Tonight for our Faith Seeking Understanding discussion, we viewed an interesting video on Gothic Cathedrals, especially the Gothic Cathedrals of France and discussed a chapter in Dennis R. McNamara's newly published book on Catholic architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy. They were an interesting starting point for a discussion of our church, present and proposed.
I surely didn't know that the Holy Father was also speaking about Gothic Cathedrals today! Here's the text of his remarks and a link to the YouTube video:
Romanesque cathedrals are distinctive for their size and for introducing to churches beautiful sculpture, including the image of Christ as the Universal Judge and the Gate of Heaven. By entering through Him, as it were, the faithful enter a space and even a time different from everyday life, somewhere they can anticipate eternal life through their participation in the liturgy.
Gradually, Gothic architecture replaced the Romanesque, adding height and luminosity to the previous style. The Gothic cathedral translates the aspirations of the soul into architectural lines, and is a synthesis between faith, art and beauty which still raises our hearts and minds to God today. When faith encounters art, in particular in the liturgy, a profound synthesis is created, making visible the Invisible, and the two great architectural styles of the Middle Ages demonstrate how beauty is a powerful means to draw us closer to the Mystery of God. May the Lord help us to rediscover that "way of beauty", surely one of the best ways to know and to love Almighty God.
Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, November 18, 2009