29 July 2005

Today's craze for tacky church architecture - a likely source

A friend's research on computer keyboards led to a website with a collection of fascinating links. One deals with architecture, and how a previously artistic society went "drab" with a vengeance in the 60s, putting up wholly uninteresting buildings - Russia.

Read about it at artlebedev.com, in "They were Expendable."

This spiritual anhedonia infiltrated American culture via the universities. Afterwards, it went out into the world, came up against reality, and was promptly dropped for the delights of the 80's. The Catholic Church, however, is still busily throwing up bland church-boxes with felt banners and lousy acoustics for guitars. Why? I think just because of its monolithic size. It cannot turn on a dime - and pop culture is nothing if not evanescent. Folk music was part of the scene in the late 60s and 70s; now it's as archaic in its own way as Latin!

To be hip, the liturgical writers need to issue new music every MONTH, not every century. To be truly "relevant", communion hymns should be in smooth jazz, and rap or hip-hop for the responsorial psalm. That's why the Church's attempts to be trendy are doomed to ignominious failure. It's as embarrassing as when one's parents adopted polyester leisure suits and affected long hair and gold chains in the late 70s... remember?

The Roman Catholic Church can do many admirable, impressive, beautiful, wonderful things, but we need to quit trying so hard to be cool. At this rate, in 2030 we'll be trying to be 'bad'. In 2050 the GIRM will be 'phat.' It's a losing proposition.

We need to just be who we are.

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