reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:37 pm

The Myth of the Domus Ecclesiae

-- and how this has influenced modern Church architecture

Adoremus Bulletin

Online Edition:
August 2012
Vol. XVIII, No. 5

The Myth of the Domus Ecclesiae

-- and how this has influenced modern Church architecture

by Steven J. Schloeder, PhD, AIA

In the last century we have seen a steady devolution of Catholic sacred architecture from grand and formal edifices to decidedly more residential-scale and casual buildings. This was not accidental, but rather a deliberate effort to return to what mid-20th century liturgical scholars considered the true character of Christian worship as understood in the early Church.

The intention of the ressourcement (return to the sources, i.e., the early Church) movement was to recover the true meaning of the Christian liturgical assembly and the true meaning of Christian assembly space. Some interpreted this to mean that the Church should emulate the early Christian Church in their liturgical practices and its surroundings — that the architecture should be simplified to heighten the symbolic expression of the gathered community, and architectural “accretions” through the centuries should be removed as nonessential, distracting, and counterproductive to the goal of “active participation.”

Active Participation

It is historically curious that the desire to promote active participation of the faithful came to imply a radical reductionism in the majesty, beauty, iconography, and symbolism of church buildings. The notion of “active participation” as the genesis of the twentieth-century liturgical reforms was first articulated by Saint Pope Pius X (d. 1914) in his 1903 exhortation on sacred music, Tra le Sollecitudini. Pope Pius X reminds the faithful of the importance of the church building in the formation of the Christian soul through the Christian liturgy:

Among the cares of the pastoral office … a leading one is without question that of maintaining and promoting the decorum of the House of God in which the august mysteries of religion are celebrated, and where the Christian people assemble to receive the grace of the Sacraments…. Nothing should have place, therefore, in the temple calculated to disturb or even merely to diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that may give reasonable cause for disgust or scandal, nothing, above all, which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and is thus unworthy of the House of Prayer and of the Majesty of God.1

For Pius X, “the sanctity and dignity of the temple” was important so that the faithful might acquire the proper spirit for true “active participation” in the holy liturgy. Active participation properly understood is the goal of worship in the liturgy — it is the end not the means. Among other things, the means include that the liturgy is done well in a place aptly designed for worship. In the mind of Pius, the church building ought to be constructed to express the majesty and dignity of the House of God.

Given the clear intent expressed in this motu proprio of Saint Pius X as the point of departure for the 20th-century Liturgical Movement, how are we to explain the subsequent diminishment of the church building as a sacramental sign of the heavenly realities?

Mid-Century Liturgical Arguments

The typical rhetoric of the mid-century liturgical authors was that we ought to build churches for the “modern man” or “constructed to serve men of our age.” Styles and forms from previous ages were declared defunct or no longer vital. One even finds the condemnation of wanting a “church that looks like a church” as being nostalgic — an unhealthy yearning for a past Golden Age that really never was.2

For instance, Edward Mills wrote in The Modern Church: “If we do not build churches in keeping with the spirit of the age we shall be admitting that religion no longer possesses the same vitality as our secular buildings.”3 His book concerns topics such as efficient planning, technology, cost abatement, and environmental considerations. It is worth mentioning that only a few years before this book, Mills had written The Modern Factory, with the same rationalistic concerns for efficient planning, technology, cost abatement, and environmental considerations.

But we see something else going on in the mid-20th century writers. One cannot simply discard two millennia of sacred architectural forms and styles without having a new paradigm to replace it, and one cannot have a valid new paradigm without having grounds for discarding the old paradigm. The paradigm itself needed to change: and all the better if the new paradigm was promoted as the “authentic” paradigm, the recovery of what was lost.

Within this rhetoric of building churches for our age and in the willingness to discard the past is an embedded mythos. By this accounting, the Church began to formalize her liturgy and her architecture only after the Edict of Milan, when Constantine first legalized Christianity. The imperially sponsored building programs brought formality and the hierarchical trappings of elements derived from the imperial court.4

Prior to this Pax Constantiniana, the Church was a domestic enterprise, and the model of domestic architecture — the domus ecclesiae (literally, “house of the church”) — was the simple, humble, and hospitable residential form in which early Christians gathered to meet the Lord and meet one another in the Lord for fellowship, meals, and teaching. This became valued as a model for contemporary worship and self-understanding. The early house church — seen as pure, simple, unsullied by later liturgical and architectural accretions without the trappings of hierarchy and formality — was to be the model for modern liturgical reform.

As Father Richard Vosko, a priest from Rochester, New York, and liturgical architecture consultant, surmised, “The earliest understanding of a Christian church building implies that it is a meeting house — a place of camaraderie, education and worship. In fact, the earliest Christian tradition clearly held that the Church does not build temples to honor God. That is what the civic religions did.”5

This notion was put most forcefully by Lutheran architect E.A. Sovik, who wrote: “It is conventionally supposed that the reasons that Christians of the first three centuries built almost no houses of worship were that they were too few, or too poor, or too much persecuted. None of these is true. The real reason that they didn’t build was that they didn’t believe in ecclesiastical building.”6

The ascendency of the residential model as the authentic liturgical form raised another question of architectural history: what to do with the intervening 1700 years of church building? For the mid-century and later architectural writers, the simple answer was that the domestic model was the ideal, and all later grand and hierarchical buildings are the deviations. Therefore, all the intervening eras, liturgical and artistic expressions, and architectural forms and styles came in for censure.

The changes in the age of Constantine were implicated for the advent of clericalism, turning the congregation into passive viewers at a formalistic ritual, the loss of liturgical and spiritual intimacy, and the subjugation of the Church’s evangelical mission to the politics of the emperor. The Christian basilica was thereby rejected as an expression of power-mongering and imperialistic tendencies.7

The Byzantine churches were rejected for their courtly imperial formality, where the ministers are hidden behind the iconostasis, only to venture out in courtly processions. The Romanesque was rejected for its immensely long naves that separated the people from God, and the proliferation of side altars required for the monks to fulfill their daily obligations to say private Masses.8 The Gothic style was criticized for its alienating monumentalism and for its reliquaries of dubious merit.9 Baroque architecture comes in for special censure: for triumphalism, for Tridentine rubricism, for pagan artistic themes and sensuality, for hyper-valorization of the Eucharist in reaction to Protestantism, and for dishonesty in the use of materials.10 Father Louis Bouyer’s judgment of the Counter-reformation liturgy was that it was “embalmed” — devoid of life and vitality.11

The decided trend of mid-20th century liturgical and architectural thinking was to reject historical styles. Clearing the table to start anew, with a sweep of the hand, Father Reinhold dismissed all previous architectural eras, styles and forms:

Conclusion: We see that all these styles were children of their own day. None of their forms are ours. We have concrete, steel, wood compositions, brick, stone, glass of all kinds, plastic materials, reverse cycle heat and radiant heat. We can no longer identify the minority, called Christendom, and split in schisms, with the kingdom of God on earth. Our society is a pluralistic one and lives in a secularist atmosphere… [O]ur architects must find as good an expression in our language of forms, as our fathers did in theirs.12

Domus Ecclesiae — Domus Dei

Thus were 1700 years of Christian architectural history discarded as liturgically erroneous and inapplicable for contemporary buildings in favor of simpler domestic-scaled places for assembly. This however, was not manufactured out of thin air. It was clear from Scripture that the early Church worshipped in the residences of the wealthier members of the community. The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions mention a wealthy and powerful man who gave over his great house to the Church to establish what ought to be considered the first ‘cathedral’ as the chair of Peter.13 Given the lack of excavated basilicas from the pre-Constantinian era, it was assumed that there was some sort of organic development between the domestic house and the basilica that only found full expression in the fourth century.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many historians grappled with the question of transition between these two forms, looking at the Roman house with the triclinium [dining table with couches on three sides], various sorts of intermediate structures such as the aula ecclesia [lit. “hall of the church”, a formal room for worship], adaptations of the Roman civic basilica, and the architecture of the imperial palace, among others.14

With the discovery of the church at Dura Europos in the 1930s, these speculations all went by the wayside, and the model of the “house church” came to the fore.

This discovery was of profound importance given that it was the only known identifiable and dateable pre-Constantinian church. It was obviously a residence converted to the needs of a small Christian community. Significantly, it was also a rather late dated church — about 232 AD — and quite in keeping with the expectations from all the various scriptural references to a domestic liturgical setting.15

Henceforth, especially in the late 1950s and the 1960s, the dominant thesis in liturgical circles took the domus ecclesiae as the architectural model for pre-Constantinian Christian architecture. The common vision for new parishes built in the wake of Vatican II was therefore toward simpler, more domestically scaled buildings in emulation of the domus ecclesiae in which Christians supposedly gathered before the imperial approbation of Christianity in the fourth century.

The only problem for this romantic model of a domestic residential architecture, built for a small gathering of early Christians celebrating a simple agape meal, is its dubious merit.

Domus ecclesiae — “house church” —the popular term among liturgists emphasized the communal nature of the assembly is not particularly apt. It is also anachronistic. The phrase domus ecclesiae is not found in Scripture. No author of the first, second, or third century uses this term to describe the church building. The phrase domus ecclesiae cannot be found to describe any church building before the Peace of Constantine (313 AD), but rather seems used to imply a house owned by the Christians, such as a bishop’s residence.16

There are many other ancient terms used to identify the church building, but domus Dei seems to be of particular importance. Throughout the New Testament, the assembly of Christians is called domus Dei, the house of God. Paul’s passage in I Tim 3:15 could not be clearer: in domo Dei … quae est ecclesia Dei vivi (“the house of God, which is the church of the living God”). Likewise, domus Dei or its derivative domestici Dei (household of God) is found in Eph 2:19, Heb 10:21, and I Pt 4:17.

Following scripture, Tertullian (d. 220) used domus Dei in a way that can only mean a church building. This key term, domus Dei — and its Greek equivalent, oikos tou theou — is found in Hippolytus (d. 235), Clement of Alexandria (d. 215), and Eusebius (d. 339), among others. But even oikos or domus does not suggest any humble residential or domestic association. Oikos is generally a house, but it can also serve to describe a temple (as in a house of the gods). Similarly, domus could also refer to the grandest of buildings, such as the emperor’s palace — domus divina — or Nero’s ostentatious Domus Aurea. These are hardly small-scale and intimate associations. It seems that long before the time of Constantine, the Church had already begun to move out of the residential environments we read of in the book of Acts and the letters of Paul.

Textual Counter-evidence

We actually know very little about pre-Constantinian liturgy or Christian architecture. Yet from the scant literary evidence we do have, there is a strong probability that even in the second century the Church owned land and built special buildings for the community. The earliest record of the special purpose church building seems to be from Chronicle of Arbela, a fifth-century Syrian manuscript that tells us that Bishop Isaac (Ishaq) (135-148) “had built a large well-ordered church which exists today.”17 The Chronicles of Edessa mention a Christian church destroyed in a city-wide flood around 201.18 Around the year 225 AD Christians acquired a piece of public property in a dispute with inn-keepers to build a church with the explicit blessing of Emperor Severus Alexander, who determined “that it was better for some sort of a god to be worshipped there than for the place to be handed to the keepers of an eating-house.”19

The pagan Porphyry (d. 305), writing in the second half of the third century, attacks the Christians who, in “imitating the erection of the temples, build very large houses,20 into which they go together and pray.”21

The Emperor Aurelian (d. 275) makes passing reference to a Christian church (Christianorum ecclesia) in contrast to his own religious temple (templo deorum omnia).22 Lactantius (d. 320) recounts the destruction of the church in Nicomedia, calling it a “lofty edifice” and describes how it was “situated on rising ground, within the view of the palace” and how the emperors Diocletian and Galerius could see it and debated whether to burn it to the ground or pull it down.23 It seems that, if the Emperor of the Roman Empire knew a Christian church when he saw one, it was no simple obscure house.

