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The 'Jubilee Church' in Rome, designed by US architect Richard Meier (Photo: CNS)

Or are there some modern churches that really do inspire devotion and raise people’s spirits to God?

Pope John Paul II at Czestochowa, Poland, in 1979 (AP Photo/Stf). His message, writes Tóibín, was 'mysterious and charismatic'

Beauty left to itself becomes ugly and malevolent