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Vertical versus Circular Architecture

Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.

The great Catholic Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira wrote a most penetrating analysis about the propelling forces of the Revolution, his book is called Revolution and Counter-Revolution. He noted that the diabolical power behind these forces is a constant cavalcade of Masonic agents "of an extraordinary intelligence and power" acting historically in a serialized modus operandi of destruction. (1)

The Cathedral of Cologne at night

The clean vertical lines of the gothic cathedral of Cologne draws man upward
He observed that in their cadenced march - now with stealth, now with openness - their skein of progress has unraveled over the centuries into a revolt against God that cannot possibly have been fortuitous. The Revolutions of 1517, 1789, 1917 and the current Cultural Revolution that is moving toward Tribalism have all coalesced into the Revolution. (2) Whether in the spiritual or temporal sphere, its various rebel brigades are directed to one single goal - that of crushing the Catholic Church and what remains of Christian Civilization, "a time when the philosophy of the Gospel governed the States” (Leo XIII, Immortale Dei).

Prof. Plinio affirms with certainty that the Revolution did not occur by chance: "To think that the Revolution could have reached its present state without this [secret synchronization] is like admitting that hundreds of letters thrown out a window at random could arrange themselves spontaneously on the ground to form some work, such as the Ode to Satan by Carducci, for example." (3)

He stated further that the present terrain of action was the spiritual: “The center, the most sensitive and truly decisive point of the Revolution and the Counter-Revolution, has shifted from the temporal society to the spiritual one. This center has now come to be the Holy Church. Within its fabric, on one side are the progressivists, crypto-communists, and pro-communists, and on the other side are the anti-progressivists and the anti-communists. And these two opposing factions confront each other." (4)

To recapitulate, the Revolution, which seeks to destroy Christendom and the Church, is a centuries-old process. And it is presently fighting its final battle inside the Catholic Church itself. The Revolution’s war plan consists of attacks on several fronts: theological, doctrinal, liturgical, philosophical, diplomatic, social, political-military. These thrusts, it can be said, wage their wars against the intellect.

Attack on the Gothic

Pari passu, the secret forces of the Revolution also launch their attacks through the senses, in the theater of architecture. What the eye sees can channel a lethal message to the heart and the intellect. In this theater they have unleashed a veritable blitzkrieg, always directing their assaults to the center of gravity, "the hub of all power and movement." (5)

Stained glass windows of La Sainte Chapelle, Paris

Stained glass windows in Sainte Chapelle, Paris
Their evil intelligence did not miss the power of the Gothic, which has been called a "strange flowering of poetic and constructional genius.” It is the “inevitable expression of the Catholic Religion, of national character, of structural honesty, of scholastic philosophy." In his history of Gothic architecture, author Paul Frankl concluded that its root "lays in the personality of Jesus." (6)

Its hub was, in fact, the Gothic arch itself, which was ingeniously designed to direct more thrust downward, thereby allowing for more height upward. It was this that produced the soaring interiors, allowing the enormous stained-glass windows of the medieval cathedrals.

It is hard to resist the hypothesis that the agents of the Revolution sought a prototype of architecture that would "flatten" the upward and majestic architecture of the Gothic, something that would destroy the decisive and "emphatic verticality ... (where) all lines soar upwards to heaven in seeming defiance of gravity." (7) One can visualize these agents scrutinizing the early books of Sacred Scripture to find an edifice that would counteract the Gothic.

The picture below right is a l6th century painting by Pieter Bruegel titled The Tower of Babel. The circular and confused dynamics of this structure is a malicious denunciation of the soaring beauty and clarity of the Gothic.

The Tower of Babel by Bruegel

The circular shape of Babel Tower reflects a way of thinking
The biblical story of the tower is familiar. The generations of people following the Great Flood "were of one tongue, and of the same speech. And when they left the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it." There they conspired to "make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven" (Gen 11: 1, 2. 4).

Their motive, however, was not to worship God, but to give glory to man. This proud pretension angered the Lord, and He punished them by confusing "their tongue, that they may not understand one another's speech (and) the whole earth was confounded. And from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries." (Gen. 11: 7-9.)

Hence one sees that babbling has become the universal word for confusion, which is depicted by going round in circles instead of using logical, linear thought that moves towards a conclusion.

The modern breakthrough that introduced the circular into both the spiritual and temporal world of architecture may have come through the trans-modern Swiss architect Mario Botta. (8) He was an apprentice of the Estonian Jew Louis Kahn and designed the Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center in Israel. He also designed numerous Catholic churches.

The circular Cathedrals of Evry & Oakland Cathedral

The Evry Cathedral & the Oakland Cathedral follow a circular style
The second picture, at far left, depicts one of his creations, the Evry Cathedral in Evry, France. If the Evry Cathedral is juxtaposed with the new Cathedral of Light in Oakland, California, it is impossible not to see the complete supplanting of the circular for the vertical.

The Cathedral of Light? The light in this edifice does not warm the soul, rather it is frozen, dead, a ghost. It is also interesting to note the use of the metal finials atop the cathedral, which seem to have been cloned from the current European Parliament building in Strasburg, France, which has the same finials. The metal finials add 18 feet to the height of the Oakland Cathedral, yet symbolically they are empty and meaningless - unless they are meant to resemble punji-sticks to prevent heaven from falling into the nave. (9)

Propaganda promoting the Oakland Cathedral brags that in its mausoleum there are 1,850 niches for cremated remains, a most un-Catholic practice.

The Church pamphlet touting the Cathedral also affirms evolution. The light inside the nave, it says, soars to the ceiling (which resembles a series of giant saw blades or shark fins), illustrating "the power recognized by the Jesuit scientist and theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin ... to recognize Creation's evolution towards ... Christ, the Omega point, to whom the universe is drawn for fulfillment in cosmic unity." (10)

May Our Lady of Good Success shield us from the confusion of the flat and circular, and keep our souls soaring upwards, like the Gothic "personality of Jesus."

1. Plinio Correa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-revolution, The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, New Rochelle, NY, 1980, page 53. For more on this process of destruction, see also Animus Delendi I, (Desire to Destroy) and Animus Delendi II, Atila Sinke Guimaraes, available through Tradition in Action.
2. Revolution and Counter-revolution, Chapter 3.
3. Ibid., pp. 53, 54.
4. Ibid, pp.. 152, 153.
5. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, NY: Everyman's Library, 1993, p. 720.
6 David Watkin, A History of Western Architecture, NY: Thames and Hudson, 1986, p. 7.
7. Ibid.
8. Judith Dupre "Churches," NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 2001, p. 8f. Cf.
9. Punji-sticks are bamboo stakes with needle-sharp tips, concealed in the ground to injure or kill the enemy.
10 "Cathedral Sunday" pamphlet, Oakland Archdiocese, n.d...


Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted December 30, 2009

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