The Problem of Place

Despite the textual evidence that argues for significant church buildings before the age of Constantine, the dearth of archeological evidence for formal church buildings has seemed persuasive. With the recent discovery of a pre-Constantinian basilica at Aqaba it seems timely for liturgists and architects to reconsider the validity of the residential domus ecclesiae as a meaningful model for contemporary church architecture. The Aqaba church dates comfortably to 300, and perhaps as early as 280 AD Another basilican church, St. Georgeous in Rihab, Jordan, is preliminary dated to as early as 230 AD, with archeological evidence of a formal first-century church (c. 70 AD) beneath that ruin.24

We have limited knowledge of what pre-Constantinian churches generally looked like, but we can have certainty that Christians had special, purpose-built, urban-scale churches before the Emancipation in 313 AD. We should therefore reevaluate the claims about the “authenticity” of the simple house church as a meaningful architectural model for the Christian assembly both in the early Church and for today.

However, we should also consider the emotional appeal of the house church, which may seem enticing in the alienating condition of post-agrarian and post-industrial modern life. Both the massive scale of the modern city and the anonymity and placelessness of suburban sprawl contribute to the desire for a sense of domestic rootedness. Increased mobility in the modern work force and the consequent breakdown of traditional community and family life also create a tension and a desire for familiarity, welcome, and belonging in the parish community.

If these factors may contribute to the desire for a more domestic style for a parish church, it is a mistake to limit a church building to this functionalist view. Church architecture is necessarily symbolic, and the various metaphors by which we understand church buildings are derived from the metaphors by which we understand the Church.

These metaphors find their poignancy and potency in the human condition: matters of embodiment, relationship, dwelling, and community life form a matrix of symbols for the Church, the parish community, the liturgy, and church architecture. Among the most significant Scriptural images for the Ecclesia (and therefore the liturgy and the church building) are the Body of Christ, the nuptial relationship, the Tent of Dwelling/Temple of Solomon, and the Heavenly City.

These speak of the fundamental human experiences of embodiment, of marriage and domestic family life, of dwelling and habitation, and of social life.

This residential model of domus ecclesiae has been placed into a false opposition to the domus Dei as a model for sacred architecture. Both are models that find their validity in the human experience of dwelling and family life, but the former has come to imply an immanent expression of the home for the local community whereas only the latter has a transcendental and eschatological horizon that is more apt for sacramental buildings that are called to be “truly worthy and beautiful and be signs and symbols of heavenly realities.”25

The desire for a domestically scaled liturgical environment is not wrong per se, but it cannot stand in isolation without reference to the broader framework of ecclesiastical, liturgical, and architectural symbolism. All are needed for the person and the community to understand how the liturgy and the liturgical environment express and participate in a greater sacramental reality beyond the confines of the local assembly.

If the domestic model is not the sure foundation for church buildings, then all the arguments for rejecting the hierarchical and formal models of liturgy, for discarding the sacramental language of Christian architecture for a functionalist architectural approach, and for dismissing any appeals to the rich treasure trove of Catholic architectural history and historical styles will fall like a house of cards.

Notes

1 Pius X, Tra le Sollecitudini, November 22, 1903.

2 See for instance, Maurice Lavanoux, “Religious Art and Architecture Today,” in F. McManus, ed. The Revival of the Liturgy (New York: Herder and Herder, 1963), 152-54.

3 Edward Mills, The Modern Church (London: The Architectural Press, 1956), 16. See also Mills, The Modern Factory (London: The Architectural Press, 1951).

4 Cf. Kevin Seasoltz, A Sense of the Sacred (London: Continuum, 2005), 95-98.

5 Richard Vosko, God’s House Is Our House: Re-Imagining the Environment for Worship (Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2006), 22.

6 Edward A. Sovik, “The Place of Worship: Environment for Action,” in Mandus A. Egge, ed. Worship: Good News in Action (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1973), 98. Quoted in Mark A. Torgerson, An Architecture of Immanence: Architecture for Worship and Ministry Today (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007), 152-53.

7 Vosko (2006): 27; Michael E. DeSanctis, Building from Belief: Advance, Retreat, and Compromise in the Remaking of Catholic Church Architecture (Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2002), 30.

8 Joseph Rykwert, Church Building (London: Burns and Oates, 1966), 81.

9 H.A. Reinhold, The Dynamics of Liturgy (New York: Macmillan, 1961), 87.

10 H.A. Reinhold, Speaking of Liturgical Architecture (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1952), 13.

11 Louis Bouyer, Life and Liturgy (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1965), 7. Also Kevin Seasoltz The House of God: Sacred Art and Church Architecture (New York: Herder and Herder, 1963), 110-114.

12 Reinhold, Speaking of Liturgical Architecture, 32.

13 Ps.-Clement, Recognitions. 10.71.

14 E.g., S. Lang, “A Few Suggestions Toward a New Solution of the Origin of the Early Christian Basilica,” Rivista di archeologia Christiana, 30 (1934): 189-208.

15 Cf. Kimberly Bowes, “Early Christian Archaeology: A State of the Field”, in Religious Compass 2/4 (2008): 575-619.

16 Katerina Sessa, “Domus Ecclesiae: Rethinking a Category of Ante Pacem Christian Space,” in Journal of Theological Studies, 60:1 (April 2009): 90-108.

17 Cf. Sources Syriaques. t.1, trans by A. Mignana (Mossoul: Imprimerie des Peres Dominicains, 1907). NB: Davies gives the dates even earlier as 123-136 in his The Origin and Development of Early Christian Church Architecture (London: SCM, 1952), 14.

18 Cf. Uwe Lang, Turning Towards the Lord (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 67. Harnack makes note of this in his The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries (London: Williams and Norgate, 1908).

19 Lampridius, Life of Severus Alexander, 2.49.

20 The Greek in Macarius is ..., “they build very large buildings.” Porphyry distinguishes between these large buildings and residential houses, “their own houses,” in which they lived. In Ezra 4:1, the same construction is used specifically for the building of the Temple (...). There is no reason therefore to assume “oikos” meant a residential dwelling house, since it could be used for a house, any building, or a temple. Cf. Macarii Magnetis Quae Supersunt, ed. C. Blondel (Paris: Klincksieck, 1876), 201.

21 Porphyry, Adversus Christianos, known to us from the fragment addressed by the later Macarius in Apocriticus, 4. 21. Cf. T.W. Crafer, The Apocriticus of Macarius Magnes (London: SPCK, 1919), 146. Crafer notes that some took this passage as proof that Porphyry lived and wrote after the Emancipation, though he considers this argument weak. The conventional dates for Porphyry are c. 234 - c. 305.

22 Epistle of Aurelian, quoted in Joseph Bingham, Origines Ecclesiasticae (London: 1722), 8.1.1.

23 Lactantius, On the Deaths of the Persecutors, 12. Cf. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, VII, “Lactantius” (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1886). Lactantius uses the term editissimum to speak of the tall building, and notes the church was ex palatio videbatur.

24 The early third-century dating of St. Georgeous in Rihab is somewhat controversial. Another contender for a third-century church is the Christian prayer hall in Megiddo, Israel, which is not a basilica and found in the structure of a larger early third-century Roman villa.

25 General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 288.

***

Steven J. Schloeder, PhD, AIA is the founder of Liturgical Environs PC, an architectural firm specializing in Catholic church projects across the United States. He is the author of Architecture in Communion (San Francisco: Ignatius Press 1998), and many articles in scholarly and popular journals. He can be contacted at steve@liturgicalenvirons.com.

This article is based on a lecture delivered at Catholic University of America, and was first published in Sacred Architecture, Issue 21, 2012.
Praxiteles
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby apelles » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:22 pm

What are the typical features of a Roman Catholic Church?
As described (with a slight tone of disdain) on answers.com http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_typical_features_of_a_Roman_Catholic_Church


Answer:
This was once a very simple question to answer, however, since Vatican II, a wave of novelty has rippled through the Church affecting everything, even ecclesiastical architecture. This is no surprise since the architecture of a Church is a reflection of the faith and so when novelties enter the faith, they are reflected in art, music and architecture.

Some features that remain in all Roman Catholic churches:

A Sanctuary
The sanctuary is typically at the center or front of a church. It is distinguished by an altar, usually on an elevation to the rest of the church, though some modern designs wish the people to be on the same level or even slightly above the altar, via a sloping floor. The theological implications of this reversal are on purpose.

A Choir Loft or Accommodation
Typically, especially in pre-Vatican II churches, there is a choir loft or reserved pew section for a choir or schola or organist at the back of the church. A schola was an all male choir that sung the Gregorian chant propers and common of the Mass and sometimes would be in cassock and surplice and stand in the center aisle of the church. Organs were typically in the loft and attended by an organist; the massive organ pipes are often visibly running up the walls. In modern churches, where emphasis is put on participation in liturgical singing and responses, the choir is usually situated at the front, beside the sanctuary, so that the congregation can see them and even watch them play their instruments which now include most anything from guitar to drums, tamberines to flutes, etc. Such instruments were once forbidden in churches.

A Vestibule
Upon first entering a church, there is a lobby section that might have a bookstore, coat room, statues, etc. This is called a vestibule. In older churches, there is an ambiance of the sacred to help elevate the mind before entering the church proper. This is accomplished by a vaulting ceiling, usually with a broad painting on it or featuring a coffered ceiling. Often there is rich and elaborate decoration; there are devotional statues and candles, paintings, stained glass, stalls for holy cards and books and perhaps even a bookstore. Modern churches resemble more of a reception hall atmosphere and have very sparse decor. Sometimes, if the church is very small or poorly designed, there may be a baptismal font in the vestibule. Although no longer stipulated in the modern rite of baptism, baptisms used to begin outside of the church, in a baptistry or vestibule since the child symbolically was not yet ready to enter the church until undergoing pre-baptismal rites that included an exorcism and anointing with holy oils. The priest would then place his stole upon the child, symbolizing the cross, and then all would enter the church to complete the baptism.

A Sacristy
A sacristy contains all the implements, books and vestments for liturgical ceremonies, a sort of antechamber where priests prepare for Mass. Typically there is a tabernacle and an altar in the sacristy against one wall, usually the one that is opposite to the church sanctuary. There are shallow drawers and cabinets for vestments and holy vessels. Supplies such as hosts, candles, incense, etc., are all stored in the sacristy as well. There is a sink called a sacrarium which is used to wash the priests hands and any blessed water; the pipe to this sink goes directly into the earth as is prescribed for the disposing of holy things. Holy oils and other sacred vessels are stored in the sacristy either in the tabernacle there or in a separate vault.

A Cross
A Catholic church must have a cross on it, usually in a prominent place such as atop a steeple or bell tower. The cross is made out of stone or wood.

