Skip to comments.One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: Marks of the Church Building as well as the Church Herself
Posted on 06/08/2010 5:02:05 PM PDT by Desdemona
I have recently struck up a very enjoyable correspondence with Prof. Peter Kwasniewski, of the excellent Wyoming Catholic College, and read with great interest an article he recently wrote for the next edition of Latin Mass Magazine on the philosophy and theology of church architecture. (More information can be found at the magazine's website here.) Particularly interesting for me is his innovative but sound idea of linking the built structure of the church to the four marks of the institutional Church--One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. This is the first time I have seen such an idea advanced and I find it elegant and eloquent. Prof. Kwasniewski has been kind enough to secure permission for us to publish his article at The New Liturgical Movement, and you can find it below. Some highlights, with my comments and expansions:
We identify her four notes or essential characteristics when we say that she is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Almost in the same breath, we then link the Church to her life-giving Sacraments and the ultimate goal to which our membership in her carries us: we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. An entire understanding of church architecture is sketched out in these few words of the Creed.
[...] One. We are talking about one and the same Church across all the ages. [...] So the church building and its furnishings ought to convey a sense of something one, visibly and tangibly one, that is greater than all of our differences. [One is reminded of Ninian Comper's synthetic unitive eclecticism: "All generations shall call me blessed." I would also remark that the "oneness" of the church building should also be manifest in a clarity of liturgical form and focus. --MGA] We concretely express this mystery by an architecture that remains in continuity with ecclesiastical Tradition. [...]
Apostolic. I jump ahead to this note of the Church because it clarifies that the unity or oneness just spoken of consists in belonging to the Church founded by Christ on the Apostles, especially on Peter, the Rock. Our Lord Jesus gave to the Apostles the Deposit of Faith, what we call Apostolic Tradition. [...] The church building, for its part, passes down that same Tradition in artistic form, in a kind of silent visual preaching.
Holy. This characteristic is arguably the most important of all when it comes to architecture. A church should represent and reflect and remind us of the holiness of God, the holiness to which we have been called and in which we share. Hence, verticalitythe upward thrust of architectural and decorative elementsis crucial in a sanctuary. When we enter a well-designed church, our mind, our feelings, are immediately drawn upwards to God, the Holy One of Israel; to the Divine, the Transcendent, the Infinite.
[I'd also remark that there are various ways of expressing this verticality, this exchange between God and man exemplified in the Incarnation--in Gothic it goes up, while in Byzantine architecture domes recall God's enclosing movement downwards to man while retaining a sense of loftiness. Baroque creates a sort of aerial, spiralling ballet that has elements of both upward and downward verticality to it. --MGA].
Anyway, have a read through the article: it is excellent work, and innovative while being firmly grounded in tradition. It is good to see, in this article, and in other works (like Dr. McNamara's new book) that we are now examining in great detail and with great theological seriousness what a church should look like, as well as what it should not look like. I hope to hear more in this vein from the good professor in the future.
What is a Church Supposed to Look Like? Peter Kwasniewski
“I dont think the building should be anything great.”
I was lucky enough to grow up in a church with beautiful stained glass windows and wonderful mosaics about many passages from the Bible. It was so inspiring as a child to look at the windows and see the way an artist poured his heart and talent out to make a beautiful work of art for God. I would study them to see what the artist’s focus was and how it related to the scripture passage. The windows are glorious. They never failed to lift my spirit.
If anyone ever gets the chance to visit St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim, CA, I think you will enjoy the windows. The Church is very large and used to be overflowing with parishioners. It has fallen into disrepair these days but the windows are still wonderful.
Ah ha! It always comes down to attacking the Holy Eucharist.
Start at the door of a Holy Place and strike like a snake at the Holy Eucharist.
You anti Catholics are so transparent and full of yourselves.
I dont know why other Catholics here waste their time posting to such repetative crapola.
“Well, at least youve gone from Protestants to many Protestants.”
Nope. I always said the same thing. Look at your own post #45 where you quoted me. Perhaps you need new glasses.
“Same reason non-catholics do not understand our devotionals its like pouring heartfelt perfume on the Lord. But doesnt fit the boxed bible worldview assumptions.”
That’s an EXCELLENT point!
“So, of course, because your church is the prettiest, the fanciest, the best musically, the purest liturgically, the closest to heaven-like, the sweetest smelling, the...., it is therefore, the most true?”
The Church is true because Christ sent it. No Protestant sect was ever sent by Christ. They were all man made starting in the 16th century.
“Who do you think is most impressed by the grandeur? God or man???”
