Built of Living Stones 10-11: Law, Guidelines, Organization

The introduction (BLS 1-11) concludes with a note explaining this documents contains citations of universal liturgical law, but also suggestions based on experience and best practices. Bishops may choose to expand on some of the “optional” offerings and make them binding for their dioceses.

§ 10 § This document has been approved by the bishops of the Latin Church of the United States and issued by the authority of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 16, 2000. Built of Living Stones contains many of the provisions of universal law governing liturgical art and architecture and offers pastoral suggestions based upon the experience of the last thirty-five years. The document presents guidelines that can serve as the basis for diocesan bishops to issue further guidelines and directives for their dioceses. Where the document quotes or reiterates norms from liturgical books and the Code of Canon Law, those prescriptions are binding on local communities and dioceses.

The document has a particular organization to it. It begins with a chapter outlining the theology of liturgy, and from there addresses the concerns of architecture and art, as well as a practical section treating good pastoral and administrative practices in applying the principles of liturgy and community.

§ 11 § The document begins with a theological reflection on the liturgy and liturgical art and architecture. Since decisions about church art and architecture should always be based upon the theology of the eucharistic assembly and its liturgical action and the understanding of the Church as the house of God on earth, the first chapter is foundational for the chapters that follow. The second chapter outlines the liturgical principles for parish communities to apply when building or renovating liturgical space, and it reviews the spatial demands of the major liturgical celebrations during the year. The third chapter offers suggestions for including art in places of worship and for choosing artists and artistic consultants. The fourth and final chapter describes the practical elements involved in the building or renovation process, including the development of a master plan, the design process, the development of a site plan, and the role of professionals in the process. A section on the special issues involved in the preservation and restoration of artworks and architecture has been included.

Thoughts, anyone?

All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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