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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: 21 September 2021

“What Is a Church?”

“What Is a Church?”

Chapter:
(p.183) Chapter Six “What Is a Church?”
Source:
American Catholics and the Church of Tomorrow
Author(s):

Catherine R. Osborne

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226561165.003.0007

The Vatican II era was experienced by many American Catholics as a spatial crisis. Church renovations, innovative new buildings, and unconventional Eucharistic spaces like rented cafeterias simultaneously exhilarated and unsettled postconciliar Catholics feeling their way toward a new understanding of the Church. This chapter engages with a broad range of late 1960s and early 1970s suggestions for both the liturgy of the future and the worship space of the future. It argues that the key characteristic of the immediate post-Vatican II era was uncertainty about both liturgy and architecture. A key event was the necessity of renovating hundreds of older churches for a very different liturgical future. As a result, architects came to value spatial flexibility and openness at the same time as liturgists suggested an ever-changing evolutionary future. Meanwhile, Catholics continued to develop new places to meet for liturgy: shopping malls, "house churches," storefronts, and multipurpose spaces, among others. They experimented with space along with the text of the liturgy. Underground and "floating" parishes resisted ownership of buildings and hierarchical control at the same time.

Keywords:   ecclesiology, architectural renovation, Vatican II, liturgical movement, floating parishes, Underground Church

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