Religion: Fit for Prayer

When Brazil's famed Architect Oscar Niemeyer designed the chapel 16 years ago for Belo Horizonte (pop. 650,000), he was inspired by French Poet Paul Claudel's statement: "A church is God's hangar on earth." But to Belo Horizonte's Roman Catholic archbishop, Niemeyer's hangar looked more like the devil's bomb shelter —a parabolic vault of glass and stucco, with an emaciated Christ glaring from a huge fresco by Painter Candido Portinari. Worse, Architect Niemeyer and Painter Portinari were godless Communists. Despite protests by Belo Horizonte's Mayor Juscelino Kubitschek, Archbishop Dom Antonio dos Santos Cabral called the structure "unfit for religious purposes."

Weeds sprang up;...

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