Friday, October 22


You've Come to the Right Place

In my role as a lecturer on architectural topics I have been to a number of monasteries and convents, and even one seminary. All of them have been filled with devout, holy men and women and were of a traditional bent to their liturgy and life, but on one visit I definitively knew I was among friends when the monk showing me around said, in these exact words, "I'm quite devoted to the cult of relics,"* and then promptly opened up a largish armoire in the chapel filled with at least one hundred small bits of saints. I knew the talk I was scheduled to give was going to go over very well with that audience.

*Note to alarmed Protestants and the unchurched: Cult in this instance just means "veneration" or "respect" (cultus in Latin) but it sounds disappointly less scary if one puts it that way. It has nothing to do with worshipping Prince Philip as a god or drinking koolade in Guyana. One might speak in a secular context of the cultus of the American flag centered on the pledge of allegiance, or, in certain parts of the Midwest, the cultus of the Green Bay Packers centered on nearly everything someone can stick green and gold on.

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