The 12-story Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, built to stand at least half a millennium, is the first major U.S. cathedral to be constructed in three decades.
"At long last, there is a noble great church at the heart of Los Angeles," Cardinal Mahony declared Monday before the 3,000 guests in attendance.
The cathedral, designed by Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo, is 333 feet in length, a foot longer than St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
Its angular rooflines and feathered concrete walls suggest angels' wings for some, the Los Angeles Times noted, while others find its austerity and modern design "cold and uninspiring."
The old cathedral, St. Vibiana's, a Spanish Baroque building, was severely damaged in a 1994 earthquake. It has been sold by the archdiocese, and there are plans to turn it into a performing-arts center.
Cardinal Mahony also announced that the $189.5 million cathedral complex had been "fully funded" by cash receipts and pledges, the Times reported. The cathedral's features include a 6,019-pipe organ.