It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Vatican Takes Control of Liturgical Art, Music and Architecture

The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove California
(Vatican Insider) - A team has been set up, to put a stop to garage style churches, boldly shaped structures that risk denaturing modern places for Catholic worship. Its task is also to promote singing that really helps the celebration of mass. The “Liturgical art and sacred music commission” will be established by the Congregation for Divine Worship over the coming weeks. This will not be just any office, but a true and proper team, whose task will be to collaborate with the commissions in charge of evaluating construction projects for churches of various dioceses. The team will also be responsible for the further study of music and singing that accompany the celebration of mass.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Benedict XVI, consider this work as “very urgent”. The reality is staring everyone in the eyes: in recent decades, churches have been substituted by buildings that resemble multi purpose halls. Too often, architects, even the more famous ones, do not use the Catholic liturgy as a starting point and thus end up producing avant-garde constructions that look like anything but a church. These buildings composed of cement cubes, glass boxes, crazy shapes and confused spaces, remind people of anything but the mystery and sacredness of a church. Tabernacles are semi hidden, leading faithful on a real treasure hunt and sacred images are almost inexistent. The new commission’s regulations will be written up over the next few days and will give precise instructions to dioceses. It will only be responsible for liturgical art, not for sacred art in general; and this also goes for liturgical music and singing too. The judicial powers of the Congregation for Divine Worship will have the power to act....

read full story here
St. Annes Catholic Church
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The most important line in this article was the last one in the above quote: "The judicial powers of the Congregation for Divine Worship will have the power to act." Based on this, it doesn't look like this is going to be a typical Vatican commission only making recomendations, but an actual department with some teeth. It comes not a moment too soon. In fact, I dare say it's a couple decades too late, but better late than never I suppose.

Catholic Chapel, Ronchamp France
This comes on the heels of the massive purchase of the Crystal Cathedral by the Diocese of Orange. For a worship space, it's even bland by Protestant standards. Oh sure the exterior is impressive, looking something like a glass spaceship from another planet. The interior stairs and gathering spaces are also somewhat interesting. The worship space however is too spacious, empty and distracting. How they will rearrange it to make it suitable for Catholic worship is beyond me. I have no idea.

The Los Angeles Cathedral
It isn't just the purchase of Protestant chapels that is problematic. I have to say the Crystal Cathedral is somewhat conservative compared to the monstrosity of a cathedral in Los Angeles. Here we have a case where the former cardinal archbishop of Los Angeles actually raised money for years to have that thing built. It so bad it almost makes the Crystal Cathedral look like a proper church! It isn't just the West Coast that is the problem. If it were we could excuse it for those nutty Californians and their crazy eccentricities. No, this is a problem that extends from coast to coast in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. It is what some have called the 'heresy of formlessness.' In almost every American city, with a population greater than a hundred-thousand, you will see them. Strange and bizarre structures, mimicking something out of a bad science-fiction novel, passing as a place of Catholic worship. Go inside one of these flightless spaceships and the interior is usually not much better. Sit through a mass there, and you are likely to hear everything from folk music to pop songs used in liturgy. The problem is widespread.

Catholic Chapel, Gore New Zealand
We can get nasty about it all we want, and play the blame game if we like, but in all likelihood such ridiculous nonsense in art, music and architecture is not the result of some evil conspiracy to rob the Church of her heritage. Rather, it is usually the result of poor spiritual formation coupled with the embrace of modernity. Most of the time, these things are done in ignorance. However, there comes a time when somebody has to say 'enough is enough!' Let us hope the Vatican has finally come to the realisation that such a time is now.  My only question is this.  Once the Vatican finally has a hold on standardising all new architecture, what will become of the old stuff, which is so obviously out of step with the Vatican?  Might I suggest they eventually be sold?  Surly there are some Modernistic Protestant sects out there that would love to get their hands on facilities such as these.  If not them, than perhaps they would do well as mosques or Buddhist temples.  Sooner or later however, with the exception of the large cathedrals, these Catholic parishes will eventually outgrow their 'chapels.'  When that happens it would be the perfect opportunity to either sell or demolish and rebuild.