New Forms of Worship


As an architect who designs churches I have both Protestant and Catholic clientele.

The Catholic Churches seem to be going backwards: reviving Latin, turning the altar towards the wall, reintroducing renaissance artwork, banning modern music, eliminating lay ministry etc. This is turning many people away, rather than attracting them.

The churches that seem to be prospering are the Non Denominational Evangelical Christian Churches. This group is very much into creative worship, use of electronic media and internet for worship, use of video with rock music etc. The evangelicals are also into lay ministry,liturical dance, ordination of women and what is called “Distriibutive Worship” ie starting home churches in mission countries.

Evangelicals are meeting the needs of modern man. Catholics ignore them.

The Catholic Church need to change its ways or lose significant numbers of members to other denominations. It appears that the reforms of Vatican II are being eliminated. Given the ultra conservative temperment of the current pope and bishops, how can new forms of worship begin to be created inside the Catholic Church ?.


Modern man needs to meet the needs of God’s Holy Catholic Church.


Christ said:

" Birds have nests but the Son of Man has no where to lay his head." He was too busy preaching and teaching and leading by example what it means to live into the Kingdom of God. Christ’s Kindom of God has NO RITUAL, IT HAS NO BUILDINGS, IT HAS NO ARCHITECTURE, IT HAS THE MUSIC THAT SPRINGS FROM THE HEART NOT FROM PIPE ORGANS. THE PEOPLE OF THE KINGDOM ARE FREE. The Kingdom of God has no rulers but God, no popes, no bishops, no priests, preachers or ministers collecting money to build monuments to themselves. The Kingdom of God is about Love. Core values of the Kingdom of God that are laid out by Matthew in Chapters 5, 6 &7 of his Gospel. The church is the meeting of the people to care for one another and to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus in POWER. The early church had many forms of worship. There is no reason why the Catholic Mass can’t be reformed to bring the Kingdom to Modern Man. Jesus did not invent the Mass…therefore there is no reason for the Pope’s refusal to allow innovation.In Christ’s words: “Don’t put new wine in old wine skins”.


Actually the Early Christian’s worship was the Mass. I just read a book on this subject. The worship, in the Book of Revelation, is Heavenly Mass. Mass is heaven on earth. Since Jesus’s Church is the Catholic Church, then yes Jesus did invent the Mass. Dancing and singing some songs about God is not worship. It may be praise but not even close to worship. 21st century America does not understand the TRUE meaning of worship!


The Catholic Church is not concerned with “feel good theology”. It is concerned with presenting the Gospel, unchanged, un-softened. It is concerned with offering worship and prayer to God, not entertainment of people. Vatican II is now only beginning to be implemented as intended.


You know, I think Catholic churches could stand to have a few “improvements” in their buildings:

  1. ** Bathrooms on the same floor ** as the “sanctuary” (I know it’s not called that in Catholic terminology; what I am referring to is the place where Catholics attend Mass). So many Catholic churches, even the modern ones, have the bathrooms in the basement. At least the modern churches have elevators, but the old churches–ai yi yi. Wear your Depends to Mass. Not fun.

Now honestly, is there a really good reason, a “religious” reason, why the bathrooms have to be in such an inconvenient location? I don’t think so. Some people have argued that in the past, Mass was only an hour and that people could wait that long. Well, I’m sure a lot of people, especially women, just didn’t come to Mass at certain times of the month because sometimes, an hour is too long.

  1. Adequate heating and cooling. I honestly don’t think that freezing or sweltering is part of the Holy Mass, is it? As many others have asked on this forum–“quote me the document.”

  2. And if the heating and cooling was adequate, coat racks! A few months ago I started a thread on this forum about the need for coat racks–you would have thought I was asking for a nudie bar in the church! Apparently people aren’t meant to take off their coat during the Holy Mass–it just isn’t part of the great Catholic tradition!

Well, I say phooey and humbug to that! During the Easter Mass at my daughter’s church, we were so packed in, and we were so hot in our coats and it was just so uncomfortable. We even asked the usher before Mass–is there anyplace in this giant edifice where we can hang up our coats? No. We finally took off our coats and stashed them in the aisle–a tripping hazard, but we couldn’t take it anymore. But we had to gather them back up again when it came time for Communion, and the only place to put them was on our laps, but we were kneeling, so we didn’t have laps–yuck. Obviously, we weren’t concentrating on the Mass. I wish I had more intestinal fortitude to overcome my weak flesh, but my intestines tend to throw up when I get overheated and my knees tend to hurt when there is no room to kneel because of my stupid coat which doesn’t belong on my body when I am inside a modern building.

