We did all that we could to make it a fitting place for Catholic worship, statues, flowers, sanctuary light, candles and altar linens - we tended it lovingly. Simple as it was it became a fitting place for the offering of the Mass.
|Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral - |
has a touch of Gotham City about it!
Now during the week I visited the main Catholic church in Wales, St David's Cathedral, Cardiff. From the outside it is a shade grim and more than a bit overpowering with its slightly sooty stonework. But, it's what's on the inside that matters.
Except that, I have visited this church before so I knew what to expect on the inside, it is a touch of Freemason's Lodge meets Presbyterian Kirk. It is cold, and I do not mean in terms of temperature; it is austere and reflects well its exterior.
|Presidential chair centre, tabernacle far right|
The sanctuary is odd. Large purple (Lenten?) banners are dotted around and the altar is the usual table covered in a purple cloth plonked in the centre of the sanctuary and behind it stands a massive Presidential chair.....centre stage (someone important sits here!). No tabernacle of course, we have to search a bit for that...Oh there you are Lord, right of centre (much like my position) but out of the mainstream. Shame.
|An air of emptiness about it'|
The Cathedral has an air of emptiness and abandon about it. I have experienced the same feeling in Protestant churches; it's namesake, St David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire (Church of Wales Anglican) has the same feel, as if the owner had left the place some time ago.
It is, perhaps, understandable in a non Catholic church but for a
Catholic Cathedral to have that atmosphere is, frankly, depressing.
I try to pray but am distracted by uncharitable thoughts about A) the architect and B) those who are supposed to cherish this place. I plough on with my prayers but I cannot stay long. That is, I could stay long but really I cannot wait to get out into the fresh air.
|The Sacred Heart Chapel, |
a little bleak?
I appreciate that it is Lent and churches are supposed to look spartan at this time but this place feels positively neglected. Side chapels are bare except for one with a single statue...the Sacred Heart stands alone and isolated; there are few candle racks and the ones that are there are the dreaded night light variety, you know, twenty pence for twenty minutes?
Is this really the best we can do for the Lord? I am ashamed by this Cathedral and only hope that it is awaiting the appointment of a new Archbishop to this important Archdiocese that has been without a leader for so long. Whoever it is, I hope they have an eye for how a Cathedral should look.