Church design (letter)

Church design (letter)

Greg Briscoe-Hough

The article by Sidney Rofe on the liturgical design of churches (July AD2000) reflects merely the tip of the iceberg. Like other forms of abuse in the Church, its true and full costs are yet to be felt. In lamenting the loss of significant faith material, I am also compelled to think of the large sums paid to trendy liturgical "consultants" by priests who feel compelled to "leave their mark".

In response to this "need" for re-ordering in church structures, "consultants", often assisted by cashed-up eager reformers, are able to deploy dubious "consultation" principles originally intended for military and political subterfuge (the Delphi Technique). This process is similar to collecting numerous light sources (points of view) through a prism to generate a single point of focus, i.e., a fabricated outcome/agreement.

In a time of unprecedented education and communication and volumes of opinion, little or no time has been allowed for contemplation and interpretation. Previous Church Councils' outcomes evolved over centuries rather than decades. Is yesterday's heritage, today's "impediment", and tomorrow's loss?

The current preoccupation with horizontal Christology may well see the Church as no more than a United Nations clone. What makes us different from others of goodwill is our perception of the Sacred and Divine. Churches built like basketball courts or denuded, with Stations of the Cross the size of postage stamps on glass walls, seem to miss the point of church buildings being sacred places for reflection and not just "gathering spaces".

While these "liturgical crusaders" from abroad attempt to purge our church buildings, who is left with all the booty? Dare I say our studious consultants with money bags in hand? Not since Henry VIII and the Protestant reformers has the Church been left to suffer such ignominy.

Peakhurst, NSW

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