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How the Catholic Church Will Make a Famous Evangelical Megachurch Their Own

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Garden Grove's Crystal Cathedral, home to the Hour of Power, is one of the most recognizable evangelical megachurches ever built (with buildings by some of modernism's biggest names) and it would take some kind of supernaturally rich and powerful organization to change that rep. Like the Catholic Church, whose Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange bought the campus in 2011 after the founding ministry (led by televangelist Robert Schuller) filed for bankruptcy--now they're working on a range of changes to make everything a little more Catholicky. The Vatican is reportedly not so keen on the glassy, star-shaped (not cruciform!) building designed by Philip Johnson, but they'll be living with it ... for now? The editor of the Sacred Architecture Journal clears that right up for the LA Times: "The exterior will always be the Crystal Cathedral, at least for a while."

Either way, the sanctuary will be made "intrinsically Catholic"; the church will "install a traditional altar, a gospel lectern called an ambo and baptismal font into a structure that was built as a television studio as much as a sanctuary. They'll also have to add prominent images of such figures as the Virgin Mary, the apostles and, especially, the church's namesake." The cathedral's three enormous balconies, which can hold thousands, present a particular challenge for the design team, led by the director of worship for the Archdiocese of Omaha, who dabbles in liturgical design on the side--should they "be seen as bringing more people closer to the fore" or as "detracting from the notion that it is 'one body in Christ' who have gathered"?

The Crystal Cathedral campus also includes such important buildings as the cultural center once used as Starfleet headquarters in a Star Trek film and the old church designed by Richard Neutra. Secular preservation experts are handling a restoration of the Neutra.

The first Catholic Mass at the Christ Cathedral won't be held "until at least 2015."
· Changing faiths at the Crystal Cathedral [LAT]
· Vatican Hates Newly-Catholic Crystal Cathedral [Curbed LA]