Cork, Ireland – 12-13 July: Fota II International Liturgy Conference

This International Liturgy Conference is going on right now in Ireland.  I wrote about it here.

A friend sent the following report:

A quick note on Fota II.  More to follow.

It was chaired Fota II was chaired by Professor D. Vincent Twomey and divided into three sessions: the first session on Sunday evening explored some of the theological, philosophical and historical sources of the principles outlined by Joseph Ratzinger for sacred art and architecture; the second session on Monday morning continued this exploration with a paper on the importance of the Jewish notion of nuptial covenant for the disposition and decoration of early churches and a paper on Louis Bouyer’s influence on the writings of Joseph Ratzinger.  The third session began with Cardinal Pell’s key note address on the contribution of Jose;h Ratzinger to Christian aesthetics.  He emphasized above all else that contribution was essentially theological and derived from the personal theological synthesis of Joseph Ratzinger.  Turning to the practical application of the theoretical principles outlined in the earlier sessions, Professor Duncan Stroik examined the challenges facing Catholic architects especially when trying to build a church which gives physical expression to the principles mysteries of the Catholic faith.  Dr. Alcuin Reid read a very significant paper on the correct interpretation of "noble simplicity" as understood by the Council Fathers and Sacrosanctum Concilium.  Ethan Anthony of the Boston firm of Cram Ferguson well illustrated the challenges facing parishes which want to build beautiful churches rather than glass boxes or concrete cubes as well as the myriad of possibilities available within the matrix of traditional building desogn and construction methods.  A further practical aspect of providing a proper gathering space for a a modern church was examined by Neil Roy by illustrating the medieval Galilee chapel and its "transitus" character both in terms of entering the sacral from the secular and in tems of entering the heavenly from the earthly.  The conference moved to Cobh Cathedral on Monday morning for the celebration of Mass in the extraordinary form with Cardinal Pell presiding in Cappa Magna.

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  1. Brian Day says:

    Dr. Alcuin Reid read a very significant paper on the correct interpretation of “noble simplicity” as understood by the Council Fathers and Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    I would be very interested in reading this paper if it becomes available. IMO, the current understanding of “noble simplicity” is a leading cause of bare, ugly alter/tables. It would be interesting to read how one can fight this minimalist approach to church architecture.

  2. The Acta for last year (and hopefully this year’s) will be out next published by Four Courts Press. Basically he seemed to say that ‘noble simplicity’ had it origin among Jansenists and had made its way in through Edmund Bishop’s writings (but he was comparing Roman rite to those of the East). The emphasis is too much on the ‘simplicity’ and not enough on the ‘noble’. Indeed the term has ceased to have any usefulness- the Pope did not use it at all in Sacramentum Caritatis. If you want a few (poor) photos of the Liturgy on the Monday in Cobh you can see them at my blog .

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