The gathering storm…
They aren't all equally bad. Some might actually be rather nice, but photos can be deceiving. The first one, for example, is really nice, except that it's so bare. But that could easily be fixed. Some of the others, likewise, could be fixed.By "fixed" I mean: add actual art. (Apparently these architects want all this business for themselves, so they leave little or no room for any murals or statues.)What is the attraction to poured concrete, which looked to be used in many of them? It's cold and looks dirty. Happily, it could be covered up.Also, my pastor's eye looks at these and wonders, are these practical designs? Can they be maintained? Or will they have chronic leaks -- say, around those overhead windows and such?Finally, this line in the text up front caught my eye: And yet despite their great stylistic differences, the glue between these churches remains invisible to the human eye yet vibrates within each of us: the emotional state created whilst one is present. The sense of belonging. The conviction of something larger than us all.Many of these created a different "emotional state" in me: dismay, unease, frustration, sadness. Very few made me feel a "sense of belonging."
I might add: one toward the bottom, from circa 1902 I think -- immediately reminded me of a prison. Now there's a "sense of belonging"!
Fr. Fox - I wish I could agree with you. There's a degree of OK to some of these and, true, I suppose the maintenance factor is somewhat low but, wow, where's the catholicty of design? Perhaps I'm wrong but, these buildings seem more self-indulgent (on the part of the architect and bishop/building committee that approved them) rather than honoring a tradition.
Poured concrete has greater compressive and flexural strength than other affordable building materials. It is joint-free, and tends to be more water resistant. It is adaptable and flexible, has superior fire resistance, and it virtually maintenance free. It can be finished in many ways - smooth, rough, or in just about any pattern one might want.It may have the appearance of being cold, but I don't think that is very different from the grey stone interiors of many gothic churches.Practicality is always a major concern. In our diocese skylights were prohibited for many years after a church was built with one and the leaks came soon after the building was opened. The same is true of box gutters, they are built into the roof and are, therefore, invisible. But once one starts leaking...I like some of the churches pictured, and some I don't. The "lotus flower" one, St. Ignatius in Tokyo, is, to me unattractive, and Notre Dame de Creteil makes me dizzy.It will come as no surprise, but I did not experience the "dismay, unease, frustration, sadness" that Martin felt.
Fr Martin Fox said.."They aren't all equally bad. Some might actually be rather nice, but photos can be deceiving. The first one, for example, is really nice, except that it's so bare. But that could easily be fixed. Some of the others, likewise, could be fixed."By "fixed" I mean: add actual art. (Apparently these architects want all this business for themselves, so they leave little or no room for any murals or statues.)"I agree with Father Fox. The photos could deceive, but I didn't find all of the designs ugly...and the designs could be improved easily.Pax.Mark Thomas
I attended Good Friday Mass at a parish in Colorado Springs. It was a modern version of the Spanish Mission style. Lots of concrete that could be hard to clean, as Fr Fox says. Was too austere for my tastes and could have used some art. But very reverent. My wife pointed out several mantillas. It is a nice parish and I think my daughter might go there when she graduates.
