reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:17 pm

Joseph Connolly's Hiberno-Romanesque in Ontario

2. Portsmouth, Ontario, St. Dismas

The three crosses are picked out in the slating.

The following explains the peculiarity of the dedication to St Dismas:

Church of the Good Thief (Kingston, Ontario)
Built from limestone quarried by prisoners from Kingston Penitentiary. The Church was named after St. Dismas, the thief crucified with Christ and the only man to be canonized by him. For many years this was the only Church in the world dedicated to St. Dismas

Church of the Good Thief
St. Dismas Catholic Church

Construction Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1894/01/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The building at 743 King Street West, known as the Church of the Good Thief, is located in the community of Portsmouth, in the City of Kingston. The church is a limestone building designed in the Romanesque Revival style by architect Joseph Connolly. It was constructed from 1892-1894.

The exterior of the building and the scenic character and condition of the property are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement (1980). The property was designated by the City of Kingston under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1978 (By-law 9360A).

Heritage Value

Located at 743 King Street West, on a well groomed lot, the Church of the Good Thief is in the community of Portsmouth, in the western part of the City of Kingston. A landmark in the community, it is located on a hill, making the tower visible from a distance. Also located on the property, is the rectory. The rectory was built in 1895 of red brick with stone detailing and also designed by Connolly. Along King Street West is a stone retaining wall which distinguishes the property's southern edge, and contains the stairs leading to the church entrance.

The Church of the Good Thief is associated with provincially significant architect Joseph Connolly (1840-1904), Archbishop James Vincent Cleary (1828-1898), and the Kingston Penitentiary. Connolly studied under J.J McCarthy, “the Irish Pugin” in Dublin, Ireland. He arrived in Toronto, in 1873, and was the architect in whole or in part for 34 Roman Catholic churches and chapels in Ontario. Archbishop Cleary (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston), also an Irish immigrant, hired Connolly to design the Church of the Good Thief and the rectory. The cornerstone for the church was laid in 1892 and the dedication was on April 24, 1894. The first priest at the church was Rev. J.V Neville, a nephew of Archbishop Cleary. Prior to the opening of this church, Portsmouth worshipers, the majority of them of Irish descent, traveled to St. Mary's Cathedral, in Kingston, for services.

The church was constructed approximately one kilometre from the Kingston Penitentiary. Convicts quarried the stone and carried it to the church site. They were paid 25 cents a day. The parish priest at the Church of the Good Thief was also appointed as chaplain to the Kingston Penitentiary. Due to the connections with the Penitentiary, the church was named in honour of St. Dismas, the Catholic patron saint of prisoners and Dismas was one of the two thieves crucified beside Jesus. He was also known as the Good Thief, and for a time, this church was the only one in the world to assume this name.

Joseph Connolly's, Church of the Good Thief's was designed in the Romanesque Revival style. Contractors for the construction of the church were Langdon and Sullivan of Kingston. The church, built of random-coursed rusticated limestone ashlar, is rich with masonry detail. The front façade is symmetrical and demonstrates highly skilled craftsmanship. Above the entrance doors, at the centre of the façade, is a statue of St. Dismas which was installed within a small niche, in 1952. Round-headed windows flank each side of the niche. Each of the four Romanesque windows has a limestone window hood. Above the statue of St. Dismas is an oculus with a stone surround. Just below the peak of the church are two oculi flanking an arched louvered opening. At the corners of the façade are stepped stone buttresses. The side walls are divided into four bays separated by stone buttresses. The first bay contains a single oculus and the other three bays contain a small Romanesque round-headed window. A square bell tower at the northeast corner rises above the church and is visible from a distance. It has a crenellated parapet, projecting battlement, two arrow-lit windows on each side, and two small round-headed windows on each side. Three sides of the tower have a stepped buttress at the corners. High Victorian Eclectic design is exemplified in the church's picturesque composition, mixture of historic styles, and the tower's single turret at the southeast corner, which is topped with a cross and resulting in an asymmetrical appearance. The slate-clad gable roof is decorated with a polychromatic pattern, with three crosses, symbolizing the crucifixion. The roof ridge is topped with wrought-iron detailing. At the peak of the church on the front and back façades is a stone cross. Additions were constructed at the rear (1994) and entrance (1997) of the church.

Source: OHT Easement Files

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Church of the Good Thief include its:
- solid massing and stone construction in Romanesque Revival style
- High Victorian Eclectic reflected in the detailing
- picturesque composition
- mixture of historic styles
- random- coursed rusticated limestone ashlar
- symmetry of the front façade
- stepped buttresses
- plain rear elevation, free of decoration
- multi-patterned steep gable slate-clad roof depicting the three crosses of the crucifixion
- wrought-iron detail along the top of the roof ridge
- statue of St. Dismas
- two oculi flanking an arched louvered opening
- side walls divided into four bays separated by stepped buttresses
- first bay with single oculus
- three bays with small Romanesque round-headed windows
- square bell tower at the northeast corner
- bell tower's asymmetrical construction
- bell tower's arrow-slit windows
- bell tower's stepped buttresses
- bell tower's single turret
- bell tower's crenellated parapet
- bell tower's projecting battlement
- key location on a hill
- siting on a well-groomed property
- stone retaining wall
- rectory built in 1895 and designed by Connolly
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:41 pm

Joseph Connolly

List of 18 of Connolly's 35 churches in Ontario: ... ShowID=114
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:56 pm

St. Paul's Catedral, Toronto

Also by Joseph Connolly:

I wonder did it cross the minds of any of the people involved in the restoration of Longford cathedral to take a good look at the interior of St. Paul's, especially as far as the paint-work scheme is concerned?
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Two Late Nineteenth-century Roman Catholic
Churches in Toronto by Joseph Connolly: St Mary’s,
Bathurst Street and St Paul’s, Power Street

Malcolm Thurlby

Professor Malcolm Thurlby teaches art
and architectural history at
York University,Toronto

STREET, and St Paul’s, Power Street at Queen Street East (Figs
1-4, 8 and 9), are two Roman Catholic churches of the late 1880’s
in Toronto, designed by the eminent, Irish-trained architect,
Joseph Connolly (1840-1904).1 The difference in style between
the two buildings is striking, the one Gothic, the other variously
described as Italian Romanesque,2
Italian Renaissance and
Roman Renaissance. Why are they so different? What is
significant about the choice of style? The aims of the patrons, the
training of the architect, ethnic and religious associations, and the
historical situation in the late nineteenth-century Roman
Catholic church in Toronto help us understand.
Born in Limerick, Ireland, and trained in the Dublin office of
James Joseph McCarthy (1817-81), Connolly advanced to
become McCarthy’s chief assistant in the late 1860s.3 He
subsequently made a study tour in Europe and in 1871 he was in
practice for himself in Dublin but no records survive of any
By 13 August 1873 he had moved to Toronto
where he entered into partnership with the engineer, surveyor,
architect Silas James, an association that was dissolved by 23 April
1877, after which Connolly practised alone.5
In all he was
responsible for designing or remodelling twenty-eight Roman
Catholic churches and chapels in the Gothic style in the province,
plus the Roman Catholic cathedral in Sault-Sainte-Marie,
Michigan (1881), and James Street Baptist church in Hamilton
(1879). Moreover, his churches of Holy Cross at Kemptville
St John the Evangelist at Gananoque (1891),7
and St
Dismas at Portsmouth (1894-94),8 were inspired by the roundarched Hiberno-Romanesque style introduced by Augustus
Welby Pugin at St Michael’s, Gorey (Co. Wexford) (1838-39).9
This style was also adopted by J.J. McCarthy in St Laurence at
Ballitore (Co. Kildare) (1860) and elsewhere, and enjoyed
considerable popularity in late nineteenth-century Ireland.10
Connolly also completed many other commissions for the
Roman Catholics in Ontario, including convents, schools,
orphanages and rectories, and two classicizing churches including
St Paul’s,Toronto. His last commission was in 1897 and he died of
bronchial asthma in 1904.

Connolly has been designated the ‘Irish-Canadian Pugin’,11
a label that at once reflects his association with J.J. McCarthy, the
‘Irish Pugin’, and Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-52),
the great champion of Pointed or Christian architecture.12 Two
of McCarthy’s early churches, St Kevin at Glendalough (Co.
Wicklow) (1846-49), and St Alphonsus Liguori, Kilskyre (Co.
Meath) (1847-54), received the rare distinction of a positive
review in The Ecclesiologist, not least because they ‘imitate ancient
models’.13 McCarthy soon assimilated the rudiments of Irish
medieval Gothic design and, in so doing, began to interpret, rather
than simply imitate, his models.This is well illustrated in his 1853
design for St Patrick’s, St John’s, Newfoundland, in which he
demonstrated both a command of Irish medieval sources and a
thorough knowledge of A.W. Pugin’s Irish churches.14

By the 1860s, in keeping with contemporary progressive architects in
England and Ireland, he was attracted by the early Gothic of
northern France, and included such references in his work.15 This
was to have a profound impact on Connolly’s Gothic churches.

