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Building from Belief: Advance, Retreat, and Compromise in the Remaking of Catholic Church Architecture Paperback – April 1, 2002


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Building from Belief: Advance, Retreat, and Compromise in the Remaking of Catholic Church Architecture + Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy + How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814627552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814627556
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,063,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Demonstrate[s] the diversity among Catholics in responding to post Vatican II architecture.
Religious Studies Review


The problems and possibilities of modern church architecture are sensibly addressed.
Christian Century


. . . required reading for academic courses on sacred art and architecture as well as for training newly appointed pastors who are apt to guide some type of church building or renovation project on a small or large scale.
Pastoral Music


Building from Belief, which is composed of a series of essays written primarily in the previous decade, is respectful to those who differ in their views of religious architecture . . . is worth the time of those contemplating building or renovating their parish churches.
Religion and the Arts


Michael DeSanctis is one of those rare writers who possesses not only a knowledge of his own science (religious architecture and art), but the ability to frame the issues involved in church-building or renovation within the context of the best liturgical theology and spirituality. In an age of 'buildings without soul,' he calls us to 'build from belief,' and to commit to a dialogic process which respects our Catholic notions of grace and sacramentality and demands patient listening and conversion. He manifests a deep love not only for the worship space, but for the assembly which gathers there.
Anthony Schueller, SSS, Provincial, Former editor, Emmanuel

About the Author

Michael E. DeSanctis, PhD, is a liturgical design consultant, author, and associate professor of fine arts at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "abraeger" on February 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Michael DeSanctis is a writer who speaks from his soul. His book like his persona is larger than life.
He communicates the notion that we Catholics fail to ignore-the purpose of "Church" and that of communal prayer. His vast knowledge of liturgical space, sacred art and architecture is astounding.
As a Catholic I read this book with great interest.
Building from Belief put a lot of things into perspective for me-it is not "my Mass" or "my Church" but that of everyone in the congregation. A church without believers is just a building just the way that a house without a family is not a "home".
His vision for Church design in the new millenium is not only beautiful but also "soul stirring". It exemplifies the notion of worshipping as a community.
Gannon University and Erie are lucky to have him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Michael DeSanctis is a professor of the arts at Ganno University, and also the author of Renewing the City of God (Meeting House Essays Series, No 5).

He said in the Introduction to this 2002 book, "I offer the observations compiled in this book, having recognized long ago the inconsistency that often exists between the way the Roman Catholic Church speaks of its liturgical arts in legislative and scholarly statements and the manner in which it actually practices them. As much as I have intended to explain the important theoretical foundations of recent Catholic church design in light of the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, my greater goal has been to assess the state of sacred architecture as one finds it operating today in average, American parish communities." (Pg. 1)

He states, "A new church building without proper restrooms or nursery facilities ... is unimaginable today, as is one in which worshipers, packed into pews, must shiver during the winter months, sweat in the summer, or routinely suffer the effects of bad acoustics. Certainly every parish has its contingent of self-described 'traditionalists,' who believe there is something edifying about the minor discomforts one experiences in buildings erected prior to the reforms of recent decades." (Pg. 4)

He laments, "it is not uncommon in the context of parish-wide discussion sessions for members of the community opposed to recent liturgical reforms to critique openly the articles of legislation handed down since Vatican II rather than to suggest how they might be applied locally...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very helpful for understanding and critiquing Catholic architecture. Mister DeSanctis is experienced and competent, enough to provide good insights
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
Building From Belief: Advance, Retreat, And Compromise In The Remaking Of Catholic Church Architecture by Michael E. DeSanctis (Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Gannon University) is an informed and informative descriptive analysis of Catholic church architecture in the United States. Black-and-white photographs provide a visual correspondence to these carefully worded ruminations on the balance between modern design and centuries of tradition. Building From Belief is a unique contribution to Catholic Studies, and very highly recommended for its projected views regarding Catholic church construction, as well as DeSanctis' arguments for a comprehensive liturgical catechesis.
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