Gaudí not rushed
Everybody knows: when Gaudí was asked, with impatience, when the Temple of the Sagrada Familia would be finished, he responded, without losing his own patience: "My master is not rushed..." In addition to avoiding any question of time, he also expressed, with this response, his perspective on his work.
There have been many, however, who have been made nervous by the Sagrada Familia. And not only because of its slow construction, but often because of issues of taste or aesthetic criteria, always respected and disputable at the same time. At times, the fact that it is a religious building has also been a factor, now that showing signs of a Christian life is considered, in certain circles, politically incorrect. But there are many of us who, like Joan Maragall when the temple was first begun, huddle around this project and watch it grow enthusiastically, as the great cathedral of the future. The poet sensed with clarity-he explained it in his articles-all the symbolic weight of the temple: spiritual, transcendent values, beyond the materialist limits; gratuitous generosity, against the ancestral stinginess; grandeur of heart and communion of effort; above meanness and the cultivation of the clan.
Lately, some have lost their senses over the initiative to begin the process of canonizing Antoni Gaudí. Those who originated the idea are convinced that the man who designed the Sagrada Familia as a stone version of Christian and Catholic tradition was, in addition to an eminent artist, a man of faith, beyond the ordinary. In other words, a Christian who can be an example for Christians: a saint. And they have peacefully taken the first steps of a long path that may lead to recognition by the Church of Gaudí's sainthood. As I said before, this has angered some, who have clumsily clamored to "save Gaudí from the claws of the Church" and to imagine that "he stuffed himself with meat and sausages on the days of fasting and abstinence," to cite only one of the softest rebukes of a recent article (Avui, 3/20/00, pg. 17). Why?
Those who have undertaken the cause of Gaudí have very solid reasons to do so, and are exercising a right recognized within the Church. The competent bodies of the Holy See have accepted their proposal positively. But from this time forward, a conscientious and rather slow analysis of the pros and cons begins. Let nobody fear haste. Here, as in the work of the Sagrada Familia, there is no hurry.
Now, I have had the opportunity to perceive that the enchantment of the temple leads to the enchantment of faith. That is why it is not too difficult for me to keep the faith that its stones have truly been touched by the hands of a saint.
Joan Carrera Planas
Auxiliary Bishop of Barcelona
March 30, 2000