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Full Version: Beauty will save the world: Gaudi's basilica inspires conversions
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(05-02-2015, 12:17 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]The other day I was rereading Thomas Merton's journal The Sign of Jonas and on page 87 he writes something interesting and challenging about Catholic architecture that I felt like sharing. What he says is a challenge. How can we build something today that is not just a dead relic of the past or modernistic junk that actually speaks the language of the Faith? It's not so easy I think. In the second page of this journal entry of his he goes on to say that the men of previous ages, say, the 12 th century Cistercians, lived in an age that was permeated by the Faith. I suppose this made it easier. We can look at the homely English churches of the dark ages, the stark yet beautiful monasteries of the 12 th Century Cistercians, the later Gothic style, the Byzantine or the Baroque and still see basically the same Faith shining forth in the architecture; the same cannot be said for most modern churches, especially this Sagrada monstrosity.

Honestly, how do we approach Catholic architecture today without being entirely enslaved to the past yet somehow being faithful to the content of our religion and our heritage? I have no answer here, but I somehow feel like this Cathedral being discussed is missing something essential.

That is a hard challenge.

N.
(05-02-2015, 12:17 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]The other day I was rereading Thomas Merton's journal The Sign of Jonas and on page 87 he writes something interesting and challenging about Catholic architecture that I felt like sharing. What he says is a challenge. How can we build something today that is not just a dead relic of the past or modernistic junk that actually speaks the language of the Faith? It's not so easy I think. In the second page of this journal entry of his he goes on to say that the men of previous ages, say, the 12 th century Cistercians, lived in an age that was permeated by the Faith. I suppose this made it easier. We can look at the homely English churches of the dark ages, the stark yet beautiful monasteries of the 12 th Century Cistercians, the later Gothic style, the Byzantine or the Baroque and still see basically the same Faith shining forth in the architecture; the same cannot be said for most modern churches, especially this Sagrada monstrosity.

Honestly, how do we approach Catholic architecture today without being entirely enslaved to the past yet somehow being faithful to the content of our religion and our heritage? I have no answer here, but I somehow feel like this Cathedral being discussed is missing something essential.

I would say that this is nearly impossible. Living in a civilization permeated by the Catholic faith is a condition sine qua non for the building of such buildings we see today as relics. Some authors even argue that all the golden age of faith in the 12th century and thereabouts is merely the consequence of a project going back to the 9th century in Cathedral schools and the like, of educating persons to be real persons (you know the way a catechesis should do, a real paideia). Those great Gothic Cathedrals and persons like St. Thomas don't come from nothing.
I think what we are left to do is something that goes back farther than the 12th century, and start with persons not with buildings or summas, and of course, this is only possible if we have (even anonymous) saints.

Yes, friends, we have fallen from a great height, and now, as our Lord says, there's a lot of work and few workmen.
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