Is this supposed to remind us of the fires of hell? Good job.

Ridiculous. Install a few coat racks. They’re cheap at K Mart. All of the people who prefer to leave their coats on because they get cold when the temp drops below 80, or because they believe that leaving a coat on is part of the liturgy can just sit there in their coats. But all the rest of us who prefer to not wear our outdoor clothes indoors can then hang up our coats like modern people do in this year 2008.

  1. Acoustics. I have yet to be in a Catholic church where I can actually hear everything, especially the music. Is it a SIN for people to be able to hear the preaching without also hearing a popping mike or static or feedback or nothing at all? Is there some special traditional significance to “dead spots” in the church? (To remind us of our eventual death and the need to be prepared?) Honestly, if the Protestants can do it, so can the Catholics. Heck, the Shriners can do it! A Junior High school auditorium has better acoustics than most Catholic churches.

  2. Seating for the wheelchair-bound. I really hated sitting out in the aisle after my surgery. I felt so conspicuous. At least people stopped and talked to me! But I think we need to be more accomodating and not make people feel marginalized.

  3. Cry rooms where people can sit and still participate in the Mass. I have seen this in two Catholic churches, and I think they’re cool. We could see the little hooligans screaming and tearing up the walls, but we couldn’t hear a thing! And inside, the parents were actually participating in the Mass, not just babysitting until it was time to go home.

  4. More places in the church for small group Bible studies, prayer, etc. that aren’t cavernous. There is no reason to heat up an entire fellowship hall for a dozen ladies having a Bible study. I realize that Catholics having Bible studies is a fairly new and strange phenomena, but I hope it’s here to stay. It’s a good phenomena!

I apologize for sounding sour. But honestly, I have heard some of the silliest excuses on this forum for why Catholic churches are so darn inhospitable and uncomfortable.


Allow me to add one more thing to my list above:

  1. A FOYER big enough so that people can chat and fellowship and hug necks and discuss the ball game and make plans for going out for dinner and NOT disturb all the people who are praying before and after Mass.

Most of the Catholic churches that I’ve been in have a tiny little foyer that is barely big enough for the priest and a few altar boys.

No WONDER people chat in the sanctuary!

I think it’s nonsense to say that people shouldn’t be friendly with each other before or after Mass. The way some people talk on this Forum, you would think that demonstrating love and friendship among Christians is a SIN! Utter nonsense. It is good for Christians to mingle and chat and stick around after Mass or come early before Mass and talk, talk TALK to each other! That is a good thing! Catholics who think it is a bad thing–well, you’re just wrong about that.

But I don’t blame you for wanting all the good fellowship to happen somewhere AWAY from the Mass so that people can concentrate on prayer, worship, adoration, examining their conscience, etc.

So build the church in such a way that BOTH groups can be accomodated. Design a place for people who come early to stand around (or sit around) and for people who want to hang around after Mass to chat, hug, make plans to go to dinner together, admire each other’s children, commiserate over each other’s health and medical treatments, etc.-- and do all this without disturbing those who are in deep prayer before or after Mass.

And make sure it’s on the same floor as the sanctuary. Sometimes people say, “well, that’s what the Fellowship Hall is for.” No it isn’t, not if the Fellowship Hall is down in the basement. People don’t go there unless there is a dinner or a meeting of the K of C, or a fashion show or a St. Joseph’s Altar.

It’s all in the design . Again, a lot of Protestant buildings have managed to accomodate both the fellowshippers and the deep pray-ers. Surely Catholics can do the same.


That was a worship command given by Christ.
Should he have put it up for a vote?


Yes, He did, at the Last Supper and on Calvary, and just to make sure we did not miss the point, laid it out step by step again for the disciples he met on the road to Emaus.


Our goal is not to draw numbers of people, but to be true in worship. It is much better to have 10 people at Mass who are truly fervent about the Eucharist than 100 who are profaning it.

Well, more power to them. It boggles the mind how anyone could have “internet worship”. Jesus is a person, who is to be worshipped in Spirit, and in Truth. The internet is, by definition, separative of the persons communicating upon it. I love the internet, and spend hours on it daily. However, it can never take the place of sitting for that amount of time at the feet of Jesus.

Well, Catholics believe that only Jesus can meet the needs of man, ancient or modern. I do not ignore evangelicals, in fact, such groups have contributed a great deal to me personally as a Christian to live in the world evangelically. Electronic bells and whisltes will only satisfy the fleshly desires of humankind, where the true worship is in the Body and Blood, that needs no electronics, internet, or other bells and whistles.

