Thursday, June 01, 2006

John Paul the Great Basilica, At Last!

Finally, more than whole one year after Pope John Paul II died, our dear friend Joseph Oliveri has designed a basilica dedicated to his memory -- embodying the full beauty and liturgical insights of the post-Vatican II church. OK, friends, this is satire -- at its absolute best. You owe it to yourself to read the full interview, but here are the highlights (in an article packed with them):

The labyrinth in the "All Nations, All Faiths" hall is recycled marble taken from old altar rails...The careful observer will note the lack of religious imagery in the "All Nations, All Faiths" hall. Of course this is by design. The idea was to have a multi-purpose space that could be used not only for ecumenical gatherings but for temporary booths and shops -- calling to mind the bazaar of ancient times, where diverse peoples from around the known world could mingle in harmony. Here too I envision acrobatic performances, trapese acts, dances and the like.

On the North wall is a mural depicting the risen Christ as a symbol of the Paschal mystery. (The crucifix, or cross with a corpus, was a Medieval development that would have offended the Early Christians, and therefore we had decided early-on that it would not be part of the basilica's design.)...A visitor to the basilica will not find any statues here. Although it is customary in some places to have statues in the narthex -- never in the worship space proper -- of Jesus, Mary, or Joseph, or of the parish's patron saint, we had decided from the beginning not to follow that less-informed custom, opting instead for ancient Christian iconography reinterpreted in mulit-media splashes of vivid color and geometric forms that will engage the modern viewer. Historically, statues often created confusion among the Christian people and fostered devotion of doubtful orthodoxy. Statues also have pagan connotations that many Christians find troubling. Accordingly, statuary was never included in my design

A tabernacle for the reservation of the consecrated bread [!!-BJ] is located in a small chapel set apart from the main worship space. Kneelers may be brought over from the parish center for use in the chapel; however, my predominant concern was that the People of God should always be reminded that the consecrated bread is only reserved so that it may be brought to the sick and homebound. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (or Eucharistic Adoration) was unknown in the Early Church, and unfortunately it gave rise to much superstition even among the clergy.

In fact, people have told me that this new design surpasses all of its predecessors. Recounting such praise is not really self-congratulatory if we consider that the Holy Spirit was no doubt guiding my thoughts and my hands each step of the way in the creation process.

Yeah, Joe, but when will church designers incorporate the latest advances in Lego architecture? :))

...Judging by real life trends, not long. From the "Stranger than Fiction" category, here's a picture of an actual, award-winning church (?) on the isle of Malta designed by "architect" Richard England.

In the first, I found myself laughing until I cried; in the latter article, tears came for another reason.

(Hat tip: York Forum)



Blogger Joseph Oliveri said...

Much appreciated, Ben! :)

Glad you caught the "consecrated bread" mention. Sadly, that phrase (along with "consecrated wine") has enjoyed currency among Roman Catholic liturgists for some time now.


5:16 AM  

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