Introduction to the Role of the Art and Architecture Committee
Chair: Fr Peter Newby
Tel: 020 8892 3902
The Art and Architecture Committee is appointed by the Cardinal to oversee applications for the building or re-ordering of churches in the Diocese of Westminster.
All works which involve changes to a church or chapel are to be referred to the Committee for its approval. Examples include changes to the sanctuary or its fittings; changes in lighting of the interior of the church; installation or removal of statues, icons, and stained glass; or changes to the external appearance or entrance to the church.
The Application Process for any such work is set out in the Guidelines for Alterations to Churches in the Diocese of Westminster (The Diocesan Guidelines) (2006) available on the Art and Architecture Committee web pages of the diocesan website. Reference is also made to this process in paragraph 10.3 of the Parish Manual.
It is advisable for parishes to contact the Art and Architecture Committee at the earliest opportunity when beginning to consider a project. This will assist its smooth running.
In the case of work to be carried out in a listed church, once a project has been approved by the Art and Architecture Committee it must then be referred to the Historic Churches’ Committee, for the necessary statutory approval of works.
Churches and other places should be suitable for carrying out the sacred action and for ensuring the active participation of the faithful. In addition, the sacred buildings and requisites for divine worship should be truly worthy and beautiful, signs and symbols of heavenly realities.
Consequently, the Church continuously seeks out the noble assistance of the arts and welcomes the artistic expressions of all peoples and regions. Even more, just as the Church is intent on keeping the works of art and the treasures handed down from the past and, when necessary, on adapting them to new needs, so as well she strives to promote new works of art that appeal to the contemporary mentality.
On account of this, in commissioning artists and choosing works of art that are to become part of a church, true excellence in art should be required, as this nourishes faith and devotion and corresponds with the truth of the meaning and purpose for which it is intended.
General Instruction to the Roman Missal 288, 289