The introduction explores some of the broad historical factors that made it possible for some mid-twentieth-century American Catholics to engage in substantial speculation on the best future for church architecture. It opens the argument that evolutionary and biological ways of speaking and thinking about the world seemed increasingly natural to university-educated Catholics, in particular. Meanwhile, architects' self-understanding also began to cohere as the profession increasingly required standardized formal education for entry. Finally, the Catholic liturgical movement took up biological language for the Church and increasingly made common cause with modernist architects. Its involvement gave prosaic debates over building materials and details of site design an eschatological dimension which shaped the entire 20th century debate over the appropriate form of the church building.
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