Skip to comments.New Vatican commission cracks down on church architecture
Posted on 11/22/2011 7:48:09 AM PST by markomalley
A team has been set up, to put a stop to garage style churches, boldly shaped structures that risk denaturing modern places for Catholic worship. Its task is also to promote singing that really helps the celebration of mass. The Liturgical art and sacred music commission will be established by the Congregation for Divine Worship over the coming weeks. This will not be just any office, but a true and proper team, whose task will be to collaborate with the commissions in charge of evaluating construction projects for churches of various dioceses. The team will also be responsible for the further study of music and singing that accompany the celebration of mass.
Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Benedict XVI, consider this work as very urgent. The reality is staring everyone in the eyes: in recent decades, churches have been substituted by buildings that resemble multi purpose halls. Too often, architects, even the more famous ones, do not use the Catholic liturgy as a starting point and thus end up producing avant-garde constructions that look like anything but a church. These buildings composed of cement cubes, glass boxes, crazy shapes and confused spaces, remind people of anything but the mystery and sacredness of a church. Tabernacles are semi hidden, leading faithful on a real treasure hunt and sacred images are almost inexistent. The new commissions regulations will be written up over the next few days and will give precise instructions to dioceses. It will only be responsible for liturgical art, not for sacred art in general; and this also goes for liturgical music and singing too. The judicial powers of the Congregation for Divine Worship will have the power to act.
As is known, last 27 September, Benedict XVI transferred jurisdiction of two areas, from the Congregation for the Divine Worship to the Rota Romana (the Holy Sees Court of Appeal), under the motu proprio Quaerit simper. The first of these areas is the nullity of priestly ordination, which similarly to marriage, can be annulled due to defect of form, consensus and intention, by both the ordaining bishop and the priest who is ordained. The second area is the special licence for marriages that have been contracted but not consummated. These are practices that occupied a lot of Cañizares time as head of the dicastery.
In his motu proprio, the Pope explained: Under the current circumstances, it seemed convenient for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the discipline of the sacraments to be mainly devoted to giving fresh impetus to the promotion of the Churchs sacred liturgy, according to the renewal required by the Second Vatican Council since the establishment of the Sacrosanctum Concilium. The dicastery must therefore devote itself to giving fresh impulse to the promotion of the liturgy, giving it the focus insisted upon by Benedict XVI, including and above all by showing an example. In this aspect, in contract to the initial plans, the idea of a liturgical reform of the reform (an expression used by Ratzinger himself when he was a cardinal), seems to be eclipsed by a large-scale project favouring the ars celebrandi and a loyalty to the dictates and instructions of the new missal. It does so without proposing any modifications to the mass.
It is worth remembering, in fact, that the abuse of the liturgy that has gone on in recent decades, becoming common practice, is committed against the laws established by Paul VIs liturgical reform. It is not therefore the reform that needs to be amended; rather, further study into the sense of the liturgy and its proper celebration is needed and must be salvaged in some cases. It is for this reason that the Congregation for Divine Worship intends to promote the training of priests, clerics and catechists, starting from the bare basics. By following the example and teaching of Benedict XVI, the Congregation aims to revive a sense of the sacredness and mystery of the liturgy.
Some liturgical texts need to be reviewed, because they are dated, as is the case of the penitence ritual, published in 1974. Indeed, in the years that followed, an apostolic teaching, a motu proprio, a new Code of Canon Law and a new Catechism were published. In this and in some other cases, updates will be needed. The idea Cardinal Cañizares is working on, is that of reaffirming the primacy of grace in human actions, of the need to give space to Gods action in the liturgy as opposed to actions which are left up to human creativity. There will be many opportunities to reflect on these topics. The year 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the year after that will mark the 50th anniversary of the first approved conciliar text, the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium on the sacred liturgy.
What’s their opinion of the Christal Cathedral?
Protestants are really good at building stuff for us to buy cheap from them?
Ugly is fine if it’s cheap?
Could we at least bring the tabernacle back in the main?
I’m tired of playing “Where’s Jesus?” when I go to a different parish.
Oh yeah and I agree with the music. Please, no more “Sunrise, Sunset”.
A manger was good enough for my Lord ...
Click on the link above. You will see a picture of the monstrosity. Although, with the Vatican, this kind of thing probably has been in the works long before the purchase of Crystal Cathedral, that kind of thing (think about LA’s new Cathedral, Oakland’s new Cathedral, or Liverpool UK’s new Cathedral) is probably just what they had in mind.
To be able to do so is like pulling out teeth. Be thankful that at least the upcoming 3rd Roman Missal in English got accepted this coming Advent.
Considering where Jesus was born I doubt He cares about the church architecture.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” - Matthew 18:20
Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral
I think the imagery most traditional churches try to emulate is:
Rev 21:9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10 And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed; 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its breadth; and he measured the city with his rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and breadth and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits by a man's measure, that is, an angel's. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. 22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates shall never be shut by day -- and there shall be no night there; 26 they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
I do realize that the modern thing is to go plain, but some of us prefer heavenly.
St Darth (of Vader) in Oakland:
The Cathedral of the Blessed Moon Capsule, Liverpool:
St Darth (of Vader) in Oakland:
The Cathedral of the Blessed Moon Capsule, Liverpool:
It's just that, I believe, most people worship God and Jesus in their heart; the building is really of no consequence, it's the message that is important.
