Built of Living Stones 27: Five Principles

The last section of BLS Chapter 1 treats “Liturgical Principles for Building or Renovating Churches.” We will devote the next week looking at these principles. BLS informs us these principles are found in Sacrosanctum Concilium and the various liturgical documents that implemented conciliar reform. This is the sort of list that should be in every church architect’s mind, every artist’s drawing board, and every design committee binder’s first page.

§ 27 § The basic liturgical principles for designing and renovating churches today are drawn from the Second Vatican Council and the documents that implemented its decrees. (These include the SC, the GIRM, the RDCA, the Ceremonial of Bishops, the various sacramental rituals, and canon law.) Even though the Church offers no universal blueprint or style for the design of a church, attention to the following principles will insure that from the beginning, the ritual requirements will receive the priority they deserve in the design process.

What are these principles? Here is how they are organized in BLS 28-45:

  1. The church building is designed in harmony with church laws and serves the needs of the liturgy. (BLS 28-30)
  2. The church building fosters participation in the liturgy. (BLS 31)
  3. The design of the church building reflects the various roles of the participants. (BLS 32-37)
  4. The church building respects the culture of every time and place. (BLS 38-43)
  5. The church building should be beautiful (BLS 44-45)

We’ll get to each of these principles in turn over the next several posts. But for now, any glaring omission, poor inclusion, or needed adjustment? Other comments?

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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One Response to Built of Living Stones 27: Five Principles

  1. Liam says:

    The list is silent about the *how* of this, in the sense that it has certain ends in mind but the means towards the ends are subordinated, it would seem. I am not saying this is wrong. I merely saying it is something we should be mindful of, as it has consequences.

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