Catholics Created Enormous Cathedrals, Protestants Created Nearly Nothing. Why?
Was going through a picture book of the major cathedrals in Europe, all Catholic. And it occurred to me that the only Protestant cathedral of note that I can think or have been to are a couple in London.
Why is this?
Great Britain has plenty of non-Catholic cathedrals.
By the start of the Reformation, most of the great cathedrals had already been built.
St. John the Divine in New York City
National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
To have a cathedral you need a bishop. The Bishop's chair is called a cathedra, the symbol of his authority. Most Protestant sects don't have bishops. Anglicans and Lutherans do. Anglican have cathedrals. Lutherans certainly have some cathedrals in Europe. Mormons and Methodists have "bishops," but not in the sense of apostolic succession.
There are theological reasons too.
Catholicism ruled Europe during the years when most of the great cathedrals were built.
Protestantism was, in part, a reaction against the wealth and opulence of the Catholic Church. Most Protestant sects saw the expense and indulgence of a fancy cathedral as arrogant ungodliness and wasteful idolatry.
When Henry VIII broke with Rome, the Anglican Church was created to take its place. Since Henry was a Catholic at heart, the Church of England was basically Catholicism without the Pope. They were more comfortable mimicking the grandeur of the Catholics.
At least that's my take on it.
As R2 noted, the Protestants simply took over the already-built structures in their countries. And in emerging nations - colonially assimilated into the Christian "world," cathedrals of some size and scale were built by members of the Anglican community, as in Australia and North America. The occasional large-scale "cathedral" also can be seen among Presbyterians. However, other denominations, purposely turning from the centralized systems of Catholicism and the national Anglican and Lutheran denominations, have had neither the will, interest nor resources for that kind of grandeur.
Newer groups, such as the televangelism mega-churches, offer a contemporary take on cathedral building, but they are more like media centers and theaters with cafes and work-out centers than traditional sanctuaries.
Are they teaching anything in schools anymore?
Oh, R6 is such a smarty pants that he doesn't realize that we live in a secular world and no high school in America would broach this subject.
To add to r3, Episcopalians (and Anglicans) do have cathedrals. Each Episcopal diocese has a cathedral. Two cathedrals he/she mentioned are part of their respective Episcopal dioceses. Some Episcopal cathedrals are obviously more elaborate than others but not as fancy as the Roman Catholic ones.
R7, the UK is much more secular than the US and schools do teach about this shit. What's the US's excuse?
Wikipedia has a list of the Episcopal Cathedrals. Some are quite elaborate.
So the Episcopalians lean two slabs against each other and call it a cathedral then? I think OP wanted to know why they did not have the grandeur of, let's say, a Chartres.
A little thing we have in the United States called the A.C.L.U.
As R4 stated, Protestantism was a reaction to the opulence of the Catholic Church.
R11, I think R2, R3, R4, and R5 answered that question. My responses were to give an Episcopalian perspective. Our cathedrals aren't as elaborate because we actively channel resources into helping our communities and don't have nearly as many members or as much wealth as the Catholic Church. Also, each diocese is dependent upon funds from their parishes. Those funds pay the bishop and pay for the buildings and such. A diocese in New York will have more resources than one in Indiana, for example.
As noted, some of our cathedrals are fancy. Many are older though and are often on the site of the first Episcopal Church in the diocese. Of course some are newer ones built on the original sites. Look at ones that are located in dioceses that have affluent parishes. As a rule, our cathedrals aren't as spectacular as the ones the Roman Catholic Church built in centuries past. The ones they build now don't even compare to those. Some are downright gaudy.
The LDS (Mormons) build extravagant temples. Check them out. They're often tacky (in my opinion), but they can't be dismissed as insignificant.
You need a healthy working class to build cathedrals. We kissed that environment a few times last century, but not in the last decade.
You also need a concentration of people with a shared background. Without that, you get tiny churches spread throughout an area.
Also, without a centralized bureaucracy, you get more divisions and splinter groups going off to create their own churches. Lutherans build brutalist steel mills whenever they break away from a synod. Baptists probably do the same.
Plus, geographically, this is a big fucking country with idiots populating based upon work rather than heritage. This means you'll have those Irish people messing with poor Albanians and the fucking Dutch. Each will need its own church.
The other part of what R4 and R13 have said is that, in response to the iconoclasm of Protestant Reformation, Catholics doubled-down on their opulence with the Counter-Reformation. This gave rise to the Baroque style of art and architecture. They felt it made for good propaganda. Most people could not read and, even if they could, were discouraged from reading the Bible (for fear they'd "misinterpret" it). Through paintings and grand cathedrals, even someone who was illiterate could be exposed to The Church's vision of the divine.