The cornerstone of St Mary’s,Toronto, was laid on 15 August
1884, and the dedication performed on 17 February 1889.16 The
spire was not completed until 1905 by Arthur Holmes, Connolly’s
former assistant in the 1880s, to the original design. The
incumbent at the time was the Very Reverend Francis Patrick
Rooney, Vicar-General of the Diocese of Toronto, who was
appointed at St Mary’s in 1870 and continued in office until his
death on 27 December 1894.17 The church served a largely
working-class Irish Catholic community in the late nineteenth
century.18 It is this Irish heritage that is clearly reflected in the

St Mary’s is a fine example of Connolly’s Gothic churchdesign repertoire.The three-aisled basilican plan, with a polygonalapsidal sanctuary, transepts slightly lower than the nave, and a
morning chapel to the liturgical north (geographical south), was
used earlier by Connolly at St Patrick’s in Hamilton (1875).The
repertoire is inherited from McCarthy who incorporated a
morning chapel at St Brigid’s, Kilcullen (Co. Kildare) (1869), at
the very time Connolly was chief assistant in McCarthy’s office.
The polygonal apse and lower transepts are adapted from St
Macartan’s cathedral, Monaghan (1861-83).19 The tower at St
Mary’s is placed centrally in the façade, in contrast to most of
Connolly’s other large churches (Figs 1 and 2). He used twin
towers at Our Lady at Guelph (1876) and St Peter’s Basilica
(1880), London, while single angle towers graced St Patrick’s,
Kinkora (1882); St Michael’s, Belleville (1886); St Mary’s, Grafton
(1875); St Patrick’s at Hamilton, and Sault-Sainte-Marie (MI)

The design of the St Mary’s, Toronto, façade accords happily
with the location of the church at the head of Adelaide Street
(Fig. 1).The centrally placed tower aligns perfectly with Adelaide
Street and stands proud as a monument to Roman Catholic
achievement that is visible for many blocks along Adelaide. The
basic concept of the central façade tower is allied to E.W Pugin
and G. C.Ashlin’s St Augustine’s, Dublin (1862) (Fig. 5), where we
also find a family resemblance in the low transept-like projections
to either side of the tower. Connolly later adapted this
arrangement for the façade of St Mary’s Cathedral, Kingston
(1889), where the details of the tower followed Bell Harry, the
crossing tower of Canterbury Cathedral. On a much smaller scale,
Connolly provided St Joseph’s, Macton (1886), with a central
façade tower and there followed the rectangular plan of Pugin and
Ashlin’s St Augustine’s tower.20
Connolly also seems to have adapted the idea of enclosing the
side portals and windows at St Mary’s, Toronto, within a giant
arch, from the central arch of Pugin and Ashlin’s St Augustine’s
Dublin (Figs 1 and 5). However, the majority of the façade
detailing is inherited from J.J. McCarthy, in particular the south
transept and west facades of Monaghan (Figs 1, 2 and 7).They all
share a central rose window enclosed in a moulded pointed arch
on columns and capitals, with recessed roundels above and below
the rose.The blind arcade beneath the rose at St Mary’s is a plain
version of that on the south transept at Monaghan, while the gable
with a roundel above the central doorway at St Mary’s reflects the
central west portal at Monaghan.The design of the spire with the
corner niches is also related to Monaghan Cathedral (Figs 1, 2
and. 7), although the angled placement of the niches on
Connolly’s tower is closer to McCarthy’s original scheme at
Monaghan.21 The gables that rise above the belfry openings
between the angle turrets recall McCarthy’s unexecuted design for
the south-west tower of St Brigid’s, Kilcullen, and other nearcontemporary major churches in Ireland.22 One may cite thesouth-west tower of Pugin and Ashlin’s St Colman’s cathedral,
Cobh (Co. Cork) (1869) and, most interestingly, the crossing
tower of William Burges’s St Fin Barre’s cathedral at Cork (1865).
Burges’s design reveals an intimate knowledge of the early Gothic
of Laon Cathedral, a building that supplies a precise analogue for
Connolly’s turrets.23
Inside St Mary’s, Toronto, the two-storey elevation, larger
arches to the transepts carried on piers rather than columns, the
rich acanthus capitals of the main arcades, and the apse vault, all
follow McCarthy’s Monaghan Cathedral (Figs 4 and 6). In
contrast to Monaghan, Connolly introduces polished granite
shafts in the nave arcades at St Mary’s and opts for simple,
chamfered arches rather than repeating the mouldings from
Monaghan. The proportions of the St Mary’s elevation are
squatter, we may say less cathedral-like than at Monaghan. In this
regard they are more in keeping with McCarthy’s parish church
at Killorglin (Co. Kerry), where there are also polished grey
granite shafts and rich acanthus capitals.
The precise parallels cited for St Mary’s,Toronto, might lead to
the accusation that Connolly was a somewhat uninspired
architect. His design for St Paul’s church, Toronto, will clearly
demonstrate that this is not the case, so why does St Mary’s seem
so conservative? It makes sense that Connolly should have
emulated McCarthy and Pugin and Ashlin, the most successful
Roman Catholic Church designers in Ireland during Connolly’s
time there. Connolly’s Gothic also has much in common with the
work of his contemporary architects in Ireland. William Hague
(1840-1900), another pupil of J.J. McCarthy, perpetuated Gothic
according to his mentor and, for example, in the Church of the
Sacred Heart at Omagh (Tyrone) (1893-99), he used polished
granite shafts and rich acanthus capitals in the arcade columns
similar to those at St Mary’s Toronto.24 Nor was such detailing
confined to McCarthy and his students in that O’Neill and Byrne
used these very same motifs in the nave of St Patrick, Killygordon
(Donegal) (1893-95), in which the proportions of the nave
elevation are close to St Mary’s,Toronto.25 Connolly’s church was
at once up to date and yet reflective of a well-established tradition
of Irish Roman Catholic church building. It is this very Irish-ness
that was so important for the Irish priest and his predominantly
Irish congregation at St Mary’s.While we have no record of the
patron’s demands at St Mary’s, the building speaks clearly of its
Irish heritage. Moreover, for McCarthy’s St Patrick’s in St John’s,
Newfoundland, and Connolly’s St Patrick’s, Hamilton,
contemporary accounts specifically mention that the churches
served as reminders of those in the homeland.26


At St Paul’s,Toronto (Figs 8 and 9) the foundation stone was
laid on 9 October 1887, and the dedication performed on 22
December 1889.27 A contemporary account of St Joseph’s at
Chatham, virtually an architectural twin of St Paul’s, Toronto,
describes the church as being built in the ‘Roman Renaissance’
style. This label is derived from the second chapter of the third
volume of John Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice.28 Ruskin initially
discussed the Casa Grimani in Venice as an example of this style
‘because it is founded, both in its principles of superimposition,
and in the style of its ornament, upon the architecture of classic
Rome at its best period’. He listed St Peter’s Basilica in Rome as
an example of the style ‘in its purest and fullest form’. In its
external form Ruskin observed that the Roman Renaissance style
‘differs from Romanesque work in attaching great importance to
the horizontal lintel or architrave above the arch’.This is used in
Connolly’s internal elevations above the main arcade, and on his
façades, although in the Toronto façade vertical elements penetrate
the entablature above the first storey.
The interior of St Paul’s, Toronto (Fig. 8), has been
convincingly compared with the great Roman basilica of St Paul’s
outside the Walls.29 The association might also be extended to S.
Clemente, Rome, the church of the Irish Dominicans in the city
since 1667. However, both these Roman churches are woodroofed and Connolly’s churches are vaulted in the manner of
Roman Baroque churches as in Carlo Maderno’s extension to the
nave of St Peter’s Basilica (1606-1612). There, the two-storey
elevation, in which the clerestory lunettes are cut into the high
barrel vault, is derived from the nave of Il Gesù Rome, begun in
1568 by Vignola.30 The massive, compound piers of Il Gesù and
Roman Baroque churches were not suitable for Connolly’s St
Paul’s where there needed to be greater openness between the
nave and aisles. It is thus possible to read Connolly’s churches as a
fusion of the main arcades of an Early Christian basilica with the
high barrel vault and clerestorey windows from the Roman
Baroque tradition.
Be that as it may, Connolly’s terms of reference were
significantly broader.The immediate inspiration for the nave, the
low transepts and the apse articulation, seems to have been St
Mel’s cathedral, Longford (1840-56), by J.B. Keane (Figs 8 and
9).31 The churches share the same Ionic order for the main arcade
columns and, in particular, the same arrangement of the low
transepts, except that they are of three bays at Longford. At
Longford the vault is based on Palladian principles, as in his
churches of Il Redentore (1576-91) and San Giorgio Maggiore
(1560-80),Venice, in which the clerestorey windows are cut into
the high barrel vault that springs from the entablature above the
main arcade.32 However, Connolly chose not to adopt this
scheme, or that of most Roman Baroque churches, in which
lunettes cut directly into the high barrel vault. Rather than
springing the high vault immediately above the entablature,
Connolly provided a more fully articulated upper storey in which
the shallow pilasters that carry the transverse arches of the vault
provide an illusion of height far greater than their actual scale.This
is an arrangement encountered in eighteenth-century France in
the churches of Contant d’Ivry, as in the nave of Saint-Vaast at
Arras, begun in 1755, and in La Madeleine in Paris, begun in
A Venetian association may be suggested for the east end of St
Paul’s where the three-apse east end is paralleled at Torcello
Cathedral. Ruskin gives a plan of this church, which may be
pertinent in that it has ten-bay arcades like St Paul’s.34
In this
connection it is interesting that in Connolly’s obituary in the
Canadian Architect and Builder, St Pauls’s is labelled as ‘Italian
Romanesque’, an association that best fits aspects of the façade
and the campanile.35
The façade of St Paul’s (fig. 10) is an brilliant amalgam of the
Tuscan Romanesque San Miniato al Monte in Florence and
Venetian church façades of Andrea Palladio (1508-1580): San
Giorgio Maggiore, Sant’ Andrea della Vigne (1570) and Il
Redentore.36 The roundels in the spandrels of the façade also
recall Venice and Ruskin - the Fondaco della Turchi and the
Palazzo Dario37
are good parallels - while the coloured marble
insets may derive from the ‘Decoration by Discs’, on the Palazzo
Badoari Particiazzi, illustrated in colour by Ruskin.38
Be that as
it may, the setting of the roundels adjacent to the capitals of the
main pilasters recalls the Arch of Augustus at Rimini, which may
also have supplied the inspiration for the continuation of the
vertical articulation into the entablature. Alberti’s façade of San
Francesco, Rimini (1450), itself modelled on the Arch of
Augustus, may also have been a point of reference here.39 The
superimposition of the Corinthian over the Ionic order follows
Vitruvian principles as discussed in Joseph Gwilt’s 1867
Encyclopedia of Architecture.40 The bell tower is set off to the side in
the tradition of the Italian Romanesque campanile, as at Santa
Maria in Cosmedin, and San Giorgio in Velabro, in Rome, to cite
just two examples.
J.J. McCarthy’s Thurles cathedral (Co. Tipperary) (1865-72)
may have played an intermediary role for the Italian
Romanesque-style campanile offset to the left of the St Paul’s,
Toronto, façade.41 The division of the ground floor of the Thurles
façade is also related to St Paul’s. In both, there are three round-
headed doorways with carved tympana, one in the centre to the
nave and one each to the aisles, separated by slightly narrower
blind arches. At Thurles, there is no clear separation between the
nave and aisle façades whereas Connolly provided this with bold
Ionic pilasters, a motif that he also used at the outside angles of
the front. Moreover, Connolly incorporated a full entablature
between the lower and upper sections of the façade, a feature
entirely lacking at Thurles.
The architectural confessionals that project from the aisle walls
in St Paul’s, Toronto, are taken neither from a Roman, nor a
classicizing, tradition but are adapted from A.W. Pugin and his
followers. In an account of St George’s, Lambeth (Southwark),The
Ecclesiologist records that ‘Mr Pugin has ingeniously met with the
question of confessionals, which are indispensible to a modern
Roman Catholic church, by making them constructional, and
placing them between the buttresses, approached of course by a
series of doors from the nave. This was an afterthought, but is
more felicitous than architectural afterthoughts generally are’.42
They are used by J.J. McCarthy at St Saviour, Dublin (1852-61),43
and St Ignatius, Galway (1860),44
and subsequently by Pugin and
Ashlin in St Augustine’s, Dublin, and Cobh Cathedral.45
Connolly included them in a number of his Gothic churches,
including the chapel of St John that he added to the north-east of
St Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto (1890). There, a small pointed
gable is placed above the window in the middle of the
confessional while at St Paul’s the walls of the confessional are
built somewhat higher and it is topped with a pediment in the
tradition of a Greco-Roman temple.
For St Paul’s, Toronto, the choice of style for the church
concerns specific personalities, Archbishop Lynch and the Right
Reverend Timothy O’Mahony, the pastor of St Paul’s. O’Mahony
was born in Ireland in 1825 and had completed his priestly
training in Rome.46
In 1879 he met Archbishop Lynch in Rome
and he was invited to Canada to become Lynch’s auxilliary.
Bishop O’Mahony was made pastor of St Paul’s and he
determined to replace the small brick church of 1823.47 As at St
Mary’s,Toronto, there is no written documentation that pertains
to discussions between patron and architect at St Paul’s. However,
a letter from Kennedy, McVittie & Holland, Architects, Barrie,
Ont., 9 May 1883, preserved in the Archives of the Roman
Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, records that Archbishop Lynch
preferred the ‘Italian Style of Church Architecture’.48 This
architectural ultramontanism is further witnessed in Toronto in
the church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Sherbourne Street (1885-
1886), which was built for Archbishop Lynch by Commander
F. C . L a w.49 Here, the narthex of the original façade recalls S.
Lorenzo fuori le mura, Rome, while the articulation of the
aisleless interior with a barrel vault carried on a full entablature
and stepped Ionic pilasters, plus the ribbed dome on a drum and
pendentives, proudly proclaim Roman Baroque connections.The
entrance and transept facades adapted elements from classical
temple façades, and like St Paul’s,Toronto, a campanile projected
to the left of the west (east) front.
Loretto abbey church, located on Wellington Street near
Spadina, Toronto, built by Beaumont Jarvis in 1897 and
demolished in 1961, continued this Romanizing theme.50
It had
a single-storey elevation with coffered barrel vaults over the
chancel, transepts and nave, and a ribbed dome on pendentives
over the crossing. The walls of the chancel and transepts were
articulated with Corinthian pilasters.The lower, single-bay chapels
in the angles of the transepts and chancel communicated with the
main spaces through a trabeation on plain Ionic pilasters.The slim
Ionic columns that separated the nave and aisles may have been
inspired by Connolly’s nave at St Paul’s.


