Longnecker has hit on a problem (not at all unique to Rome) but which lives in the same space as faithfulness, truth, and beauty... Listen to a few of his words. . .
If you are a convert to the Catholic faith from Lutheranism of
Anglicanism or any other form of tasteful religion, then you will have
to deal with Catholic kitsch. What are we to do with the trashy
trinkets, the horrid holy cards, the sappy statues? How do you put up
with the banal hymns, bad preaching and sentimental religiosity?
It's true we have tacky music and bad hymns. But we have Palestrina and
Mozart and Byrd as well. We do have plastic glow in the dark rosaries
and those night lights you plug in with the Blessed Mother. But we also
have the Pieta and the Sistine Chapel and Michaelangelo and Carravagio.
It's true we have brutal churches that look like a cross between a space
ship and a parking garage, but we also have Chartres and St Mark's
Venice and Chartres and Mont St Michel.
In other words, the upward call of God comes to us while we live in the reality of a great many things that by their nature do not ascend but, rather, hold us in chains to this world... I have often lamented that the Church of Johann Sebastian Bach is also home to praise bands singing one poorly written line of praise sixty-seven times and that the place where the arts should flourish has often been the place where we have sacrificed beauty on the altar of expediency. But in my case I was speaking of Lutheranism -- its promise and its reality. Although I am not sure I am at all comforted by the prospect of encountering the same exact problem elsewhere; it is like saying you have the flu but so does everyone else you know.
In the end, we pray that God will save us from ourselves... which was the problem all the way along and the very reason our Lord became incarnate. All that troubles us is not outside of us; much, if not most, proceeds from the heart and this is not exclusive to any one denomination.