Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Tale of Two Churches

Let me tell you the tale of two churches which I found on my local diocesan website.

First, let me show you church #1 (click on the pictures for a bigger view):

You may also like to take a really close look at its high altar.

Now let us take a look at church #2:

Quite a difference isn't there? Now, unfortunately, many of you have likely already guessed it: this is the same church.

In fairness, in this case a fire hit this church damaging the interior which spurred the renovations. The bad news is twofold: one, they did a poor job "restoring" the sanctuary of this church, and two, we know that in a great number of cases this was done intentionally to churches for ideological reasons, and out of false antiquarianism. The church could have been restored more closely to the original, but the style adopted was that in fashion in those troubled times.

Clearly the former architecture was more likely to inspire, both children and adults with a sense of wonder and a sense of the sacred.

Certainly we know that the Second Vatican Council did not call for these kinds of radical changes which destroyed the beauty of so many of our churches -- although that is the often heard mantra. We need to take up opportunities to inform people of what that Council actually said and mandated, and reclaim it for the service of the Church and of Christ rather than for those who wish to reshape the Church in the image they would prefer.

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