While Connolly’s churches of St Mary and St Paul, Toronto,
are stylistically quite different, they are both emphatically
Catholic, the one emphasizing an Irish heritage, the other, a
ultramontane link with Rome.The latter is obviously specific to
the Roman Catholics but what of the Gothic of St Mary’s? It is
here that the Irish-ness of the design sets it apart from
contemporary churches of other denominations in Toronto and
elsewhere in Ontario.Two Anglican churches, St Matthew and St
John (1889) on First Avenue by Strickland and Symons, and St
Thomas on Huron Street by Eden Smith (1892), conform to
English High Victorian Gothic principles. In accordance with the
liturgical tradition of the high church, they are both fitted with a
rood screen, and a piscina and sedilia. The 1875 split in the
Presbyterian congregation of St Andrew’s,Toronto, resulted in the
construction of two new churches; New Old St Andrew's by
Langley, Langley and Burke, was Gothic, while New St Andrew’s
by William George Storm, was Romanesque.51 This was not the
contemporary Romanesque of Henry Hobson Richardson but
Romanesque intended to reflect the style of Norman Scotland
and thereby provide a geographical, if not a temporal, association
with the home of Presbyterianism.52 At the same time, the Baptist
congregation of Jarvis Street adhered to the Gothic style for their
new church by Langley, Langley and Burke (1874-5). However,
the amphitheatrical seating plan in the sanctuary of their church
was quite distinct from either Anglican or Catholic medievalinspired basilicas, and was the first use of this plan in the city.53
1886/7 Langley and Burke used a similar plan for the Sherbourne
Street Methodist,Toronto, but on this occasion Gothic gave way
to their interpretation of Richardsonian Romanesque. This
stylistic choice eradicated any possible association between
Methodism and either the ‘Papists’ or the Anglicans that might be
implied by a Gothic church.54
With the heightening of stylistic self-consciousness in church
design in Toronto and Ontario in the late nineteenth century,
Joseph Connolly succeeded in providing his patrons with two
quite specifically Catholic churches. The Irish association was
emphatically articulated at St Mary’s, while the ultramontane
preferences of Archbishop Lynch and Bishop O’Mahony were
boldly announced at St Paul’s. In the design of St Paul’s Connolly’s
eclectic use of sources comes as some surprise in the oeuvre of an
architect so thoroughly grounded in Gothic. His selection and
adaptation of motifs from Rome and Venice,Tuscan Romanesque,
French neo-classicism and Irish Romanesque and Baroque revival
styles, plus the adaptation of Gothic confessionals, show
Connolly’s impressive command of historical styles and his
remarkable talent in fusing such diverse elements into an elegant
new design.

