USCCB Approves Initiative To Round All Traditionally Built Churches By End Of Next Year

August 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Parish Life

Members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that they have approved an initiative to “round out” all remaining traditionally built churches by the end of next year, USCCB secretary to the president bishop Jonathon Garner announced early this morning.

“This is a long time coming,” an ecstatic Garner told EOTT. “We’re excited to finally give all parishioners the opportunity to finally get more involved in the Mass.”

Garner also said that during the renovation, parishioners would be invited to “come together as one family by sitting around the altar,” which, he emphasized, was one of the most essential aspects of Mass participation.

“Christ did not ask the disciples to sit behind him or even in front of him during the Last Supper,”  Garner said. “No, he asked them to gather around the table, as we can clearly see in Leonardo di Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper. And by having them gather together, he was able to remind them of what clearly is most important part of the Mass: awkwardly staring at the person across the other end of the church for a full hour. I’m sorry, what did I just say? I meant ‘gathering together.’ Yeah, that’s it…gathering and stuff.”

The initiative also applies to Tridentine parishes where the priest is expected to say the Mass with his back facing the congregation. When asked how the “restructuring” could be done while still preserving the integrity of the Latin Mass, Garner suggested that the women simply turn their mantillas around until they completely covered their faces.

“That way, they can simply imagine the priest’s back is facing them, I don’t know…who cares? Bunch of freaks anyway. I’m sorry what did I just say? I meant ‘we’ll look into it.’”

  • RH001

    Just think how great Solomon’s Temple would have been without a Holy of Holies/Sanctuary with a Tabernacle for worship of The Divine Presence, and instead been built with one circular room for gathering!

    • ithakavi

      Yeah – just like the Dome of the Rock that replaced it. And how is that working out?

  • That’s the Catholic Cathedral of Liverpool in the picture. The sad thing is the Anglican Cathedral down the street is beautiful. It was built by a Catholic. The Catholic Cathedral (the picture speaks for itself) was built by an Anglican.

    • iamlucky13

      I also recognized it, and I’m fairly certain I’ve seen a photo of a Cold War early warning radar that looks almost identical to it.

      A coworker and I managed a day-trip to Liverpool recently in the middle of a work trip. I’m not even sure if he’d consider himself Christian, and I know he’s not Catholic, but he appreciates art and architecture and was quite happy to join me in poking my head in churches we saw as we explored the city.

      He was awestruck by the Anglican cathedral (as was I). We spent probably two hours there, appreciating it inside and out, including its many shrines and altars (plus a gorgeous side-chapel dedicated to Our Lady – in a protestant church!).

      When we went looking for the Catholic cathedral, I told him not to expect it to be as grand since Catholics were far fewer in number in England. Neither of us were prepared for what we actually saw – a dixie cup decorated with a meaningless stained glass pattern turned upside down on a concrete funnel. The inside looks like a sports arena crossed with a disco club.

      Sadly, the archdiocese had actually started construction on a cathedral that would have been every bit as magnificent as its Anglican peer, but had to stop due to cost increases and material shortages in WWII. A proposal to continue with a smaller but similar design after the war went nowhere. Less than 20 years later, they held a competition for a new design, and somehow the dixie cup is what they chose as the winner out of 300 submissions.

      • Kim Bo

        I too suffer the circle “worship space”.Next thing you know they’ll
        be drawing giant pentagrams on the floor.

        • Rhiannan Thomas

          It’s not a pentagram, it’s a STAR, to remind us all of how special we are. Plus a circle for unity.

          • Kim Bo

            Ha ha!

    • Rose Lincoln

      Oh, that’s bizarre.

      • JR

        I wonder, what does it looks like on the inside? Can’t be any worse than the boxy minimalist modernist warehouse in my town.

        • samton909

          Cardboard boxes are pretty much the same on the inside.

        • Derek Brown

          There’s a rollercoaster on the inside. That’s exactly what SpaceMountain looks like at Disneyland.

          • Monk

            “Rollercoaster” is an apt metaphor for my parish’s liturgy … including all of the shouting, wild gesticulations and the nausea.

    • samton909

      It is not. That is a picture of a missile silo.

    • ithakavi

      Perhaps the bishop responsible is the lost twin of Cardinal Mahoney.

  • MairinT

    And when they are all ’round’ it will be easy to replace the cross on top with an Islamic dome and minarets!!

    • samton909

      We must plan for futurechurch.

    • ithakavi

      Well, Laudato si is strongly in favor of recycling. This may fit in with Francis’ plans for the Church very nicely.

  • JB
    • Kim Bo

      Bwa ha ha ha!

  • ES

    Ah, yet another Church of St Pow-Wow of the Wigwam, a nice circle of people all praising each other.

  • samton909

    I find it hard to concentrate on the mass when I can’t look directly in front of me, and see hundreds of people fidgeting, etc. Only in a round church is my attention properly focused on the odd things that people wear to church, and the way their kids behave.

    • Casper

      I think you mean “and the way their kids misbehave”.

