Architectural Modernism

EWTN Prevails Against the HHS Contraception Mandate

On October 5, 2018, the government admitted they were wrong to persecute the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). The admission came in a settlement in EWTN’s long-drawn-out lawsuit regarding the Contraception Mandate attached to Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a result of the settlement, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated (withdrew) its [...]

Restoring Sacred Architecture Will Reaffirm Theological Truth

This past spring, a marvelous new cathedral was dedicated in Knoxville, Tennessee. The dedication of Sacred Heart Cathedral is certainly a sign of the return of traditional architecture in sacred buildings. The cruciform cathedral was designed in a classical style, featuring arches and Corinthian pilasters in the nave. With a traditional long nave and cruciform [...]

Some Church Architectural Styles Really Are Profane

Architecture speaks, and, like a homily or proclamation of scripture, it can change us profoundly. It preaches and teaches every time we enter a church building. When it speaks truth it reminds us that God is central, and that we are broken and in need of a savior who offers us a place of eternal [...]

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 [...]

Traditional Architecture: An Expression of the Divine

Naming Prince Charles as one’s favorite Royal is rather like choosing Ringo as one’s favorite Beatle: there are no wrong answers … except that one. The Left still hold him personally responsible for Diana’s death. (It was, of course, his fault that she ran off with Dodi Fayed. And he probably got Henri Paul drunk, [...]

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 [...]

How Lovely (Again) is Thy Dwelling Place

In a recent Crisis essay, I indicated that the recovery of tradition, reverence and symbolism in sacred architecture is not limited only to newly built churches, but that it has also been on the increase in existing church renovations in recent years. Some of the most jarring evidence of internal unsettledness in the Church over [...]

A New Direction in Church Design

One day fifteen years ago, I happened to be channel surfing past the Eternal Word Television Network when I was greeted by a momentary flash of heavenly beauty across the screen. Quickly flipping back, I realized that it was a Mass being celebrated in an unusually majestic church with an extensively gilded and marbled interior. [...]

After Architectural Modernism

It was the summer of 1947. The Second World War was still a painful recent memory, and much of Europe was still a bombed-out shambles.  The Korean War was still three years in the future, and the Second Vatican Council wouldn’t convene its opening sessions for another fifteen years.  During this summer, a fifty year-old [...]

Beauty and Tradition Unmask Nihilistic Modernity

Mark Signorelli recently reviewed Gregory Wolfe’s book Beauty Will Save the World and characterized it as self-contradictory. I could not finish the book after having started enthusiastically, since it did not address my own interests in architecture and urbanism. Wolfe treats many writers whom I have not read, and the visual artists he embraces strike me [...]

Fashion and Design Ideology in Sacred Architecture: A Review of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

Where to begin? Well, there are hardly any right angles in this building. Broken forms, discontinuities, and protrusions in its geometry both inside and outside characterize the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Such imbalance and departure from mathematical harmony is usually explained away by labeling it a “postmodern-deconstructivist” building, as if style were [...]

“Making Wholeness Heals the Maker”: Why Human Flourishing Requires the Creative Act

I would like to talk a little about the idea promoted by Christopher Alexander, where “making wholeness heals the maker.” This has to do with the act of creation and, in particular, its application in art and the production of artifacts and architecture. It is a fundamental concept in creating small items, but I want [...]

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