The Ruination of the Capuchins’ Church in Altötting, Germany

The Ruination of the Capuchins’ Church in Altötting, Germany


[This also reminds me of …]

The German Capuchins have decided to ruin their church St Konrad, which is located in the world-famous Bavarian pilgrimage place of Altötting, Germany.

On June 19th they started what they call a “renovation”. It will cost around two million Euros and will be finished in April 2018.

The Provincial superior of the friars, Father Marinus Parzinger, explained in the Altöttinger Liebfrauenbote, that the church was already spoiled of her [beautiful] side altars during a reconstruction between 1953 and 1956.

He explains that this reconstruction was not yet done according to the guidelines of Second Vatican Council, which will happen now.

After, the church will have the charm of a crematory hall, which will properly reflect the state of the Church in Germany and of the German Capuchins in particularly.

Get AQ Email Updates

3 comments on “The Ruination of the Capuchins’ Church in Altötting, Germany

  1. “The beat goes on” in “modern” church architecture

    From the National un-Catholic Reporter:

    New clericalism is imposing old ways on modern church architecture

    Peter Feuerherd | Apr. 13, 2017

    Church architecture has become a frontline of the liturgy wars as Catholic churches undergo re-renovations. Michael DeSanctis, a church building consultant and theology professor, is not pleased.

    Restoration-minded pastors, most who came of age well after Vatican II, are ordering the changes. Gone are what they sometimes disparage as “Pizza Hut” churches. The goal is to restore tradition. They impose altar rails, the placement of the Blessed Sacrament near the altar, and use expensive marble on the floor to seal off the sanctuary area as a polished and exclusive arena for clerical liturgical action. Sometimes the choir gets relegated to a back loft, providing disembodied sound. In other parishes, circular seating arrangements are abandoned in favor of long rows of pews.

    DeSanctis, a professor of fine arts and pastoral studies at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, writes in Emmanuel Magazine that these changes in church architecture are manifestations of what he describes as a new clericalism. The goal is to set off the priest from his congregation, in opposition to a Vatican II theology that focused on lay participation and the de-emphasizing of barriers.

    “Architecture is how we express our liturgy,” DeSanctis recently told NCR in a phone interview, noting that the generation of post-Vatican II priests routinely came out of the sanctuary to interact with their parishioners during liturgy. They built churches with a focus on circular design, to bring the congregation closer together, as well lowered the altar to bring the priest closer to the congregation.

    But that has changed with the emergence of many younger clergy, schooled in seminary with the thought of Pope Benedict, who re-emphasized clerical distinctions. Across the country, DeSanctis has noticed how many pastors are redesigning the suburban churches built in the 1960s and ’70s with a focus on priestly action.

    This movement comes at the expense of Catholics who came of age in Vatican II, many of whom are unimpressed with rearranging the church furniture to emphasize clerical status. DeSanctis, 60, said many Catholics he knows just move on to another parish when the zeal to re-renovate modern design comes to their parish. They don’t appreciate the nostalgia for a pre-modern church, and often resent the costs incurred.

    “We just don’t buy the categories any longer. Respect has to be earned,” he said.

    In his article, DeSanctis offers a defense for the much-maligned modernist suburban church, with its focus on nurturing community.

    He begins with St. Jude the Apostle Church in Erie, a product of postwar Catholicism. It is a modernist structure with a distinctive summit cross, built to be “a place of worship completely at home in the modern world.”

    DeSanctis writes: “Modernity was something the people of St. Jude found neither foreign nor especially threatening but a condition of life as potent to the imaginations of prosperous, college-educated Catholics in post-World War II America as the ancient rites of their church. A distinctly modern ambience pervaded every inch of the shiny, suburban landscape they’d chosen to inhabit with their young families.”

    St. Jude’s, he notes, fit into the modern suburban American landscape, and that was its strength, nothing to be apologetic about, even if it didn’t look like the cathedrals of old Europe.

    However, that model has changed. St. Jude’s has undergone a re-renovation in recent years.

    YouTube video of St. Jude’s church in Erie, showing elements of the building design inside and out.

    Elaborate candles now serve as boundaries to mark off the sanctuary from the pews. The altar area has now been transformed by marble, visually setting itself off. The new architecture, intended to recapture traditional elements, has a “look at me” clerical mindset, writes DeSanctis.

    He notes that such changes are examples of “fussy territoriality” expressed through physical changes made by “a wave of priests intent on undoing the achievements of their immediate predecessors, a generation or two of men animated by the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.”

    DeSanctis expressed concern that his language might be too off-putting, but he said the criticism is justified. He sees an ally in Pope Francis, who decries making churches into museum pieces and has expressed wariness about focus on the externals of liturgical garb at the expense of welcoming and proclaiming the Gospel.

    He conceded to NCR that there has been bad modernist design through the past few decades, much of it castigated by young clerical restorationists. Yet, he said, “The church can’t persist in making one feel that we’re living in the Middle Ages.”

