From the Spring 2024 issue:

Our great Covid panic may be gone, but the residual effects of the Covid pandemic are still with us. Call it cultural “long Covid,” it seems to be the great “before-after” dividing line, with some still bearing the scars of the trauma that was endured, including those of us who fought for the right to worship when businesses, museums, and tattoo parlors were all allowed to re-open.

In California each county issued its own health orders, including rules regarding houses of worship. In those initial weeks when everything was closed, I asked my priests to leave their churches open during the day so people would at least have access to a sacred space for private prayer. There was no rule in the local order about this, but I was written up in the local media after being accused by city officials of being in violation of the local health order. Apparently our government officials never considered a church building as a sacred space for private prayer, but simply a building in which to conduct a worship service safe from the elements.

Such an attitude is emblematic of a utilitarian and overly pragmatic or functional way of viewing not only churches but all of life in our modern but even more so post-modern society. Obviously such a way of looking at the world stands in stark contrast to our Catholic understanding, which the Church has handed down to us from our Lord’s teaching in the gospels, beginning with the apostles and down through the ages to our own time….

From Sacred Architecture. Watch Archbishop Cordileone’s address