The “spirit of Vatican II” that corrupted an entire generation by all means needs to “go”. No new form of worship is needed inside the Catholic Church. Jesus’ sacrifice is the perfect worship, and was presented for all time on the cross. This perfect worship is what is made present at every Divine Liturgy.

May the Magesterium continue to be “ultra conservative” in the face of all this glitz.


I welcome you to CAF, but I wonder. Why are you here? You clearly do not understand much of anything about Catholicism. What do you hope to accomplish here with your misunderstandings?


I totally agree. The problem with Protestant churches is that they are catering to what the parishioners want and not what should be done. Of course there are many other problems with the Protestant churches but this is just one of the problems. Dancing and singing is not worship, it is praise but it is not worship. The holy Mass is worship and it is Heaven on Earth! :thumbsup:


Yes, He did.


No it isn’t. In fact, it’s bringing out true worship from the interior, not the “feel good” variety.

The churches that seem to be prospering are the Non Denominational Evangelical Christian Churches. This group is very much into creative worship, use of electronic media and internet for worship, use of video with rock music etc. The evangelicals are also into lay ministry,liturical dance, ordination of women and what is called “Distriibutive Worship” ie starting home churches in mission countries.

Evangelicals are meeting the needs of modern man. Catholics ignore them.

They have no Eucharist. They are the most impoverished of the Christian churches.

The Catholic Church need to change its ways or lose significant numbers of members to other denominations. It appears that the reforms of Vatican II are being eliminated. Given the ultra conservative temperment of the current pope and bishops, how can new forms of worship begin to be created inside the Catholic Church ?.

Vatican II never called for those things of which you speak. The “backward” changes you see are actually the real things Vatican II envisioned a long time ago. If you only bothered to read the documents, you will see that it still reinforced Latin, never required priests to face the people, still preferred Gregorian Chant, and emphasized the sacred.

The Catholic Church only wants that there is a distinction between the sacred and secular.

But if you don’t understand that, then you should not be designing Catholic churches. I shudder to think of what your output would look like.


Oh please. Read Revelation 4 and 5.

Jesus did not invent the Mass

Read 1st Corinthians 11.

God, I hope your career remains limited to Protestant churches. Architects should not design Churches who have no grasp of Catholic liturgical theology.


My first impulse was to reply immediately and tell you that there are in fact priests in heaven. a priest is a priest forever. however, then I got totally confused with everything else you said that does not seem to make much sense. Jesus did in fact invent the mass. personally. he did not require your help. also he did not require my help. also he did not require PETERS help. you are caphas and on this caphas I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH. It is not our place, or the popes, to change what Jesus Christ established.


Seems to me like you need a new line of work. If you believe all this, why on earth are you designing buildings in which people intend to ritually worship? :shrug:


Come over here, where I am. You can walk cross-country 70 miles to Mass, and in the dark climb a mountain, during a stormy night, in the thunder, rain or hail and wind, you can huddle with two hundred people, around a great rough rock on the side of a wet, cold, boggy, rocky, mountain. As you see the suns rays rise through the dark in the east you will see the priest raise the Eucharist in silent adoration. His hair is windswept in every direction, the cold rain has finally reached your skin, but it seems right somehow, you would’nt be anywhere else. It has drama, wild weather, a wild land, dark, cold, remote, - people, your ancestors, have died and are buried here under the rocks, they carryed the sick, sick themselves, they went to Mass right here - their ancestors hounded into the most remote mountainscapes to hear Mass. It is the exact same Mass as you would hear in Chartres Cathedral, St Peters Basillica, or a tiny parish church - the sound of the wind whistling through the bog-grass and groaning and booming over the shattered rocky landscape replaces the giant organ, and the birdsong at the first hint of daybreak replaces the choir, the sense of immensity and wildness of the land replaces the soaring inspiring heights of the Gothic Cathedral. - Or, is it the other way around, His amazing creation and His amazing sacrifice are manifested in a Cathedral, choir and organ, - and Mass.
I like both, - the world is His Cathedral, Calvary is His Altar through time. The Gothic Church and renaissance art and Latin Mass is our world condensed and clarified, and its purpose is to inspire, with meaning, - as nature inspires.
But an architect who wants a building without a building will will find it already exists.


It is not merely our world. It is heaven as well, for at Mass we step out of worldly realities and enter into supernatural realities: Calvary and the worship of the heavenly court.

that’s why we need a clear distinction between the sacred and the profane. Mr. OP is actually the one demanding the step backward into the world, rather than out of it.


Just so.

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