    His design goal is “to come up with a liturgical and architectural style that is authentic for our time.” As examples, he points to St. Michael’s Church in Wheaton, Illinois, a design he consulted on, and the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California.

    Modernist style, he said, need not be superficial. It can speak to the deepest human impulse, as much as the great European cathedrals. For examples, he noted the impact of modern America’s great monuments, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and the 9/11 Memorial at New York’s World Trade Center, both of which inspire reverence and provide places to express deep unspoken emotion.

    Church architecture needs to bring clergy and laity together, notes DeSanctis, not provide more opportunities for separation. It is his hope, he writes, “that priests of all ages and liturgical persuasions would begin to regard their workplace less a refuge from the lay faithful in their charge than the very point of entry into fuller union with them whenever the Church gives voice to its prayer.”

    What will future houses of worship look like?

    Students Sina Moayedi, standing right, and Ugochukwu Nnebue, standing center rear, present their project in a final review at Catholic University of America.

    Michael J. Crosbie and Julio Bermudez | Religion News Service | Jun. 17, 2017

    Over the past few decades the concept of a “church” — in fact, of all kinds of religious buildings — has been shifting, some might even say radically transforming, because of big changes in people’s attitudes about religion.
    Surveys by groups such as Pew Research and Trinity College have shown a precipitous drop in people who belong to organized religions, particularly in the Christian and Jewish faiths and among those under 35.

    Today the largest single segment of the population in the U.S. describes itself as “nones”: affiliated with no organized religious group. People of all ages are turning away from organized religion but they are not necessarily choosing to be atheists. It seems like they are looking for a more genuine, personal experience of the spiritual in their lives. Many call themselves “spiritual but not religious.”

    As architects ourselves and as teachers of future architects, we wonder what a house of worship in the future will look like.

    Do we even need a building to be religious, to be spiritual, to practice our belief? Is there a future for religious architecture at all?

    We put that question to a group of architecture students at the Catholic University of America in Washington. The big transformations in spiritual belief are being led by millennials, people just like our students.

    We asked them to reflect upon their own experiences with organized religion, their own beliefs and the “search” for a new kind of church they might be engaged in. We shared demographic info about how religion is changing in America. We then picked a site in Washington for which the students could design a new kind of house of worship.

    The students revealed a willingness to greatly broaden the definition of what happens inside a house of worship, and why it was important to them.

    Students found new opportunities to define a sacred place in such activities as performing music or making art; in moving their bodies through space in the medium of dance; in digitally connecting with people and events around the globe; in sharing with and caring for other human beings through the concept of “giving and receiving”; in creating a safe place for women who are victims of domestic violence; in landscape and nature serving as a setting for contemplation, reflection and celebration; in providing support to those seeking to strengthen their bodies and spirits through nutrition and exercise.

    Conventional ideas about houses of worship were pretty sparse.

    The new house of worship’s “design program” (the kind of spaces included) evolved from the students’ ideas about where the sacred might be found. The designs reflect some of the elements of contemporary ideas about spirituality, with a combination of places for the spirit, places to share community, places for outreach, places for creation and performance, places for gathering in worship and ritual, places to share meals and fellowship (like pubs or coffeehouses). The program was flexible in the sense that the students could decide how much space to devote to different functions and activities.

    Because this was not a single-use building, but multifaceted in its spaces and functions, it should offer opportunities to design “in cathedral.” The term “in cathedral” was coined by author and educator Elizabeth Drescher and explored by Keith Anderson in his recent book, “The Digital Cathedral” (Morehouse, 2015). Being “in cathedral” recognizes the sacred in everyday life, in everyday places, the network of relationships among neighbors and even strangers, and the witness of believers beyond the confines of an enclosed sacred space. These new designs should be “in cathedral” with the surrounding neighborhood and the people who live there.

    The search for the sacred through the design studio assignment resulted in what we think are some provocative, challenging schemes of what the new houses of worship might look like as religion in America continues to change. In fact, we had to admit that we, as design critics (of the boomer generation), might not be ready to accept the new kinds of sacred places and spaces that the students might develop.

    When the students presented their projects there were a few debates between students and teachers about what could or should be considered sacred and what wasn’t. It was at that point that we realized that the design project to design a new house of worship had achieved some measure of success: to challenge and confront the idea that a religious building should be static and unchanging; to consider that every generation needs to ask and try to answer what it is, or what it might be.

    • This is unbelievable! That “church” in the video is still ugly and putting in a bit of marble and some candlesticks (lipstick on a pig, anyone?) certainly didn’t result in making it look like a “museum piece from the Middle Ages.” These radical wreckovators are just insane! Like pro-abortion advocates in their antipathy to compromise, they can’t brook any quarter – it’s either all their way or they’re screaming about the end of the world!

  2. I guess I must have missed that part in the New Testament about how the Apostles went around, their pollsters ever in attendance, asking their audiences how they “felt” about erecting altars on the sites of the martyrs, or taking up sleeplessness in vigil prayers or fasting or making actual financial sacrifices to erect fitting monuments to the early Saints.

Leave a Reply