Man is most impressed by the grandeur he can see - which is limited by the flesh. God is glorified by the grandeur seen and unseen. Remember, each one of our parishes, no matter how humble, is visited by God Himself in the Eucharist. He is not merely spiritually present, but sacramentally present and is attended by his angels.
I always think of things like these two paintings: http://www.catholicbible101.com/thepowerofthemass.htm
While we are the body of Christ, you do need meeting places to meet worship.
Plus as other posts say, the poor we will always have.
Wonderful photos! Thanks!
I always think of the sets of two paintings in Prague's Bethlehem Chapel, in the time of Reformer Jan Hus, mid-14th century:
But there were those huge paintings on the warehouse-like walls of Bethlehem Chapel, arranged in pairs, and they infuriated the Roman Church authorities. There was a picture of a crowned Pope, who just happened to resemble the current Pope, sitting on his throne, with Cardinals prostrating themselves at his feet. And right next to it a picture of Jesus, washing his disciples feet. There was a picture of a richly clad and bejeweled Pope being helped into the saddle of a magnificent warhorse. And right next to it a painting of Jesus, dressed in a threadbare robe, riding a donkey into Jerusalem.
Bethlehem Chapel, with a seating capacity of 3,000, was soon filled to overflowing. People of all social classes worshipped together --university students and their professors, tradesmen, artisans, prostitutes, government officials, even Queen Sophia herself. The catch-phrase around town was, Read it on the walls of Bethlehem. There were attempts by the authorities to remove Father Jan from the pulpit, followed by riots in the streets of Prague, beheadings, ecclesiastical court proceedings in far-away Constance, and finally the Church heresy trial and burning at the stake of Jan Hus. A grass roots movement, begun innocently enough by the ordinary people of Bethlehem Chapel, turned into a revolution, and calls for the Reformation of the Roman Church swept across Europe.
In the end, people of boldness and endurance and faith overcame the corruption that poisoned the Roman Church, and the result was the reformation of the Roman Church, which we now know as the Roman Catholic Church, and the birth of all Protestant Churches. It all began in Pragues Bethlehem Chapel, where every day was like Palm Sunday.
- Excerpted from the 2010 Palm Sunday sermon of Deer Park United Methodis Church, entitled "If These Were Silent."
What church is this?
Yes, interesting, the two paintings I pick are about God’s glory while you pick something that mocks His Church. How telling. Typically Protestant too.
Wow! What kind of reasoning is this-”The perfectly inspired Word of God clearly provides proof that believers are Gods building. And since this is true, then I need no visible architecture building to grow my Christian faith: my faith is made perfect by Christ. I lack nothing: for I have all spiritual things in Christ: who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3)-—————Where do we Meet?-—————————————— Hebrews 10:24” And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 NOT Neglecting to MEET together, as is the habit of some, but Encouraging one Another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”—————————————————————Whats more encouraging than meeting where the scriptures are printed on the wall with pictures acting out the gospels also thru God’s natural light coming into a stain glass picture window!!! YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH YOUR REASONING!
If you think paintings of Jesus washing the feet of disciples and riding a donkey into Jerusalem is mockery, I can’t fathom your thinking at all.
If you regard juxtaposing paintings of hauteur and arrogance to those that were deliberately and strikingly humble by comparison was a mockery of His Church, your thinking is unfathomable yet again.
Nope. I always said the same thing. Look at your own post #45 where you quoted me. Perhaps you need new glasses.
Nope. Perhaps I need a new memory! LOL!
“If you think paintings of Jesus washing the feet of disciples and riding a donkey into Jerusalem is mockery, I cant fathom your thinking at all.”
Maybe you can’t fathom that because that is not a truthful telling of what you yourself said. Here is how you originally posted the description:
“There was a picture of a crowned Pope, who just happened to resemble the current Pope, sitting on his throne, with Cardinals prostrating themselves at his feet. And right next to it a picture of Jesus, washing his disciples feet. There was a picture of a richly clad and bejeweled Pope being helped into the saddle of a magnificent warhorse. And right next to it a painting of Jesus, dressed in a threadbare robe, riding a donkey into Jerusalem.”
So, yes, I think what you described was mockery. It has nothing to do with the paintings of Christ and everything to do with what was described.
“If you regard juxtaposing paintings of hauteur and arrogance to those that were deliberately and strikingly humble by comparison was a mockery of His Church, your thinking is unfathomable yet again.”
You seem to be missing the point. Where are these paintings NOW? How do you know they ever existed? I ask for the following reasons: 1) The Bethlehem Chapel became a Jesuit chapel in the 17th century. You probably were not aware of that, 2) It was demolished in the 18th century after the Jesuits were disbanded. 3) It was rebuilt starting in the 1950s if I recall correctly.
