What is your opinion as to why Western liturgical and sacred art of all kinds is not being produced to a level of quality to rival that of the past? Is this limited only to the Church, or is it a problem that Western society faces as a whole?
I am thinking:
Let me say from the beginning that I do not buy the money thing, except for music, as music is an ongoing and living thing. But for the physically stable arts, things that are “one pop purchases,” in a manner of speaking, I cannot understand why they have been so fabulously destroyed.
There are a few possible answers:
- Western culture at its basic level is now dead (plausible)
- The Church prohibits Western expression in the liturgy (false)
- At a common level, contempt or lack of understanding of the value of beautiful art (plausible)
- A loss of skill (somewhat plausible, but there are plenty of artists out there who can make truly gorgeous art in any of the Western traditions)
- Connected to 1 above, a sort of utilitarianism that says that nothing but the very basic is required (plausible)
- Connected to 1 above, Western culture has been replaced by something else entirely (plausible)
- Western people are, consciously or subconsciously, afraid to express their own culture out of fear of offending those not of Western descent (plausible)
I believe it is some combination of these.
The reason I do not accept price as a valid reason is because:
- Many or most of the most aesthetically brutal or garage-like churches and art since the artistic devolution has been insanely expensive.
- A parish church is a work of ongoing scale. That is, a parish church can be constantly added on to, little by little, in the aesthetic realm. This puts price in check over time. Perhaps we have lost this concept of constantly improving the aesthetic aspects of our churches. I think this is plausible.
Western culture is, even if only in a fantasy sort of way, based largely on European ideals and principles. So why is it that the aesthetic expression of Western culture has been effectively eviscerated so fabulously in many places?
The thing that prompted me to start this thread is this fantastically hideous cover of OCP’s latest edition of Breaking Bread. Now, Breaking Bread is not exactly the best liturgical resource and OCP is not exactly the best liturgical publishing company, but this is an absolutely egregious example of… well, of I don’t even know what to call it. Please view here:
Please note that I do not intend this thread as some central complaining zone. I intend for this to produce real discussion and for it to not be a place to moan about how “my parish is so ugly” etc.