23 August 2006

Brigid Vs. Egan

For centuries, the Catholic church was great at fostering great architecture; a stroll through any Italian church will tell you that. Apparently, the Archdiocese of New York is even better at destroying it.

The city's Irish and gay communities are joining forces (imagine that!) against the Church over the fate of St. Brigid's Church on Avenue B. Cardinal Egan, naturally, wants to tear down the unsightly place, with its nasty hand-carved altar screen and 158-year-old stained glass windows.

The ancient order of Hibernians wants to turn the place into the state Irish American History Museum, which is now located in lonely, far-away Albany. Egan is not moved. (Are cardinals ever moved?) Demolition was previously halted by an injunction, but not before All The Cardinal's Men managed to smash stained-glass windows etched with the names of survivors of the Irish potato famine—an almost comic example of wanton philistinism.

One of the windows of the church was decorated by a sign which read "Cardinal EGAN, How Will You EXPLAIN Your LIFE to Saint Brigid?" (Capitalization, theirs.) Which is funny. Except that I doubt that saints are as concerned with their names being on buildings as we humans are.

1 comment:

Niekieno Zmona said...

Egan is also trying to close Our Lady of Vilnius on Broome Street. He imparted the information to the pastor on July 31. This is the 3rd church I know of that the Archdiocese seems to have cultivated for closure with neglect. I am a novice, but I am attempting to blog on it. My blog is "Our Lady of Vilnius, NYC". What will be attractive about New York after all history, charm and individuality has been purged from it by this land rush?