Now, if a building helps set the aesthetics for this spiritual experience, so much the better. But, the church, like everything else materialistic - does not last. Our souls will still be young, when everything we know of earth will have faded away.
This post is proof that God answers prayer. No more ugly modern churches! No more ugly modern music!
aka the Taj Mahoney.
On my visit to the Crystal Cathedral, I found it to be a lovley and inspiring house of worship.
I don’t know about changing the music. They just changed the Gloria in my parish (maybe more than my parish) and nobody can sing it. The words are the same just the music was changed.
An ugly church, on the other hand, does not help in any way.
Christianity is based upon the Incarnation, which means that the invisible became visible, the non-physical became physical, and therefore what we see around us in Christian places is important and does relate to the Faith and to our lives in faith. Church buildings, obviously, are not essential to the faith, but in the context of Christianity, we should perhaps think of them as “little incarnations,” that is, little embodiments and physical expressions of the truth that is Jesus Christ, who is no longer with us in the visible form in which He walked on earth but of whom we are constantly reminded by churches and their beauty.
Now if only they had the authority to tear down the ugly ones that have already gotten built...boy, do I have a list!
We had a project in D school wherein the assignment was for a church of a denomination of which I was unfamiliar, but I began by studying the liturgy.
Besides the architect's "hidden" agenda, the building committee knows next to nothing of architecture, and consequently is perfectly willing to accept a design that does not enhance the liturgy.
The most egregious mistakes are the ones that cost a fortune (see architect's agenda).
Had our local Church used the liturgy as a starting point, parishioners would not have to endure Jesus taking a pass on crucifixion, flying off the cross and doing the Charleston on the Sea of Galilee
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Churches should look like this
Teradittos! Unfortunately, traditional music fans are losing out as the electric guitar chases the organ out of the church and "praise bands" replace choirs.
I have read on another thread that the cathedral in San Fransico,CA has the nickname of “Our Lady of Maytag” because it looks like a washing machine agitator.
Looks like a shopping mall to me.
That looks more like “Our Condo Of Phoenix”.
Wow, I must agree, that is certainly ..... strange.
I guess "it is finished" meant something completely different to the interior design folks.
Perhaps in some future redesign, Jesus will be able return to the cross (but he will have to lower his right arm, or raise his left, first, I guess).
Sort of a "what were they thinking" moment I suppose.
But I don't see civilian services (or military services while garrisoned) being conducted in that type of environment voluntarily...
They even had as nice a decorations as possible when worshiping in the catacombs, after all.
What is OCP and GIA?
We live in this diocese. I understand that the tapestries inside are supposed to be beautiful. I have never quite been able to bring myself to visit the Cathedral, though. I fondly remember St. Vibiana’s, which was the old Cathedral before it sustained earthquake damage.
Even when church architecture is not filled with gilt and marble, it can and should be beautiful in the purity of its lines. No one can say that the old church buildings of New England were not beautiful, even if they weren't adorned with statues.
Here is an example. This is a fairly new church. The photo here doesn't do it justice at all, at all, but when you see it across a snowy winter field it's truly stunning in its simple and austere beauty. Yes, even if you prefer Gothic or Baroque architecture. Please believe me, I just couldn't find a good picture on Google Images. This is not my church and I don't know anything about what these folks do inside--I'm a Catholic--I'm just posting this to show that it's possible to build a new Protestant church that's doesnn't look like a refinery.
I believe we ought to be honoring and worshiping the Lord with the works of our hands, and if we build something it ought to be the best and most beautiful thing we can give Him. It should be raised to His glory. It should not refer back to the ghastly architectural ugliness and the socialist-inspired suffering of the twentieth century.
It looks better on the inside than it does on the outside.
YES! THANK YOU!
OCP = Oregon Catholic Press
GIA = GIA Publications (publisher of the “Worship” and “Gather” hymnals)
They are the publishers of the insipid, pedestrian tripe that 80% of us endure each week at Mass.
Banning those publishers and returning to the Graduale Romanum and the Graduale Simplex would go a long way to restoring orthodoxy to the liturgy.
No, I’m not holding my breath.
From your keyboard to God's eyes, MO'M! When I started attending at my current parish, my heart fell when I saw the big fat OCP books in th pews. I've been to some OCP workshops. It was there that I learned about "Base Communities." What that had to do with liturgical music, I could never figure out, but I sure got an education when I attended THEIR workshop...
I recommend reading “Ugly As Sin” by Michael Rose. He wrote “Goodbye, Good Men” about the decline in the priesthood, then wrote “Ugly” to record the shocking destruction of previously magnificent churches into plain and ugly (and plain ugly) “worship spaces.”
It’s probably called “Crystal Cathedral” because of how closely it is shaped to a real cathedral. It is cruciform, arched, and trascepted. The highest point is above where the altar would go. Of course, it’ll need renovations to create a sanctuary, etc.
GIA stands for “Gregorian Institute of America,” though there hasn’t been anything “Gregorian” about them for a great many years.
I just want to see the “Glory and Praise” books banished.
Michael Rose addressed this topic with his book Ugly as Sin. Glad the Vatican is finally preparing to take action.
Thanks. I briefly looked at their website and could not find that reference.
“Which of the following better communicates the faith?”