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
Early churches met in homes.
I don’t think the building should be anything great. The Church is not the building, it’s the Body of Believers that occasionally use it.
bump. hope it’s worth reading later.
I'll bet you buy generic food, too. And won't you be happy when you can get all your nutrition from a tasteless pill?
But for the human race, the eternal is embodied in our art, whatever the medium, and our Holy Church will have the our holiest efforts.
You put your efforts into a building.
Those who are wise will put their efforts into His People.
The church building should inspire one to Heaven with beauty through art and architecture. I've heard the whole "church is the people line" for decades and, frankly, I need the beauty, which is why I belong to a parish which is one of the great cathedrals of the world. To think that artists create beauty in the name of God for the inspiration of the rest of us is a heady thought.
I know better than to argue with a refrigerator.
that certainly would feed a LOT of hungry people. and clothe them. and give them health. and shelter. and hope. and the Gospel of their salvation. But we all know that God is more impressed with buildings made by hands./S
quote “The church building should inspire one to Heaven with beauty through art and architecture...frankly, I need the beauty”
You appear to live your life like Thomas: John 20:29 “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
The Apostle Paul warns us: in 2 Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are NOT SEEN: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are NOT SEEN are eternal.
Faith is not seen, Biblical faith is never the beauty of art and architecture: Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT SEEN.
Therefore, that which you said you need, “I need the beauty”: it is that which is SEEN: the things which are seen are temporal; the things which are NOT SEEN are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). Is that cathedral eternal? Are those man made arts and architecture eternal?
Don't you think those who were paid to build and create benefited?
So would selling the local First Baptist Church.
They could build another church - but selling it would feed still more hungry. And on and on.. But the poor we would still have with us.
You don't create a place of worship instead of charity. And whatever I have I would make the place of worship of the best and most beautiful and most sacred I possibly could. Particularly for the Blessed Eucharist.
I can understand if you feel different. Whatever floats your boat is fine with me.
I’m sure they did. But I stand by my prior post. NONE would have benefitted more than those in need. Spiritual accessories and wall murals have never saved anyone. ANYONE>
I agree. Selling the local First Baptist Church would feed more hungry. And on and on. Because the Church the Body of Christ is NOT a building made with hands.
that certainly would feed a LOT of hungry people. and clothe them. and give them health. and shelter. and hope. and the Gospel of their salvation. But we all know that God is more impressed with buildings made by hands./SI missed your end-sarc tag originally, but for others ...
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one [of] his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, "Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days' wages and given to the poor?" He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." --John 12:3-8
What a little cutie!
What a little cutie!She really is :) ... here's photos from one of St. John's Pentecost Masses ... St. John Cantius.
that’s a very interesting verse. Are you saying that you are building your monuments for Christ’s burial? Because that is LITERALLY what he was saying. You do know that Christ has arisen. He is no longer on the cross. Suffering. He has defeated death. He has no need of funeral costs now.