Cathedral of the Madeleine

I spent last week in my old stomping grounds, Salt Lake City. While I was there, I took a colleague to Temple Square, the see of Mormonism; then we walked a couple blocks east so I could show her the Cathedral of the Madeleine, see of the Catholic diocese of Utah. It’s a gorgeous building, built at the beginning of the 20th century and adorned with colorful murals in a style I recognize but don’t know what to call: I think of it as “fin de siècle.”

Captured from utcotm.org. Click the image for a panoramic view of the cathedral interior.

I always have to chuckle at two biblical passages that adorn the front of the nave and are clearly intended to “talk back” to Mormonism. (In the image above, the biblical passages are the green squares with yellow lettering you can see toward the left and right sides of the picture.) On the west side, next to a statue of St. Peter, is a passage from the Gospel of Matthew:

Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church . . . and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

[Read: “You’re wrong, Mormons–the Catholic Church has never apostatized. Jesus said so.”]

On the east side, next to a statue of St. Paul, is this passage from the Epistle to the Galatians:

Though we or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.

[Read: “So you might want to rethink that business about an angel bringing you a new book of scripture.”]

The apologetic messaging didn’t prevent the LDS Church from donating funds to support the restoration of the murals, as a historic treasure, in the 1990s.

[Read: “Thank you, Catholics, for this opportunity to occupy the moral high ground.”]

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