The Stations of the Cross
Inside a typical church along the walls are the fourteen (fifteen in modern churches) Stations of the Cross, a penitential devotion that invites the faithful to meditate upon the last hours of Christ from His trial to His burial (or resurrection, if allowing for the 15th station that has been added). These are usually carved from wood or painted though they are represented in a variety of mediums. If entering a church from the vestibule, the Stations begin at the front on the left side of the sanctuary and run along the wall to the back and then skip across the aisle and resume along the right wall back to the sanctuary. Usually each wall has seven stations.

Stained Glass
A staple of Catholic architecture, windows are specifically designed to accommodate large panes of stained glass that usually depict a saint or holy event. The rose window, so common to cathedrals and basilicas is a massive circular disc in the back of the church above the vestibule and loft. Smaller churches may just have an intricate stained glass window in this place since rose windows are rare and expensive. Modern stained glass is usually a mishmash of color and formless shapes, which is frankly rather pitiful when compared to the quality, art and color of stained glass of pre-Vatican II times. The glass was meant to show forth the saints through light, a metaphor for Christ illuminating them and their virtues and example and thus the affect was to raise the mind to God, whereas modern stained glass with its abstract shattered shapes just distorts and tints light.

A Pulpit
If entering from the vestibule, a pulpit can usually be seen at the front of the church, left of the sanctuary. It is from here that the priest gives his sermon. In older churches, the pulpit is often of wood or stone with elaborate carvings or statues around it. The pulpit has a short flight of stairs so that the priest is on an elevated level to the congregation to better allow his voice to project. To further aid his voice there may be a wooden disc or board suspended above him or even projecting out of the pulpit itself over him - this is a sounding board which helps bounce sound back towards the congregation. Many modern churches do not bother constructing a pulpit and instead usually have a lectern - a wooden reading stand - or just a microphone stand. Some priests prefer to preach solely via the microphone clipped to their vestments, thus allowing them to walk down the aisles, among the congregation, as they preach.

Things that are traditionally part of church architecture but have been repressed since Vatican II (Note, in any church built before Vatican II, these things can still be seen if the diocesan bishop or parish pastor has not deliberately had them removed or destroyed):

A Communion Rail
Typically made from the same material as the altar or church itself - meaning marble, stone or wood - a Communion rail was built into the floor and was the demarcation between the sanctuary and the congregation. Communion rails are no longer used for two reasons: Communicants used to kneel to receive Holy Communion and so leaned on the railing. Communion is now often received standing, except in the most traditional parishes, and so the railing is redundant. Secondly, Vatican II wished the faithful to participate more in the liturgy and modern theology wishes to emphasize the priesthood of the people. To this effect, the demarcation between the priest and the people, sanctuary and congregation, was removed.

The Reredos
Altars used to be against the front wall of the church sanctuary - save in cathedrals and other massive churches where the altar was centered - as the priest celebrated Mass facing the tabernacle with his back to the people. The reredos was the elaborate front piece that surrounded the tabernacle and spread the length and breadth of the wall. Reredos were usually made out of the same material as the altar and had columns and pillars with platforms for statues. Altars have since been moved out from the wall and the tabernacles taken off them since the priest now celebrates mass facing the people and it is considered important that he has direct contact with them visually. Front walls in modern churches are often just white washed or feature some abstract mosaic or painting.

The Baldicino
In cathedrals and basilicas, where altars were centered and not against the wall, instead of a reredos you would see a baldicino. The baldicino was an immense covering which sat on four pillars over the altar. It was often done in the most resplendent decoration and materials. Modern cathedrals and basilicas, such as that in LA, do not have baldicinos.

Side Altars

Besides the main altar at the front, any church bigger than one with an exceptionally small congregation had side altars, small niches along the church walls that had other altars where a priest could say mass or the faithful kneel to pray their devotions. There could be as many side altars as the church could structurally accommodate; massive cathedrals and monasteries typically had dozens. Each side altar was dedicated to a particular saint or mystery of Our Lord and had its own reredos and tabernacle, though usually these tabernacles where not functional as the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in only one tabernacle, the main one on the altar or Blessed Sacrament chapel. Side altars are now rarely constructed if at all because most parishes, because of the shortage of priests, do not have more than one or two priests that may need to say mass. Further, the new theology makes mass a social event almost requiring a congregation and so side altars, where a priest would say a private mass, are no longer used.

The Crypt
Typically, if a church had a basement, it was reserved for the repose of the dead either above the floor in stone sarcophagi or in the floor itself or in horizontal compartments sealed in the walls. Usually holy personages, rich or famous personages provided they died as faithful Catholics or clergy were buried in such places.

Overall Shape and Organization
Modern churches are notorious for their architectural ugliness. This may seem a very subjective judgment, but truly, modern church architecture has utterly departed from its sacred symbolism. Large churches, such as cathedrals, used to be constructed in the shape of a cross, so that if you were to look down at them they would actually look like a cross. The length of the church - where the main aisle ran down - was called the nave. The crossbar that intersected the nave was called the transept. The point where the nave and transept intersected was called the crossing and usually here was found the sanctuary. In larger churches, like cathedrals, there used to be a dome, such as St. Peter's in Rome, and the outer area in the church around this dome was called the ambulatory and was ringed with side altars. For such massive churches there were needed flying buttresses, these are the huge pillars outside of a church that look as if spider legs jutting out from the body. They are needed to offset the weight so that the walls do not cave in. Churches used to always have depictions of the faith on their walls, either in running paintings or carvings, so that even the most simple soul could absorb the catechism just by looking around the building. Modern churches are remarkably bare of iconography.
Some modern churches, at least in the 1960s and 70s attempted to incorporate the Catholic Faith into their architectural designs with mixed results, although they were formidable attempts. Then things just got silly and then downright insulting. Most modern churches are barren, resembling assembly halls more than anything else and stripped of the decor and symbolism that churches were typically replete with in centuries past. In a huge twist of irony, modern church design is so eccentric and strange that it can be identified by it; often people look at a building and conclude it is a church because it could not possibly be anything else due to its unique malformation. There are two reasons for this architectural dissolution. One is that the modern Church is not concerned with appearances, since the emphasis is on the people, not on the exteriors hence distraction and any form of barrier or separation is avoided. Secondly, modern churches are designed with an eye on being current, trying to reach the world by adapting to modern fringe design and the tastes of the times.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:58 am

apelles wrote:What are the typical features of a Roman Catholic Church?
As described (with a slight tone of disdain) on answers.com http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_typical_features_of_a_Roman_Catholic_Church


Answer:
This was once a very simple question to answer, however, since Vatican II, a wave of novelty has rippled through the Church affecting everything, even ecclesiastical architecture. This is no surprise since the architecture of a Church is a reflection of the faith and so when novelties enter the faith, they are reflected in art, music and architecture.

Some features that remain in all Roman Catholic churches:

A Sanctuary
The sanctuary is typically at the center or front of a church. It is distinguished by an altar, usually on an elevation to the rest of the church, though some modern designs wish the people to be on the same level or even slightly above the altar, via a sloping floor. The theological implications of this reversal are on purpose.

A Choir Loft or Accommodation
Typically, especially in pre-Vatican II churches, there is a choir loft or reserved pew section for a choir or schola or organist at the back of the church. A schola was an all male choir that sung the Gregorian chant propers and common of the Mass and sometimes would be in cassock and surplice and stand in the center aisle of the church. Organs were typically in the loft and attended by an organist; the massive organ pipes are often visibly running up the walls. In modern churches, where emphasis is put on participation in liturgical singing and responses, the choir is usually situated at the front, beside the sanctuary, so that the congregation can see them and even watch them play their instruments which now include most anything from guitar to drums, tamberines to flutes, etc. Such instruments were once forbidden in churches.

A Vestibule
Upon first entering a church, there is a lobby section that might have a bookstore, coat room, statues, etc. This is called a vestibule. In older churches, there is an ambiance of the sacred to help elevate the mind before entering the church proper. This is accomplished by a vaulting ceiling, usually with a broad painting on it or featuring a coffered ceiling. Often there is rich and elaborate decoration; there are devotional statues and candles, paintings, stained glass, stalls for holy cards and books and perhaps even a bookstore. Modern churches resemble more of a reception hall atmosphere and have very sparse decor. Sometimes, if the church is very small or poorly designed, there may be a baptismal font in the vestibule. Although no longer stipulated in the modern rite of baptism, baptisms used to begin outside of the church, in a baptistry or vestibule since the child symbolically was not yet ready to enter the church until undergoing pre-baptismal rites that included an exorcism and anointing with holy oils. The priest would then place his stole upon the child, symbolizing the cross, and then all would enter the church to complete the baptism.

A Sacristy
A sacristy contains all the implements, books and vestments for liturgical ceremonies, a sort of antechamber where priests prepare for Mass. Typically there is a tabernacle and an altar in the sacristy against one wall, usually the one that is opposite to the church sanctuary. There are shallow drawers and cabinets for vestments and holy vessels. Supplies such as hosts, candles, incense, etc., are all stored in the sacristy as well. There is a sink called a sacrarium which is used to wash the priests hands and any blessed water; the pipe to this sink goes directly into the earth as is prescribed for the disposing of holy things. Holy oils and other sacred vessels are stored in the sacristy either in the tabernacle there or in a separate vault.

A Cross
A Catholic church must have a cross on it, usually in a prominent place such as atop a steeple or bell tower. The cross is made out of stone or wood.

The Stations of the Cross
Inside a typical church along the walls are the fourteen (fifteen in modern churches) Stations of the Cross, a penitential devotion that invites the faithful to meditate upon the last hours of Christ from His trial to His burial (or resurrection, if allowing for the 15th station that has been added). These are usually carved from wood or painted though they are represented in a variety of mediums. If entering a church from the vestibule, the Stations begin at the front on the left side of the sanctuary and run along the wall to the back and then skip across the aisle and resume along the right wall back to the sanctuary. Usually each wall has seven stations.

Stained Glass
A staple of Catholic architecture, windows are specifically designed to accommodate large panes of stained glass that usually depict a saint or holy event. The rose window, so common to cathedrals and basilicas is a massive circular disc in the back of the church above the vestibule and loft. Smaller churches may just have an intricate stained glass window in this place since rose windows are rare and expensive. Modern stained glass is usually a mishmash of color and formless shapes, which is frankly rather pitiful when compared to the quality, art and color of stained glass of pre-Vatican II times. The glass was meant to show forth the saints through light, a metaphor for Christ illuminating them and their virtues and example and thus the affect was to raise the mind to God, whereas modern stained glass with its abstract shattered shapes just distorts and tints light.

A Pulpit
If entering from the vestibule, a pulpit can usually be seen at the front of the church, left of the sanctuary. It is from here that the priest gives his sermon. In older churches, the pulpit is often of wood or stone with elaborate carvings or statues around it. The pulpit has a short flight of stairs so that the priest is on an elevated level to the congregation to better allow his voice to project. To further aid his voice there may be a wooden disc or board suspended above him or even projecting out of the pulpit itself over him - this is a sounding board which helps bounce sound back towards the congregation. Many modern churches do not bother constructing a pulpit and instead usually have a lectern - a wooden reading stand - or just a microphone stand. Some priests prefer to preach solely via the microphone clipped to their vestments, thus allowing them to walk down the aisles, among the congregation, as they preach.

