Catholic sacred arts...lets get back to the basics!
By Hugh McNichol
Church art and architecture is a topic that seems to have been covered in every possible manner since the Renaissance. However, it seems to this author that there is a true need to cover and address the issues involved with the design and decoration of our Catholic Churches from a perspective of developing an American Institute for the Sacred Arts. The reason this "pet project" is so clear in my mind is simply because over the past 40 or so years since the liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council so many important artistic and architectural examples of good design, both form and function have been inextricably mutilated, destroyed or adapted beyond Catholic recognition.
With that said, there should be always and everywhere a strong sense of sacred worship that envelopes our Catholic Churches and enables them to provide both spiritual sanctuary and liturgical practicality. At the same time there also needs to evolve or rather re-evolve in our Catholic art and architecture a new realization of the form and functions of our Sacred liturgies. Perhaps it is an easy task to reexamine our premises for the implementation of appropriate liturgical space because in general the Catholic Church in the United States has done such a terrible job in the past cultivating domestic artists and craftsmen as prayerful creative partners in this truly artistic and visual endeavor.
The message that clearly needs to be conveyed to bishops, priests and all faithful Catholics is simply this: Sacred spaces such as our Catholic Churches demand the highest artistic expressions of quality that a parish or Church community is able to afford and sustain. The design elements of Catholic Churches are also paramount in the thoughts and planning of our Catholic Churches. For the first part, they should reflect the unique needs of all of our Sacred liturgies. The altar should especially be of central focus to the Catholic assembly, and its placement and material composition should be of a nature that suggests to the believer the truly sacred and sacrificial nature of the actions happening on the sacred spot.
In light of the recent permission to celebrate the liturgy of Blessed John XXIII, there should be additional consideration when designing a Church that both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Sacraments might be celebrated in our Churches without any difficulty. In general, the sacred space that we call Church should adequately reflect and express our deepest religious convictions and historical progressions of our Catholic faith. What our Catholic Churches should not be are just as simple: they are not places for meetings, town hall gatherings, pseudo-liturgical activities or places of personal artistic expression. Our Churches are houses of God, where the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament resides as an active presence in our daily lives.
One notion that frequently happens in the design and planning of a new Catholic Church is that there is a plan that at times does not take on the form of structural permanence. That is, areas are designed to provide multifunction spaces, where accessories can be rolled around and repositioned as the need or rather whim determines the need for the space. This bus stop architecture is exactly what needs to be part of our past, our departure from Modernism and post-Modernism architectural influences and foster a return to traditional art and architecture that applies the appropriate form and function to our Catholic Churches on a non-transitional basis.
Our Catholic Sacred Spaces should not only stress an atmosphere of spiritual tranquility there should also be a sense of institutional permanence in the space that provides a local anchor to all of the activities of our Catholic spiritual journey, from Baptism right up to and including the Rite of Catholic Burial. Quite frankly, as an interested Catholic, I am quite exhausted trying to figure out where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved when I go to different parishes, tired of shuffling off children and noncompliant teenagers to "crying-rooms" and our artistic attempts to provide visual relevancy through all sorts of "busy" distractions brought on by, banners, artistic flyers, huge floral arrangements and mauve fabrics for the "pews". It is time that we get back to basics in our Churches, place artistic quality and design into our planning and implementations of Catholic architecture.
Considerations need to be taken in Church design for the proper distribution of the Sacred Species of Bread and Wine in our Catholic Churches. Communion along the altar rail is no longer the accepted norm for the reception of Eucharist. It is advisable that Eucharist be received under both species as well. When we plan our liturgical worship space, we need to plan for the adequate flow of people that participate in the Sacred Liturgy and not just provide an opportunity for a liturgical traffic jam. Once again, form and function should always accompany our Catholic planning of architectural spaces.
When I think of art and architecture as well, I think of the proper utilization of artisans and craftsmen that reflect the Catholic Church in a specific area as well. While the temptation is strong to import craftsmen and materials from "old world" sources, such as Italian marble, or Spanish carved statuary, we need to be honest and upfront about the very talented artists and craftsmen that work in our own United States. Parish priests and parish planning committees need to pay particular attention to the details of whom and what will represent their new sacred space.
Without a doubt, Catholic artists participate and share in a creative vocation to adorn our Catholic Churches. Preferably Catholic artists are also best suited, rather than non Catholic artisans to materialize a Catholic theme and appropriate perspective. Let's not overlook the real need to commission artistic works for our Catholic Churches through fellow Catholics, who really participate in a unique artistic and creative manner in the expressions of our Catholic faith.
Finally, the distasteful word...money always needs to be considered. Most times we think that the commissioning of original artwork and qualitative liturgical designs are out of the price range for the average parish community. In an age where we glorify mass production and global distribution, it is easy to see why we sometimes think of "bigger is better", "mass produced is cheaper" and "America does not make that stuff here"! However that is a misnomer.
There are plenty of artisans and craftsmen here in the United States, perhaps even in your own parish or diocese that can qualitatively design, and construct any aspect of our Catholic liturgical accessories. Not only are these artists and craftsmen extremely capable and willing, they offer their own prayerful and Catholic experiences in the artistic representations they are called to create. Before going to the guilds of Italy or Spain for statuary or materials, we need to look within our own parish backyards for the artist right down the street and the parish over that can cast a bronze statue, carve a marble bust, paint a magnificent fresco or design a great mosaic...they are all here. We just need to look and find them.
TriNet Technologies Consultants Inc
http:catholicsacredarts.blogspot.com DE, US
Hugh McNichol - Author, 302 6339348
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Here are the answers to the Ash Wednesday quiz. How did you do?
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 HD Video
- Who do YOU answer to? Californians prepare safe houses for illegal ...
- Oarfish strandings in Philippines could mean massive quake coming HD ...
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, February 28, 2017
- Priest shares Living Rosary on Mardi Gras to bring people back to God
- St. Hilary, Pope: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, February 28, 2017
- pictures of saints
- john the baptist
- saint anne
- hail holy queen
- saint elizabeth
- saint paul
- saint christopher
- st mary
- nicene creed
- our lady of guadalupe
- saint francis of assisi
- young children
- Saint Nicole
- st. michael
- saint francis
- Pope Francis makes history by celebrating Christ alongside an Anglican Bishop HD
- St. Dominic Savio HD
- Clinton contributor makes revealing 'life insurance' video over fear of assassination HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.