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Debate Over Rebuilding Cathedral Downtown

June 02, 1996

* Re "L.A. Should Unite to Keep the Cathedral Downtown," editorial, May 26:

It would be a terrible shame if the neighbors to St. Vibiana's couldn't see past immediate gain and look to the legacy they would be contributing if they'd be reasonable in their asking price for the property.

I do hope St. Vibiana's stays downtown. But if the 2nd and Main site fails to materialize, perhaps the 3rd and Lucas hilltop (very large and vacant) across the freeway would serve as a beacon to civic pride and vision.

Regarding retaining the California Mission style for the new cathedral complex, I'd suggest that an entire city block (or even two) could be fashioned as an updated "mission" with a large cathedral and smaller surrounding buildings as part of a complex that would reflect the traditions and materials of California and the entire Southwest. What an opportunity--plazas, fountains, hidden interior courtyards for reflection, and lots of colorful foliage, palms, flowering trees, grape arbors; wood, plaster, tile roofs, rustic loggias, covered verandas, ornamental iron grillwork--a virtual oasis.

FRED ANDERSON

Los Angeles

* Regarding the new $60-million cathedral complex planned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, one need only look at the stark contrast between it and the poor and homeless sleeping in the streets outside it to see that something is gravely askew. While no one can argue the fact that the archdiocese needs a new home church, perhaps something a little more modest would make a stronger witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

THE REV. MARK J. JAUFMANN

Glendale

* After reading Kevin Starr's "Deconstructing Los Angeles" (Opin- ion, May 26) and The Times' editorial stating that St. Vibiana's Cathedral should be rebuilt downtown, I now believe the new cathedral should be constructed in the east San Fernando Valley.

The construction of a new cathedral in the Valley would pay homage to the history of Catholicism in the Valley (i.e., the historic San Fernando Mission built in 1797) and pay tribute to where Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and his family were raised--North Hollywood.

Possibly the new cathedral could be built near Campo de Cahuenga on Lankershim Boulevard, adjacent to the Universal City Metro Rail Station.

By coming to the Valley, land costs would be reduced, and the fight with preservationists over St. Vibiana's moot. I cannot think of a better way to spiritually reunify Los Angeles.

JACK McGRATH

Valley Village

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