I heard some of this piece on NPR this morning while getting ready for church.
Any readers in the audience who’ve ever visited it? Any thoughts on having an Episcopal Cathedral as our “national” one? Fairly significant music ministry, don’t you think?
When I lived in a place from which Washington was a bit more accessible to me than it is now, I often decompressed from the weekend Masses by attending Vespers and the organ recital at the National Cathedral. It is quite a lovely building, and the music is absolutely wonderful. Next time you’re in Washington, go.
As far as it being the “National Cathedral,” I don’t pay much mind to that. It’s a pretty building in which to have state funerals. That’s fine with me.
What a coincidence! I actually just today finished doing a bit of research on Episcopal cathedrals for my blog http://www.cathedralsofcalifornia.com . What was interesting to me was not so much this idea of the church being called “The National Cathedral,” (as the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, it’s actual name is the Cathedral Church of Ss. Peter and Paul), but that it was a cathedral at all.
Prior to the late 1800s, there were no Episcopal cathedrals (that idea was considered too “Romish”). The “National Cathedral” was one of a slew of Episcopal cathedrals that came into being as a result of the Oxford Movement and what the Americans called “the cathedral movement,” which also involved granting actual authority to bishops in the Episcopal Church. It was interesting to see how quickly the Episcopal Church moved from abhorence of mitres, cathedras and cathedrals to enthusiastically spending large amounts on monumental cathedrals.
To me it seemed the real impetus behind building the church was to erect another great Episcopal Cathedral as part of this movement; I sort of suspect the “National Cathedral” thing was to help with fundraising.