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Externals count: when architecture is unholy

Look at this photo for a moment. In fact, enlarge it on your screen and just look, if possible without thinking. Do it for a moment or two.

Now, how do you feel? What are the words that come to mind to describe the feeling? Some people on Facebook described it: “Our Lady of Minas Morgul”. “It’s the church Sauron went to as a child.” “You gotta evangelize the orcs”. But how does it make you feel? What is your gut telling you about its intentions?

Do you feel oppressed? Do you feel literally as though something in your mind or heart is being pressed down by a great weight? Do you feel as though someone is threatening you with violence? Wants to harm you?

That’s “Brutalism” in church architecture, one of the more egregious of the Modernist fads that seems still not to have burnt itself out. What do we do with a church that makes you feel mentally curb-stomped? What does a church like that “mean”? What does it say about God, about Christ, about Our Lady? That they’re evil? That everything the Church says about them is a lie? Do you feel abandoned? Isolated? Brutalised?

This is the mentality, the “animus” of NuChurch. This is how they want you to feel; small, threatened, isolated, alone and hopeless. It’s Nietzsche-ist nihilism in 3-D.  It’s the Church of St. Francis de Sales in Michigan, held up by the secular world as some kind of paragon of modernist art. This is what the World wants, and it’s where the Church has followed for 50+ years.

What is the theology of Brutalism? The people above put their finger on it when they compared it to the works of Sauron and Morgoth: