“…Architects who have aimed at acquiring manual skill without scholarship have never been able to reach a position of authority to correspond to their pains, while those who relied only upon theories and scholarship were obviously hunting the shadow, not the substance.

But those who have a thorough knowledge of both, like men armed at all points, have the sooner attained their object and carried authority with them.”

Theory is a critical part of the practice of architecture, and especially in the practice of Catholic sacred architecture.  While many designers are competent and even talented at design, but for Catholic architecture, a much deeper understanding of principles and theory is required.  Whereas in secular architecture, where the design of a building is the result of solving aesthetic or functional problems, in Catholic architecture the need to create “sacred” buildings remains.

As the Dedication rites for a church State:  “the church stands as a symbol of heavenly realities,” meaning a church is essentially symbolic in nature.  So knowing both the discipline of what to symbolize, ie theology, and how to symbolize, aesthetics is critical to creating a Catholic architecture that is authentic, beautiful and holy.

Thus to that end Erik Bootsma has dedicated years of study, research and writing to these fields of research.  Having written for numerous online and print periodicals, lectured at colleges and parishes he continues to write and speak about sacred architecture.  Currently he is working on a guidebook on building the proper Vaticann II church as well as a program which will train seminarians in the principles of sacred architecture.

Links to some of those articles and lectures are below:


The Weekly Standard
The Role of Monuments in Civic Life; May 2012

First Things
The Problems with Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial; March 2012

Adoremus Bulletin
History, Harmony, Beauty Blend in Recovery of Sacred Heritage – The Renovation of Saint Joseph Cathedral; September 2011

New Church Builds on Tradition, Signals Future;
February 2013

Greater Greater Washington

Why a classical memorial better honors EisenhowerJune 2011

Transforming a Suburban Church into a Neighborhood; October 2009

Foundation for the Sacred Arts Newsletter
Review of Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity; February 2010

Catholic News Agency
Novelty vs. Beauty; August 2009

Academic Experience

St. John Cantius / Catholic Art Guild



The Power of Beauty

Dietrich von Hildebrand Project & Franciscan University of Steubenville
Paper presented: “The Rejection of Beauty in Modernist Architecture and It’s Return”; 
Steubenville Ohio; October 2014


A Living Presence

Catholic University & University of Notre Dame Conference
Paper presented: “Beauty and Harmony”; Washington, DC; May 2010

Hillsdale College
Washington DC; Guest Lecturer, Honors Program, Walking Tours; March 2012

Catholic University of America
Washington, DC; Guest Lecturer, Freshman Philosophy Course, 2009, 2010, 2011