The Beauty Ever New Podcast

Renewing Culture through Catholic Art and Architecture

9: Restoring the Sacred - Show Notes

Michael's show notes:

What is liturgy? A more complete explanation in addition to "the public / ritual worship of the Church is that liturgy" that I circled back to later in part, is: 1) Our participation in the saving work of God; 2) Our participation in the mystical Body of Christ with Jesus as head which is crucified in sacrifice to the Father and thereafter raised and glorified; 3) Our being joined to the love song and divine life of the Trinity in anticipation of the wedding feast of the Lamb; 4) An earthly foretaste of the new heavenly Jerusalem where God is all in all.

Built of Living Stones, 2000 is the approved USCCB document on Sacred Art & Architecture that replaced a problematic 1978 statement titled Environment and Art in Catholic Worship produced by the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (BCL):

On sacred geometry in church design, I meant to say: Dome / hemisphere on CUBE symbolizing heaven meeting earth. Not sure if this is clear enough after I initially mistakenly said "dome on sphere". Scriptural reference for the cube being the new heavenly Jerusalem is Revelation Ch 21, and this is expressed very commonly throughout the first millennium in the Byzantine tradition of the Church, sometimes in contrast to, other times in combination with, the traditional basilican form.

Spirit of the Liturgy, Romano Guardini introduces the idea of liturgy as 'play' for heaven - the book which Benedict draws heavily from in his own work by the same name.

Regarding Modern Architecture / Modernism – some would argue the language and assert the term "modernism" as an inherent rejection of tradition, whereas "modern traditionalism" might be closer to the point of embracing tradition in our modern time. Either way, the question of how to authentically deal with the tradition of the Church's rich patrimony of sacred arts in our time is one that the Church urges; we cannot respect what the Church asks by merely reproducing traditional elements in a static way, nor can total innovation ever find the necessary continuity with the living tradition that is demanded.

Shawn Tribe's work on "The Other Modern":

My website is and my blog (also linked through my company website) is

Check out Denis Mcnamaras book Catholic Architecture and the spirit of the liturgy along with his 10-part Youtube series on Catholic Church Architecture: watch it here

thanks for listening!