A better realisation among Architects
"WF have still to find a style of architecture particularly in elevation, which will suggest the `God-dimension' in human living, which will express dignity, majesty, and the sense of worship, while at the same time showing clearly that these qualities do not belong to a past and dead age but are the expression of an active and energetic spirit in the contemporary world".
This comment by Bishop Beck is complementary to another which he makes in the current number of the Catholic Building Review (Fides Publications).
The search for a new style in church architecture springs not only from the awareness of the possibility of using new methods of construction "but also conies from a better realisation among architects of the requirements of the Liturgy, particularly in the light of its most recent developments".
Pointing out that "an art which is not vital, contemporary, and to some extent controversial must be approaching stagnation and death", the Bishop of Salford writes of the tremendous interest expressed by Bishops and priests all over the world in Mr. Frank Gibberd's prizewinning design for the new Liverpool Cathedral.
The Liverpool award, he says, "will have given a great impetus to church design and
planning . . . The requirements of the liturgy, the closer association of the people with the Sacrifice of the Mass and deeper appreciation of the significance of the baptismal rite arc all having an effect on the design of churches, particularly so far as the ground plan is concerned".
Bishop Beck goes on to emphasise "There is still, however, room for experiment and ideas, particularly with the object of creating a sense of community about the altar during the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass."
In the same number of the Building Review Cardinal Godfrey while acknowledging that "tastes differ, and there is not a little divergence of view concerning what is truly artistic and what is best suited to the needs both liturgical and practical of our churches", makes the additional point that there is no need to discard altogether every traditional feature of a sacred building in order to bring the faithful closely in touch with the Sacred Rites.
In this two-page supplement the
CATHOLIC 1 lERALD this week brings readers — many of whom may not have the opportunity of visiting churches other than those near their home or place of work — a selection of those buildings which may be said to follow the 1961 trend.