Things that are traditionally part of church architecture but have been repressed since Vatican II (Note, in any church built before Vatican II, these things can still be seen if the diocesan bishop or parish pastor has not deliberately had them removed or destroyed):

A Communion Rail
Typically made from the same material as the altar or church itself - meaning marble, stone or wood - a Communion rail was built into the floor and was the demarcation between the sanctuary and the congregation. Communion rails are no longer used for two reasons: Communicants used to kneel to receive Holy Communion and so leaned on the railing. Communion is now often received standing, except in the most traditional parishes, and so the railing is redundant. Secondly, Vatican II wished the faithful to participate more in the liturgy and modern theology wishes to emphasize the priesthood of the people. To this effect, the demarcation between the priest and the people, sanctuary and congregation, was removed.

The Reredos
Altars used to be against the front wall of the church sanctuary - save in cathedrals and other massive churches where the altar was centered - as the priest celebrated Mass facing the tabernacle with his back to the people. The reredos was the elaborate front piece that surrounded the tabernacle and spread the length and breadth of the wall. Reredos were usually made out of the same material as the altar and had columns and pillars with platforms for statues. Altars have since been moved out from the wall and the tabernacles taken off them since the priest now celebrates mass facing the people and it is considered important that he has direct contact with them visually. Front walls in modern churches are often just white washed or feature some abstract mosaic or painting.

The Baldicino
In cathedrals and basilicas, where altars were centered and not against the wall, instead of a reredos you would see a baldicino. The baldicino was an immense covering which sat on four pillars over the altar. It was often done in the most resplendent decoration and materials. Modern cathedrals and basilicas, such as that in LA, do not have baldicinos.

Side Altars

Besides the main altar at the front, any church bigger than one with an exceptionally small congregation had side altars, small niches along the church walls that had other altars where a priest could say mass or the faithful kneel to pray their devotions. There could be as many side altars as the church could structurally accommodate; massive cathedrals and monasteries typically had dozens. Each side altar was dedicated to a particular saint or mystery of Our Lord and had its own reredos and tabernacle, though usually these tabernacles where not functional as the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in only one tabernacle, the main one on the altar or Blessed Sacrament chapel. Side altars are now rarely constructed if at all because most parishes, because of the shortage of priests, do not have more than one or two priests that may need to say mass. Further, the new theology makes mass a social event almost requiring a congregation and so side altars, where a priest would say a private mass, are no longer used.

The Crypt
Typically, if a church had a basement, it was reserved for the repose of the dead either above the floor in stone sarcophagi or in the floor itself or in horizontal compartments sealed in the walls. Usually holy personages, rich or famous personages provided they died as faithful Catholics or clergy were buried in such places.

Overall Shape and Organization
Modern churches are notorious for their architectural ugliness. This may seem a very subjective judgment, but truly, modern church architecture has utterly departed from its sacred symbolism. Large churches, such as cathedrals, used to be constructed in the shape of a cross, so that if you were to look down at them they would actually look like a cross. The length of the church - where the main aisle ran down - was called the nave. The crossbar that intersected the nave was called the transept. The point where the nave and transept intersected was called the crossing and usually here was found the sanctuary. In larger churches, like cathedrals, there used to be a dome, such as St. Peter's in Rome, and the outer area in the church around this dome was called the ambulatory and was ringed with side altars. For such massive churches there were needed flying buttresses, these are the huge pillars outside of a church that look as if spider legs jutting out from the body. They are needed to offset the weight so that the walls do not cave in. Churches used to always have depictions of the faith on their walls, either in running paintings or carvings, so that even the most simple soul could absorb the catechism just by looking around the building. Modern churches are remarkably bare of iconography.
Some modern churches, at least in the 1960s and 70s attempted to incorporate the Catholic Faith into their architectural designs with mixed results, although they were formidable attempts. Then things just got silly and then downright insulting. Most modern churches are barren, resembling assembly halls more than anything else and stripped of the decor and symbolism that churches were typically replete with in centuries past. In a huge twist of irony, modern church design is so eccentric and strange that it can be identified by it; often people look at a building and conclude it is a church because it could not possibly be anything else due to its unique malformation. There are two reasons for this architectural dissolution. One is that the modern Church is not concerned with appearances, since the emphasis is on the people, not on the exteriors hence distraction and any form of barrier or separation is avoided. Secondly, modern churches are designed with an eye on being current, trying to reach the world by adapting to modern fringe design and the tastes of the times.




This is not the best example of well expressed clear and distinct ideas.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:21 pm

The Glory of Catholic Architecture Conference

Hosted by the Liturgical Institute

by Denis McNamara

Register Now
Register Now » for the conference.

The workshop will be held at the University of Saint Mary of Lake Conference Center on a campus of 800 acres of wooded land, a 200 acre lake and beautiful Colonial Revival buildings. The campus is located about 45 minutes north of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and about one hour south of Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport.

Conference Center Address:
1000 East Maple Avenue, Mundelein, Illinois, 60060

Local travel details will be mailed to all registrants. For a map with driving directions, click here ».

For questions about registration, registration forms, room and meals, or extended stay please call 847.837.4542 or e-mail the Institute.

Schedule
Thursday, October 25, 2012

3:00 pm Check-in opens
7:30 pm Keynote Address: What Makes Architecture Sacred? by Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, CO

Friday, October 26, 2012

8:00 am Check-in opens
9:20 am Welcome
9:30 am Church Architecture as Heaven on Earth: 2002-2012 by Dr. Denis McNamara, The Liturgical Institute
10:30 am Process, Problems and Progress: Building a New Church by Duncan Stroik, University of Notre Dame
11:30 am Ornamental Painting in Churches: Artistic & Theological Possibilities by Mr. Jeff Greene, Evergreene Architectural Arts
2:00 pm Roundtable With Presenters
3:00 pm Live Design Clinic with Projects from Conference Attendees:
Church Renovations by Mr. James McCrery, McCrery Architects
New and Design Development by Mr. David Meleca, Meleca Architecture
5:00 pm Adjourn


Denis R. McNamara, Ph.D. is an architectural historian specializing in American church architecture. He is the assistant director at the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, and serves as a liturgical design consultant
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby apelles » Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:45 pm

Praxiteles wrote:This is not the best example of well expressed clear and distinct ideas.


True, I realize that it's by no means, the most comprehensive description of the typical features of a catholic church, I suppose my point in posting it was to demonstrate the obvious underlining feelings of contempt & disappointment toward much modern church architecture & how them same feelings now resonate through the collective psyche of the general public when it comes down to how they view both the destruction & design of these buildings.


On a another note Prax, what are your thoughts on the inclusion of rose windows in sanctuaries, is this always a big no no, or are there certain circumstances or indeed, are there any historical precedence in which this would be deemed acceptable in catholic church design?

Image
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:24 pm

There is an east rose in the Cathedral of Laon dating from c. 1210 and Palma Cathedral also has one from about 1400.

Interestingly, the north rose at Laon is the prototype for the transept roses in Cobh, while Chartres is the model for the west rose.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:30 pm

Laon Cathedral

Here is a photograph:

Image
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:36 pm

Palma Cathedral

External view of the east rose:

Image
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:47 am

From today's Irish Times

Landmark Limerick church returning to serve as place of traditional worshipKATHRYN HAYES, in Limerick

Image

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ima ... 1346142957

MASS IN Latin will soon be heard again at a historic Limerick church that has been sold to a community of priests for one-sixth of its open-market asking price.

The Sacred Heart Church, located at the Crescent in Limerick city centre, which was on the market for more than €4 million, has been sold for €700,000 to a community of priests called the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Also known as the Jesuit church after the order that built it and occupied it for many years, the Sacred Heart has been vacant for the last six years following its sale to the late John O’Dolan, a developer from Galway.

Mr O’Dolan, who died in 2009, had planned to convert the building into a leisure centre and bar.

But now the church, which was in danger of falling into disrepair, is to return to its original function following its sale to the religious community led in Limerick by 38-year-old French man Canon Wulfran Lebocq, the institute’s choirmaster, who has lived in Ballingarry since 2010.

He said the group was able to acquire the church “with the help of numerous friends from Ireland, the United States and continental Europe”.

“These were not rich people, just people who loved the church and wanted to see it restored to its original use,” he said.

“With God’s help we will repay all the loans we received. Many repairs need to be done in the residence but we hope to move in there soon. We will be meeting with the local parish priest and the diocese but we hope to be able to offer our Latin Mass there to the public soon,” he added.

The Institute of Christ the King has had a residence in Limerick since 2009.

Four members of the community in Limerick offer Mass in Latin every Sunday at St Patrick’s Church on the Dublin road, and they also work in neighbouring dioceses.

Founded in 1990, the institute belongs to the Roman Catholic tradition and says its mission is “to spread the reign of Christ in all spheres of human life”. It operates in 12 countries at more than 50 locations. It takes its motto from St Paul: “Live the truth in charity.”

The organisation puts particular emphasis on harmony between faith and culture, and has acquired a reputation for promoting the arts, especially sacred music and architecture.

The institute has a seminary in Gricigliano, in the Italian diocese of Florence, where 80 seminarians are training for the priesthood.

The Sacred Heart premises in Limerick has a floor area of 25,000sq ft and comprises the church, Georgian living quarters and an enclosed garden.

Canon Lebocq said he hopes the “architectural jewel” could work as a centre everyone can use.

“We truly desire to reopen this church for the benefit of all, in close collaboration with the local civil and ecclesiastical authorities. In this way, yet another sign of a brighter future will come alive in Limerick,” he said.

Pat Kearney, managing director of selling agent Rooney Auctioneers, said the sale will “breathe new life” into the area.

The church will open to the public on Saturday between 10am and 6pm.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:00 am

A Question for the Conservation Officer of Limerick City Council

If I am correct, the Planning and Development Acto of 2000 (and as subsequently amended) gives protected status to building on the list of protected structures and that protection includes the external and internal parts of the buildings as well as to fittings and fixtures of the building.

That being the case: how can the Limerick City Council explain its failure to prevent the spoliation of the interior of the Sacred Heart Church and the disappearance of most of its fittings and fixtures?

Most notable among the disappearances is the panel from the front of the mensa of the High ALtar. This panel was inserted into a Volksaltar built sometinme in the 1970s/1980s but disappeared after the sale of the church when the Volksaltar (which was also under the protection of the Planning and Development Act) was demolished and the panel re-appeared in a new Volksaltar installed in the church at Ballynahinch? Also missing are two angels from the reredos of the High ALtar and the tabernacle with its door.

