By this stage, the Team was utilizing every means at its disposal to win the parish over to liturgical and architectural innovation, in that order. As the Green Letter indicated, one primary mechanism for sowing these seeds of “change” was the weekly Parish Bulletin. Each Sunday the Bulletin featured notes on liturgy or church architecture clearly intended to create the impression that St. Joseph’s lacked the necessary “visible”, “acoustical”, “audible”, “personal”, “practical” and “spacial” requirements for modern worship.
Newchurch pseudo-intellectual babble, the religious equivalent of Orwellian Newspeak, never fails to send a shiver up a Catholic spine. Its deliberate ambiguity and duplicity, woven through with outrageous liberal assumptions, inflicts an exasperating spiritual torment upon the orthodox listener/reader. In particular, the cliche — “the idiom of mindless power” __ has found its niche in the language of the new church.
Consider these gems from the Team’s propaganda exercise: SPACE IS THE SYMBOL OF GOD.- The plea, “I want a church building to look like a church” is not to be dismissed … yet [emphasis added] the Christian faith which derives from the Incarnation must become incarnate in each person, in each generation. As the Christian faith becomes manifest in flesh and blood so it must become manifest in stone, concrete, glass and steel;
LITURGICAL LIFE: The planning of a church cannot be conceived by relying on historic solutions which were justified by older forms of the liturgy … The liturgical reform highlights the truth, forgotten before the modern liturgical reform, that it is not only the clerics but the whole assembly which celebrates the liturgy. This assembly constitutes a local Church, a Christian community.
One of the Team’s favourite documents was a booklet called Environment and Art in Catholic Worship and snippets from this publication were regularly quoted as if it was the official and last word on church design. Needless to say, parishioners were not informed that it was issued in 1978 by the American Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy and that ideas presented in the booklet have no official standing in the Church whatsoever, being no more than radical presumptions based on the “new ecclesiology” with its stress on the human and sociological areas of religion and worship.
Also unbeknown to parishioners was the vital fact that, on the basis of ideas contained in this booklet, the same U.S. Liturgy Committee commissioned two architects, Gabe Huck and Bill Brown, to draw up a liturgical audit as part of the American Renovation Kit for Places of Catholic Worship.’ Applying the audit, American architects had flunked churches on such alleged requirements as:
- “Quality of HOSPITALITY space to introduce, to sit together, to see one another and to meet spontaneously”;
- “Integration of contemporary arts … ” -)
- “The church building as an image of who we are and who we are trying to be as a Christian. community”;
“The space serves the broader needs of the community”;
- “Pews and chairs maximise the feeling of community and involvement, facilitate clear view of all ministers . . . “;
- “There is proper space for musical instruments, microphones and equipment during the liturgy”;………………………………….
- “There is provision for the use of audiovisuals without disrupting the ritual action”.