San Francisco’s Cathedral: Monstrously Ugly

After the past year, we’ve all learned that the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, truly is lion-hearted when it comes to defending Catholic teaching. San Francisco must be one of the most otherworldly places in the United States for faithful Catholics who reside there, which is why it is truly disappointing that it lacks a cathedral that inspires with beauty and tradition.

Abstract stained glass, an incomprehensible chandelier, and vaulting from Star Wars combine to make one of the ugliest churches on the planet

Abstract stained glass, an incomprehensible chandelier, the absence of a central crucifix, and vaulting from Star Wars combine to make one of the ugliest churches on the planet

Instead, the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption is irredeemably and monstrously ugly. In fact, it may be the most ghastly (Catholic) cathedral I have ever visited, although I am told that Los Angeles’ cathedral may compare.

I can only sympathize with His Excellency the Archbishop if, upon receiving word from the Vatican that Pope Benedict appointed him to San Francisco, he might have considered asking the Holy Father for permission to say, tear down the cathedral and build a new one, or, possibly even better, purchase Grace Cathedral from the dwindling to nothing Episcopal Diocese of California. Heck, just give the Episcopalians the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in trade for their French Gothic Nob Hill masterpiece.

C’mon, which building looks more Catholic to you?


Source: Wikimedia Commons; Author: Rob Summers


And things don’t get any better once you enter the interior of the Cathedral. For starters, at the corners of the square base of the structure are transparent windows that look out onto the parking lot and surrounding buildings.

A worshipper trying to maintain focus on the ineffable mysteries of the Mass may simultaneously glimpse the far more pedestrian goings-on outside, such as people who leave before the final blessing fumbling for their keys in the parking lot on their way to their vehicles.

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For the Archbishop or…. Loki? Thanos? Some other movie villain?

Another nit is the Archbishop’s cathedra, which looks more like something designed as a movie set piece for the latest comic book blockbuster than anything for a successor of the apostles.

I’ve stated my opinion: I hate church buildings in the style of this cathedral. I think this style of modern architecture are horrid. What do you think?


One thought on “San Francisco’s Cathedral: Monstrously Ugly

  1. Quite disgusting and a disgrace for a Catholic Church. There were days when the churches had prescriptions, or a checklist that needed to be followed when built. Why do you think the oldest churches are the most beautiful? After the Second Vatican Council, the ‘modernist’ movement was in full swing, meaning churches were built to whatever liberal picture most bishops/priests had in their progressive mind. This church depressingly resembles a pagan shrine rather than a Catholic Church. There are other places you can take your architectural ‘creativity’, but not when it comes to the house of the Lord

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