Reformed and reenergized by the Council of Trent, the Church began to actively advocate for an architecture capable of overwhelming the senses and readily leaving a strong impression on the peasant masses. A brand new style evolved alongside and out of this need, and the resulting churches served as a clear message to all who encountered them: the Church had seen the error of her ways and had come back holier and stronger as a result.
This new style came to be called Baroque and is so prevalent today throughout Rome, that its significance runs the risk of being lost on modern citizens and tourists alike. However, in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was truly revolutionary.
Too sensual? Fr. Bouyer is no fan of the Baroque period; can one have ornate churches that nonetheless do not distract from the spiritual? (Churches decorated perhaps like those in the East, with plenty of icons.)
Baroque Liturgy On Trial by Fr. Giles Dimock OP