RE: Catholic Christianity - Forms of Expression and ways of life - Revision + Past Paper questions and answers

  • Created by: Angela
  • Created on: 13-04-18 11:25

Forms of Expession and Ways of Life Revision Notes

Catholic Church Architecture:

How Church Design Reflects Beliefs:

  • Church built facing East - Points to the belief that Jesus rose from the dead and brought new life
  • Shaped in a cross - Reflects the cross as a symbol of the church - Link to resurrection
  • Some churches are round - eternity
  • Some octagonal - represents a star bringing life at Jesus' birth
  • Churches are often vaulted inside - creating an open space pointing upwards - suggest a connection with heaven.
  • Many churches have stained glass windows - Used in times where many Catholics could not read.
  • Separation of the sanctuary area used only by priests and servants - reminder that God is holy
  • Priest comes down for Holy communion (from sanctuary to nave) - Represents God's movement to humanity especially his coming in Jesus as God made man - the incarnation
  • Blessed sacrament (consecrated hosts) is kept in the tabernacle – a reminder that Christ is always present.

The nave is the gathering area with rows/seats that can be moved - it means 'ship' - worshippers are in Gods boat being guided by Christ and on a journey.

The sanctuary is a special area for priests and servers - contains lectern and tabernacle.

The Lady Chapel is a one side chapel with a small area dedicated to Mary

The Entrance/Porch is the place to display posters and messages, booklets and for greeting people before Mass.

Divergent forms of architecture, design and decoration

Older churches –

Screens to separate the Nave/sanctuary area – rood screens.

Orthodox Christians have an iconostasis – screen covered in icons to separate the sanctuary (consecration of the bread and wine) and the main part of the Church. 

Internal Features of a Catholic Church

The Altar:

The focus of attention of the Catholic Church. The priest offers mass from her as a symbol for Christ offering himself as a sacrifice for the sins of humankind. Its where the priest consecrates the Eucharist. It represents the table at the last supper.It is a place of thanksgiving. CCC -‘the table of the Lord, to which the people of God are invited’ The Importance of Redemption: The altar reminds worshipers that Christ died to save man, to be brought back to God - redeemed.

The Crucifix:

A visual reminder of the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross - Again reminding us of th the Importance of Redemption: see above. Jesus died so that people can have their sins forgiven and receive salvation. 

The Tabernacle:

Provides a focal point, usually has a place of honor as they believe Jesus is really present in the sacrament. Catholics may genuflect as a sign of respect. A sanctuary lamp may be lit nearby to remind people of God's presence.‘should foster adoration before the Lord really present in the Eucharist’ CCC

The Baptismal Font

This is usually at the entrance of the Church to remind them of that this sacrament makes




Do these notes work for Edexcel GCSE Religious Studies Specification A?