Friday, October 30, 2009

Ugly Churches

In April of 2008 I had the fortune to travel to Italy and experience the beauty of the churches there. I have been railing against ugly churches for some time now. Many modern Catholic Churches have been designed not with any attempt to show the splendor of God but rather what we get are these utilitarian structures that have track lighting, video display, and all the features of home theatre. The message of course is that what goes on here is a form of entertainment. The exteriors resemble the message conveyed in most "modern architecture" -bland, bleak, hopelessness, cold, impersonal, pointing to everything, yet pointing to nothing. Why should we care, you ask? The point of worship in my humble opinion is to elevate us to the Divine. As we are expressing our very being, as we relate to God, we are moved by the liturgy and all that is in our environment. Beauty is a mirror of God. It also reflects back our understanding of His perfection. A Church is, as Jesus once put it "my Father's House", not a storage shed, a parking garage, a theatre, or a detention center. In that moment of worship we transcend time, we enter the eternal, timelessness of our Creator. The point is not to diminish Him but to expand ourselves. If you think that the worship is about you, and how you feel, and what you take out of it, then you truly do not understand Catholicism. Michale Rose has just published a new book called Ugly as Sin that goes into detail about the destruction of Catholic worship. Let's return to honoring God our Father with the beauty and splendor only He deserves.

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