OK, now we’re cooking with Crisco. I posted this morning about my quest for the definitive American Catholic churches—those buildings that aren’t even distinguished enough to be bad examples of their kind. They’re just vaguely modern, vaguely brick, vaguely disappointing.

Among the churches I mentioned was St. Jane Frances de Chantal in Bethesda, and some Washington friends wrote to defend their parish—a triumph, I think, of local boosterism over taste, but there it is: If anyone is willing to praise a church, I can’t put it on the list.

Meanwhile, a staffer nominates St. Catherine of Siena in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. Take a look at the picture here and you’re bound to understand why. In fact, you don’t have to look at the picture—this may be the truly definitive American church, so perfectly undistinguished that you’ve forgotten that you’ve already seen it a thousand times in a thousand different places.

A reader named—um, maybe I shouldn’t mention his name: Parishioners who nominate their own churches might get a grim welcome next Sunday. Anyway, a reader writes that Holy Family in Newark, Delaware , is worth visiting. Its address is 15 Gender Road, and from what I can tell from the small pictures, it looks like it almost deserves it.

Meanwhile, another reader nominates the whole of eastern Washington state—an entire diocese of bland churches. That’s a little beyond my remit, but on Spokane’s diocesan website, you can find a nice little index that lists all the parishes in the diocese, and scrolling though them begins to feel like looking at a series of fast-food joints.

Try Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and Mary Queen in Spokane itself, or beyond Spokane, Sacred Heart in Brewster, and St. Vincent in Connell.

More nominees for least-distinguished American Catholic churches are welcome. Just email us at ft@firstthings.com.

Articles by Joseph Bottum

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