1 On Connolly, see Canadian Architect and Builder, 17, issue 12 (1904), p. 205; Malcolm
Thurlby, ‘The Irish-Canadian Pugin: Joseph Connolly’, Irish Arts Review, 3, no. 1
(1986), pp. 16-21; Christopher A. Thomas, ‘A High Sense of Calling: Joseph
Connolly,A.W. Holmes, and their Buildings for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese
of Toronto, 1885-1935’, RACAR, XIII/2 (1986), pp. 97-120; Malcolm Thurlby,
‘The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception at Guelph: Puginian
Principles in the Gothic Revival Architecture of Joseph Connolly’, Society for the
Study of Architecture in Canada Bulletin, 15 (1990), pp. 32-40; idem, ‘Joseph
Connolly’s Roman Catholic Churches in Wellington County’, Historic Guelph,
XXXI (1992), pp. 4-31; idem,‘Joseph Connolly and St Joseph's Roman Catholic
Church, Macton’, Historic Guelph, XXXII (1993), pp. 71-72.
2 Canadian Architect and Builder, 17, (1904), p. 205, gives Italian Romanesque. Italian
Renaissance is used by Eric Arthur,Toronto: No Mean City, 3rd edition, revised by
Stephen A. Otto (Toronto, 1986), p. 186.‘Roman Renaissance’ is used to describe
St Joseph’s, Chatham, Ontario, virtually an architectural twin of St Paul’s,Toronto,
Catholic Record [London, ON], 30 Oct. 1886, p. 4, illus. & descrip.; 29 Oct. 1887,
p. 5, illus. & descrip.).
3 Canadian Architect and Builder, 17, (1904), p. 205.
4 Canadian Architect and Builder, 17 (1904), p. 205. Joseph Connolly is listed as an
architect in Thom’s Irish Almanac and Official Directory for the year 1871, pp. 1596
and 1806.
5 An advertisement for the James and Connolly practice appears in The Irish
Canadian, August 13, 1873, p. 5. A tender call in The Globe, April 23, 1877, p.7,
names Connolly alone.
6 Catholic Record, 6 Oct., 1888, p. 1; Louis J. Flynn, Built on a Rock:The Story of the
Roman Catholic Church in Kingston 1826-1976, (Kingston, ON, 1976), p. 256.
7 Contract Record, ii, 1 Aug. 1891, p. 2; Flynn, Built On A Rock, pp. 78, 266-68.
8 Flynn, Built On A Rock, pp. 322-24.
9 Phoebe Stanton, Pugin, (London, 1970), figs 36-41; Malcolm Thurlby,‘NineteenthCentury Churches in Ontario:A Study in the Meaning of Style’,Historic Kingston,
35 (1986), pp. 96-118 at 104; Thurlby, ‘The Irish-Canadian Pugin: Joseph
Connolly’, pp. 20-21.
10 Jeanne Sheehy, J.J. McCarthy and the Gothic Revival in Ireland (Belfast, 1977) p. 55;
idem,The Rediscovery of Ireland’s Past: the Celtic Revival 1830-1930 (London, 1980),
p.131, pl. 107.
11 Thurlby,‘The Irish-Canadian Pugin: Joseph Connolly’.
12 Sheehy, J.J. McCarthy; Douglas Scott Richardson, Gothic Revival Architecture in
Ireland, 2 vols (New York, 1983), pp. 488-492. Stanton, Pugin; Roderick
O’Donnell,‘The Pugins in Ireland’, in A.W.N. Pugin, Master of Gothic Revival, ed.
Paul Atterbury (New Haven and London, 1995), pp. 136-59.Also see remarks on
Pugin in Malcolm Thurlby, ‘St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, School and
Convent in St John’s, Newfoundland: J.J. McCarthy and Irish Gothic Revival in
Newfoundland’, Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, 28 no.
3 (2003), pp. 13-20.
13 The Ecclesiologist,VIII (1848), p. 62.
14 Thurlby,‘St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, School and Convent in St John’s,
Newfoundland’, pp. 13-20.
15 J. Mordaunt Crook,‘Early French Gothic’, in Sarah Macready and F.H.Thompson
(ed.), Influences in Victorian Art and Architecture, Society of Antiquaries of London
Occasional Paper (New Series),VII (London, 1985), pp. 49-58.
16 John Ross Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, iv (Toronto, 1904), p. 321.
17 Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, iv, pp. 322-323.
18 Mark McGowan, The Waning of the Green: Catholics, the Irish and Identity in Toronto,
1887-1922 (Montreal and Kingston, 1999), pp. 26, 29.
19 Sheehy, J.J. McCarthy, ill. 51, from The Builder, 12 September 1868, p. 675.
20 Thurlby,‘Joseph Connolly’s Roman Catholic Churches in Wellington County’, pp.
4-31; idem,‘Joseph Connolly and St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Macton’,
pp. 71-72.
21 Sheehy, J.J. McCarthy, ill. 51.
22 Kilcullen is illustrated in Sheehy, J.J. McCarthy, ill. 49.
23 Laon cathedral towers are illustrated in W. Eden Nesfield, Specimens of Medieval
Architecture chiefly selected from examples of the 12th and 13th Centuries in France and
Italy (London, 1862), pls 36 and 37.
24 Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland, North West Ulster (Harmondsworth, 1979),
pl. 122.
25 Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland, North West Ulster, pl. 123.
26 Thurlby,‘St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, School and Convent in St John’s,
Newfoundland’, pp. 13-14; Irish Canadian, 7 July 1875, p. 2, cols. 1-4 (from
Hamilton Times, 28 June).
27 Catholic Weekly Review [Toronto], 15 Oct. 1887, pp. 410-11, illus. & descrip.;Toronto
World, 25 Aug. 1888, p. 3, descrip.; Catholic Record [London, ON], 28 Dec. 1889, p.
5, descrip.; Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, iv, pp. 315-20, illus. & descrip.; Harold
Kalman, History of Canadian Architecture (Toronto, 1994), pp. 587-8, illus. &
descrip.). The building accounts are preserved in Archives of the Archdiocese of
28 John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice, 3 vols (London, 1851).
29 Thomas,‘A High Sense of Calling’, p. 102.The nave of St Paul’s outside the walls
is illustrated in Joseph Gwilt, The Encyclopedia of Architecture, Historical,Theoretical,
and Practical, revised by Wyatt Papworth (London, 1867, reprinted New York,
1980), p. 110, fig. 142.
30 Peter Murray, The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance (New York, 1963), fig. 137.
31 I owe this comparison to Eddie McParland.
32 James Ackerman, Palladio (Harmondsworth, 1966), ills 70, 72 and 73 (Il
Redentore), and 84 and 85 (S. Giorgio Maggiore).
33 Wend von Kalnein,Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century (New Haven and
London, 1995), pls 218 and 220.
34 Ruskin, Stones of Venice, I, pl. I, opp. p.16.
35 Canadian Architect and Builder, 17, (1904), p. 205.
36 Rudolf Wittkower,Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, 4th edn (London,
1973), pp. 89-97.
37 The Builder (1851), p. 202.
38 Ruskin, Stones of Venice, I, pl.VI, opp. p. 250.
39 On S. Francesco, Rimini, see Murray,Architecture of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 48-
40 Gwilt, The Encyclopedia of Architecture, pp. 850-853.
41 Sheehy, J.J. McCarthy, p. 63;Thomas,‘A High Sense of Calling’, pp. 102-103.
42 The Ecclesiologist, IX (1849), p. 155.
43 Sheehy, J.J. McCarthy, pp. 43-44.
44 Sheehy, J.J. McCarthy, pp. 55-56.
45 Douglas Scott Richardson, Gothic Revival Architecture in Ireland, 2 vols (New York,
1983), pp. 500-502; O’Donnell,‘The Pugins in Ireland’, p. 155.
46 Thomas,‘A High Sense of Calling’, pp. 101-102.
47 Thomas,‘A High Sense of Calling’, p. 102.
48 Kennedy and Holland were supervising architects of St Ann’s (formerly Martyr’s)
Memorial church in Penetanguishine, Ontario.
49 Robertson, Landmarks, iv, ill. opp. p. 330. Patricia McHugh, Toronto Architecture:A
City Guide (Toronto, 1985) p. 159, illustrates the church before the remodelling of
the church in 1910 when a nave was constructed to the liturgical north
(geographical south) of the church by James P. Hynes.
50 Arthur, Toronto: No Mean City, ills 338 and 341.
51 William Westfall, Two Worlds:The Protestant Culture of Nineteenth-Century Ontario,
Kingston and Montreal (1989), p. 132, figs 7-9; Janine Butler, ‘St. Andrew’s
Presbyterian Church, Toronto’s "Cathedral of Presbyterianism"’, Ontario History,
LXXXIII, Number 3 (1991), pp. 170-92.
52 Specific mention is made of Kirkwall Cathedral although, other than both
buildings being Romanesque, the link is far from obvious; see, Butler,‘St.Andrew’s
Presbyterian Church, Toronto’s "Cathedral of Presbyterianism"’, pp. 173-75. On
Kirkwall Cathedral, see Malcolm Thurlby, ‘Aspects of the architectural history of
Kirkwall Cathedral’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 127 (1997),
pp. 855-888.
53 Robertson, Landmarks of Toronto, iv, pp. 42-43; William Westfall and Malcolm
Thurlby, ‘The Church in the Town: The Adaptation of Sacred Architecture to
Urban Settings in Ontario’, Etudes Canadiennes/Canadian Studies (Association
Française d'Etudes Canadiennes), 20 (1986), pp. 49-59 at 53-54;William Westfall
and Malcolm Thurlby,‘Church Architecture and Urban Space:The Development
of Ecclesiastical Forms in Nineteenth-Century Ontario’, in Old Ontario: Essays in
Honour of J.M.S. Careless, ed. David Keene and Colin Read (Toronto and London,
1990), pp. 118-147 at pp. 128-29; Euthalia Lisa Panayotidis, 1991, ‘Gothic and
Romanesque:A Question of Style.The Arrangement of Protestant Churches and
School Houses in 19th-Century Ontario: The Work of Henry Langley’,
unpublished MA thesis,York University, pp. 59-74; Angela Carr, Toronto Architect,
Edmund Burke (Montreal and Kingston, 1995) pp. 26-29.
54 Carr, Toronto Architect, Edmund Burke, pp. 34-35, fig. 3.28.

The article as published in Ecclesiology Today 33 2004
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:36 am

Taking a politician unawares



Eucharistic Congress art was big in 1932 and the late Justin Keating was a model for the infant Jesus

THIS WEEK’S International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin has prompted recollections of the 31st congress held in the city 80 years ago. One forgotten legacy is the art created to celebrate and commemorate the event in 1932, which reflected the widespread fervour, and deep Catholic faith, of the vast majority of the population at the time.

Among the paintings made that year was Our Lady, Queen of Ireland by artist Leo Whelan, which was commissioned by Dublin’s Gill family – owners of the publishing company, which later became Gill and Macmillan.

The model for the Blessed Virgin was Sally Deale and the child used to depict the infant Jesus was Justin Keating, the son of Whelan’s fellow-artist, Seán Keating. In later life, Justin Keating became a Labour Party minister in the 1970s government of Liam Cosgrave.

In 1979, Sally Deale’s son, Julian, approached the Gill family to try to buy the painting – in memory of his late mother – but it was not for sale.

A few months later, he said, “Unfortunately this painting was destroyed in a fire,” when the Gill premises on O’Connell Street burnt down.

Although the original painting was lost, art historian Geraldine Molloy, who researched the work of Leo Whelan for a thesis, said prints of the painting had been made and sold to the public in the 1930s – and some have survived. According to the Catholic Bulletin, a framed print was presented to Pope Pius XI in the Vatican in 1934 and the artist was praised for depicting the “Madonna”, for the first time, with “Gaelic features”.

Separately, the Haverty Trust, an Irish family bequest established to fund religious art, commissioned three paintings – all depicting the life of St Patrick – from leading Irish artists of the era. The paintings were displayed during the Congress in 1932.

St Patrick Climbs Croagh Patrick, by Margaret Clarke, was later presented to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin.

St Patrick Lights the Paschal Fire at Slane, by Seán Keating, was donated to the Irish College in Rome where it still hangs. The rector Fr Ciarán O’Carroll said, “An Post used the painting for the St Patrick’s Day stamp in 2006.”

The third painting, The Baptism by St Patrick of Ethna the Fair and Fedelmia the Ruddy, Daughters of the Ard Rí Laoghaire, was made by Leo Whelan. The artist has suffered a double whammy as this work is also lost.

However, unlike the fate suffered by his Our Lady, Queen of Ireland it is believed that the Baptism by St Patrick painting has survived although its current location is unknown.

The painting is understood to have been presented to an Irish institution abroad in the 1930s. Does anyone know where it is?

from The Irish Times
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:58 pm

Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:15 pm

Alabaster Shrine of St John the Baptist

by Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P.


This very fine portable shrine dates to the 15th century, and it was carved in Nottingham from alabaster. Throughout the Middle Ages, Nottingham was a great centre of alabaster carving, and pieces such as this for private devotion, or other panels for church retables were exported throughout Christendom. Many were destroyed after the Reformation, and this complete domestic shrine is exceptionally rare. It is thought to be one of only five that survive in the world.

The central alabaster panel shows the head of St John the Baptist surrounded by six saints. Four of the saints are named on the painted wooden wings: St James the Greater, St Catherine of Alexandria on the left, and on the right, St Anthony of Egypt (decapitated) and St Margaret of Antioch. The remaining saints standing in the forefront are St Peter (on the left) and an unidentified sainted archbishop, possibly St Thomas of Canterbury. Beneath the head of the Baptist is an image of the Man of Sorrows rising from the Tomb, and above is the soul of St John the Baptist being taken into heavenly glory by two angels.

[New Liturgical Movement]
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:53 pm

The Count Down Has Begun
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:33 pm

The Big Count Down Has Begun
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:16 am

€212k grant will help to keep cathedral open

Funding has been released for vital emergency conservation works that will help keep the doors of a landmark cathedral open.

The Government sanctioned a special €212,000 grant for St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork as part of a €717,000 package to support the conservation and protection of important heritage buildings across Ireland.

Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan said the special allocation for the iconic cathedral recognised its international architectural and heritage importance.

Dean Nigel Dunne said he was delighted.

"This is absolutely brilliant to get that sort of grant in the current economic climate. It will help us keep the doors open," he said.

"We were getting to the stage where we were considering closing off certain areas for health and safety reasons."

The emergency works, which are expected to start immediately, will include:

* Urgent repairs to secure two gargoyles at risk of falling from the building;

* Internal conservation measures to the north and south transepts, and external conservation measures to the western front, the main entrance to the cathedral;

* Work on the Dean’s Chapel;

* Repairs to internal stone work and plastering over the organ pit, where €1.2m is being spent installing a new instrument.

The works to the north transept will allow essential repairs to be carried out on the internal stonework and plaster to eliminate the risk to the new organ of dust and falling debris. Up to 35kg of dust was removed from the old organ pit.

The cathedral still has to find matching fundraising and is planning a series of events this year.

Another €500,000 is being allocated to assist with works to safeguard at-risk structures in 41 projects across 27 local authorities.