How did Limerick City Council allows matters to go from this:

Image


to this


Image
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby james1852 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:21 pm

This is the best possible news for this beautiful Church building. Its fate has hung in the balence for too long and the building has suffered badly through lack of basic maintenence over the past six years, since it closed in 2006. It is now suffering with dampness and dry rot , problems that were never there before it closed. However there is great affection for this Church amoungst the people of Limerick and I believe there will be a great drive to restore this building.
Unfortunatly the fixtures and fittings were stripped from the Church in 2006 when everything was sold at a public auction.
The Volksaltar and panel from the mensa of the High Altar were bought by the Parish Priest of Ballinahinch P.C for €5,500.The two Angels from the High Altar were bought by members of the travelling community for €3,800, and probably adorn a grave somewhere in the country.
A lot of people bought items just to have a piece of the history of the Church. Maybe they could be encouraged now to donate these items back to the church.
Having spoken to the auctioneer at the time of the sale ,I was informed that any item that could be physically moved ,was ,according to the City Council , allowed to be sold. This does seem to show that protected structures are certainly never fully protected.
The Institute of Christ The King are to be commended for saving this Church for future generations of Limerick people.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:49 am

The Jesuit Church in Limerick

The church will be reopened to the public on Saturday morning next at 10 am and will remain open until 6pm.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby apelles » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:17 pm

THE WONDERS OF IRISH STAINED GLASS

Image

Monday 14 February 2011

There is an old expression “he didn’t lick it off the ground” and that certainly applies to stained glass artist Evan Connon. Indeed, the talent for stained glass skipped a generation in his case from his Grandfather to himself, but still came through, for it was truly in the genes. We have had some wonderful stained glass artists in Ireland including Harry Clarke, whom many will know from his glorious stained glass windows in Bewley’s Café, to Evie Hone who, in turn, was related to Nathaniel Hone, the 18th C portrait and miniature painter, and Nathaniel Hone the Younger, his great grand nephew in the 19th C. Evie Hone’s most important works are probably the East Window for the chapel at Eton College but of course there are fine examples around Ireland including at Cathal Brugha Barracks.

Evan Connon’s grandfather, who died quite young, had worked for Harry Clarke but his son didnt follow in his shows. The interest skipped a generation until it came to Evan who was always drawing as a child. When he was 15 years old his father suggested that he give it a shot and he was brought down to the Earley Studios in Dundrum where he met William Earley of Earley & Company who were one of the largest and most prestigious ecclesiastical decorators in Ireland and the U.K. They had operated out of offices and workshops in Dublin’s Camden Street from 1852 to 1974. After that William Earley had a studio in Dundrum. The archive, of Earley & Company, consisting of 337 design drawings and 30 bound volumes of supporting documentation, was donated by the Earley family to the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL) at the National College of Art and Design between. A project to index and digitise the drawings was completed in 2004 and this material made available to the public on the NIVAL website.

It was explained to Evan that this wasn’t a question of coming in for a year or two and being trained and then taking off. He would have to be prepared to train properly in the old traditional way, as an apprentice to the trade, which would take eight years and like any student going to college, apprentices were not paid. He decided that this was what he wanted to pursue and was taken on by the Earley Studios. He signed up to the old style apprenticeship from 16 years of age with four years drawing and four years learning the rest. Every day he would return from school to the studio and draw for four or five hours. Mr. Earley would look at his work and encourage him saying, “you’re improving, you’re improving, one day it will just come to you.” After the four years, he progressed to the next stage, which was two years painting on traditional stained glass. “In stained glass you have to be able to extend the drawing because the windows are larger at the top, they may be 40 ft tall, and you have to be able to show the depicted scene at the top, and that is what Willie Earley was teaching me as an ecclesiastical cartoonist.”

Looking around at the beautiful drawings in the studio, Connon explained “they have the unique Irish ecclesiastical style of my training, the influence of Harry Clarke and of the Earley Studios.” When the Earley Studios closed in Dundrum, Connon set up his own studios. “I started knocking on priests’ doors. They of course weren’t going to let me pull out a €40,000 window to restore it just because I said I could do it, but I started getting small jobs around the country, things like door panels in churches and so on. A priest in Croghan in Co. Roscommon gave me my first opportunity. I was on the dole with eighty pounds a week but I literally had a Fiat Uno and I flew around the country. My sister lived in Cork, I had friends in Kerry, and I would turn up on their doorstep knowing they would put me up for the night. I met Monsignor Dan O’Riordan in Kerry and it was he who gave me a big break in St. John the Baptist Church, Tralee, by allowing me to restore the church window and then do my first window which is of St. Brendan.” From there it got really really busy and at the age of 26 in 2006 Connon started approaching architects. “I met Paul Arnold, of Paul Arnold Architects, in Portobello and he asked me to restore a window at the Star of the Sea Church in Sandymount.” Paul Arnold then asked him would he be interested in restoring in Christ Church Cathedral and this, of course, was the golden jewel of restoration, defined as the finest stained glass windows in Ireland. They are pre 19th C and at the age of 26, to be allowed do this was a very big honour. Connon says, “the problem with stained glass restoration and conservation in Ireland was that there was no one trained to do stained glass painting. There were people who would do door panels and so on, but a lot of them were not doing good restoration. The fact of the matter is that if you can’t draw it, you can’t paint it. It’s a bit like a bar code, if you keep all the lines straight, its readable, but if you don’t, they bend off and it becomes a mess. We explained to people what we were going to do with conservation, it hadn’t been done before, and from then on we started restoring some of the biggest churches in Ireland, from Castlebar church, which has the biggest window in Connaught to Valentia Island, to all the Ring of Kerry.” Taking out the windows completely they would bring them back to Dublin to the studios where, having made a rubbing of the window, they would dismantle them completely. The process involves washing them in cold water with no acid or anything like that. “Previously people were cleaning them with wire wool and damaging the glass because the paints of years ago were very delicate, the kilns weren’t hot enough then to bake it in.” Then they went to Lixnaw, outside Tralee, and “that was my first opportunity to really blossom as an artist, designing a big rose window.” The next project was at Monavea in Galway where he designed a window of the Guardian Angel minding the children.

“We were going on then with more designing for churches in Ireland but then the slow down came.” Still only 33 years old, Connon says he talked to his old mentor Willie Earley. “He advised keep costs as low as possible and keep the studio going so I decided then it would be a good idea to join forces with another studio. “I knew of Enda Hannon, Stained Glass, who had a fantastic premises on one of the best streets in Dublin, Francis Street, so I thought if we had the two studios in one we would have all areas of the business covered.”

Enda Hannon is 44 years old and is originally from Whitehall in Dublin. Hannon has been in Francis Street for ten years with a striking stained glass window shopfront where he has been working with Ron O’Connor who takes care of all of the business end. Hannon got into the stained glass area in a roundabout way. He was originally working with a sign company and this involved doing work in a lot of pubs. With the pub work they also covered a lot of lead light windows and it was from there that he got the start in it. “When I started working for myself I bought the kiln and learned a lot from various stained glass artists over the years, including Evan also, and we did some work together. “That was the secret of the old studios, in the likes of the Clarke studios, there were great glass painters, cartoonists and craftsmen. You might want to be the best stained glass studios but you have to bring people together, have the right people around you. You might have the biggest studio but you mightn’t have the best people in it. You have to realize that you can’t do everything and that was the key that I learned in this recession. It is difficult when you are an artist, you get so caught up in running the business.” Says Connon.

“We realised we could do more together by putting the two studios side by side. By doing that we each have our strengths and can produce even better stained glass. That’s what we are hoping to achieve here. With the traditional training that I have, and with the training that Enda has in stained glass, we believe it will be one of the finest stained glass studios in Ireland.” They are currently working on University Church on St. Stephen’s Green where the windows are 140 years old.

People are beginning again to really appreciate the artistry and skill of stained glass so go into your church and look at the windows……..we have so many wonderful ones all over the country. <ep>

So, here’s to Messrs Connon and Hannon who between them create so much light and beauty for us to behold. <ep>

Evan Connon Studio & Enda Hannon Studio

53 Francis Street,

Dublin. 8.

Tel: (01) 473-3044

http://www.lucindaosullivan.com/index.c ... ive/id/319
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:21 am

Prayers answered as faithful flock to help save church


Image

THEY arrived in their hundreds throughout the day after the church doors were unlocked for the first time in six years.

Despite the recent tribul-ations of the Catholic Church, anyone who feared for its future will be heartened by the support shown to a group of priests who aim to restore a city church to its former glory.

There is no doubt that the young priests, who belong to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, have a lot of work to do at the Sacred Heart Church in Limerick which they re-opened at the weekend.

The church, which had been on the market for more than €4m, was sold last week to the community of priests for €700,000.

There are no pews or statues, water from the roof drips into confessional boxes, the tabernacle needs to be repaired and an altar must be built.

Nevertheless, people returned in their droves at the weekend, when candles were lit and the organ sounded for the first time since 2006.

The Jesuits vacated the church six years ago citing an aging clergy, but their successors are hopeful that Latin Mass will be celebrated as early as next month.

French Canon Wulfran Lebocq (38) said yesterday that the church will be open before Christmas "hopefully in October or November".

"I was very happy today to see how many candles were lit in such a short time," he said. "People are coming here to pray and thank God for this great haven for Limerick.

"We must reorganise many things. Everything that was here was sold -- there was a big auction and there was no maintenance here for many years.

Expensive

"We need to do urgent repairs on the roof. The gutters need to be changed -- there are many leaks.

"The heating system will be very expensive -- repairing that, finding pews and repairing gutters are our priority."

More than €100,000 is needed for repairs and refitting.

Founded in 1990, the Institute of Christ the King is a Catholic order with 64 priests worldwide who traditionally celebrate Mass in Latin.

John O'Connor (12), from Creeves Cross, Co Limerick, who hopes to serve at Latin Mass, arrived with his father David and sister Therese (11).

"I'm a qualified altar server and familiar with the Latin Mass.

"I think it is a much better Mass -- it's more traditional," he said.

Eva McManus travelled all the way from Westport, Co Mayo, to help clean up.

"I hoped to lend a hand but because of the insurance rules they can't have people coming in working, so it all has to be done during the week," she said.

"But I will absolutely have to make an effort to come back and help out.

"I am really looking forward to the first Mass. The Sacred Heart is a beautiful church and I hope people help the order to restore it."

- Barry Duggan
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:10 pm

Consecration of the Abbatial Church of St. Michel de Kerganon in Brittany
conducted by Bishop Raymon Centenes, Bishop of Vannes


The church was destroyed by fire five years ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 4tW4ctHEbI
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:16 pm

Some interesting new publications recently reviewed in the Irish Arts Review:

Image

Liam McCormick - Seven Donegal Churches [Paperback]


Liam McCormick, Seven Donegal Churches by Carole Pollard

Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Written and researched by Carole Pollard, a compendium of eight books on Liam McCormick and his Seven Donegal Churches has been published by Gandon Editions. The book will be launched on 25 July at St Conal’s Church, Glenties and forms part of the MacGill Summer School. The set of books comprises one book on each of the seven churches and an eighth volume which describes McCormick's career during that period and provides biographies of the artists who collaborated with him on the churches. Each of the eight books contains an essay by contributors: Catherine Croft, Marianne O'Kane Boal, William Cumming, John Graby, Paul Larmour, Angela Rolfe, Joy McCormick and Shane O'Toole. The books are available as a set, enclosed in a specially designed slipcase. They may also be purchased individually. The books will be for sale in local shops in Donegal, and also from good bookshops nationwide. Gandon Editions are managing sales and distribution. The prices are €33 for the set or €5 for individual volumes. www.gandon-editions.com
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:30 pm

Bishop Thomas Burns warns campaigners over St Winefride's church

Campaigners fighting to save their Catholic church have been warned to "politely back off" by a bishop or risk being left without a place of worship.


The Bishop of Menevia, the Right Reverend Thomas Burns, wants to demolish St Winefride's in Aberystwyth on safety grounds.

There are plans to build a new church outside the town centre with the sale proceeds.

