Duncan G. Stroik

Duncan G. Stroik is a professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame where he helped implement a new curriculum in classical architecture in 1990. He played a central role in the revival of interest in sacred architecture that led to the formation of the Society for Catholic Liturgy and the journal Sacred Architecture, of which he is editor. He is the author, most recently, of The Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence, and the Eternal (2012).

recent articles

S.O.S.: Save Our Spire

The French people have a lot of experience in rebuilding churches. World War II, World War I, various nineteenth-century governments, the French revolution, the Huguenots and, before that, the barbarian hordes all took a toll on these heavenly palaces—not to mention fires and damage due to the travails of time. This latest fire, watched by … Read more

The Time Has Come for A New Counter-Reformation

We need a new Counter-Reformation in sacred art and architecture. What was the Reformation’s effect? First, it preached iconoclasm, the rejection of the human figure in religious art. Second, it reoriented worship, so that people gathered round the pulpit rather than the altar and the baptismal font became more important than the tabernacle. At the … Read more

How to Save the Church’s Architectural Patrimony

There is an unprecedented crisis in our cities, yet most are not aware of it. It does not affect residents nor shoppers in our tony neighborhoods. In working-class neighborhoods some see it as a concern, but they are a minority. What is this crisis? In dioceses across the country, including Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and New … Read more

The Church Needs Artists

“The Church has need especially of those who can do this [communicate the message] on the literary and figurative level, using the endless possibilities of images and their symbolic force. Christ Himself made extensive use of images in His preaching, fully in keeping with His willingness to become, in the Incarnation, the icon of the … Read more

The Crisis of Contemporary Sacred Art

“This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration!” ∼ Closing of the Second Vatican Council: Address of … Read more

Designing a Church for the Poor

[Saint] Peter teaches us to look to the poor through the eyes of faith and to give them that which is most precious: the power of the name of Jesus. This is what he did with the paralytic; he gave him what he had, which was Jesus.  ∼ Pope Francis, Angelus June 29, 2014, Solemnity … Read more

Beauty is for the Poor, Too

“How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your … Read more

Invest in Catholic Youth: Build Beautiful School Chapels

  Intellege ut credas; crede ut intellegas  (In order to believe you must understand. In order to understand you must believe.)  —St. Augustine A priest once told me that the best place to teach students the faith is in a church. For it is in a church that they can see a physical expression of … Read more

Benedict XVI and the Way of Beauty

 Something unusual is revealed here as well: the house of God is the true house of humans.  It becomes the house of humans even more the less it tries to be this and the more it is simply put up for him.  — Pope Benedict XVI In modern memory, has there been a Pope who … Read more

Why Seminarians Should Study Sacred Art and Architecture

One of the recommendations of Vatican II was that priests be formed in the arts: “During their philosophical and theological studies, clerics are to be taught about the history and development of sacred art, and about the sound principles governing the production of its works. In consequence they will be able to appreciate and preserve … Read more

Should the Bishop Have Bought the Crystal Cathedral?

Three miles from Disneyland there is another famous theme park, which proclaims itself as “America’s Television Church.” The Crystal Cathedral, perhaps the first mega-church in the United States, is about to undergo conversion classes so that it can finally get the cathedra and bishop it has always wanted. The Diocese of Orange, California, has purchased … Read more

Displaced Tabernacles: Bishop’s Document Needs Revision

For almost 18 centuries, Christians built chapels and churches without any universal legislation from Rome. With almost no written direction to the pastors and architects, Christians built beautiful, durable churches that accommodated the liturgy wonderfully and that we are the grateful beneficiaries of. Why then do we need a document on art and architecture today? … Read more

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