Now modernism is the buzz word in the Catholic church since Pope Francis has taken the reins. Could this have an influence in the sleepy town of Civray in Poitou-Charentes…. maybe?This new pope from South America is maintaining the traditional values of the Catholic church but as one who once rode a Harley Davidson and has a degree in chemistry we are aware that a new wind is blowing through the cloisters of the Vatican.
One area where the Catholic church can give full vent to this modernism is to improve church attendances and the big issue here is to increase the numbers of young people attending church services. This has already been addressed to some extent in South America where the famous architect Oscar Neimeyer born in Rio de Janiero was commissioned to design a Basilica for Brasilia. This was one of his most celebrated architectural designs and is totally modern.
When recently Niemayer died at the fantastic age of 105 his work and life was acknowledged by none less than Norman Foster who in 2004 was responsible for the iconic St Mary Axe building in London. This is now more often referred to as the Gherkin. When it first appeared it did not win approval from the Catholic church as it was considered as representative of ‘phallic architecture’ . However since that time it has become one of London’s – indeed the world’s- most recognised buildings.
With Pope Francis being from South America, albeit Argentina and not Brazil but with that Latin spirit, and with the buzz of the Harley Davidson in his veins, the message has gone out that church attendances need to be improved and front line in that is a new look for the churches. So out with the old and in with some new designs. Could Civray be in the forefront of this new direction for the Catholic Church? Will we see a mini Gherkin in place of the old Romanesque church? The new design is still under wraps but already it does have the look of a Gherkin.