But an objector said some parishioners do not want to move out.

Our Lady of the Angels and St Winefride's was built in the 1870s and is said to have a congregation of about 150 for its Sunday morning service.

In a pastoral message, Bishop Burns, who is based in Swansea, said the church was not fit for purpose and could be closed on health and safety grounds.

Plans are to demolish St Winefride's and sell the land for housing.



Bishop Burns said a small number of objectors had already contributed to the project's heavy costs of £100,000.


He said: "My dear people, the above tactics that the protesters have used, including petitions and submissions to their local councillors, have brought us to a serious moment. Throughout these last few years, the structure of St Winefride's church has continued to weaken. It is in such a bad state that our insurers can no longer provide suitable cover for the deteriorating walls and roof if they should collapse. I am increasingly concerned about health and safety matters. Masonry and other bits and pieces have been coming down. I may soon have to make a decision about closing the church, to prevent risks to life and limb."

The church site in Queen's Road, which includes a dilapidated parish hall and presbytery, would cost the diocese more than £2.6m renovate, added the bishop.

'Risk'

But objectors claimed they had been shown no evidence the church was structurally unsound.

Appealing to his parishioners, Bishop Burns added: "Tell the protesters politely to back off. Speak to them, or write to them. You know who they are, and you also know that they do not represent your parish. They have contributed to the heavy costs that have already been incurred, amounting to over £100,000. Please tell them that enough is enough. They risk leaving Aberystwyth with no Catholic parish church at all."



Objectors said moving the church out of the town centre to Penparcau would make it difficult for older members of the congregation to attend services.


But the bishop said church services would be tailored to bus schedules, where possible.

An objector to plans for St Winefride's, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The old church (St Winefride's), which has been there since the 1870s, is planned to be demolished because they say it's not fit for purpose. Some parishioners go along with this and others do not. We don't want the church to move out of the town centre."

The objector also questioned whether the church was structurally unsound although agreed it was in need of repair.
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Postby Praxiteles » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:32 pm

Bishop angry at ‘delaying tactics’

AN ANGRY bishop has lambasted parishioners fighting to save a Catholic church in Aberystwyth from demolition.

In a hard-hitting pastoral message to all parishioners of St Winefride’s Church on Queens Road, The Bishop of Menevia, Thomas Matthew, said the “delaying tactics” of a small group of protesters had wasted so much time, energy and resources that they might not be able to afford to build a new church in Penparcau.

And he said he might have to close St Winefride’s down for health and safety reasons, leaving Aberystwyth with no Catholic church at all.

Ceredigion County Council planners have already approved plans by the Diocese to build a new church, presbytery and hall along with a housing development on land near the Tollgate pub in Penparcau.

But plans to demolish St Winifride’s Church and the neighbouring presbytery and hall, which are in a poor state of repair, and replace them with blocks of flats, have still not been approved because of objections by parishioners and others.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:35 pm

Saint Mel's Cathedral Rennovation Gets Go-Ahead

Plans to have St Mel's Cathedral open for Christmas Eve Mass in 2014, just five years after the Cathedral's interior was gutted in a fire, remain on track this week after builders received planning permission to go-ahead with the re-development plans subject to certain conditions.

Last April a local architect lodged an appeal against Longford Town Council's decision to grant permission for works relating to the construction of a new roof and concrete sub-floor.

In its decision announced this week, the An Bórd Pleanála conditions stated that there should be a glue-laminated roof structure, which is a structural timber product composed of several layers of dimensioned lumber glued together.

This was one of the detailed options put forward by back in January of this year, when the St Mel's Diocesan Trust lodged the application.

Speaking this week on Shannonside FM, the chairman of the St Mel's Cathedral Project Committee Seamus Butler said the committee felt vindicated by the decision.

“It's very timely. We were hoping the appeal would not be kicked on down the road. We feel it was an unnecessary appeal; there was a little bit of a hold -up but work has not been held up.”

He added, “A 30-day notice to begin work will be erected in the coming days. Work has already begun on site in relation to Section 57 works in the Cathedral, which will see the replacement of the limestone columns and pilasters with like for like replacements. This did not require planning permission.”

Mr Butler also confirmed, “A separate planning application relating to the interior of the cathedral was lodged last month with Longford Town Council and is pending a decision.”

Currently Saint Mary's Church in Athlone is serving as the interim cathedral for the diocese of Clonmacnois and the Bishop's Chair has been placed in the sanctuary there.

It is hoped to return it to St Mel's cathedral in Longford for Christmas Eve in 2014.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:45 pm

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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:55 pm

Gorton Monastery


Image

The Return of The Saints



After a 17 year exile, the Saints have come marching home. The twelve irreplaceable Saints of Gorton Monastery were finally reinstated in their original home in May 2012, after a precarious journey around the country that almost saw them lost forever. In 1994, the unique collection of 12 life-sized statues of Franciscan Saints were discovered listed for sale in a Sotheby’s auction catalogue. They had been removed from Gorton Monastery, a magnificent church designed by the famous architect Edward Pugin. Sadly, the church - a listed building - had closed in 1989 and stood empty and vandalised as its contents were stripped. At last, the fully restored Saints are back. This is their story.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:24 pm

From the Catholic Voice

Rebuilding Catholic culture: sacred images

by Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

In the eighth-century, St. John
Damascene posed a challenge to
Christians: If a pagan comes and
asks you to show him your faith,
take him to the Church and let him
see the sacred icons” (St. John
Damascene, Treatise on Images
against Constantine Caballinus,
95-309, quoted in Thomas Merton,
Disputed Questions, 158). We will
return to this question.

The Church, Patron of the Arts

Beauty is a stepping stone to God, and the Church has
earned a lasting place in history for inspiring a beautiful
culture through the visual arts. By commissioning the finest
artists, the Church has stood as their foremost patron. When
illiteracy was common, the visuals served as catecheses
which, through their beauty, taught as well as inspired.
When vacationers travel to distant countries, among other
things, they want to see Catholic architecture that graces
large cities and dot the village countryside. Tourists first
experience Catholicism through externals. Our creed and
worship, our moral code are expressed through the senses.
Ours is a religion bolstered by reason and feeling that
convey the faith in a distinct texture, complex flavors, and
deep resonance. Our faith embraces a spectrum of tints,
hues, and shades. Men and women have been converted
through the sacred arts; such is their power to convince
through beauty. People size up the Church universal in the
particulars through edifices, great and small, regardless of
country or continent. Catholic architecture seeks unity in
diversity.
The Pontifical Councils for Culture (2006, 2008, 2011)
In 2006, the Pontifical Council for Culture published “The
Via Pulchritudinis, (way of beauty) Privileged Pathway for
Evangelization and Dialogue.” The document was entirely
devoted to the ways of beauty to evangelize and dialogue with
others. Critical of sacred art for its banality, superficiality,
and negligence in liturgical celebrations, the document
mandated “that beauty be returned in church buildings and
that churches be aesthetically beautiful in its decorations
and in its choice of music.” The document paraphrased
Paul VI’s address in 1964 as “the divorce between art and
the sacred that has characterized the twentieth century and
the ugliness of some churches and their decoration; their
desacralization is the consequence of this estrangement, a
laceration that needs to be treated in order to be cured.”
In March, 2008, the Pontifical Council for Culture devoted
its meeting to the challenges of secularization and the need
for the evangelization of culture. Of major concern was
and is the question of beauty. Monsignor Peter Fleetwood,
a consultor for the Council, spoke about “the blight of an
iconoclastic Puritan streak in North and North West Europe
which has inevitably had an effect on all forms of art,
including church architecture.” He also noted that, during
the utilitarian trends of the Soviet Empire, the Eastern
Churches, both Orthodox and Catholic, “seem to have
successfully stood their ground, with an amazing talent for
beautifying the insides of their utterably drab buildings.”
In January, 2011, Archbishop Gian-Carlo Ravasi, Prefect
of the same Pontifical Council addressed the faculty at the
University La Sapienza in Rome. In this lecture, he referred
to abstract church architecture in Italy as art that deforms
the liturgy. In these modern churches, “we find ourselves
lost as in a conference hall, distracted as in a sports arena,
packed in as at a tennis court, degraded as in a pretentious
and vulgar house.”

Modern Art Forms in General

The twentieth century ushered in a crisis of meaning.
Modern artists, of whatever discipline, expressed the
iconoclastic spirit. They tended to reject traditional forms,
rules, methods of the past, and symbolic meaning. Still,
many successfully adapted the classical spirit to modernity
and continue to do so. The School of Architecture at the
University of Notre Dame is one such example. Today,
most modern art forms are characterized by asymmetry,
lines that are angular, disjointed, and anti-lyrical. Positive
emotional content is absent from most of these forms.
Accordingly, to ask what a form is, or what its symbolic
meaning is, is irrelevant. What does an art form
communicate? The totality of the form is its meaning, and
viewers may interpret the form as they wish. Contemporary
art forms make for stimulating visits to museums, and, after
the show, for lively conversation.
Utilitarianism and Fruitfulness: Minimalism in Church art
On entering an Orthodox and a Puritan-style church, a
visitor will be struck by the differences of their architectural
features and the atmosphere they express. One celebrates
the senses; the other does not. What if a church building has
been constructed like a machine? The house of God is not a
function, not a utility (uti), a thing to be used or controlled.
Together with the faithful, the Domus Dei symbolizes
fruitfulness (frui)–life and growth.
Referring to today’s crisis of meaning, R. Kevin Seasoltz,
O.S.B. writes that “unfortunately, traditional institutionalized
religious bodies in many ways seem unequipped to respond
to this crisis . . . . In fact, contemporary art forms often
simply image back to people the isolation and loneliness
they already know in their own lives.” (R. Kevin Seasoltz,
A Sense of the Sacred, 316).
A church building symbolizes the kingdom of God,
and sacred architecture can never be seen as primarily
functional, for its purpose is rooted in prayer, expressive of
beauty. There is a difference between functionality (uti) and
relationship (frui).
A church building reduced to its barest essentials - to
bare walls, bare sanctuary, and bare ceiling - may draw
visitors curious about its mass and proportion, but it is no
more a building for Catholic worship than is a gym or an
auditorium. If the Incarnation is the mystery of God in
flesh and blood, how can the Incarnation be expressed in a
bare building, presumed to be visual theology? We worship
like human beings, as the statement below affirms:
Houses of worship have traditionally been decorated
so as to provide a festal setting for the assembly and the
celebration: hangings, lights, and precious materials have
always been used for this purpose. Pictorial decoration in
the form of frescoes, mosaics, sculptures, and stained glass
windows contribute to the festive atmosphere; in addition,
they function as a kind of prolongation of the liturgical
signs, with the emphasis especially on the heavenly and
eschatological aspect of the liturgy. This is why iconographic
themes cannot be left to chance; in the East, they are often
predetermined in great detail (The Church at Prayer, I:205.)
How do artisans craft their respective materials in order to
breathe Christ into their work? Their art forms must have
a human, sensate, and accessible component with wide
appeal, as well as a reserved component appealing to the
sublime, the spiritual aspect of the person. The forms touch
the senses and pass through them to affect the intellect, will,
memory, and imagination. Sacred art forms are intended to
give the Assembly a heightened sense of God’s presence
that is reserved and, yes, deeply enjoyable.

