Sunday, January 19, 2014

THE GREATEST PROBLEM WITH MODERN CHURCH ARCHITECTURE IS THAT THE ARCHITECTS ARE GOOD ARCHITECTS BUT DON'T KNOW HOW TO BUILD CATHOLIC CHURCHES PROPERLY

Apollo 13 Space Capsule recycled and then following it, God only knows what space junk fell from outerspace:

Apart from good architects going wild and not knowing the theology of how to build a good Catholic Church, there is also the problem with lax rules concerning the sanctuary design and what should be incorporated into a Catholic Church.

For example in pre-Vatican II times, it was required that the main altar be up at least three steps from the main level of the sanctuary, that there would be an altar railing clearly distinguishing the sanctuary from the nave and even where the placement of statues should be in terms of location. For example Mary's statue is always on the "gospel" side of the Church unless and image of Christ, especially as the Sacred Heart is present, then the Blessed Mother goes to the Epistle side of the Church and the Sacred Heart statue to the Gospel side. Saint Joseph, when there is no Sacred Heart Statue is to the Epistle side of the altar.

As well, the so-called "Benedictine Altar Arrangement" which is actually the "pre-Vatican II altar arrangement" was mandated by general liturgical law as was the use of some kind of corona above the altar no matter how beautiful or elaborate or minimalist. Of course the baldachin is the most obvious of coronas.

It is good that Rome has a Masters program for architects to learn how to properly build Catholic Churches. I think Notre Dame in Indiana does as well.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"there is also the problem with lax rules concerning the sanctuary design and what should be incorporated into a Catholic Church"

Really, gee it's too bad the church never thought of that before. The Church had all the laws concerning sanctuary design as well as how chalices and vestments should be designed etc. It even had laws about how much beeswax is to be used in candles on the altar. Do you remember a little gathering called Vatican II, all these rules that kept the Church organized for centuries were thrown out the window and look at the result.

Anonymous said...

Fr AJM, I would like to get your opinion about something.

I frequent a Eastern Catholic parish where I live and had a discussion with a friend of mine there. We were talking about Orthodox/Catholic union. She stated that she didn't think the Orthodox would ever consider coming into the Church until the OF was either greatly fixed/improved, or scraped all together. She told me most other EC's she knows have pity on us Latins bc of our liturgy.

What is your opinion on this? It got me to start wondering if that could be true.

Anonymous said...

Father, I am not so sure that they can be called good architects if they do not understand the essence within the structures that they are designing. A good architect melds form with function and, while being innovative as humans are wont to do, does not negate the nature and character of his subject through his efforts.

Phillip Totten said...

Erm, the first photo you show is of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral built before Vatican 2.

Philip Totten said...

Erm , the first photo you show is of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral built.... before Vatican 2.

Christian LeBlanc said...

We live in a time when all the arts are sick, including architecture. Therefore it's hard to say what good architecture or a good architect is.

rcg said...

Philip, the Cathedral was designed in 1960. I think this is another instance of seeing the seeds for Vatican II were sown, if not sprouted, already. From the Cathedral website: "Architects throughout the world were invited in 1960 to design a Cathedral for Liverpool which would relate to the existing Crypt, be capable of construction within five years, cost at the current prices no more than £1,000,000 for its shell, and most important of all, express the new spirit of the liturgy then being radically reformulated by the Second Vatican Council."

Christian LeBlanc: it is the pervasive sickness that makes it all the more easy to identify decent architecture. The cornerstone must have Roman Numerals of which not more than one is an 'M' nor any 'L'.

rcg said...

Oh, and the send church looks like a helmet from Japanese armor.

Philip Totten said...

I repeat Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is pre-Vatican 2 although it was inspired by the awakening liturgical movement. It was commissioned by Cardinal Heenan, the last of the English 'princes of the church'. Remember that the new order of mass was not promulgated to the late 1960s. The dedication mass was Tridentine and before the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concillium. The ambo was not installed to much later. By the way... the Cathedral is generally regarded as a good liturgical and prayerful space and has won various architectural awards, as well as being a listed building.