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American Catholics and the Church of TomorrowBuilding Churches for the Future, 1925-1975$
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Catherine R. Osborne

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226561028

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226561165.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The Biological Paradigm

The Biological Paradigm

(p.17) Chapter One The Biological Paradigm
American Catholics and the Church of Tomorrow

Catherine R. Osborne

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the appeal of an evolutionary, biological paradigm for 19th and 20th century architects and American Catholics. It argues that the emergence of a biological paradigm as a pervasive intellectual structure made it possible for Catholics to understand architecture, the Church, and all reality within an evolutionary framework, and thus to prioritize a “living” future worship space, rather than a “dead” recapitulation of the past. The chapter explores the development of modernist architectural theory via Frank Lloyd Wright and the Bauhaus and its adoption by Catholic architects like Barry Byrne. Catholic modernists rethought the notion of "tradition," arguing that the great architectural figures of the past had been modernist or futurist in orientation themselves. Meanwhile, the Catholic liturgical movement was advancing biological metaphors for the Catholic Church, a development which meant secular modernist architects and Catholic liturgists with little knowledge of architecture could make common cause.

Keywords:   architectural theory, evolutionary theory, modernist architecture, liturgical movement, ecclesiology

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