Father Tim Schenk at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Hingham could contain his feelings no more: He just cannot abide the nautilus that now tops the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tremont Street:
The nautilus is supposed to be a metaphor for spiritual growth, based on an Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem titled The Chambered Nautilus. I actually don’t mind the sculpture itself - if it was on the facade of a contemporary arts museum it might even entice me to go inside. But labeling it a symbol of spirituality feels contrived and as empty as one of its chambers.
In a comment to the post, John Streit, dean of St. Paul, responds:
I was a little surprised at how closed people seemed to be to the nautilus as a symbol of our faith. It may not be an immediately self-evident symbol, but neither was the cross when it first was used. (“Why are these people glorifying imperial Roman torture instruments?”)