Other Cork structures to benefit from the fund include Shandon Tower and Alms House in Glanmire.
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby apelles » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:49 pm

We all require a little divine direction or inspiration from time to time, so when someone like liturgical & iconographic artist David Clayton goes to such great lengths to encourage others in his profession, to think more deeply about the consequences of their commissions for Church art & literally spells out where it's all been going wrong & indeed, most importantly, how to correct these failings for future generations, then people like me should sit up & take note.

The full series can be seen here

David Clayton, examines Catholic traditions in art as an expression of a Catholic worldview. The series focuses on authentic Catholic artistic traditions (iconographic, gothic, baroque and sacred geometry), and examines what constitutes a tradition as well as how it is taught and passed on so that it can respond to the times, while retaining its essential principles. The series shows how the style of these traditions can be related directly to the liturgy, theology and philosophy of the Church.

Throughout this superb 13 part series, he creates a wonderful new painted wooden cross for the college chapel that mixes both eastern & western traditions.


More about this piece here
Posts: 298
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:28 pm

Praxiteles does not subscribe to the idea of mixing oriental and western details in liturgical art. The Latin RIte has its own tradition which is perfectly respectibile and urgently requires attention to save it from total catastrophe.
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby apelles » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:10 pm

oriental? where did you pull that word from P?


The style, Clayton said, evokes that of Byzantine icons “except that the face, in the Franciscan manner, reveals Jesus’ suffering. There is a six winged angel at Our Lord’s feet, and in the background are geometric designs based on octagons—recalling the ‘eighth,’ or eternal, day of creation.”


Catholic architect and artist Matthew Alderman, who is widely published on the subject of liturgical art—a topic on which he addressed Thomas More College in January 2009—said of Clayton’s new work: “Unlike many Catholic artists today, he understands at a very deep level both iconography and realistic painting, and it shows in his work. It’s also nice to see someone, while working in an ‘iconographic’ mode, basing his work on Western medieval Italian art rather than cribbing from Eastern iconography, which, while venerable, is also somewhat different in content from its historic equivalents in the Latin rite.”


Well, all I can say is, if a scholar like Mr Clayton is getting it wrong, then what chance have the rest of us of getting it right . . .
Posts: 298
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:20 pm

Perhaps it should be put in context. In liturgical studies at present there is a certain trend of thought which greatly estimates the oriental (Greek, Russian, Malanchar, Malabarese, Coptic) rites and continually seeks to import disparate and incoherent bits and pieces from those rites into to the Roman or Latin rite.

While it has to be admitted that the general principles underlying all the Church's liturgical traditions are ultimately the same, it must however be acknowledged that these have deleloped differently over the last two milennia and have been moulded by differing cultural traditions. For better or worse, we are plank bang in the middle of the Latin tradition and consequently have some responsibility to ensure its further hgistorical progress and its protection from the dabblings of do gooders who, instead of contenting themselves with arranging flower pots, have taken to decorating Latin things with Oriental bits and pieces which have lost their true liturgical significance once uprooted from their context. An example: in the Western tradition the Bishop when vesting wears the pectoral cross under the chasuble - the garment which symbolizes charity and which is put on over all other garments echoing St Paul. Have you noticed recently the very idiotic practice of some western bishops wearing pectoral crosses over the chasuble? WHere did this come from? We were told (rather unconvincingly) the Ambrosian Rite but in fact it is a cheap take on the Oriental vesture of Bishops who wear pectorals extrovertly.

Considering the painting of Crucifixion scenes in 13 and 14 century Umbria and Siena, we have another situation - oriental influences on Franciscan themes. It seems to me that the photographs in the posting above reflect the products of that Franciscan school of central Italy rather than Oriental models.

It has to be remembered that icons -with the exception of El Greco' early work and perhaps some of the Franciscan central Italian school- do not belong to the Latin tradition and reflect a different devotional and liturgical practice, history and approach.
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:17 pm

Some more examples of church hangings: SS. Michele e Gaetano in Florence ... amenti.htm
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:16 am

Msgr. Wadsworth's Address to the Church Music Association of America, Colloquium XXII

The Reform of the Roman Rite

When I am in Rome, I hear very little these days about the ‘reform of the reform’ – it just isn’t within the arena of most people’s awareness. In matters liturgical, if anything, we see something of a polarization and many people seem to have a vested interest in promoting this. Happily, not everyone is of this view and I would like this evening to concentrate on one such person whose view, fortunately for us, will be decisive. I refer to the Holy Father. Just ten days ago, he addressed these thoughts to those gathered in Dublin for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress:
The Congress also occurs at a time when the Church throughout the world is preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known. Based upon a deepening appreciation of the sources of the liturgy, the Council promoted the full and active participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic sacrifice. At our distance today from the Council Fathers’ expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities. The renewal of external forms, desired by the Council Fathers, was intended to make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery. Its true purpose was to lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist, and thus with the living God, so that through this contact with Christ’s love, the love of his brothers and sisters for one another might also grow. Yet not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and "active participation" has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal.
[Pope Benedict XVI – Video Message at the Closing Mass of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin June 17th, 2012]
During our brief time together, I propose to reflect with you on a few themes taken from this single recent utterance of the Holy Father, as I believe it is highly representative of his thought in relation to this all-important consideration. The Holy Father said that:
1. “the Second Vatican Council, an event which launched the most extensive renewal of the Roman Rite ever known
Very few people could have foreseen the wholesale revision of the liturgy which would come in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and certainly few could foresee that the unifiying experience of a Latin liturgy would become entirely alien to most Catholics born in the last third of the twentieth century. The unchangeable nature of this characteristic of the Liturgy was a view largely shared by Blessed John Henry Newman, Mgr Robert Hugh Benson, Mgr Ronald Knox and, until the liturgical reform happened, also by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Commentators such as Fr Joseph Gelineau SJ, composer of the famous psalm tones, went as far as to say “the Roman Rite, as we knew it, has been destroyed”!
The factors which fed into the liturgical reform after the Council were complex and in some ways, not entirely contemporary. I think we must admit that until relatively recently there has been very little scholarship that is able to accurately identify the sources of the liturgical reform. In some cases, the scholarly opinions upon which some decisions were based does not stand the test of time. We must hope that scholarly commentary which unravels some of the mystery surrounding the making of the new liturgy becomes more readily available in the near future.
Whether or not we have any scholarly insight, many of us have lived in the Church through this period and have thereby accumulated a vast reservoir of experiences which for good or ill shape our perceptions in relation to the liturgy and guide our expectations when we consider what we would hope to find when we come to worship God in the liturgy. While there is a sort of commonality to these observations across a wide spectrum of liturgical preference, it goes without saying that whether something is considered desirable or not will largely depend on your view of what the liturgy is meant to achieve. I have come to the view that there is little agreement in this important matter and many people proceed on what is essentially a privatized view of something which is by definition common property.
In his address to the Eucharistic Congress, the Holy Father said:
2. “a great deal has been achieved”
Obviously, there have been some very positive developments in the wake of the liturgical reforms that followed Vatican II. Among them, I would cite:
- The liturgies of the Sacred Triduum, largely unknown to a previous generation, have now become the liturgical heart of the year for most Catholics.
- The Liturgy of the Hours, previously largely limited to the clergy, has become more genuinely the Prayer of the Church in the experience of both religious and lay people.
- A wider selection of lections in the Mass and all the Sacramental Rites has strengthened the idea that Scripture is part of the primitive liturgical κήρυγμα.
- In those places where the principles of the liturgical movement have been applied to music, there is a greater appreciation of the various functions of music in different elements of the liturgy.
- The revision of the rites of Christian Initiation has led to a greater understanding of Baptism as the foundational fact of our ecclesial identity.
- Where provision has been made for individual Confession, there has been a return to the centrality of the Sacrament of Penance in the personal journey of conversion.
- The renewal of the Rite of the Worship of the Blessed Eucharist outside Mass has facilitated (if not quite inspired) the widespread adoption of Eucharistic Adoration as a standard element of parish life and as an important means of engendering private prayer.
On this recent occasion, the Holy Father
3. ‘it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities”
- A sense of the communion of the Church has become limited to local communities that are in many ways self-selecting – many Catholics have a poor understanding of what it means to belong to the Universal Church but a highly developed understanding of what it means to belong to a self-selecting parish community of people like themselves.
- Any notion of the shape of the Liturgical year has been greatly lessened by an ironing-out of those features which characterized the distinctive seasons of the year.
- The universal tendency to ignore sung propers and to substitute non-liturgical alternatives.
- The transference of Solemnities which are holydays of obligation to Sundays destroys the internal dynamics of the liturgical cycle e.g. The Epiphany and The Ascension.
- The frequent tendency to gloss or paraphrase the liturgical texts, supplying continuous commentary, has contributed to an improvised or spontaneous character in much liturgical celebration.
- The multiplication of liturgical ‘ministries’ has led to considerable confusion and error concerning the relationship between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the baptized.
- The liturgy often seems to have the quality of a performance with the priest and liturgical ministers cast in the roles of performers and behaving accordingly. Consequently, congregations are often expecting to be ‘entertained’ rather as spectators might be at a theatre.
- The manner of the distribution and reception of Holy Communion (including the appropriateness of one’s reception of Communion at a particular Mass) has led to a casual disregard for this great Sacrament.
- A proliferation of Communion Services presided over by lay people has resulted in a lessening of the sense of the importance of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
- The appalling banality of much liturgical music and the lack of any true liturgical spirit in the use of music in the liturgy has been a primary generating force in anti-liturgical culture.
The Holy Father then went on to say that:
4. “not infrequently, the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and "active participation" has been confused with external activity”
In my view, this is the very crux of the matter and I would like to illustrate it with reference to the Mass at which Pope Benedict’s remarks were heard – the closing Mass of the recent Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. The improvements in liturgical culture and particularly the improvements in liturgical music, that have become increasingly evident throughout this papacy, particularly in large-scale celebrations were sadly almost entirely absent from this occasion, giving the event a sort of ‘eighties’ feel to it. More specifically:- the entire liturgy had a ‘performance’ quality to it, with the assembly as the principal focus. This was borne out by the fact that musicial items were frequently greeted with applause.
- There was a frequent disregard for the provisions of the GIRM. This was particularly evident with reference to music:
+ None of the antiphons of the proper were sung for the entrance, offertory and communion processions (cf GIRM #40)
+ Gregorian Chant was conspicuous by its absence (cf GIRM #41). None of the Missal chants was used for the people’s parts of the Order of Mass (with the single exceptions of the gospel and preface dialogues), even though the liturgy was predominantly in English and these chants would have been known by most people present.
+ In the Profession of Faith, after the Cardinal celebrant had intoned Credo III, lectors read the Apostles’ Creed (which has a different intonation to the Nicene Creed) in a variety of languages, spoken paragraphs were punctuated by the sung response ‘Credo, Amen!” This is not recognizably one of the modes for the Creed described in the GIRM (cf GIRM #48).
+ Much music did not ‘correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action’ [GIRM #41] such as the celebrity spot during the distribution of Holy Communion of 3 clerical tenors, ‘The Priests’, singing the impossibly sentimental song “May the road rise up to meet you”. I feel like asking, just what is wrong with the Communion antiphon and psalm?
+ Despite the international character of the occasion, the use of Latin in the people’s sung parts was almost non-existant (cf GIRM #41).
The depressing cumulative effect of the disregard for all these principles in a major liturgy, celebrated by a papal legate, and broadcast throughout the world, is hard to underestimate. If I were given to conspiracy theories, I would almost feel persuaded that this was a deliberately calculated attempt to broadcast a different message and to oppose the better liturgical spirit of recent times. But surely it cannot be so?
I think we have to ask such questions and indeed to surmise that the influence of former barons of the liturgical establishment has found a new and conspicuous arena of activity in which to model their example of poor liturgy. There can be no talk of the reform of the Roman Rite until the GIRM is enforced as the minimum requirement. If it remains a largely fantasy text at the beginning of our altar missals then ‘the rebuilding of the broken down city’ will take a very long time.
The Holy Father then concluded by stating that:
5. “much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal”
We must conclude by agreeing with the Holy Father – there is much to be done and happily a week like this one is a prophetic sign of the new liturgical road map – where we are going and how we are going to do it! In an attempt to engender on-going improvement in the quality of our liturgy, and in the hope that Catholics will be able to encounter a liturgy that is self-evidently expressive of our liturgical tradition and conveys a sense of something larger than the purely local, in a highly personal view, I would identify the following as desirable characteristics of the liturgy of the future:
- A sense of reverence for the text: the unity of the Roman Rite is now essentially a textual unity. The Church permits a certain latitude in the interpretation of the norms that govern the celebration of the liturgy and hence our unity is essentially textual: we use the same prayers and meditate on the same Scriptures. This is more clearly evident now with a single English text for universal use.
- A greater willingness to heed Sacrosanctum concilium rather than continual recourse to the rather nebulous concept of the ‘spirit of the Council’ which generally attempts to legitimize liturgical abuses rather than correct them. Currently, these teachings are more likely to be evidenced in a well prepared presentation of the Extraordinary Form than in most Ordinary Form celebrations. It need not be so.
- In relation to both forms of the Roman Rite, a careful attention to the demands of the calendar and the norms which govern the celebration of the liturgy, not assuming that it is possible or acceptable to depart from these norms.
- A re-reading of the encyclical Mediator Dei of Pope Pius XII in conjunction with more recent Magisterial documents. In this way, the light of tradition might be perceived to shine on all our liturgical celebrations.
- The widespread cultivation of a dignified and reverent liturgy that evidences careful preparation and respect for its constituent elements in accordance with the liturgical norms.
- A recovery of the Latin tradition of the Roman Rite that enables us to continue to present elements of our liturgical patrimony from the earliest centuries with understanding. This necessarily requires a far more enthusiastic and widespread commitment to the teaching and learning of Latin in order that the linguistic culture required for interpreting our texts and chants may be more widely experienced and our patrimony enjoy a wider constituency.
- We should seek to see the exclusion of all music from the Liturgy which does not a ‘liturgical voice’, regardless of style.
- The exclusion from the liturgy of music which only expresses secular culture and which is ill-suited to the demands of the liturgy. A renaissance of interest in and use of chant in both Latin and English as a recognition that this form of music should enjoy ‘first place’ in our liturgy and all other musical forms are suitable for liturgical use to the extent that they share in the characteristics of chant.
- An avoidance of the idea that music is the sole consideration in the liturgy, the music is a vehicle for the liturgy not the other way around!
- A commitment to the celebration and teaching of the ars celebrandi of both forms of the Roman Rite, so that all priests can perceive more readily how the light of tradition shines on our liturgical life and how this might be communicated more effectively to our people.
- A clearer distinction between devotions, non-liturgical forms of prayer and the Sacred Liturgy. A lack of any proper liturgical sense has led to a proliferation of devotions as an alternative vehicle for popular fervour. This was a widespread criticism of the liturgy before the Council and we now have to ask ourselves why the same lacuna has been identified in the newer liturgical forms.
- A far greater commitment to silence before, during and after the Liturgy is needed.
Having travelled the English-speaking world very widely in preparation for the implementation of the English translation of the third typical edition of the Missale Romanum, and having experienced the liturgy in a wide variety of circumstances and styles, I would conclude that I have generally encountered a great desire for change, although not always among those who are directly responsible for the liturgy. I think we are currently well placed to respond to this desire and this is evidenced by the fact that many things which were indicated fifty years ago, such as the singing of the Mass, and more particularly the singing of the proper texts rather than the endless substitution of songs and hymns, are only now being seriously considered and implemented. It is earnestly to be desired that such developments continue to flourish and that an improved liturgical culture is accessible to everyone in the Church.
Crucial to this peaceful revolution has been the leadership and example of the present Holy Father who has consistently studied and written about the liturgy in a long life of scholarship which now informs his governance of the Church’s liturgical life. Much that he commends was already evident in aspects of liturgical scholarship from the early twentieth century onwards. In our own time, however, it is finally being received with the joy and enthusiasm that it merits. A new generation of Catholics eagerly awaits a greater experience of the basic truth that the liturgy is always a gift which we receive from the Church rather than make for ourselves. The Church Music Association of America and all those who identify with its initiatives and benefit from its prophetic lead have a very serious and a highly significant contribution to make to this process. May God bless us all as we share in his work.
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:05 pm

