- The Washington Times - Monday, September 2, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) The 25-ton bronze doors of Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral will swing open today to the first dedication of a new U.S. cathedral in a quarter-century.
Protesters angered by the church's handling of accusations of priestly sexual misconduct are expected among the thousands of priests and visitors during the dedication ceremony outside the cathedrals' thick, adobe-colored walls.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, leader of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, said the landmark cathedral, like the Roman Catholic Church itself, will rise above the turmoil.
"A cathedral is timeless in terms of human joys and difficulties," Cardinal Mahony said. "We've had over the course of time and history many saints and sinners in the church. The cathedral stands as its own reflection of God's presence."
The $195 million cathedral intentionally a foot longer than New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral is Spanish architect Rafael Moneo's postmodern interpretation of California's original Spanish missions, including sloping floors, high ceilings and muted tapestries that depict saints and worshippers.
The design has drawn mixed reviews from the community.
Bill Scott, a county employee who has watched the cathedral rise across the street from his office, said he doesn't know what to make of it. "It doesn't look like a church," he said. "It looks more like a fortress or a prison."
Max DeMoss, a Riverside artist who created a number of pieces for the cathedral, agreed with the fortress description but said he also gets "a sense of exhilaration as I approach it."
The cardinal, who lives in a second-floor apartment that overlooks the plaza, said he is pleased with the finished product.
"The inside has a warmth and prayerfulness and peacefulness to it that I wasn't sure we would reach," he said. "I just couldn't be more pleased."
A procession of 565 priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals will cross the cathedral plaza and walk down the 333-foot-long nave. Cardinal Mahony, five bishops and a monsignor will bless the building.
Along with drawing from California's 9 million Catholics, it is expected to draw tourists from Europe, South America and Asia and become a focal point for redevelopment of downtown.


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