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Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy
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Code : HCC-A00
ISBN : 978-1-59525-027-8
Product status : Available (Available)

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Denis McNamara; Foreword by Scott Hahn

This unique book delves into the deep meanings of liturgical art and architecture, and by association, the Sacred Liturgy itself. It is meant to help pastors, architects, artists, members of building committees, seminarians,and everyone interested in liturgical art and architecture come to grips with the many competing themes which are at work in church buildings today. The object of Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy is help the reader to drink deeply from the wells of the tradition, to look with fresh eyes at things thought to be outdated or meaningless, and glean the principles which underlie the richness of the Catholic faith.

Winner of two Catholic Press Association awards:

Design and Production, second place

History, second place

  • Part one presents an emerging area of study:Architectural Theology
  • Part two introduces the readers for the first time to the scriptural foundations of church architecture
  • Part three focuses on the classical tradition of architecture
  • Part four examines iconography aseschatological flash and
  • Part five concludes with a discussion of the Twentieth Century and where we are now in the Age of the Church.

Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy is a foundational sourcebook for studying, designing, building, and renovating Catholic churches, this book is intended to find the middle of the road between differing and sometimes conflicting theories of liturgical architecture. It will give architects and building committees the theological language and tools to understand the elements of church design by examining past architecture and will help decision makers link these principles to their current building projects.

Praise for Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy:

"Dr. McNamara has given us something we desperately need, something rare and great: at once an achievement of scholarship, a work of mystagogy, and an act of piety.”


~Scott Hahn

Professor of Theology and Scripture

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Founder and Director, St. Paul Center forBiblical Theology


"I wholeheartedly commend the work of Dr. McNamara to all who want to deepen their understanding of sacred architecture, who desire to be schooled in the Church’s lex aedificandi.  In a particular way, it is my hope that his study will become a standard reference for seminarians and priests, and for all who have responsibility for the building and maintenance of churches and chapels.”

~The Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke

Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis

Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

“McNamara’s progression from eschatological icon and Beauty to the architectural principles of decoration and ornament to a careful reading of Sacrosanctum Concilium is ingenious. If congregations facing a renovation,priests facing a building committee, and church architects facing a project were to really struggle with the content of this book, it would change the kind of churches that we build. The book has the potential to change the future.”

~David Fagerberg

Associate Professor of Theology

University of Notre Dame

About the Author:

Denis R. McNamara, an architectural historian who specializes in American church architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He has written and lectured widely on the history and theology of ecclesiastical architecture, and had served on the Art and Architecture Commission of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is currently Assistant Director and faculty member at the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, and serves as a liturgical design consultant.

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