Gerald announces that Fr. Vosko has a new book called God’s House is Our House. Not surprisingly Gerald is not soliciting people to buy it through his Amazon affiliation. It is on my own list to buy when the gates of hell include an embedded ice maker.
God’s House Is Our House serves as a platform for rethinking the Catholic environment for worship. Father Vosko provides a theoretical foundation for building or renovating a worship space, by drawing upon biblical, theological, and ecclesiological sources as well as studies on architecture, spatial settings, and creative problem solving.
Since Vatican II, changes have occurred in liturgical texts, music, and life-cycle rituals, especially the Eucharist. Cathedrals and churches have also been transformed, making a formative impact on the life of the church. Some say that new and renovated churches no longer feel like God’s house. Others maintain that a developed understanding of liturgy requires worship settings that accommodate the ritual making of the community.
The liturgical reforms that have guided Catholic, Episcopal, and Lutheran congregations over the last half-century have transformed what these denominations know about worship. Worshipers are no longer spectators, but active participants in the ritual acts that once were the sole possession of the clergy. As the liturgy is modified, church buildings are altered. Almost overnight God’s house has new owners and users and, once again, is known as a house for the church.
How does all such change affect the architectural style of church buildings? Here Father Vosko considers worship space dilemmas and offers practical advice. This book is for faith communities and design professionals. It addresses diverse opinions regarding the environment for worship and through photography and illustration features award-winning examples of new and renovated places of worship.
I am sure that this book will prove that Fr. Vosko is just as good as theologian as he is a Church architect. That is a theology stripped bare and replaced with whatever fancies him at the moment. The Amazon description is so dripping with progressive silliness like "ritual making" and "life-cycle rituals" So smarmy when it comes to statements like "Worshipers are no longer spectators, but active participants." As if in the whole history of the Church no worshiper was ever an active participant in the liturgy. Just blank-eyed zombies sitting in the pew and kneeling on cue. Gregorian chant and a reverent liturgy never touched the souls of anybody until the advent of olympic size baptismal’s and space-age looking lecterns. That it is gymnasium and audience hall rip-offs that have finally provoked worshipers to actively participate in the liturgy. No one every prayed during the Mass until they finally got the architectural help they needed. I guess the new churches look like gyms because this is what they think of when it comes to the word active. That it is liturgical posture and responses alone that make you active.
The funny thing is that it is Fr. Vosko’s designs that introduce "worship space dilemmas" like did I just walk into a church or was I dropping Johnny off for practice. Wreckovation is a pejorative, but it is just so apt. So many modern church architects have pulled off a Emperor’s new clothes trick on people. There willing to believe that their renovated church isn’t stripped naked. We do need some child to yell out "The church has been stripped naked" until everybody finally agrees that the boy is right.