The Crescat’s Katrina Fernandez has long been at war with “ugly” church art and architecture which she insists “makes Baby Jesus cry…”. She has an interesting essay up over at Patheos, where she argues that beauty is part of our spiritual sustenance:
On any given day I am too-little exposed to beauty. I sit in traffic each morning staring at grey asphalt; I ride through treeless streets lined with utilitarian, ugly, ornament-free buildings and spend the remainder of my day in a cube. I imagine this is typical for most people: we go through the day surrounded by the mundane, and not realizing we miss beauty.
In my home though, I surround myself with beauty. I have it hanging on the walls and pouring out of stereo speakers. I visit it in my mind through pages in a book. And I realize that my home has become a sanctuary of beauty, because modern churches are not.[…]
People often justify their ugly little parishes by saying they don’t believe in wasting money for garnishments that insult the poor. Little do they realize that their bleak and barren churches are spiritually depriving the poor by starving their very hearts and souls; hard lives ache for beauty. I often wonder why people think the poor need (or deserve) only the basic-and-bare minimums. A dreary life needs more, not less, uplifting beauty. A church should be a refuge from a harsh and ugly world, a place where deprived senses may swim in beauty. To deny us that refuge or to deny the poor a chance to be awestruck seems an injustice to me.
You’ll want to read the whole thing, and check out the pictures!