Monday, March 20, 2006

"America's Cathedral"

If you had to guess what "America's Cathedral" is for Catholics, what answer would you give? New York? Los Angeles? George Weigel has an answer -- and for those interested in history and architecture, cool news about the future:

St. Patrick’s is, arguably, the most famous Catholic cathedral in the United States. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is, arguably, the most beautiful. But Baltimore’s Old Cathedral, now the Basilica of the Assumption, is indisputably the most historic.

It was conceived by Archbishop John Carroll, the founder of the American hierarchy, whose diocese originally encompassed the entire United States. Archbishop Carroll wanted the first Catholic cathedral in the new republic to embody the nation’s commitment to religious freedom and turned to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol (and son of a Moravian minister), the leading architectural practitioner of the day.

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Baltimore’s Old Cathedral is undergoing a massive restoration, the completion of which will be marked with appropriate ceremony in November. The dome’s skylights are back, and their restoration, combined with a brave decision to restore the original plain glass to the basilica’s windows, will let 21st-century Americans experience the luminosity that Carroll and Latrobe intended.

Get the whole article via the Denver Catholic Register

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