Now, where are the paintings? If the paintings were original to the chapel, then they were created for no other reason than to be used as propaganda against the Church by the heretic Jan Hus. If the paintings were created in the 1950s (which obviously isn’t the case) then they would REALLY be more obvious examples of propaganda.
Again, what I posted was about glorifying God. What you posted and are talking about is mere Protestant propaganda designed to attack and mock the Church.
You do worship your church, vlad. Why do you suppose Jesuits seized Bethany Chapel and destroyed it after the counter-Reformation? Is this action explicable in any other light outside of the undisputed historical accounts, both religious and secular, enshrined in the national identity of the Czech Republic?
Here is an interview with a living descendant of Jan Hus, verifying the account from a sermon that I included in my reply:
I’m beginning to recall why I’d determined to ignore you several months ago. It seems sensible to return to that.
Have a nice day.
“You do worship your church, vlad.”
Nope. But I certainly love what God sent to aid us in our salvation.
“Why do you suppose Jesuits seized Bethany Chapel and destroyed it after the counter-Reformation?”
They didn’t seize it and they didn’t destroy it. The chapel was acquired by the Jesuits twice (!), first in 1622 and then in 1661 - that was 23 years after it became a university chapel. The chapel was bought to be used as a chapel (what a novel idea) to go along with the two colleges the Jesuits had purchased as well. After the Jesuits were suppressed it became part of the parish of St. Gilles. The Jesuits didn’t destroy it either. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
“Is this action explicable in any other light outside of the undisputed historical accounts, both religious and secular, enshrined in the national identity of the Czech Republic?”
Since you’re wrong on the facts, your last question makes no sense.
“Here is an interview with a living descendant of Jan Hus, verifying the account from a sermon that I included in my reply:”
Jan Hus has no descendents that I am aware of because he was a celibate priest. You probably mean a “distant relative” rather than a descendent. In any case, your link is meaningless.
“Im beginning to recall why Id determined to ignore you several months ago. It seems sensible to return to that.”
It seemed obvious you couldn’t actually respond with any ability to my questions. You have now proven me correct. Thanks.
The Bethlehem Chapel remained a centre of Protestant Church after the Hussite wars ended, but Catholicism finally won in the Czech Kingdom. The rebellion of Protestant nobles was defeated at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. The Church of Rome confiscated the chapel then and Jesuit order bought it in 1661. They made it a Catholic church.
After the Jesuit order was suppressed in the 18 th century, Emperor Joseph II. had the Bethlehem Chapel desecrated and demolished in 1786. Only a sacristy remained there, with a room, where Jan Hus used to live.
The idea to rebuild the chapel was realized in 1950s. The original shape of the building was found out from old illustrations and it was projected by Jaroslav Fragner. The remains of the original Bethlehem Chapel were integrated to the new one.
This comes from the website of the city of Prague, Czech Republic itself (prague.cz).
“This comes from the website of the city of Prague, Czech Republic itself (prague.cz).”
Sorry, but you’re going to have to do better than that. Here are the problems with what you posted:
“The Church of Rome confiscated the chapel then and Jesuit order bought it in 1661.”
1) If it was a Catholic chapel in the beginning - and that’s what Hus called it - then no “confiscation” could take place on the part of Rome. The chapel would already have belonged to it.
2) Since the Church of Rome never took to the field in military arms as such in the battles around Prague in the 1620 it was clearly the governmental forces which took control of the chapel. They gave it to whom they wished.
3) When Protestants, under Samuel Martini, seized control of Prague in 1632, they did not give the Bethlehem Chapel to any supposed followers of Huss. They simply did not recognize them as the proper owners of the building.
4) After the Battle of White Mountain the Jesuits actually had restored to them an entirely different building which had previously been seized by the followers of Huss. In other words, this supposed seizing of buildings had been going in both directions.
5) Also, and you probably didn’t know this (why would you know these facts?), the Unitas Fratrum got control of the Bethlehem Chapel in 1612 after the fall of HRE Rudolph. This is one of the reasons why they named their settlement in Pennsylvania Bethlehem.
“They made it a Catholic church.”
That’s what it had been in the beginning - according to Huss.
You have a very faulty memory, vlad. My mother’s family were Moravian, going all the way through Bethania to Wachovia to Easton, PA, to Rotterdam and Saxony before. I know quite well what and who Unitas Fratrum were and are, as would you if you’d ever bothered to read the links you insist upon from others but don’t provide yourself.