The Future of OLR
New Church Updates
Fr. Longenecker Writes on Architecture
When it comes to whether the church should be beautiful or not, the building committee have adopted the doctrine of Judas: “Why should the money be spent on costly ointment when it could be given to the poor?”
The area around our parish has many social problems. Some buildings are derelict. Much of the housing is basic, and many of the people who live locally are struggling. It would not be right to build a church that is overly splendid and ornate.
How do we build a church which is within the tradition of Catholic churches, and yet is also a home to the many different ethnic groups and cultures represented in our modern American society?
In the pagan world, and for the Jewish people, a temple was not a place to have a religious meeting. It was God’s house–the place where the people went to offer sacrifice and worship to the God who was present there.
In the Catholic tradition, the church building is not simply a place for people to meet. If that were the case, it would be fine to just buy an old supermarket and put seats in it and add a good sound system.
There are two approaches to building a church in a ‘traditional style’. One is to build with a steel structure which is then decorated in the interior with traditional effects like arches and columns. However, the arches and columns will be cosmetic. They won’t really hold up the walls. They’re just for decoration.
The second way to build in a ‘traditional style’ is to not only build a church that looks traditional, but to build a church in a traditional way. That is to say, to build with certain ancient principles in mind which make the church traditional not only cosmetically, but in every aspect from the ground up.
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