12 January 2012


For your optical consideration:

Remind you of anything? Here's a hint:

That is correct - the newly released design of St. Gianna Beretta Molla Roman Catholic Parish in Winnipeg, Manitoba is a reproduction of Stonehenge.

I. So I'm doing my usual heresy hunt at the Prat Messenger - because we all know that its editor is a behind-the-scenes enabler of heresy - and come across an article[1] about the architectural atrocity presented at the outset. Further investigation led me to St. Gianna's parish website and then to its architect, a certain Michael Boreskie, and his website.[2] Turns out Boreskie is a co-author of Our Place of Worship,[3] published by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, "a planning guide for use in parishes throughout Canada". This is what the Adoremus Bulletin has to say about OPW:
...no bishop appears to have been directly involved in its production. Nor is the process clear by which the book came to be adopted by the Canadian bishops... The lists of bulleted items that appear on almost every page read like notes for a Powerpoint presentation. Notes and quotations running along the margins provide a grab-bag of disconnected observations, from the sweeping... to the banal... Sometimes the notes and text contradict each other... But perhaps consistency isn't important, since in the encounter with God, according to another note, "intellectual capacity, philosophy, or conscious attitudes give way to the experience of the heart... [a] theological thinness is underscored by expressions that often seem breezily careless.[4]
The biggest giveaway of OPW is the persistent ascription of the priest as mere "presider". In effect, he is equalized, indeed engulfed and swept away, by the "primacy of the assembly". Huss and Luther would have loved this line: "the presider's chair symbolizes the office of presiding, but it should never suggest domination, for the ordained president is a member of the faith community through baptism". How delightful, in a politically correct egalitarian kind of way. Call it democratic Protestantism or Conciliarism or what have you. At core, it's another corruption spawned by Modernism. Here's another doozie: the Crucifix is a "distraction from the sacramental representation of Christ's self-offering". Really? It seems that the English spirit of "the stripping of the altars" is alive and well in post-Vatican II Canada.

II. Incidentally, Boreskie co-authoed OPW with Mary M. Schaefer, a retired professor from the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax. The reader may be interested in one of her published papers, wherein we find "observations about some feminist rituals... offered from the perspective of a liturgical theologian".[5] Is your suspicion roused? Well, confirmation for a presentiment exists. In 2005 Schaefer participated in Second Women's Ordination Conference at Ottawa, a "workshop leader" reportedly. Said Fr. de Valk: "It is necessary to understand that these women are now no longer Catholics".[6] Accordingly, by espousing and publishing Our Place of Worship we have more evidence that the Star Chamber is populated by subversives.

III. About five years ago, when the parish design was commencing, Boreskie gave a Powerpoint presentation, wherein he characterized the design as to include "nature, peacefulness, a place for restoration, sense of God's presence, Gianna's holistic life and environmental friendliness"... Central to the design is the spiral, "drawing us into the centre, the centre of our galaxy, the centre of our being, the centre of our source".[7] But perhaps this Oprahesque narrative is unsatisfactory. As the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Thus, let us virtually venture inside this soon-to-be Stonehenge on the Flatlands by perusing two more computer-generated pictures of updated designs (released December 11, 2011). Click on images below to enlarge and, subsequently, freak out.

