Tijuana, Mexico, Cathedral Design Dumped for Being Too Ugly

Tijuana archbishop: “The project does not look like a Catholic church, much less a cathedral”


[Ugly as sin!]

by Anita Carey • ChurchMilitant • May 31, 2017 1

TIJUANA, Mexico – A Mexican archbishop is scrapping plans for his cathedral after slamming the new design for not looking “like a Catholic church.”

After 11 years of construction, the design for the new cathedral in Tijuana has been scrapped. The new archbishop, Francisco Moreno Barrón, said, “That in eagerness that it be modern, the project does not look like a Catholic church, much less a cathedral.”

In a statement on the cathedral’s website, Abp. Barron highlights the numerous problems and lack of progress of the building project. Noting that the project is too large to be entrusted to one priest, he has appointed a group of 10 priests to manage the project. He has also pulled together a board of trustees with “people widely recognized in the community, interested in this ecclesial work and in the welfare and prosperity of our society.”

Other problems, he noted, were that donations from congregations are lacking: “That the priests of the presbytery, in general, have not endorsed the project, because they do not identify with it, and therefore do not promote it.”

Plans for a new cathedral in Tijuana have been in place since 1978, when the government donated land near the Tijuana River. The cornerstone of the new cathedral was blessed by Pope St. John Paul II when he visited Mexico in 1979. Construction on the original design began in 2006, but Abp. Emeritus Rafael Romo Muñoz altered the design in 2014, claiming the previous design was too costly and difficult to construct.

Scrapped cathedral design

Archbishop Munoz and Fr. Jorge Cagoyan, the priest in charge of the cathedral project, claimed the costs would be reduced by $10 million and the project would be finished five years earlier. Recognizing the size of the cathedral had to be increased, Fr. Cagoyan notes that “it was thought that rather than cheapening costs, doing something more austere and easier to perform [would be preferable].”

With the original design scrapped, Abp. Barrón is calling for a new design, explaining that “the present one was approved by a few and without giving the opportunity of participation to other people or groups of the Church and the society.”

Beginning May 16, the contest will be open to Mexican architects or teams until August 16. Submissions from foreigners will only be considered if they are working with a Mexican national. The designs will be judged by an international jury with input from experts in Rome.

The crypts that have already been built will be incorporated into the new design.

The winning team will be announced in late August or September. The entire design process will be made public so that all are able to contribute to it. Barrón is hoping to unveil the final design on December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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