February 6, 2010

Flying saucer churches....

Fr Dwight Longenecker, Beautiful Church Beautiful Bride:

A comment on the post on beauty makes a good point. Churches should be beautiful because the Church is the bride of Christ and should be 'without spot and wrinkle, as a bride adorned for her husband.' The liturgy refers to Psalm 45 where the splendor of the king and his queen are praised and refer this to the church which is the bride of Christ and therefore the Queen of the King in the Kingdom of heaven.

If a church building is a symbol and sacramental of the Body of Christ, then each element in the building points to the organic Body of Christ. The imagery of the people of God being a temple or a building built up and dwelt in by the Holy Spirit pervades the New Testament, and we can build up a complex analogy with each believer being a living stone, the Lord being the corner stone, the apostles and prophets being the pillars and foundations...

If this is so, then a beautiful and glorious church building not only points us to the glory of the celestial city, but also to the supernatural beauty of the church, which is the result of grace perfecting the nature of each of the redeemed. I am just dipping my toe into this rich theology of sacred architecture, and musing while I wait for my plane, but the question then arises, what were they thinking when they built Catholic Churches that are carpeted arenas, flat flying saucer churches with amplification systems rather than acoustics and a meeting hall rather than a temple?

I think I know what they were thinking and it doesn't smell Catholic to me.

Too right. On a symbolic or unconscious level I have little doubt it was anti-Catholic.

I would add that the same things happen analogously in the secular realm. For instance the founding fathers of our country had a deep affinity for Republican Rome. The fact that many of our public buildings and symbols are Roman in style, or use Latin, is no accident. The authority that our system and its founding documents have over us is bound up in this symbolism, along with a collage of our history and culture.

To build American government buildings like this....

...Is to symbolically destroy a country you hate.

Posted by John Weidner at February 6, 2010 7:11 PM
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