To the left is the Adoration Chapel, or so it is claimed. Notice the large windows on either side of the tabernacle. Very conducive to distractions. Let us not focus on the Holy Body of Christ in the tabernacle. Instead let's watch the passersby and bathe amidst the glorious influx of light as it fills our souls with luminous wellness... wait a minute. That's not a tabernacle. Is it a biometric device to permit entrance to a parallel dimension at the far side of the Milky Way galaxy? Or do you press the button in the centre and launch an intercontinental ballistic missile? What else do we have here? An array of blue disco lights in the backdrop. Wonder if they'll pulsate to the beat of Gather Us In? The image on the right is of the "Worship Space", described at the parish website as:
...designed to achieve the greatest sense of a full, conscious and active participation of the gathered assembly. Encircling the altar, the worshipping community is drawn to the heart of each Eucharistic celebration. Upon entering this sacred space, the full immersion baptismal pool welcomes all with the fundamental truth of that which has made our membership possible. The transparent floor of the pool reveals the columbarium crypt below, making the theological bridge to those who have gone before us and washed in the same sign of faith.
But what if some of "those who have gone before us" are in Hell? Why should we be reminded of them? Anyhow, that quotation sounds like a set design description for Logan's Run, which the computer-generated images above evidently corroborate. Now look closely at the depiction of this Druidic Worship Space: no kneelers, blue cafeteria chairs instead of pews. Most disturbingly, observe how the "worshipping community" almost completely encircles the altar whereas the chair of the "presider" is set distant from it. I've seen quite a number of semi-circle pew configurations in my day, but this total circumscription scheme is a real boner. It is the consummation of immanentism: primary man surrounds a secondary God in the horizontal, instead of primary God transcending a secondary man in the vertical. Audacious. Vulgar. Annibale must be howling with laughter. His dream has been fully realized. In Canada, of all places!

IV. So who are the individuals responsible for facilitating the erection of this abomination of desolation? Turns out that our old friend Sparkles, that is +James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, is one of the trustees. Charity Registration No. 848023941RR0001. In fact, as archbishop he is president of the trustees. Or would "presider" be a more apt word to use? As far back as seven years ago +Weisgerber was outlining his vision of the kind of churches desired in his diocese. Boreskie's vision is perfectly consistent with this vision. In 2005 His Grace was interviewed by the Winnipeg Free Press:
For Weisgerber, the new vision is a way to "develop a more cohesive plan" for the churches in his care, and a way to implement the findings of the second Vatican Council, which took place from 1962-65. "It takes about 100 years for the church to receive the teaching of a council," he says, adding that the council proposed a "revolutionary shift" away from the clergy being in charge, doing everything, and members being only followers.[8]
There ya go. Vatican II was a "revolutionary shift". Doesn't sound like "hermeneutic of continuity" to me. Oh, but, there's more:
"There is no distinction between clergy and lay people," Weisgerber says. "We are all one in Christ. Everyone is empowered, everyone has gifts to share." One area where Weisgerber hopes to see more lay people involved is by leading services. "By the way we pray together we show what we believe - that all the people are involved, not just the priest at the front," he says.[9]
Did somebody say "primacy of the assembly"? Boreskie did. The bishop further stated that, for Roman Catholics, Mass is "not what somebody else does for them". Rather, it is "everyone can participate in".[10] It's all about US. Gather US in. No wonder he's head over heels for Mr. Boreskie's New Age impulses. That Sparkles, what a guy.

V. From one perspective, this is really no shock, considering what has happened to Church architecture in the last five decades. Two generations of these Nu-Church architects have cursed us with K-Mart Community Centre remakes: circular designs; dreary, 1970s-plastique interior atmospheres adorned (if at all) with kitsch art and sculpture; overemphasis on the horizontal; obsession with the immanent. In a phrase: coddling emotionalistic man-centredness. But this Stonehenge thing is a surprise to me. Never heretofore have I come across such pagan vulgarity in the raw.

VI. In other news, good news to be specific, the Vatican is setting up a commission to address the issue of abuses in church architecture, "to put a stop to garage style churches, boldly shaped structures that risk denaturing modern places for Catholic worship". Its "task will be to collaborate with the commissions in charge of evaluating construction projects for churches of various dioceses".[11] The bad news? This commission is only newly established so, alas, it's probably too late to stop the sacrilege soon to be committed in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. Construction of this architectural affront to St. Gianna, the first in the world dedicated to her, commences on May 1st of this year, occurring in two phases. Currently estimated total cost: 11 million smackers.