      • Puffsstuff

        NO, one watches how kids behave and then judge whether they have behaved well, or misbehaved. The judgement coming almost immediately in whispered tones the person next to the one making the observation.

        • Casper

          Well, the kids who behave aren’t that fun to watch.

  • David Braine

    There are many aspects to the Mass – the first is that it is “my body given for you” and “my blood poured out for you” – Jesus needs by his sacrifice our prayer to the Father. The archetype of the mass is not primarily the last supper but what it teaches about, namely the crucifixion – dying that we might live. In it we address the Father, and Jesus pioneers our address to the Father, leading us as priest.

  • ithakavi

    Thus 25% of Catholics will be celebrating ad orientum, 50% will be going to Purgatory, and the rest to Hell. I suppose that will be an improvement in most parishes.

  • Jan England

    You’ve got to be kidding!

    • wiffle

      Yes, he or she is kidding. 🙂

  • Jim

    Another state-of-the art improvement will be the installation of revolving ambos, enabling the celebrant to give a 360-degree homily. Wealthier parishes will, of course have electronics and hydraulics powering their ambos and giving them the ability to control the speed of rotation; less affluent parishes will have a manual version, turned by altar servers to the tempo of “On Eagle’s Wings.” As the manufacturer’s brochure states, “Now, ALL homilies can go around in circles.”

    • ithakavi

      Or the priest could be projected into the sanctuary as a hologram and appear to be facing the entire congregation simultaneously. He wouldn’t even have to leave the Rectory. And having gone digital, you’d only need but one priest for each diocese. The savings and synergies are endless.

      • MrRightWingDave

        “Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi….you’re my only hope!”

        • ithakavi

          It is only a matter of time until quotations from both Yoda and Obi Wan are added to the rubrics of the Mass. Strong in the Force they are.

      • Casper

        Heck, just make it il Papa. Why bother with bishops?

        • ithakavi

          Well, technically each individual Church must grant faculties to celebrate Mass, thus one per diocese would seem to be the minimum. But then, under present circumstances Canon Law could be overruled by the Vatican Press Office (which appears to have more doctrinal authority than the Holy Office). Who am I to judge? And you are right – it could all be done from the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae every day, taped and rebroadcast for each time zone via high speed internet, and digitally translated into the local vernacular by Googletranslate (with ASL for the deaf, of course). When the technology perfects Smell-O-Vision it can include incense as well.

    • wiffle

      Round barns were invented to improve efficiencies in taking care of animals. If we just extend those concepts we could have a complete Mass in the round, saving precious minutes for other spiritual experiences such as waiting in line to leave the parking lot. All parking lots, of course, would have rotaries.

      • ithakavi

        Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon – his ideal penitentiary/asylum – was designed on the same principle. A coincidence? I think not.

      • CumExApostolatus

        So let us just have ‘worship services’ in a barn and then we can put on summer stock too; good fund raiser.

      • Casper

        Don’t forget about the spiritual experiences of cutting off our sacred neighbor in traffic to get out of the parking lot. And not letting pedestrians cross the lot.

    • Famijoly

      Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round in Circles?” would be apropos to such a contraption. And the lyrics match the attitude prevalent in liturgical planning the last 50 years: “I’ve got a song ain’t got no melody, and I’m gonna sing it to my friends.” “I’ve got a story ain’t got no moral; let the bad guy win every once in a while.” “I’ve got a dance ain’t got no steps; I’m gonna let the music move me around.”

      • Mary Ann Andersen

        Bingo!! 🙂

    • Hotrod1962

      How bout a circular conveyor belt that distributes the host along the perimeter of the church. This will eliminate the need for Eucharistic MInisters since communion will be self service. Circular designs are known to please God. This is evident in the crop circles created by the Holy Spirit.

      • pat

        Eliminate eucharistic ministers? – heretic.
        everyone knows it’s not communion if it doesn’t come from a Eucharistic minister. Heck, it’s not even a mass with a half dozen em’s.

        • Hotrod1962

          It’s common knowledge (maybe not to you) that Jesus thinks communion should only by given by a priest, on the tongue, with the recipient kneeling at an alter railing (don’t forget the alter BOY and his paten).
          The 4th secret of Fatima (didn’t know there was a 4th, did ya?) says that Jesus will fix this by the 3rd Vatican Council of 2054).

  • StillCat

    This reminds me of when Simone Weil wrote about the ugliness of a modern church! Most times now, during mass, I just close my eyes and imagine the altar raised, and the priest facing an imaginary cross raised and in front of him and the prayers make a lot more sense!

  • Wildgraywolf

    It looks like a hot air popcorn maker we had back in the 70’s.

    • wiffle

      I still have an air popcorn popper from the 80’s! Although mine looks nicer than the picture of this church…hmmm…

  • Tom

    That is an alien space craft disguised as a church until the aliens among us decide to return home. The top is the docking connecter and of course they cant hide the antennae on top. I cant believe rhe aliens thought we would believe that that was a Catholic church. As if.