Sculptor Josep M. Subirachs got a lot of flak for his (I think) brilliant work on the Passion Facade of La Sagrada Familia. He felt that it was impossible to try to follow Gaudi's style after Gaudi's death, so why try? What he created is, I think, an amazing and harrowing counterpoint to Gaudi's own Nativity Facade on the other side of the temple.
There is an inscription on one of the bronze doors from the contemporary poet Salvador Espriu's poem, "La pell de brau," which begins,
"Sometimes it is necessary and right
for a man to die for a people.
But a whole people must never die
for a single man:
remember this, Sepharad.
Keep the bridge of dialogue secured
and try to understand and love
the different minds and tongues of all your children.
Let the rain fall drop by drop on the fields
and the air cross the ample fields
like a soft, benevolent hand.
Let Sepharad live forever
in order and in peace, in work,
and in difficult, hard won
(Sephared is Espriu's name for Spain, after the old Sephardic Jewish word)
How could I not love a church with an inscription to tolerance on its own doors?
I've been googling images for the past fifteen minutes and I just don't think there's a photograph of this place that captures the sense of being there. When I looked up from the bus and caught my first glimpse of La Sagrada Familia, I just couldn't catch my believe my eyes, but the photos all make it seem like some kind of tripped out religious version of Cinderella's Castle at Disneyworld. It's not like that at all. It... breathes. It has a pulse.