center top row, I can hear Kirk screaming V GER. I you don't know star trek you won't get it1st 3rd and fourth just need color and statues and they would be good1st one in 4th row not bad just needs statues5th row center, what the holy hell is it, purgatory1st third row, set for famous apple commercialfor some strange reason I'm kind of drawn to the all steel art deco one, however all the raw concrete ones just look like a presentation of Dante's hell, and the blinding white one looks like a protestant set for the rapture
MT saidand the designs could be improved easily.some would take dynamite and lots of it
Father Fox said..."Also, my pastor's eye looks at these and wonders, are these practical designs? Can they be maintained? Or will they have chronic leaks -- say, around those overhead windows and such?"That is a great point.In my diocese, until recently, many new churches had been designed poorly in regard to such concerns as maintenance and energy consumption. That is surprising as going back many years, Pope Benedict XVI had been labeled, in positive fashion, a "Green Pope." The same label applied to Pope Saint John Paul II.Said Popes were adamant in promoting the "Green" way of life. Pope Francis has followed in his immediate predecessors' footsteps as a "Green" Pope.https://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2017/catholic-energies-looks-to-help-church-organizations-go-green.cfm-- Catholic Energies looks to help church organizations go greenBy Dennis Sadowski Catholic News Service"Catholic parishes, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other organizations operate an estimated 70,000 buildings, most of which use energy inefficiently, wasting about $1 billion a year, Last told CNS. "Reducing energy usage by 25 percent in those buildings would save $630 million and 8.7 billion tons of coal, according to an estimate he prepared."Pax.Mark Thomas
I got news for you folks...we are part of the problem. Oh sure, now that we've read The Renovation Manipulation and Ugly as Sin we might be more likely to object, but let's look back: Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's, we sat like patsies and let Monsignor O'Havadrink and the liturgical experts the diocese hired run right over us with their plans to turn our parish churches into Existential Palaces of Nothingness (EPN's). Yup, we just sat back and took it, while those assigned to "lead" us started chiming in with comments like, "Isn't it beautiful?"If you're still not sure what I mean, just re-read The Emperor's New Clothes. You'll get it.It probably won't happen until after I'm dead and gone, but a day is coming when people will look at these churches and laugh at the people who built (and tolerated) them with mocking derision. And guess what? WE DESERVE IT.
Cletus is correct. These ridiculous edifices make a mockery of the Faith.
Honestly, they remind me of 'sacred spaces' for protestant mega-churches.
Fr Kavanaugh:As far as the comparison between poured concrete "grey stone interiors of many gothic churches," and both being cold -- you have something of a point, except, except... Gothic churches were further adorned than these. For one, there would be any number of details carved into the stone, which is absent from the poured concrete. Second, you might check out Simon Schama, who wrote a history of Britain (also televised, I think), and he points out how highly decorated those Gothic churches were, before Henry VIII unleashed the visigoths of his "reformation." And there would be statuary, which would be painted. There is a light show periodically at Rhiems Cathedral that aims to recreate this effect. Finally, the architects of those Gothic churches developed the flying arch, precisely to make lots of windows possible, and thus light and color.
Cletus said:Back in the 60's, 70's and 80's, we sat like patsies and let Monsignor O'Havadrink and the liturgical experts the diocese hired run right over us with their plans to turn our parish churches into Existential Palaces of Nothingness (EPN's). Yup, we just sat back and took it...Who's "we," kemosabe? ;-)
I might add...there was a definite movement in the 20th century in the Catholic Church to drive out of churches representational art. It wasn't just an accident. There were all manner of rationales for it: not being too ornate, because we should embrace poverty; or the notion that statues and images and art were "distracting" or disorderly; or the notion that there was something awful about any duplication (I can remember being told in the seminary, in the 90s, that you couldn't have more than one crucifix or cross visible in the sanctuary during Mass: a terrible no-no.); or the idea that "the people" adorn the church; or the idea that the building just isn't terribly important.Nowadays few people in the U.S., at least, will own up to any such ideas, and many who try to defend the trends that emerged right after Vatican II will try to claim it's all urban legend. But there are too many people who saw their parish churches terrorized by modern-day iconoclasts to dismiss.Sorry for three posts in a row!
I'm sorry Father Fox, I didn't necessarily mean you. I was speaking as Joe Parishioner, just the average guy in the pews. I think a lot of liturgical consultants and other diocesan "experts" took advantage of the fact that most of us are (or at least WERE) loath to argue with our pastors.
) loath to argue with our pastors.Or many times told off by our betters, pastors. PF talks about clericism, many around here ORDERED, not discussed
Cletus --(Chuckling.) No problem at all. I was a layperson back then, too, so technically, you're correct: I didn't protest, but then, none of these things happened in any parish of mine. But you are correct, many laypeople were deferential and trusting, and their trust was violated. I'm very glad that laypeople are much more likely to speak up than once was true (about many things), and it's truly rich to see some of those priests and especially bishops who pride themselves on not being "clerical" get indignant when laypeople get too uppity. Also, in many places, laypeople absolutely did not stand aside for wreckovations. And in some places, they spirited away the treasures and held them, against the day when sanity would return. There are many stories of priests arriving, who want to restore things, having the old treasures brought back.
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