The After effects of World War II

The widespread destruction of European countries
following World War II necessitated the building of new
churches. Professional architects, with or without faith, were
commissioned to design them. Gone were the nostalgia
and commitment for linking the past with the present. At
first, the reforms used simple abstract ornamentation in
sanctuaries and stained glass windows. Devotional objects
were rightly moved away from the sanctuaries, the main
focus of the liturgical action.
After Vatican II, church interiors underwent structural
reform mostly for liturgical reasons. In many cases, changes
were executed organically from the Church’s tradition. In
other cases, the stripping was excessive, reminiscent of
the cleansing of Catholic churches during the Protestant
Reformation.
Sanctuaries in many postconciliar churches were stripped–
denuded, without placing a minimum of decoration in them.
While praise abounded for purified architectural vitality,
critics were appalled that the church building and their
interiors signaled a desacralization, even a secularizing of
the church buildings.

Machine-Church Architecture

A machine-church, whose functionalism takes priority
over form, may fascinate the eye and stimulate discussion
about the designer's imagination, but this is a different issue
from the religious one. Verticality, harmony, symmetry
and balance, and proportion of the human form are deemphasized
or entirely absent. Emptiness and architectural
nihilism evoke not serenity but madness because the interior
is stripped of sensory religious symbolism. Even banks and
doctor's offices, decorated with art forms, are not absolute
in their functional role.
Ultra-abstract church architecture combines secularized
Christian art and rationalized religion. Inseparably
connected as they are, here the sensory aspect of the
Incarnation is denied. Concern about modern architecture
is twofold: (1) whether an art form makes visible invisible
mysteries of Christianity and (2) the extent to which it does
or does not do so. Church architecture should mediate not a
Gnostic god but the Incarnate Word of God.

Exaggerated Church Architecture

In 2000, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
published Built of Living Stones. This document restates
the Church’s acceptance of all forms of architecture, and
is ever open to embrace newer forms that have grown
organically from her rich heritage of artistic expression;
(but), architecture that draws more attention to its own
shape, form, texture or color than to the sacred realities it
seeks to disclose, is unworthy of the church building (Nos.
44-45).
Many contemporary churches “have grown organically”
from the Church’s “rich heritage.” The exterior shapes of
others however have been described as extreme. They are
exemplified in the church buildings mentioned below.
The famous shape of Notre Dame-du-Haut at Ronchamp
(1955) has mystified observers. Designed by Le Corbusier,
it has been called a study in primitivism, an imitation of a sea
shell or sail boat, a nun’s cowl, Peter’s barque or Noah’s ark.
“A house is a machine for living in,” he writes; “it makes no
difference whether the building be sacred or profane.”
The Dominican Monastery of La Tourette at Evreaux
(1953), also designed by Le Corbusier, resembles a massive
rectangle that might be mistaken for an office building
or prison. According to Michael Rose, “its oppressive
structures drove out most the monks, but the defective
construction as well called for renovation, scheduled to
begin in 2005 (In Tiers of Glory, 103-04).
The Church of the Holy Trinity in Vienna, by Fritz Wotruba,
is constructed with concrete blocks, arranged in irregular
angular patterns. The church has been nicknamed, “a pile
of rocks.”
The Millennium Church of the Great Jubilee (2003) designed
by Richard Meier, is constructed of three sparkling, jagged,
white and steel concrete curvilinear panels with glass walls.
It is conspicuously located in the center of a poor village
just outside of Rome.
The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland (2008),
designed by Santiago Calatrava and Craig Hartman, is
composed of a ribbed, bone-like structure of steel, glass,
and concrete resembling a massive technological tent, a
clam shell, a rib cage, or even the belly of a whale. Some
see the dramatic form as hands joined in prayer. The same
general description applies to the chapel at Ave Maria
College, Naples, Fl (2004 Architect, E. Fay Jones) and to
the chapel at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles
(2002) was designed by José Raphael Moneo. A study in
angularity, the cathedral’s warm interior mitigates its outer
severity.
The English minimalist, John Pawson was commissioned to
design the Trappist monastery of Novy Dvur in the Czech
Republic. According to current, and perhaps temporary,
photos, here cloistered monks will live out their entire lives
within bare walls, bare sanctuary, and bare ceiling.
The above-mentioned churches break completely with the
tradition of church. Extreme minimalist church architecture
cannot be discarded. Failing restoration or renovation, it
must be endured. Worse, this type of architecture invites
criticism from church leaders and beyond. The film, “Into
Great Silence,” proclaims that even the Carthusian Order,
the most austere in the Church, greatly values sensate
beauty.

Open Questions

Finances and other practical issues in the building of new
churches remain outside the scope of this essay. Still,
wisdom, balance, and moderation are needed to raise the
standards of church architecture and re-apply ageless
principles to it. Discernment is an indispensable virtue in
choosing competent and devout architects who will build
our churches to last a thousand years.

Once Again, St. John Damascene

Let us rephrase St. John Damascene’s challenge posed at the
beginning of this piece. Can a Catholic show a non-Catholic
our church architecture with pride: "See, this is our Catholic
faith." While cheap pietistic visuals are not the answer to
incarnational theology, neither are antiseptically-stripped
churches. The Catholic ethos, deeply committed to cultural
history, is made for fruitfulness (frui) and not for utility (uti).
We are neither machines worshiping in a machine nor pure
spirits worshiping in a Gnostic temple. No one can destroy
our instinct for worshiping God in beautiful buildings, and
our leaders ought not be afraid of rebuilding a Church of
grace and beauty. We, the Body of Christ, deserve this. So
do those who have fled the Church and the church building!
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los
Angeles (2002), the cathedral’s warm interior
mitigates its outer severity. This kind of church
structure breaks completely with the tradition of
the Church.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:18 pm

From the City Journal


BRUCE S. THORNTON
People Matter

Robert Zubrin’s powerful critique of antihumanism
22 June 2012

Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, by Robert Zubrin (Encounter, 328 pp., $25.95)

A ruling idea of the last two centuries has been materialism: the notion, as arch-materialist Daniel Dennett asserts, that “there is only one sort of stuff, namely matter—the physical stuff of physics, chemistry, and physiology—and the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon.” One consequence of this belief has been the rise of antihumanism—the stripping from people of their transcendent value and a reduction of them to mere things in the world to be studied, understood, reshaped—and ultimately controlled.

As Robert Zubrin shows in his valuable survey Merchants of Despair, antihumanism’s reductive view of human nature has underpinned movements like eugenics, population control, and radical environmentalism, all of which have been eager to sacrifice human life and well-being to achieve their dubious utopias. Zubrin, a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and fellow of the Center for Security Policy, has previously authored popular books on energy and space exploration. He shows an engineer’s sharp eye for things as they are and a scientist’s respect for the limits of knowledge, especially as regards various pseudoscientific fads.

Zubrin begins with Thomas Malthus, “the founding prophet of modern antihumanism,” who claimed in his 1798 Essay on the Principle of Population that any population always geometrically grows larger than the food supply. Malthus’s argument ignored humans’ creative ingenuity, but his theories had catastrophic consequences when applied to the real world. Believing that Ireland was overpopulated, for example, the British government allowed this food-exporting island to spiral downward into famine partly because, as Malthus himself urged, “a great part of the population should be swept from the soil.” Over 1 million Irish died of starvation and disease caused by malnutrition. Thirty years later, the same policy of neglect contributed to a famine that killed as many as 10 million people in India, again because of the Malthusian fallacy that, as Sir Evelyn Baring told Parliament, “every benevolent attempt made to mitigate the effects of famine and defective sanitation serves but to enhance the evils resulting from overpopulation.”

Charles Darwin embraced Malthus’s apocalyptic theories, too. Overpopulation, he believed, would eventually be cured by natural selection, the “weeding out of ‘unfit’ individuals and races.” As Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man: “At some future period . . . the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.” Like Malthus, Darwin had no patience with sentimental Christian or Enlightenment ethics that sought to alleviate suffering and improve human life with medical advances such as vaccinations, or with asylums and other social-welfare institutions that cared for the sick, insane, or poor. Because of this effort “to check the process of elimination,” Darwin maintained, “the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.” As Zubrin summarizes Darwin’s argument: “Peace, plenty, care, and compassion were interferences in the course of nature. All progress was based on death.”

The mixture of Malthusian and Darwinian theory soon conjured up racist eugenics. At the forefront of the early eugenics movement was Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, who also decried humanist sentimentalism. The “unfit” must be kept from procreating, he argued, for “if these continued to procreate children, inferior in moral, intellectual and physical qualities, it is easy to believe the time may come when such persons would be considered as enemies to the State, and to have forfeited all claims to kindness.” By the turn of the twentieth century, these ideas had become articles of faith among many liberals and socialists.

Such cruel pseudoscientific theories took a fatal turn in Germany, where eugenics found its deadliest champion in biologist Ernst Haeckel, “an extreme racist, virulent anti-Catholic bigot, anti-Semite, anti-Pole, pro-imperialist, Pan-German fanatic” as well as a “militant atheist.” Haeckel and his followers sought to replace Christian ethics with “Monism,” the aim of which was to further human evolution through Germany’s conquest of inferior races and the elimination of abnormal children and invalids. The ideas also took hold in America, championed by men like General Francis Amasa Walker, president of M.I.T. In 1896, Walker wrote in the Atlantic that Hungarian, Bohemian, Polish, Italian, and Russian-Jewish immigrants were “beaten men from beaten races; representing the worst failures in the struggle for existence,” possessing “none of the ideas and aptitudes which fit men to take up readily and easily the problem of self-care and self-government.” Theodore Roosevelt would later agree, expressing his disdain for “the prevalent loose and sloppy talk about the general progress of humanity, the equality and identity of races, and the like” as the product of “well-meaning and feeble-minded sentimentalists.” These widespread prejudices, buttressed by biased I.Q. tests, ultimately led in 1924 to the discriminatory U.S. law that shut down immigration from countries considered inferior and provided a pseudoscientific justification for race-based segregation.

The Holocaust would discredit at least the public expression of eugenics. Zubrin shows that the ideas lived on, though, repackaged as “population control” and concern for the environment. Prewar eugenicists found a home in organizations like the postwar Population Council, whose founding roster, Zubrin writes, “reads like a eugenics movement reunion.” The same continuity exists between eugenics groups and environmental organizations, such as the British Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund. Particularly valuable is Zubrin’s examination of the eugenic roots of Planned Parenthood, whose founder, Margaret Sanger, wrote in 1919: “More children from the fit, less from the unfit—that is the chief issue of birth control.” These movements, Zubrin writes, soon made up “the imposing and influential population control establishment,” which became entrenched at the United Nations and in U.S. government agencies. The efforts of these groups were suspiciously concentrated in the developing world.

As Zubrin meticulously documents, the obsession with overpopulation has led to attacks on the economic and technological development that represents the best hope for improving human life around the globe. The alliance of radical environmentalism, population-control advocacy, and anticapitalist leftism continues to prolong the misery of the Third World. Rachel Carson’s scientifically challenged campaign against DDT led to the deaths of millions. Paul Ehrlich’s spectacularly wrong Malthusian predictions helped legitimize cruel policies, such as Lyndon Johnson’s withholding of food aid to India during the 1966 famine. Ehrlich wanted food aid tied to sterilization and birth-control programs and suggested adding “temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food,” with antidotes given only when the population reached the desired size. He also wanted “luxury taxes” imposed on cribs, diapers, and children’s toys. These neo-Malthusian theories ultimately led to the 1968 creation of the Club of Rome, whose influential study The Limits to Growth shapes attitudes to the present day—for example, in the animus against genetically modified foods. Now institutionalized in E.U. policy, the refusal to allow genetically modified food denies vital crops (containing nutrients and organic pesticides engineered into them) to the Third World.