One last response. Here are photos of the LDS Temples around the world. It's their version of cathedrals, if that makes sense. Of course it's not a perfect parallel. I won't get into differences in beliefs. That's a whole other topic. I'm former LDS and an Episcopalian convert.
[quote] Protestantism was, in part, a reaction against the wealth and opulence of the Catholic Church. Most Protestant sects saw the expense and indulgence of a fancy cathedral as arrogant ungodliness and wasteful idolatry.
Which is ironic, given the 'empty your pockets now!' approach of today's megachurches. The camel through the eye of a needle part of the bible is conveniently ignored.
Why don't you filthy heathen protestant disbelievers post a few of your "cathedrals"?
HaHaHa! I am laughing on you! I am over the moon with laughter! I am LOL'ing all over myself on you!
Because the Catholics loooove to spend money on shiny things.
In my early 20's, I briefly lived with my Granny, who was very closely involved with her neighbourhood Roman Catholic church.
When a new pastor was sent over [nothing child-molesty afaik, the previous guy was old and retired], he discovered that the church had a surplus of over $60k in its coffers.
Instead of spending the money on, say, helping the poor in the community, or some sort of wonderful project, the church got itself new carpeting and paint (which were NOT needed, the place was in excellent shape). Selfish, greedy asshole.
Never heard of the Crystal Cathedral, OP?
In the US they're called mega-churches and, rather than art treasures, etc., the money is spent on elaborate sound and lighting systems, which dwarf anything on Broadway.
R11 I love you for mentioning my favorite cathedral Chartres.
OP is stupid. The highest church in the world, the cathedral in Ulm (Germany), is actually a protestant church.
[quote]Never heard of the Crystal Cathedral, OP?
Which, oddly enough, has just been purchased by the Catholic Church.
[quote]Instead of spending the money on, say, helping the poor in the community, or some sort of wonderful project, the church got itself new carpeting and paint (which were NOT needed, the place was in excellent shape). Selfish, greedy asshole.
One of the things they teach ministers is that the church needs debt. You always need to be improving, expanding, and building. It keeps the congregation motivated and giving, and it helps attract new members.
It's a lot easier to get Mrs. Gotrocks to write a check for a stained glass window than it is to get her to pay for a soup kitchen.
[quote]So the Episcopalians lean two slabs against each other and call it a cathedral then?
This indicates you've never been to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC or Trinity Church in New York City. Both are spectacular examples of architecture and furnishings that equal many Catholic cathedrals.
[quote]Great Britain has plenty of non-Catholic cathedrals
Because they were almost all originally Catholic cathedrals. Have you heard of the Reformation? Lots of Protestant countries have cathedrals but they were almost all originally Catholic, like the countries themselves.
A true cathedral has a bishop assigned to it. Many Protestant "cathedrals" do not, especially if they don't follow an episcopal polity.
Most of the stone masons working on the National Cathedral were brought over from Europe.
[quote]In the US they're called mega-churches
No, they're not. The US has plenty of actual cathedrals; Catholic, Orthodox and Episcopalian (Anglican). Mega-churches are something entirely different, modern and completely Protestant. Mega-churches are not the seat of a bishop, like a true Cathedral. Most of the Protestant denominations that run mega-churches don't even have bishops.
When I was a young child at Catholic school, the nuns taught us that in order to "qualify" as a cathedral, a church had to be built in the shape of a cross, and also have some holy relic in it from some serious, non- fly-by-night saint. Then, a bishop could be assigned to it and it could be "consecrated" as a cathedral.
I happened to be in a non-Catholic travel group seeing St. Peter's Basilica for the first time, and they were appalled at the opulence. The material power of the Catholic church struck a lot of them as sinister. Seeing it thru their eyes and noting their reaction, I certainly couldn't argue with them. The Polish guy was Pope at the time.
BTW: "ex cathedra" Means "from the chair" and it's a Latin expression used to describe the "infallibility" of the Pope. They propose that when the Pope speaks "ex cathedra" (from the chair of St. Peter) on matters of faith, he is infallible.
[quote]Mega-churches are not the seat of a bishop,
I don't think OP's question was meant to be technical. I suspect he meant big churches, in which case many of the mega churches would qualify.
[quote]Because they were almost all originally Catholic cathedrals. Have you heard of the Reformation?
Never heard of it. We needed you to explain, R30.
One of the most famous cathedrals in Great Britian is St. Paul's in London. Henry VIII died in 1547. Christopher Wren's plans for the cathedral were approved in 1675. Charles and Diana were married there in 1981.
