Category Archives: Built of Living Stones

Built of Living Stones 148: Appropriateness

“Liturgical appropriateness” defined: § 148 § Appropriateness for liturgical action is the other criterion for choosing a work of art for church. The quality of appropriateness is demonstrated by the work’s ability to bear the weight of mystery, awe, reverence, … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 147: Drawing the Beholder to the Creator

John Paul II’s Letter To Artists (we really need to spend time with that document) leads off with a thought that we are not surprised comes from an artist (a playwright) himself: § 147 § Quality art draws the beholder … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 146: Quality

We begin a four-section examination of judging art for liturgy. The bishops cite Vatican II here, and also the corcular letter from the Congregation of the Clergy from 1971, in case you were wondering what Opera Artis is. § 146 … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 144-145: Ambiguity and Joy

Sacred art is more than just a representation of single realities. Good art is always multivalent, and in the cross, Christians have an image with a host of meanings. § 144 § The central image of Christianity is the cross, … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 143: Beauty Not Enough

Not only is beauty itself not enough, but the bishops stress that the church is not a storehouse for treasures: § 143 § Art chosen for the place of worship is not simply something pretty or well made, an addition … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 142: The Role of Religious Art

The Catechism, the Constitution on the Liturgy, and Pope Paul VI lead off this initial reflection on the role of religious art: § 142 § In the Christian community’s place of prayer, art evokes and glorifies “the transcendent mystery of … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 140-141: The Work of Our Hands: Art and Artists Assisting the Church at Prayer

Chapter Three leads off with a thoughtful meditation on the incarnational genius of the Roman Rite. We experience extraordinary things in very ordinary signs. And it is a sensual thing: we experience God through our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 139: Concluding Chapter Two

A transition from a chapter heavily backed by Church teaching, as we move into thirty numbered sections in which we will examine the role of art, and the people who create it. § 139 § In this chapter, the liturgical … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 137-138: Multiple Images

Let’s wrap up the discussion of sacred images. § 137 § The placement of images can be a challenge, especially when a number of cultural traditions are part of a single parish community and each has its own devotional life … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 136: Choice of Images

The choice of an image goes beyond a mere artistic choice, or even the surface of a devotion involved. Can an image bear the weight of mystery, that mystery that leads people to a “deeper reality” where we find the most … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 135: Sacred Images

Statues and colored windows seemed to be everywhere in the Catholic West. Iconography in the East. Roman Catholicism has been open to more possibilities in the past two generations, and this has enriched the life of the Church. § 135 … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 132-134: Stations of the Cross

Three sections devoted to a time-honored tradition picked up from Jerusalem in ancient times, and thanks to the Franciscans, we have as a part of nearly every Catholic church yet today: § 132 § The Stations of the Cross originated … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 130-131: The Church Building and Popular Devotions

From medieval times at least, the laity have expressed devotion to God and to the saints outside of liturgy, both within church buildings and elsewhere. Two brief sections in BLS recognize this, and suggest that church buildings provide for this … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 122-129: Seasonal Decorations For The Liturgical Year

This section is a basic primer for parish art/environment groups. First, an overview of the basic thrust of the liturgical year: § 122 § During the liturgical year the Church unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from his incarnation and … Continue reading

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Built of Living Stones 118-121: The Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar

The bishops devote four sections to the considerations of the dedication rites. We reviewed those rites in depth earlier this year here. We are reminded that a faith community does well to develop or renew its familiarity with these rituals and the … Continue reading

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