Like I said Winnipeg...

...you've just been shafted.



1. J. Buchok, "Design for St. Gianna's church unveiled", Prairie Messenger, December 28, 2011. St. Gianna's as a "worship facility" was first proposed in 2004. See J. Struch, "Patroness of new parish represents love, family", The New Wine Press, Winter 2005, vol. 5, no. 6, p. 1.

2. Boreskie apparently has another website, still under construction, called "many values, many voices". Note the syncretistic-multiculturalist drift.

3. M. Boreskie and M.M. Schaefer, Our Place of Worship (Ottawa, ON: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1999).

4. D.A. Murray, "Whose Place of Worship?", Adoremus Bulletin, vol. VI, nos. 6-7, September/October 2000. Another reviewer states that OPW is "not an accurate reflection of Catholic theology and the doctrine from which our liturgy is derived". See N. Burn, "Our Place of Worship: Move over, Jesus! Part I", Catholic Insight, vol. VIII, no. 4, April 2000.

5. M.M. Schaefer, "Lex orandi, lex credendi: Faith, doctrine and theology in dialogue", Studies in Religion, December 1997, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 467-479.

6. From an editorial comment appended to D. O'Connor-Hunnisett, "The 'ordination' of 'womenpriests'", Catholic Insight, October 2005, vol. 13, no. 9.

7. Quoted in B. Fawcett, "St. Gianna's church designs unveiled", The New Wine Press, Fall 2007, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 1, 3.

8. J. Longhurst, "City archdiocese aiming for more lay-member involvement", Winnipeg Free Press, November 19, 2005.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. A. Tornielli, "New Vatican commission cracks down on church architecture", La Stampa, November 21, 2011.



Adrienne said...

I'm speechless...

Christopher Wright said...

Looking at that monstrosity makes me feel quite savage. Dear God!

AllenT said...

Why did I know that was a "Catholic" (& I use that word loosely) Church (& I use that even more loosely) before I even scrolled down far enough to see that it was????
That building (another term I am using loosely) in a blasphemous INFAMIA that is an insult to my paisan, St Gianna.

There are so many things wrong with this "church building" that I don't know where to begin.
I wonder if anyone realizes that half of the audience will have the performer, I refuse to say presider, with his back towards them, technically making the Mass (assuming it follows the proper rubrics) ad orientum for them.
I am somewhat surprized that there is a so-called Adoration Chapel. What I assume is the monstrance reminded me of the Dalek Emperor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalek_variants#Imperial_Dalek_Emperor ).
As for the rest well. . . .

Apparently Sparkles, aka +James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, is ignoring what has been coming out of the Vatican about how Catholic Churches are supposed to be built, even before this New Commission was set up. & if anyone doubts the wisdom of setting up that commision, this monstrosity alone shows that it is definitely needed. (Although St Thomas Aquinas in Ames, IA could also be cited as evidence of the urgent need for this commission. http://staparish.net/tour/church_tour.swf  )

PS: After visiting the parish website, I clicked on the link for the diocesan website. They are calling the New Roman Missal & its translation the 3rd evolution. & from I see, what the diocese did was an attempt to undermine the real reasons for the new translation.  They know that the way they are taking the diocese, as shown by the new church, does not fit into the real direction Papa Benedetto is taking the Catholic Church. So they have to ensure that people don't see the conflict between what they are doing in the diocese as you point out in IV & what they should be doing.

TH2 said...

Regarding the Roman Missal, +Weisgerber is of the +Trautman school, i.e. people are too stupid to understand complex theological phraseologies/definitions. I came across his "language people can understand" position at the Winnipeg Archdiocese website (in a post from a few years back). However, since November - when matters came into effect, his views appears to have changed, though I fathom only outwardly (cf. A Message from Archbishop James Weisgerber, October 2011, at archdiocese website).

AllenT said...

 +Trautman is a good comparison.  & given what I saw, surface appearance for what +Weisgerber is saying sounds about right.