Trolldar says R4 is the same troll who has been posting that long long long long rant over and over and over again on practically every thread.
What gets me is how the most beautiful architecture around the world is, for the most part, religious, despite religion being BS.
Catholics do have the best religious paraphernalia. Attending mass at one of these magnificent buildings while incense and beautiful anthems fill the air is an extraordinary experience.
The Frauenkirche in Dresden, the Berliner Dom, St. Michael's Church Hamburg all grand post-Reformation era Protestant churches in Germany.
But they're not cathedrals. And Frauenkirche was originally Catholic.
[quote]Protestants Created Nearly Nothing
Do you still stand by your claim, OP?
The answer is so obvious - gays have run everything about the Catholic church forEVER.
[quote]Oh, [R6] is such a smarty pants that he doesn't realize that we live in a secular world and no high school in America would broach this subject.
American public high schools can and do teach the history of religions as part of regular history classes, idiot; they just can't teach religious doctrine and beliefs, or advocate adherence to a particular religion.
The Reformation and Counter-Reformation were major events in European history that had far-reaching consequences besides religious beliefs. They most certainly should be included in a secular education.
Nobody builds Cathedrals like Chartes anymore because the context and political environment that spawned them is long gone. The "Cathedral" was far more than just a big church with a Bishop in it.
Plus I find modern Cathedrals like the national one in D.C. fail aesthetically for me because they are pretty much just a rehash of something that was radically modern design when it was built. The ages have rendered Chartes traditional, but it was shocking in it's modernity when it was built.
The catholic church hasn't abandoned innovation in religious architecture, but even they aren't building at the same level of investment and human resource that something like Chartes originally required.
I think the last really big Cathedral project was Sagrada Familia - which is Guadi, and last time I checked still isn't finished.
Forgot to say, Protestants never had the ecclesiastical and political climate that made Cathedrals attractive prospects - even if they had been around during the heyday of Cathedral building.
No Church of England wasn't really "Protestant" until Elisabeth I. Henry just wanted a divorce - otherwise he was very much a Catholic.
In my Long Island town, the Protestant churches were much nicer than the catholic churches. They are built of brick, have spires, choirs, stained glass windows. The catholic churches were made of wood and old rotting clapboard. There were two catholic churches -- the one the Irish and Poles went to and the one the Italians went to. The Protestant churches were on the main streets, but the Catholic churches were outside of the village/business district.
The Irish and Poles considered the Italians to be insane Mediterraneans because the Italians marched statues around in parades and had casino night. The Irish and Poles were comfortable with Bingo, but not casino night, which was way too gamble-y with its wheels of fortune. The Irish and Poles were fine with wearing scapulae and having holy cards and statues inside if the church, but did not believe in marching statues around in parades. They thought it was pagan.
The Italian church got condemned because of shoddy workmanship. The diocese decided to build a brick church, but it was far outside of town and they made it 1969s ultra-modern. It looked like a small airport hangar. The diocese also granted the Italians more say-so in running the church because their church had been torn down.
The Irish and Polish church became more Spanish. The Irish and Poles started attending mass in the new airport hangar church, but they never got into doing the things they used to do at the old church, like having Christmas fairs and bingo and fundraising dances and card parties.
So few people attend the hangar church now that masses in the wintertime are held in a teeny parking lot chapel. They can't afford to heat the church. Lots of children of Catholics became born again Protestant fundies and attend churches like The Jesus is Lord Church and the Life Community Church. The Catholic priests were never interested in getting to know the parishioners except for the big time contributors from the K of C.
The Protestant churches in town are doing fine.
[quote]Catholics do have the best religious paraphernalia. Attending mass at one of these magnificent buildings while incense and beautiful anthems fill the air is an extraordinary experience.
If it's a show you want, go east. Almost any flavor of Eastern Orthodox puts the Roman Catholics to shame.
Protestants teach you can have a personal relationship with God, so you don't need a building. Catholic cathedrals were intended as HOLY PLACES, parts of which the public were not allowed in. Furthermore, they were covered with statues and symbols because the people couldn't read, so the architecture was the lesson.
They were also assembly places v. eastern religions where most of the public rituals happened outside and the temple was just shelter for the statues and they would do multiple buildings for the monks and officials.
Actually, the best architecture around the world is in schools, but in general the public are not allowed to visit them.
A big part of Cathedrals was revenue. Politics, and my spire is bigger than yours.
r56 being an Architect, and being unaware of that, perhaps you could clarify.
