20 February 2013

I loathe reading stuff like this.

Anyone who lived through the era is familiar with the destruction leveled upon many churches in the 60's to 80's, (one church website I know refers to those days as "the infamous 1970's) and continuing to this day often. As painful as that is, it is more painful to read people brag over how their church was gutted. I occasionally un into that when  go about looking up church websites for the archdiocese of Toronto, as part of my on-going research.   From one website (no, I am not linking to it) in the Archdiocese:

The church was completely redecorated inside and fine oak paneling installed behind the three altars. Up until then the altar rail stretched right across the church, below the altars, but in keeping with the many changes in church liturgy the altar was moved out from the rear wall in order that Mass might be celebrated from behind the altar, with the priest facing the people, and the sanctuary was extended further into the centre aisle, and rows of pews were removed and placed sideways to the main altar and the altar servers sat there. Later these pews were used by a children’s choir that sang at 9:30 mass.... Later the choir moved upstairs to the choir loft because of more changes and is now, in 1998 a Family Choir made up of both adults and children. The small pews were then placed in various places in the church.

The altar was stripped of all ornaments, better to resemble the table of the Last Supper. The tracery donated by Mr. and Mrs. .... remains as part of the backdrop to the altar....

The rood beam which bore the statue of “Christ the King” and two angels, and extended across the Sanctuary Arch (a donation of ...) was, with the permission of the family, removed, and the cross was affixed to the tower wall high above the organ.
Fortunately, the website has neither photos of the old nor the new decorations.  I, for one, have no desire to see what was removed, or with what it was replaced.

On the one hand, a church is an organic structure: it grows and changes with each generation, as each generation gives it the best they have, fixes what can be fixed, replace what cannot, to add to it and hand it off to the next.  It is another to strip away the work of generations, until almost only oneself is left.

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