Good Grief said...

That.is.unfit.  And not just the pictures.  When the Bishop starts spouting that a priest is no different than a lay person, then you know you are in BIG trouble.  So much for Holy Orders in Manitoba. 

Anita Moore said...

Well.  That design...er...well...uh...mmm...well, it sucks.  Catholic churches should not be designed except by those who actually possess the Catholic faith.

TH2 said...

"Sucks" is an understatement.

TH2 said...

Indeed. What are seminarians to think if they are only to become "one of the guys"? A sure way to  disincline them from attaining priesthood.

TS said...

When will the insanity in our Church stop? Not any time soon it seems.


TS said...

It would be interesting to find out how men like Weisgerber ended up becoming bishops, archbishops.The bishop selection process in our country has always seemed like a popularity contest of mediocre men who recommend appointees who are just like themselves. The result is that the theological and ecclosiological "orientation" of the epicopate never changes.

Patrick Button said...

Why must they let the set designers from Star Trek construct our churches?

Maximilian said...

You know, we, your neighbors to the south look to y'all as the smart ones: erudite, capable, thrifty, clean, brave and reverent.  What's happening up there???  

At Mass yesterday morning, at the Precious Blood Monastery, there were five beautiful young Sister Adorers of the Holy Cross from Ottawa on their way to the March in DC.  (We're leaving on the bus a little later, after our own little march.)  So I know there are good things happening across the St-Laurent.  

I have all the confidence in the world that you will be able to convince his Excellency of the importance of building a basilica style church, it has stood the test of time.  Other than offering the Holy Mass in a beautiful church which lifts the heart and mind to Go, the acoustics of a nave-style church enable the congregation to sing together to produce that beautiful experience which St. Augustine described so well.  A church without acoustics seriously undermines the faith.  St. Gianna, pray for us!   

Lola said...

With the same material and money the faithful and those who will be could have had something Beautiful.

TH2 said...

 Methinks it's too late for that to occur, in Winnipeg at least.

K said...

Get your facts straight you bone heads. Get your heads out of your asses, and move into this century. Pretty sure you should get a life... who has time for this??! Losers! haha!

K said...

And by "you" I mean the author of this blog. And the rest of you followers.. you're like sheep! You can't even begin to understand the whole project by a couple of images you got off the internet!! I know this project intimately and you Mr. Blogger sound like a FOOL! Just like the people responding to your moronic comments. Thanks for this, I'll be laughing all day!

K said...

...and which is it? New Age star Trek or like Stone henge?? What the...!? You obviously don't have any Architectural back round.. or if you do, you were kicked out of school like HITLER was! I'm still laughing at you Mr. Blogger... hahaha... Thanks again!

TH2 said...

"Which is it?" Stonehenge is my opinion, as stated at the outset of the post.

I doubt that you are "laughing". My reasonable guess is that you are affronted, personally insulted, because others straightforwardly presented a viewpoint at variance from the all-around praises you probably have received for your involvement with the abomination of desolation that is Winnipeg's "St. Gianna's" parish.

You do not address the facts presented in the post. Just name calling. But that's OK, I don't mind. It's expected. Tertulllian: "The first reaction to truth is hatred".

That you are evidently oblivious to the un-Catholic, New Age and paganistic aspects of the structure discussed herein, indicates how far the Catholic Church has collapsed since 1965.

Nope, I wasn't kicked out of school. Although, I did hang out with the "wrong crowd" for a while.

Thanks for dropping in.

plc53 said...

Well, I thought I saw R2D2 there in the Adoration Chapel, so maybe the answer is Star Wars.
But I freedly admit to having absolutely no arkitextral back rounding whatsoever. Just wondered if C3P0 might be getting lonesome.

Winnipeg. Home of the Golden Boy. Boy oh boy. Oh Canada.

St. Joseph, terror of demons, pray for us!

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