The reponse:

‘Celebrity congress Mass’ criticism rejected


19 Jul 2012

Michael Kelly

An internationally known Church liturgist has criticised last month’s International Eucharistic Congress closing Mass saying it was in part ‘impossibly sentimental’ and had a ‘celebrity’ feel. The comments have been strongly rejected by organisers.

Msgr Andrew Wadsworth, head of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy(ICEL) - the group that advises bishops in the English-speaking world about liturgy - described the closing Mass of the congress as having “a sort of eighties feel to it”.

He told a gathering in the United States that “the improvements in liturgical culture and particularly the improvements in liturgical music, that have become increasingly evident throughout this Papacy, particularly in large-scale celebrations were sadly almost entirely absent from this occasion.

“If I were given to conspiracy theories, I would almost feel persuaded that this was a deliberately calculated attempt to broadcast a different message and to oppose the better liturgical spirit of recent times,” Msgr Wadsworth said.

He criticised what he described as a ‘celebrity spot’ during the distribution of Holy Communion where ‘The Priests’ sang “the impossibly sentimental song ‘May the road rise up to meet you’.”

However, Fr Paddy Jones, Director of the National Centre for Liturgy at Maynooth strongly rejected the criticism insisting that Msgr Wadsworth “may not know what these liturgies meant to the thousands who celebrated them at the Congress held at this time of renewal and healing in the Church in Ireland.”

Fr Jones said “there’s lots of loose language in his criticism of the closing Mass”.

Fr Kevin Doran, Secretary General for the IEC told The Irish Catholic he felt that Msgr Wadsworth’s “concerns have more to do with the Second Vatican Council than with the Eucharistic Congress.

“The Congress simply happens to be a convenient target for him,” Fr Doran said.

Englishman Msgr Wadsworth also criticised the fact that there was not more Latin used during the Mass, a criticism rejected by Fr Doran: “while Latin is the ‘official’ language of the liturgy, most people pray the Mass in the vernacular”.

Msgr Wadsworth said “the entire liturgy had a ‘performance' quality to it, with the assembly as the principal focus. This was borne out by the fact that musical items were frequently greeted with applause”.

However, Fr Jones rejected this caricature pointing out that “there was applause, loudest during the Papal Legate’s homily, at the end of Pope Benedict’s message and at the end of the Mass, not an indication of ‘performance,’ but the congregation’s sincere response to what was taking place in their midst”.

Fr Jones described the criticism as “unhelpful and unfair and not reflecting what those who were there are saying”.
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:07 pm

But, did Guffer Jones actually address any of the points raised by Mons. Wadsworth?
To the unsuspecting he seems to be gone off the point - again.
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:36 pm

From the New Liturgical Movement

by Fr. Anthony Symondson SJ


English converts once equated the Church with Baroque Catholicism. This impression was fostered by the Oratory of St Philip Neri, brought to Britain at Birmingham by Blessed John Henry Newman in 1848. In 1852 Fr F. W. Faber bought a plot of land in Brompton, then a semi-rural western suburb of London, and established the London Oratory. Earlier, when he had appalled Pugin as much as the Protestant Establishment by turning a dance hall at King William Street, Charing Cross, into a Classical Chapel richly embellished with Italianate church art, he brought full-blooded Continental Catholicism to London.

Second only to the Gothic Jesuit church in Farm Street, Mayfair (where converts imbibed Baroque spirituality), Brompton Oratory, as it is popularly, if erroneously, known, became a Mecca for rich and influential Victorian converts, and Henry Fitzalan Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk, became a principle benefactor. This is reflected in the Northern Italian Baroque grandeur of Herbert Gribble’s great church, started in 1874 and sumptuously furnished with new and original Baroque furniture and sculpture, vestments and altar plate.

The Northern Italian character of the Oratory church has remained consistent until modern times. This has, however, been significantly broken by the installation of a new Calvary group with figures of Our Lady and St John, in the Spanish Baroque style, set within the chapel of Blessed John Henry Newman, situated beneath the organ gallery in the south aisle, behind the life-size, seated figure of St Peter. Traditionally this has been the place where a Calvary has been placed since the church was built but a fire in the 1950s destroyed the original crucifix and it was replaced by an austere substitute. The new chapel provided an opportunity to commission a new Calvary.

