Monday, June 22, 2009

Pontifical Rites in the Greatest Building that Never Was

Sir Edwin Lutyen's extraordinary (if sadly unexecuted) design for Liverpool Cathedral has been discussed here on several occasions, but I was recently sent some fascinating archival film footage of a number of pontifical ceremonies held variously at the temporary outdoor altar designed for the site, itself a particularly stupendous construction. Readers will find these vintage newsreels particularly intriguing:

Corpus Christi at the outdoor altar, 1934, a particularly lavish ceremony with hundreds of clergy and servers in attendance.

The solemn blessing of the cathedral corner-stone, 1933.

A Byzantine Pontifical mass held at the outdoor altar.

Scenes of the consecration of the unfortuante modern cathedral that replaced Lutyens' proposal, 1967. Cardinal Heenan was the celebrant; his name will be familiar to our readers due to his role in the so-called 'Agatha Christie indult' for the Tridentine mass, as well as his correspondence with Evelyn Waugh about the changes of the 1960s.

Our alert reader who sent us this footage also notes a number of other film clips related to the archbishops of Westminster, which I hope to post in the near future.

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