Issues in Church Architecture

Richard Kieckhefer

in Theology in Stone

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195154665
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835676 | DOI:
 Issues in Church Architecture

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Beginning in the years after World War II, church building in much of the Christian world experienced a reaction against various perceived abuses: extravagance, use of revival styles, use of distinctively ecclesiastical forms, a spirit of withdrawal from the world, ornamentalism, and monumentalism. But toward the end of the twentieth century a traditionalist countermovement arose, insisting that traditional forms were important in design of churches to inspire a sense of the sacred, to maintain linkage with the heritage of particular religious communities, and as a hedge against banality. Voices for reform of church design appealed also for fuller congregational participation in worship (a theme in the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council), but traditionalists have questioned whether the reforms carried out have actually led to greater participation. The rise of the multi-use or multi-purpose church also sparked a controversy over sacrality: use of a church for purposes other than worship seemed to many a violation of sacred space, although reformers had shown that segregation of sacred space from secular use is a relatively recent phenomenon. On all these points, the book argues against dogmatic positions and suggests a distinction between dogmatism and orthodoxy (which it takes to be opposites).

Keywords: revival styles; ornamentalism; monumentalism; liturgical reform; Second Vatican Council [Vatican II]; congregational participation; multi-use (multi-purpose) church; sacrality; dogmatism; orthodoxy

Chapter.  13713 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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