Q. 1. In the construction of new Catholic Church buildings, has the Catholic Church departed from the traditional style? Some of the new Churches do not even resemble a Church on the inside or the outside. They leave much to be desired.
A. 1. In 2011, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in his address to the Faculty of Architecture of the University La Sapiena of Rome, has spoken again the construction of the new Churches. More recently, in June, 2013, Mr. Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums, has also expressed his displeasure with the uglyness of the new structures.
According to Mr. Paolucci, "Modern Catholic churches resemble museums and are built more with the aim of winning design awards than worshiping God." He further states that they are "modernist monstrosities as unfit for worship," calling them museum-like "spaces that do not suggest prayer or meditation."
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi called these ultra-modern churches "inhospitable," even likening them to places "in which we find ourselves lost as in a conference hall, distracted as in a sports arena, packed in as at a tennis court, degraded as in a pretentious and vulgar house. We get church structures that look like concrete bunkers, spaceships, beached whales, and worse."
He continued, "I'm far from an expert on sacred architecture, but I do know one thing: A Catholic church should look recognizably Catholic. That's the problem with many ultra-modern Catholic churches today. They don't look Catholic. As I entered the main body of a church, it felt like an arena or a concert hall." Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi continued, "The altar was on a platform in the center surrounded by pews."
No crucifix, no stained glass windows, no statues, no kneelers, and no tabernacle. There was a processional cross with a corpus attached, but after the procession it was propped in the side corner as if it were a broom."
What is described above is the new trend of building Protestant style Churches in the spirit of ecumenism. Churches resemble concert halls so they can have multiple usage, serve as a place of worship on Sunday and as a meeting place the rest of the week. There you will find speakers of all denominations who will promote their heresies in a Catholic establishment under the approval of the local Bishop. The new Churches are meeting places, not intended to be a place of worship. They are no different than attending a Mass in a school gymnasium. To please the Protestant, there is no crucifix (cross with corpus/Christ crucified). Instead, if it does exist, there is a resurrected Christ. The Tabernacles have disappeared, pushed into a back room somewhere where few can now find the Real Presence of Jesus in the Church. Statues are non-existent because they offend our separated brothers and sisters.
Contrary to the true spirit of ecumenism that is led by the Holy Spirit, not by man, the Bishops, the priests, the laypersons have all joined together to create an atmosphere that will make the Protestant comfortable in the new structures - I say new structures because they do not resemble a Church, nor a Catholic Church. They lack the spiritual atmosphere that is found in a traditional Catholic Church where Christ is present as the center of worship.
To answer your question, the Catholic Church has not departed from the traditional style of building Churches that resemble, inside and outside, Catholic Churches. When you see an ugly modern Church, you are looking at the work of humans who lacked spirituality.