One of the principle art exhibitions in London in 2009-10 was the landmark The Sacred Made Real at the National Gallery of naturalistic Spanish sculpture and painting executed between 1600 and 1700. It presented a quest for realism of uncompromising zeal and genius which shocked the senses and stirred the soul as no other exhibition bar that of Southern German Rococo art mounted at the Royal Academy soon after the Second World War. Attending the exhibition was a religious as well as an aesthetic experience and one could not fail to notice the devotion and reverence of many Catholic visitors in the presence of these polychromatic (meaning many-coloured because they were painted) masterpieces. These works brought people to their knees and tears to their eyes, so affecting was their spiritual power.

The Sacred Made Real exhibition was mounted by Xavier Bray, the Senior Curator of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and a leading authority in Spanish Baroque art, and the Oratorians consulted him about commissioning the new Calvary at Brompton. A notable exhibit was a partly-executed modern Spanish Baroque figure of St John of the Cross made to show visitors the processes that went into making these images. This was executed by Darío Fernández, a young Spanish imaginero from Seville who continues to carve in the Baroque manner. His work is influenced by Juan de Mesa and Juan Martines Montañéz, the greatest Spanish Baroque sculptors. The sculpture and subdued painted surfaces, softened by varnish, of the Calvary are combined with spectacular force as good as the originals. When completed, it created a sensation when it was exhibited in Seville town hall.

In the classic Baroque style, the focus is on the person of Christ and the saints. The heightened realism of this group may shock because nothing like it has been done in this country for quite 100 years. That quality is intensified by the angular folds of the clothing of the figures which provide additional drive and vigour as well as depth of shadow. But is this merely religious kitsch or, still more, pastiche? Some critics regarded The Sacred Made Real exhibition as the grandfather of kitsch because of its lifelike, exaggerated fervour. But kitsch means worthless and pretentious and neither could be said of this Calvary group which is instinct with naturalistic religious feeling. Nor is it pastiche because it is part of a living sculptural tradition that uses the Baroque language of art which is indigenous in southern Spain. Its realism is the realism of the Gospels or the imaginative intensity of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola that had a powerful influence on Spanish Baroque art.

The group is contained within a niche on the left of the chapel and the background is delicately painted on canvas with a distant view of Jerusalem flanked by trees beneath a clouded sky, executed by Alan Dodd, a muralist. Dodd has restored and decorated many of the noblest rooms and interiors in the country, often in trompe l’oeil, but here he has subordinated his work to the peace and strength of Fernandez’s Calvary and both are complementary. In this softly-lit, understated way polychromatic sculpture and painting are unified as a whole within an architectural setting.

Currently, major commissions for art are rare in Catholic church architecture in Britain. Exceptions are commissions for mosaics in Westminster Cathedral and the recent exemplary restoration of St Patrick’s, Soho. In recent years the Oratorians have made significant new additions to their London church and this Calvary group marks a milestone for being inspired by an outstanding exhibition and for maintaining the artistic tradition illuminated by it. It exemplifies the Holy Father’s emphasis on traditional Catholic art. Not only is the Calvary a work of art but also a powerful aid to devotion.




Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby apelles » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:06 pm

The Making of a Seventeenth-Century Spanish Polychrome Sculpture ... ndex.shtm#

Francisco Antonio Gijón (1653–c. 1721) and unknown painter (possibly Domingo Mejías)
Saint John of the Cross c. 1675 painted and gilded wood

The polychromed wooden sculpture, which depicts the 16th-century saint known as John of the Cross, has recently undergone technical examination and conservation treatment by the object conservation department at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

To mark his beatification in 1675, when John was proclaimed worthy of public veneration in preparation for sainthood, the Carmelite convent in Seville commissioned this sculpture of him undergoing a mystical experience.

Originally, a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, was attached to his right shoulder, while in his right hand he would have held a quill, poised to record his vision in the book he holds in his left hand. The miniature rocky mountain on top of the book alludes to the title of the saint's celebrated spiritual treatise, Ascent of Mount Carmel.

Francisco Antonio Gijón was a sculptor from Seville renowned for his ability to carve dramatic works with intense expression. He was only 21 when he was awarded the commission.

Composite x-radiograph of Saint John of the Cross

During the technical examination, x-radiography revealed that the main body of the figure was carved from a single column of wood hollowed at the back from mid-chest down to the base in order to reduce its weight and minimize cracking along the grain. The radiographic evidence—in addition to subsequent identification of the wood as cypress—corresponds to details of a document in which the artist, Gijón, was commissioned to produce a sculpture of Saint John of the Cross, and specifies that a cypress log would be provided for his use.

Saint John of the Cross was a Spanish monk and priest born near Ávila in 1542, who during his lifetime founded an order of reformed Discalced Carmelites. ("Discalced" means barefoot or wearing sandals.) He was also a mystic and poet. Having worked briefly in his youth in a sculptor's workshop, John wrote of the necessity of sculpture to inspire reverence for the saints.

Schematic drawing of the assembly of Saint John of the Cross
drawing by Julia Sybalsky

Examination of the sculpture's surface and the x-radiograph revealed that the head, arms, hand, left leg, and both feet, as well as the cape, hood, and lower scapular portion of the monastic habit were all separately carved and attached to the trunk using animal glue and nails. The neck was carved with an extension shaped to fit into a hollow in the top of the trunk. Extra sections of wood were attached to the main column to accommodate the figure's expansive stance.

Detail showing the separately carved left hand with book

Each hand of Saint John of the Cross was made separately with a carved tenon (insertion piece) projecting from the center of the truncated wrist so that it could be fitted into the corresponding mortise (opening) at the end of the forearm.

Sequential schematic drawings of the surface preparations evident on Saint John of the Cross
drawing prepared by the object conservation department, National Gallery of Art

The schematic drawing illustrates the process of transforming the bare wood surface to its gilded and decorated final appearance. A team of specialists was involved in making the original sculpture. Traditionally, the sculptor carved the work and applied a white ground. Flesh tones of the head, hands, and feet were then applied by a painter. It was common for yet another artisan to embellish the drapery with estofado (gilded, painted, and scribed decoration).

Application of glue and linen to wood

Here, conservators in the laboratory demonstrate the application of glue and linen to cypress wood panels. The preparation of wood surfaces for estofado, a special technique used to decorate the drapery, was more time consuming than that for the encarnciones (flesh tones). Following an overall application of gíscola (animal glue and garlic essence), the surfaces to be gilded were covered with linen. This covering reinforced the separate wooden elements, isolated wood knots, and provided a rough surface to hold the subsequent layers of gesso. The strength provided by the fabric precluded the need for numerous expensive metal nails, which had the disadvantage of corroding and eventually causing the wood to crack during seasonal weather cycles.

Application of gesso over linen

[right] Conservators paid considerable attention to maintaining a smooth surface in between each layer, contributing to a final surface that was as smooth as possible.

[bottom] Next, gíscola was brushed over the fabric-covered surface, followed by four to five layers of warmed, glue-fortified yeso grueso (coarse gesso). Finer yeso mate was applied over the yeso grueso with a light hand in a continuous succession of several thin layers.

Application of red bole over gesso

Once dry, the bol (bole, or clay mixed with animal glue) provided a relatively tough but pliable surface on which the gold leaf could be scribed, impressed, or burnished. The final layer was attentively polished, since this was the surface upon which the gold leaf would be laid, and imperfections would be magnified by the gold's reflection.


[right] Application of gold leaf over bole
After dampening the bole with water to activate the glue, individual gold leaf sheets were floated onto the surface and gently set down with a soft brush to work out any air bubbles and allowed to dry.

[bottom] Burnishing the gold leaf
The surface was then worked with a burnishing stone to a brilliant sheen.

Mixing tempera paint and applying over gilded surface

[right] Painting the gilded surface with tempera
The brilliant golden surface was brushed with thin layers of the egg tempera paint.

[bottom] Making tempera paint
In anticipation of the final steps for creating the estofado design, tempera paint was prepared by mixing diluted egg yolk with pigment.

Pattern transfer and scribing the tempera paint

[right] The pattern is transferred to the tempera surface with chalk to act as a guide for scribed lines (left side of panel). The matte surface of the tempera paint provides maximum contrast to the brilliant gold below (right side of panel).

[bottom] An intricate estofado pattern is revealed in gold as the tempera paint is removed with a stylus.

Adding punchwork

[right] Bands of intricate punchwork simulating gold trim border the estofado decoration along all of Saint John's vestments. Here, punchwork is added to the fabricated gilded decoration to further enhance the designs.

[bottom left] This detail from the drapery of Saint John of the Cross shows its estofado decoration and punched border. Estofado lent an impression of grandeur to the sculpture, which was often glimpsed from afar. A small repertoire of standard patterns elements could be used in varying combinations and sizes.

Detail of estofado as seen in a cross-section taken from the robe of Saint John

The technique of estofado as recreated in the National Gallery's conservation laboratory is consistent with that seen in this cross-section taken from the robe of Saint John:
(A) yeso grueso (coarse gesso)
(B) yeso mate (fine gesso)
(C) bole
(D) gold leaf
(E) tempera paint

Detail of unshaven chin from the face of Saint John of the Cross

Once the estofado decoration of the robe was completed, the finely carved features of the face, hands, and feet were prepared. The term encarnación (literally, "incarnation" or "made flesh") was used by painters to describe the subtle skill of painting the flesh tones of a sculpture. There were two ways of painting flesh tones: polimento (glossy) and mate (matte). The polimento technique, which involved polishing the surface, made the sculptures look shiny and reflected light in an unnatural way. By contrast, the mate technique was much favored in Seville as a way of approximating the true quality of human flesh. This was the technique used by the painter for Saint John's head, face, hands, and feet. On top of the white ground that covered these areas, the painter first applied a reddish colored priming as a base for the colors. Then, with the skill of a makeup artist, he worked up layers of shadow and texture using an oil-based paint to capture Saint John's angular cheekbones and unshaven chin. The final touch was to apply an egg-white varnish to make the eyes sparkle.

Clay model of the head of Saint John

The tradition of carving and painting sculpture continues to be popular in Spain today. Darío Fernández, a present-day imaginero (sculptor and painter of sacred images) in Seville, Spain, was commissioned to make a reproduction of the head of Saint John of the Cross to illustrate the process of carving and painting flesh tones. First, a clay model is made to determine the sculpture's proportions, and its measurements are transferred to the wood block. This reproduction was recreated solely from photographs and measurements of the head of the original 17th-century sculpture.

