Glorious Roman church eye-candy

At the Mail online there are some spectacular wide-angle photos straight up at the ceilings of some Roman churches.

Here is one.

These churches are expressions of identity.

They express who Catholics believed they were and who they believed the Church to be.

Today we have lots of churches that look like municipal airports.

It is still possible to build beautiful, theologically rich churches.  It just isn’t done too often.  More often now that 10 years ago, perhaps.  I’ll grant that.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Traductora says:

    Gorgeous! Thank you for putting this up! And good things are still happening…I receive a great journal, Sacred Architecture, from the Institute for Sacred Architecture (Duncan Stroik, basically) at Mundelein. There is some beautiful stuff going on out there, even now, although I’m sure it’s under fire.

    Stroik had an excellent editorial in this issue (26-2014) about how the poor benefitted from beauty and how once upon a time, the only place most people saw beautiful art was in their churches. This is important to bear in mind.

  2. Muv says:

    Terrific photos – thank you for the link. The church in Rome that bowled me over was San Carlo al Corso, not just for the paintings but also the wildly clashing colours and stripes of the different types of marble.

    It is also worth nipping down to the comments box beneath the DM article to give a few red arrows where required.

  3. lh says:

    Be still my heart! Beautiful!

  4. pelerin says:

    Magnificent! However whenever the Mail online publishes an article referring either to the Pope or the Church in general this usually leads to umpteen anti- Catholic comments. At the time of writing this there are only 6 comments so far. One is typical of a Mail reader saying that the churches should be converted into museums or used for concerts etc adding that ‘their original purpose is no longer relevant. ‘ Sad. I get the feeling that they sit in waiting for an item of news on which to spew their anti -Catholic bile. Muv is right – visit the comments to red or green arrow where appropriate!

  5. Latin Mass Type says:

    You can avoid the comments at the Mail if you go to the photographer’s website.

    Unfortunately, the pictures don’t appear to be such high resolution. More like thumbnails. But you can purchase them.

  6. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    San Ignazio has the 2nd finest ceiling in Rome. And it’s never crowded with tourists.

  7. Elizium23 says:

    Modernist Church buildings… is that Modernism, the heresy, or Modernism, the architectural style? Perhaps a little of both? But let us not forget that the late, great, Antoni Gaudí was a champion of Catalan Modernisme and created the Sagrada Família, among other masterpieces.

  8. iamlucky13 says:

    The closest I’ve gotten to seeing any building as impressive as any of these in person is the cathedral in Liverpool, UK. I was particularly impressed with the side-chapel dedicated to Our Lady, but there’s a catch.

    The catch? That’s the Anglican cathedral.

    The Catholic cathedral in Liverpool was inspired by a Dixie cup sitting on top of a kitchen funnel, and the interior looks like the bridge of the Enterprise lit up for a disco party. I was more than a little embarrassed after a friend who knew I was Catholic and I walked from visiting the Anglican cathedral to the Catholic cathedral. This was the best we Catholics could show him of our identity through art that day. The Anglicans even outdid us in honoring our Blessed Mother in that city:

  9. Mia says:

    I have been to Rome twice, and every time is like the first time. Thank you for this, mainly because it represents the beauty of the faith of those whose love for Our Lord and His Church have left us their monuments as testimony of their faith for us to bask in the glory of the Church and to not forget that “…the gates of hell will not prevail against it!”

  10. JonPatrick says:

    Quite an improvement over the usual “eye candy” one sees in the Daily Mail.

  11. AnnTherese says:

    This is breathtaking! I’m more of an “and” person than an “either/or” type. I appreciate both the ornateness of our old churches, and the simplicity of modern churches– some, anyway. There are some plain ol’ ugly churches around, both traditional and new– in my humble opinion! (There is a large old church in a town I used to live in that painted their huge pillars throughout the church to resemble marble. Well intentioned–but the paint job always reminded me of chicken pox! Likewise, as you provided in another post, some modern churches look like space ships! Oh my.) Simplicity–such as I’ve experienced in the chapels of some monasteries–can help one stay focused on worship and interior prayer. In a church like this and other Roman churches I’ve visited– I might find myself distracted. Though, this is ok, also–because I’m filled with awe of the beauty, and it can lead me on another track of prayerfulness/meditation. All the churches I/you/we deem hideous or not Catholic enough– I’d like to believe people were doing their best to be faithful, to honor God, and to help people feel a sense of the Holy. Lastly, I’ll add that while beauty is important, it can also become ridiculously costly. We always need to be wise in how we are stewards of our own and our church’s money–making sure that we are mindful of the poor and other needful groups when making decisions.

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