ABSTRACT

The devotional functions of churches were frequently important in their design and remained signicant throughout the period studied here. The emphasis on the liturgical movement in writing on church architecture at the time and since has tended to obscure this feature of post-war church architecture, a highly distinctive aspect of Roman Catholic culture in post-war Britain. The liturgical movement contrasted the liturgy with popular devotions, which were viewed as motivated by individual piety and sentiment more than reason or doctrine. For Guardini, the liturgy’s ‘sense of restraint’ and rich symbolic world made it a higher form of worship than pious devotions.1 Yet Guardini argued that devotions were still important, even necessary, and could be improved through the inuence of liturgy. Later, the emphasis on liturgy in church architecture marginalised devotional features in churches, as the ‘Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy’ implied:

The practice of placing sacred images in churches so that they may be venerated by the faithful is to be firmly maintained. Nevertheless, their number should be moderate and their relative location should reflect right order. Otherwise they may create confusion among the Christian people and promote a faulty sense of devotion.2