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A contemporary interpretation of the second Vatican council liturgy on sacred Catholic architecture a church at the shrine of Ngome, KwaZulu-Natal.

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Pre-modern, modern and postmodern paradigms set the contextual backdrop for this dissertation, where the evolution of human consciousness or man’s understanding of being-in- the-world has - throughout time - resulted in theological and liturgical changes within the Catholic Church. The convening of the Second Vatican Council during the mid-twentieth century - called to address the secular modern world - saw the Catholic faith undergo a liturgical reformation, whereby the formational pillars of the Church were reassessed. Greater laity participation within the symbolic Mystical Body of Christ or Church meant that power relations between the clergy and the laity began to take on a new form. This, in conjunction with the development of the modernist movement; manifests itself spatially and experientially within the liturgical celebration, thereby impacting on sacred Catholic architecture. This dissertation aims at investigating sacred Catholic architecture in contemporary time and comprises three consecutive stages of thought, all of which have a relationship of cause and effect. Firstly, ‘the evolution of human consciousness and its effect on Catholic theology’ will be investigated, followed by, ‘the Second Vatican Council and the modern world’, and lastly, ‘the impact of the Second Vatican Council liturgy on contemporary sacred Catholic architecture’. The aim of this investigation is to pursue a pragmatic approach towards a design guideline. By means of a hermeneutic approach, this dissertation investigates a contemporary interpretation of sacred catholic architecture stemming from the liturgical reforms of Vatican II; thereby arguing that a contemporary faith requires a contemporary architecture. Furthermore, it seeks to investigate the relationship between a universal Catholic faith, and a vernacular conscious Church, by interpreting Ricouer’s (1961) ‘Universal Civilisation.’ The significance of the phenomenon of pilgrimage in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church is then outlined suggesting a way forward for the design of a contemporary Catholic Church at the Marian Shrine of 5gome.


Master of Architecture. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2014.


Theses--Architecture., Church architecture., Catholic architects--South Africa--KwaZulu-Natal., Catholic institutions--Buildings.