What is a Catholic Church Supposed to Look Like? by Peter Kwasniewski

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By Peter Kwasniewski, OnePeterFive, September 4, 2019

In my last article at OnePeterFive, I analyzed “The Dark Symbolism of California’s Christ Cathedral.” In the intervening weeks, only one response has been attempted from the other side. I use the word “attempted” deliberately, because it was not a refutation, but a repetition of the same three principles that have served as the progressive mantra for decades: 1. Always trust the experts. 2. Always trust the clergy. 3. Always trust the Zeitgeist. Those of us who have suffered under a reformed liturgy designed by experts; who have seen the Church ravaged by clerical abuse of various kinds; and who have tasted modernity’s bitter fruit, choked on it, and spit it out — well, let’s just say we are not buying this mantra any more. Its expiration date passed long ago.

The manifestation of a hideous church in our midst, no less than the graceful appearance of a beautiful one, prompts thoughtful Catholics to ask the question: what should a Catholic church look like, after all? Can we articulate principles within our tradition that would enable us to answer this question reasonably and persuasively?

It can never hurt to start with the obvious: it’s called a church. That means it’s supposed to represent to us and remind us of the Church (with a capital C). What do we say in the Symbol of Faith about the Church? We identify her four “notes” or essential characteristics: she is “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.” Almost in the same breath, we then link the Church to her life-giving sacraments and the ultimate goal to which our membership in her carries us: “we acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” These few words of the Creed sketch out for us an entire understanding of church architecture. ….

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