[left] A clay model of the head of Saint John was made as a preparatory study before carving in wood, as shown here in the studio of Darío Fernández

[right] Close-up of clay model

Reconstruction of the head of Saint John of the Cross, by Darío Fernández, 2009
Contemporary copy of the head and cowl of Saint John of the Cross, generously supported by The Matthiesen Foundation, London, and Coll & Cortes, Madrid.
Photo © Darío Fernández

[top] Front view: This modern reconstruction bust of Saint John, crafted by Darío Fernández, shows sequential stages of completion in its fabrication. Across the chest, from left to right: bare wood, glue-coated wood, coarse gesso, and fine gesso.

[bottom] Back view: the reverse shows of this reproduction sculpture, varying states of completion can be seen from right to left: blocks of wood glued to one another, forms roughed in the wood, and final carved and finished features.


Sculptures such as Saint John exist today due to the painstaking technical achievements of the many accomplished artists of Golden Age Spain, whose traditions have been passed down to present-day practitioners.
Posts: 298
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby apelles » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:12 pm

And here's a video showing the making of a Spanish polychrome sculpture
Posts: 298
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:34 pm

Thanks Apelles for that most interesting informaton on Spanish wood/gesso statues. The exhibition in London last year did wonders to bring the quality of this workmanship to the attention of the wider public.
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:54 pm

Longford Cathedral

The awful day is approaching when the liturgical fittings for the restored Cathedral in Longford must be chosen. And, surprise, surprise there was no surprise in what, apparently, has been proposed. Here we have more of the same old modernist jingo-jango plastered up with an off the wall liturgical "scholarship" right out of the 1960/1970s - a clear telling of just how stopped the clock is in Ireland. Needless to say, all this appears to be another version of Hacker Hurley's attempts to "save the Second Vatican Council from the ashes" and equally out of step with much of the rest of the Catholic world. Presumably, this, or a variant, is what he would have done had he gotten his hands on Cobh Cathedral.

Here is an image of the proposal:


The first thing that strikes about this "solution" is the lack of any coherence between the "liturgical" elements and the rest of the building. The former have been concieved and executed without the slightest reference to the latter thereby rendering the former a complete alien in the latter.

Also, there is the problem of squares in rectangles: that awful looking podium in the middle of the nave. This again is another example of a complete disinterest in taking anything of the original design and function of the Cathedral into account. Rather than public worship -and what would you expect in a Cathedral- here we have the application of the domesticization of the liturgy in a very large and very public space to catastrophic effect. This is something like building a modern bungalow sitting-room in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Will someone ever tell those responsible for this nonsense that the day of the "domus ecclesiae" are well and truly over and the concept, for what it was ever worth, has no historical precedent or example in the Rome in which the Latin Rite emerged and developed. "Domus ecclesiae" is a 20th. century construct reflecting a liturgical romanticism one would expect to find in Disney Land.

If anyone were looking for justification of the (justiified) criticism made of the liturgical arrangements for the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin last June, then here we have it. I expect that this nonsense is another product from the same stable and begotten of the same winded nags who once grazed on the Woodstock common. For all their gufff about liturgy, they have written nothing of any significance or lasting value in terms of scholarship and are already obsolete. They are, and always were, third rate hacks propped up by a very dubious establishment.

Subjoined is the article accompanying the photograph as published on Clerical Whispers:

The St Mel’s Cathedral Project committee is hoping for work to begin on the structural aspects of the Cathedral restoration by the end of August, as plans for the new interior were lodged this week.

A structural contractor is expected to be appointed this week, with work to begin as soon as An Bord Pleanála rule on an appeal lodged against the granting of permission for works relating to the new roof and sub-floor.

As it stands, work has not been delayed on-site by the appeal lodged last April but Chairman of the St Mel’s Cathedral Project Committee Seamus Butler has said that if the decision from An Bord Pleanála is pushed out until late in the year, the project will ultimately be delayed.

This week, in a major step, St Mel’s Diocesan Trust applied to Longford Town Council for planning permission to redevelop the interior of the Cathedral, including a major redesign of the sanctuary area, as well as for the fitting of windows and the cleaning of external stonework.

The most striking aspect of this application includes plans for the redesign of the altar area, including relocating the tabernacle (where the Eucharist is held) to behind the altar. The baptismal font will now be relocated to the central aisle.

“The idea is that as people enter the Cathedral, the baptismal font will welcome them and lead them in the direction of the altar,” Mr Butler told the Leader.

Mr Butler said the re-arranged altar was in keeping with changes in the Church brought about by the Second Vatican Council.

“The re-ordering of the whole altar area is something that was always likely to happen, even if the fire hadn’t occurred. The altar will now extend into the nave, bringing the laity closer.”

The new organ, which is currently under construction in Italy, will also be located in the east transept and will be suspended between arches, if permission is granted.

In another change from the previous layout, the choir are set to be located on a tiered choir stall located in the east aisle, near the altar.

Seating numbers will also be slightly reduced due to the changes.

Prior to the Christmas Day fire in 2009, the Cathedral sat 1,100, with this number set to fall to just over 900.

PS: The slight reduction in seating is about 250 places, I am told.
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:25 am

The Jesuit Church, Limerick




Praxiteles received the following press release earlier today:

Sacred Heart Church purchased by the Institute of Christ the King in
Limerick, Ireland

With the help of numerous friends from Ireland, the United States and
Continental Europe, the Church of the Sacred Heart at the Crescent in
Limerick, also known as the Jesuit Church after its first builders and
long-term occupants, was recently purchased by a young priestly
community called the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. The
church and adjacent building, sold to a developer some years ago, had
stood vacant for six years and was in danger of falling into ruin.
Therefore many people from Limerick and other parts of Ireland were
happy to help this Institute bring the Church of the Sacred Heart and
its residence back to life.
A young community of members of the Institute of Christ the King will
very soon move into the attached residence in spite of its rather poor
condition, and the church will serve for the time being as its chapel.
With the permission of the Bishop of Limerick, the Institute of Christ
the King has had a residence in the diocese since 2009 and offers Mass
every Sunday in the Extraordinary Form at St. Patrick's Church, whilst
also working in a few neighbouring dioceses.
Founded in 1990, the Institute is a Roman-Catholic Society of Apostolic
Life of Pontifical Right in canonical form. The 64 priests of the
Institute work all over the world to promote the spiritual Kingship of
Christ. A special emphasis is laid on the harmony between faith and
culture, and thus the young community has acquired a reputation for
promoting the arts, especially sacred music and architecture. This
experience will serve to restore the Church of the Sacred Heart to its
classical beauty and make it available once more as a point of reference
for the cultural life of Limerick.
The mother-house and international seminary of the Institute of Christ
the King is based in Florence, Italy, where 80 seminarians are training
for the priesthood and 21 religious sisters are especially devoted to
the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Among these are already several Irish
vocations. This young community has missions in Gabon (Africa) and
important apostolates in the United States, England, France, Spain,
Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Sweden and naturally in Rome,
where their founder, Msgr. Gilles Wach, was ordained to the priesthood
by Blessed Pope John Paul. The provincial superior of the community in
Ireland is at present Msgr. Michael Schmitz, who was ordained a priest
by the present Holy Father, the then Cardinal Ratzinger.
The prior of the Church of the Sacred Heart is a 38 year-old priest,
Canon Wulfran Lebocq, choir-master of the Institute and permanently
resident in the diocese since 2010. For the time being, the community in
Limerick is composed of four members, whose average age is 32.
The Institute of Christ the King follows the spirituality of St. Francis
de Sales, which is expressed in the motto of the Institute: Live the
truth in charity, and could be summarised in the famous quote of the
Doctor of Charity: Cook the truth in charity until it tastes sweet. The
Canons of the Institute of Christ the King have a vast experience in
working with the young. Schools, youth camps, days of recollection,
musical training and many other activities are among the benefits they
are used to bringing to the places where they work.
In Limerick, the Institute of Christ the King, supported by many local
residents and a large group of friends in Ireland and abroad, intends to
restore the Church of the Sacred Heart to its original purpose as a
vibrant spiritual and cultural centre and a beautiful place of worship
through a dynamic and open community life as a spiritual family.
However, this will require a careful historical restoration before the
Church may be opened once again to the greater public.
The Institute of Christ the King celebrates the classical Roman Liturgy,
the Latin Mass, in its Extraordinary Form according to the liturgical
books promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962. This liturgy,
promoted by Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in various
documents, attracts today an ever greater number of people, especially
young adults, students and families. The Institute is accustomed to see
a lively family of faithful in its churches and wishes to bring the
uplifting beauty of sacrality and genuine culture to all.
This beautiful church at the Crescent is still today a special
architectural jewel, and many deplored its closing and long-term
vacancy. The Institute of Christ the King, which has a special devotion
to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly desires to reopen this church for
the benefit of all, in close collaboration with the local civil and
ecclesiastical authorities. In this way, yet another sign of a brighter
future will again come alive in Limerick.
Those who would like to know more about this important project for
Limerick City can find further information either on their website
( or by visiting the community at the
Crescent: Come and see!


The former iconic Jesuit Church in Limerick, Ireland - up for sale - again! ... suit_chu...

The (former) Sacred Heart Church is situated at the Crescent, on O'Connell Street, Limerick. It was completed in 1868 and opened to the public on January 27 1869. The architect of this church was William Corbett and the church is in the parish of St Joseph's. According to Murphy, it was originally intended to dedicate the church to St Aloysius but when it was dedicated in 1869 it was called the Church of the Sacred Heart. The façade of the church is Classical/Grecian in design. It was renovated in 1900. There are no aisles in the church but the nave has two rows of pews. The nave was extended in 1919.

As depicted in the photograph, the ceiling of the church is panelled with floriated ornaments in Stucco work. The high altar was designed by William Corbett and is made from 22 types of precious marble. On the floor around the high altar, there are the symbols of the four writers of the Gospels. The angel represents Matthew, the lion represents Mark while Luke and John are represented by the bull and eagle respectively.

Some of the stained glass windows throughout the church show the letters 'IHS'. These letters are the first three letters of the Greek word for Jesus which is IHSOUS. In Latin the letters stand for Jesus hominum salvator which translates as 'Jesus, Saviour of men'.

There are nine mosaics above the high altar. The central mosaic is of the Sacred Heart ascending in the presence of St Margaret Mary Alacoque and Blessed Claude la Colombiere. It is surrounded (from left to right) by depictions of St Francis Jerome, St Francis Borgia, St Francis Xavier, St Ignatius, St Stanislaus, St Aloysius, St John Berchmans and St Francis Regis.

The church formally closed in 2006.

Full set of images:
Old Master
Posts: 6062
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:02 pm


Return to Ireland