and I mean no offense to anyone who may enjoy this it.

    Recently, I saw a YouTube video of the Cathedral of Christ the Light out in Oakland, CA, and noted some missed opportunities in that construction. Some of the iconography is quite beautiful, while others seem banal and somewhat exanimate. Internally, it seems that a portion of the Church was constructed out of concrete, and another portion incorporates a significant use of both wood and glass. Unfortunately, while some of the intended symbolism in the structure of the Church is commendable, I can't capture a sense of mysticism (mystery of God) inside that cathedral.

  3. Fr Joe12:49 PM

    Happy to help, Terry!

  4. Fr Joe12:53 PM

    Tom, I always had the same impression as you described when I saw it in photographs. It looked like melting candles to me. But up front it has a magnificence that's hard to describe. Plus it's still in progress -- it's called an "expiatory temple" and part of what goes with that territory is that it is only built from donations of people who come to visit there and leave money (a lot of said money is through the admission ticket you buy to get in). Every so often, when that money adds up to a certain level, they begin the next "project." I was there last November and concelebrated Mass there; at that time I was told they expect to have it completed in another 20 years. If I'm still alive and well enough to travel I'll go see it again.

  5. Devotion to Saint Joseph, and the Holy Family, are a mark of the present times.
    The call to Nazareth, the spirituality and foundation of our Public Association of the Faithful, is part of the present need of these times: love of the family life of mother, father, children; the holiness of family life; the centrality of the Church in its true origin: the Holy Family of Nazareth.
    This is a great moment for our Church, for our times.

  6. Thanks Father Joe for your insight. I have many relatives in Spain, so when I visit them someday, perhaps I can see this cathedral in person.

    I've heard some controversy about the admission fee to go inside the cathedral. Is there an admission to go inside when there is a mass? Just curious.

  7. Father Joe5:50 AM

    Hi Tom!

    When I was there the Mass was in a side chapel and there was so admission fee. To enter into the Cathedral proper there was a fee, but the Mass was not there, it was in the chapel. Unlike the Anglican Westminster Abbey (London) which charges an admission fee (for upkeep, somewhat like a museum) (and note that the Catholic Westminster Cathedral does not charge a fee), La Sagrada Famiglia's fees go toward the continued construction of the place. So when you visit there you are actually funding the "next phase" of the work. That made me very happy to buy the ticket; I felt like a patron of the place.


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