From a reader…
Quick question. In our diocesan review today for a new church I’ve designed, our progressive director of liturgy said that we are REQUIRED to have flowing water in our font according to the authority of the Book of Blessings.
I’m only seeing a “should” not a “must” in this regard, but also question whether that document has any real weight.
Trying desperately to avoid this tawdry little fad.
GUEST PRIEST RESPONSE: Fr. Tim Ferguson
The Book of Blessings (“Bob”) is not the primary authority over the construction of churches. That is the purview of the USCCB document “Built of Living Stones,” which make no reference whatsoever to any requirement that baptismal fonts have “flowing water.” While “Bob” states “In order to enhance its force as a sign, the font should be designed in such a way that it functions as a fountain of running water…” (paragraph 1085) this is more descriptive and prescriptive.
Having a spigot at the baptismal font in order to fill it up when needed for baptisms could be a useful thing, rather than have to haul buckets from the sacristy to the entrance of the church (where the baptistry should be placed). I can see no need, or requirement in any of the legislation (or even in “Bob”) mandating that it be perpetually, or even regularly flowing.
In general, “Bob” is a mess and should be relegated to the dustbin of history. Sorry “Bob”.
Fr. Z adds: “Bob” al rogo!