The anti-global-warming crusade against carbon-based energy is the latest assault on progress and improvement. Zubrin is correct to call the climate-change movement a “global antihuman cult.” Its assaults against dissent, embrace of messianic leaders, and apocalyptic scenarios reveal a debased religious sensibility rather than scientific rigor: “Right thinking will be rewarded,” Zubrin writes of global-warming thought police like Al Gore and economist Paul Krugman. “Wrong thinking will be punished. Many will be sacrificed. All will be controlled. The gods will take back their fire.” The warmists’ growth-killing programs, if implemented, would lead to mass immiseration.

As Zubrin concludes, antihumanist ideas and programs represent a war against human freedom and global solidarity: “If the world’s resources are fixed with only so much to go around, then each new life is unwelcome, each unregulated act or thought is a menace, every person is fundamentally the enemy of every other person, and each race or nation is the enemy of every other race or nation. The ultimate outcome of such a worldview can only be enforced stagnation, tyranny, war, and genocide.” Contrary to the arguments of the “terrible simplifiers,” as historian Jacob Burckhardt called those who reduce people to mere matter, humans are capable of freedom, creativity, compassion, and love. We should cherish these unique qualities rather than succumbing to antihumanism and self-hatred.

Bruce Thornton is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of classics and humanities at California State University Fresno. His most recent book is The Wages of Appeasement: Ancient Athens, Munich, and Obama’s America.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:21 pm

From the City Journal

EMILY WASHINGTON
The Secret Life of Parking Lots
Could all this paved space have better uses?
13 July 2012

ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking, by Eran Ben-Joseph (MIT Press, 184 pp., $24.95)

In the iconic movie American Graffiti, the parking lot of a drive-in restaurant serves as a public space for teenagers, offering the freedom of being away from home at a low cost. The characters use the lot to show off their cars but also to socialize outdoors, in the way that urban planners seem to want people to use open space. In his book ReThinking a Lot, author Eran Ben-Joseph imagines parking lots along just these lines.

Even those who appreciate the utility of parking lots typically think of them as single-purpose. Ben-Joseph challenges this perception. He begins with an overview of city planners’ legal requirements for parking and how these rules have shaped the size and design of open-air parking lots. While he acknowledges that many such lots today are uninspired and unattractive, he suggests that they don’t have to be—perhaps they might become something like the version that appears in nostalgic movies.

Parking lots first became common in the suburbs in the 1920s, Ben-Joseph shows. Their prevalence soon prompted urban retailers to demand parking space of their own to compete with suburban businesses. Cities like Denver even attempted to revitalize their central business districts by supplying free parking on city-owned lots—as if parking lots themselves would attract customers to stores. Many cities also began requiring property owners to offer a minimum amount of free parking for their customers. The minimums were based on the properties’ square footage, a method that Ben-Joseph—like Donald Shoup, author of the urbanist classic The High Cost of Free Parking—criticizes: square footage is often not a good indicator of how many people will park somewhere and can inflate the estimates of needed space. But city planners don’t have the resources to develop requirements for parking on a lot-by-lot basis.

Following Shoup, Ben-Joseph argues that cities should stop telling property owners how much free parking to offer. Instead, he suggests, cities should require design standards for parking lots. Lot owners would then dedicate some of their parking space to landscaping, public art display, or other forms of beautification. “The surface parking lot has ravaged large swaths of the landscape,” Ben-Joseph writes. “It (along with the highway) was a key element in the destruction of the small-scale pedestrian urban fabric associated with ‘good’ cities.” Better-designed parking lots would help repair the fabric; so would the alternative uses for parking lots that Ben-Joseph highlights, from farmers’ markets and food trucks to basketball courts and makeshift bowling alleys.

Yet Ben-Joseph doesn’t explain why urban planners would be any better at producing design standards than they were at determining optimal parking allotments. He seems to struggle with his view of parking lots, seeing them simultaneously as blights and as positive contributions to communities’ open space. This prevents him from acknowledging that they can serve all these alternative uses only after they have become empty swaths of asphalt. He seems to believe that if parking lots were better designed, with landscaping to provide shade and public art to provide interest, they could meet diverse demands for public space. But some of his suggestions could actually diminish the potential for public uses that parking lots serve today. For example, if a lot’s most valuable alternative use is as a basketball court, city planners would do a disservice to the community by requiring the owner to landscape it.

Changing the focus of parking-lot regulations, as Ben-Joseph suggests, won’t solve the core problem: city planners can only arbitrarily determine the most valuable use for a piece of land. Still, Ben-Joseph’s book offers a solid history of how parking requirements evolved and will open eyes about the surprising potential of parking lots to be more than just places to park your car.

Emily Washington is associate director of state outreach at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
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Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churche

Postby Praxiteles » Mon Oct 01, 2012 7:25 pm

From the City Journal

BRUCE S. THORNTON
Before the Culture Fades
Roger Kimball’s ongoing work of preservation

3 August 2012
The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia, by Roger Kimball (St. Augustine’s Press, 360 pp., $35)

Roger Kimball has long been one of America’s most learned commentators on intellectual history, contemporary politics, fine art, and architecture. Longtime editor of The New Criterion and more recently publisher of Encounter Books, Kimball authored two of the best exposés of the left-wing corruption of the American university: Tenured Radicals and The Long March. The 21 essays in Kimball’s new book, The Fortunes of Permanence, cover a remarkable range of topics: relativism, multiculturalism, radical egalitarianism, the enduring importance of tradition, the delusions of socialism, “democratic despotism,” the dangers of sentimental “benevolence,” and the cultural significance of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The essays also discuss a wide variety of individual writers: those unfairly demonized, like Rudyard Kipling; those insufficiently well known, like Leszek Kołakowski, Richard Weaver, and James Burnham; and those familiar yet still worthy of explication and reconsideration, like G. K. Chesterton and Friedrich Hayek.

In his essay on John Buchan, the now-forgotten inventor of the spy novel, Kimball shows easy familiarity not just with Buchan’s novels and other writings but also with his major biographers, his letters, his memoirs, and the estimations of his contemporaries, all punctuated with samplings of Buchan’s memorable prose. “It is a melancholy fact,” a character in Buchan’s novel John Macnab says, “that, while all men may be on a level in the eyes of the State, they continue in fact to be preposterously unequal.” Here is an author, Kimball makes clear, whose observations are relevant to where we find ourselves today.

Kimball’s survey articulates his two great themes. The first is the need to battle what he has elsewhere called “cultural amnesia”; the struggle requires recovering the great thinkers and writers of the past, “the salient figures whose works helped weave the great unfolding tapestry of our civilization” but “whose voices have been drowned out by the demotic inanities of pop culture or embalmed by the dead hand of the academy.” Second is the importance of “discrimination,” or what Kimball calls “the gritty job of intellectual and cultural trash collector,” in which one identifies and disposes of the faddish and politicized ephemera that make up most of the art and writing celebrated by the bien-pensant elite. These efforts are essentially educational. As Kimball writes in his preface, today’s students are taught to “regard education as an exercise in disillusionment” and to “look to the past only to corroborate their sense of superiority and self-satisfaction.” His new book “aims to disturb that complacency and reaffirm the tradition that made both the experience of and striving for greatness possible.”

The book’s eponymous essay, “The Fortunes of Permanence,” establishes its framework. “Culture,” Kimball tells us, is in fact the activity of “cultivating,” which is what education should do. To be successful, this cultura animi, the “cultivating of the mind,” requires “time and continuity,” the “tips, habits, prohibitions, and necessities that have been accumulated from time out of mind and passed down, generation after generation.” In short, education requires tradition, what Kimball calls the “aegis of permanence.” Yet we live in a time when so much militates against tradition: “instantaneity,” a mania for the new and a suspicion of the past; the two-bit nominalism that argues against any intrinsic meaning in cultural products or values; the claim that truth is only a construct of power or language; and the multiculturalist claim that no value judgments can be made about different cultures. All lead not to “cultural parity,” Kimball writes, but to “cultural reversal,” the process whereby “culture degenerates from being a cultura animi to a corruptio animi,” as the wisdom of the past is disparaged or forgotten. And this corruption spreads throughout the whole of social and personal life, from today’s “pansexual carnival” to the Internet’s glut of disconnected information: “Data, data everywhere, but no one knows a thing.” The result is that we “neglect the deep wisdom of tradition and time-sanctioned answers to the human predicament.”

The recovery of this wisdom from Western culture animates all the essays here. Such wisdom is desperately needed these days, given the expansion of state power that has attended President Obama’s policies, with their explicit aim to institute radical-egalitarian “fairness” and to “spread the wealth around.” In such a fraught political moment, the essay “Friends of Humanity” is a timely reminder of political utopianism’s destructive consequences. Kimball nimbly surveys the ideas of socialist dreamers such as English novelist William Godwin and the Marquis de Condorcet, both of whom “foresaw all manner of glorious things awaiting humanity now that the ‘priests and despots’ were on their way out.” Godwin’s screeds against “selfishness” and his sentimental raptures over “benevolence” are precursors of today’s progressive tirades against “Wall Street greed” and calls for “social justice.” And Godwin’s demonization of private property likewise finds its modern echo in the Obama administration’s dirigiste inclinations, its eagerness to divest the “rich” of their wealth and force them to “pay their fair share.” As Kimball dryly remarks of these eighteenth-century models: “Sounds pretty up-to-date, doesn’t it?”

Kimball finds an antidote to such fatuities in the work of Godwin’s contemporary, Thomas Malthus. Malthus countered the “Godwin-Condorcet brand of utopia”—which is “essentially disestablishing of the past and its legal, economic, and religious institutions”—with the sober reminder that the injustices wrought by those institutions were, in his words, “light and superficial in comparison with those deeper-seated causes of evil which result from the laws of nature and the passions of mankind.” As the bloody record of modern utopian political religions has shown, ignoring the irreducible complexity of human nature to construct schemes of abstract perfection always leads to slaughter of those who cling to their freedom and individuality.

Kimball’s “anatomy of servitude,” as he calls it—his analysis of cultural, educational, and political degeneration—doesn’t end on a Spenglerian note of inevitable decline. Such determinism would contradict the celebration of human freedom that recurs throughout these essays. We can choose a different course, and we have the resources to do so. First, there is “the depth and strength of the Anglosphere’s traditional commitment to individual freedom and local initiative against the meddlesome intrusion of any central authority.” Second, we can look to the new “revolt of the masses,” a “specter of freedom” whose “core motivation centers around the rejection of the business as usual: the big-government, top-down, elitist egalitarianism practiced by both major parties in the United States.” Another resource the author doesn’t identify is his own work, through which readers have been broadening their understanding of the Western heritage for a generation now.

Bruce Thornton is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of classics and humanities at California State University Fresno. His most recent book is The Wages of Appeasement: Ancient Athens, Munich, and Obama’s America.
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