Some university architecture is pretty phenomenal, but so is the architecture of a lot of other kinds of institutions not to mention the private sector.
Plus I've never been turned away when visiting buildings at schools.
Or are you talking about the difference between vernacular (all that ivy and faux continental) and design (Mies and his ITT campus?)
Oh R10 you crack me up! You know as well as the rest of us that Episcoples aren't a real religion at all!
Has anyone read Ken Follett's historical novel, Pillars of the Earth? Or seen the mini series of the same name? Actually, I liked the book much better, because it was such a thoroughly researched historical novel, and it really demonstrated thru a work of fiction, how these great cathedrals evolved.
They were a departure from the basilicas that were eastern in their influence. St. Peter's in Rome is a good example of a basilica. The Chartres Cathedral, and Notre Dame in Paris, are a stark contrast to that. These Cathedrals were build in the 12th and 13th centuries and that in itself is a very remarkable achievement. I may be wrong, but I believe the earliest examples were in France.
r59, go back to thumping your Bible. The Anglicans/Episcopals are right up there with the Catholics and the Orthodox in the Big 3 of Christianity.
I wasn't talking about universities, but elementary, middle, junior high, high schools, lycees, gymnasiums, academies, etc., etc., etc.
They are for children and teachers, not visitors. They are spread throughout a town, so no set of buildings is more dispersed. They are occupied every day and usually represent the largest public investment a community makes. And, they are usually built by architects or planned by architects and show a greater degree of functionalism and symbolism than any other kind of building.
[quote]elementary, middle, junior high, high schools,
In what country do you live where these schools are attractive?
"I think the last really big Cathedral project was Sagrada Familia - which is Guadi, and last time I checked still isn't finished."
This one is:
I'm with R63. Schools in America, at least public ones, are not at all known for their architecture. Private schools are different since these are for the affluent, but even private schools are just mimicking university architecture, so they aren't all that notable.
We don't have lycées in America, "academy" is just a fancy word that private schools use, and gymnasium is usually shortened to "gym" and refers specifically to a building or room used for athletics and physical training.
We have elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. Public schools are everywhere. Catholics also run their own schools known as "parochial" schools, they are sort of a step between public and private. Private schools are usually expensive and for the wealthy. There are other kinds of religious schools and charter schools, etc, but they're all roughly the same in terms of school architecture.
Public and parochial schools are either plain modern brick buildings or very old and not particularly noteworthy, architecturally speaking.
Below is a random image I found online of an American high school. It's actually pretty nice in terms of school architecture and is probably around 50+ years old, but this is about as good as public schools get. Hardly "the best" architecture. Modern schools are mostly plain, boxy structures where function trumps form.
The National Cathedral in DC has some interesting secular aspects. One of the windows depicts the moonwalk and has a moon rock installed in the stained glass design.
The numerous grotesques and gargoyles that decorate the exterior are mostly from the imagination of the stone carvers. One depicts the likeness of the master stone carver, Roger Morigi. There were two competitions for the public to submit gargoyle and grotesque designs. That's why a grotesque on the northwest tower depicts Darth Vader.
Roman Catholic England had beautiful cathedrals.
Then it became Church of England (not Protestant I know, but it serves the same illustrative purpose).
It still had beautiful cathedrals. It didn't need to build any more.
R73 posts a photo of the Auschwitz crematorium and calls it a church or something. Good try.
Most schools today are just rows of cinderblock boxes.
Opulence smpopulence. Truth is that the Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization on the planet and the third largest in America.
Nonsense R82. Roughly two-thirds of the budget of Catholic Charities comes from government. They are feeding at the public trough and claiming credit for charity our taxes paid.
R79 is well aware that is a public school in a Jewish community, hence the inappropriate reference to Auschwitz.
It's also the largest homophobic cabal of closeted homosexuals, pedophiles and misogynists that the world has ever seen, R81! They preach about helping the poor, while closing schools and churches in poor neighborhoods, despite owning the largest art collection in the world! But yes, they're SO charitable.
The charity in the Catholic Church comes from the people in the pews, plus a handful of good nuns and lowly priests. The hierarchy that they mindlessly support is an entirely different thing.
I think you'll find that Protestant and Anglicans were the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution...
So much for "creating nothing"...
The Frauenkirche of Dresden as was a catholic parish r44 before the reformation but became a Lutheran congregation in 1559. The 15th century gothic building was torn down in 1727 to build a bigger church. The baroque style 18th century church destroyed in WWII (now reconstructed) has always been a Lutheran church.
Add the London churches of Sir Christopher Wren - all built after Catholicism....