The church was a typical English post Victorian structure, rectangular, pretty plain, much like a village hall with statues.
But, we liked it. We attended the Novus Ordo Mass and the sense of being part of a Catholic community was reasonably strong.
|A church where people go round in circles - St Gilbert of Sempringham,|
I have never appreciated the reasoning behind circular or semi circular church design.
To me it was a constant source of distraction and irritation as, when you stared straight ahead, instead of looking at the tabernacle you locked eyeballs with members of the parish Mother's Union or the Secretary of the Bingo Club.
The new church must have cost a pretty penny as it featured some revolutionary (literally) developments.
Sliding screens were in place so that the sanctuary could be shut off and a bar and food preparation area exposed.
We never attended any social events there but, I guess it had greater use as a base for dances and whist drives than it had for Holy Mass.
This is a theme that I keep returning to but such developments are symptomatic of the post Vatican 2 era when all rational thinking was flushed away in a scramble to make ourselves more ordinary.
Fr Oswald Baker used to describe it as: "putting the Church in a boiler suit" - workmen's overalls.
The functional and unassuming fabric of the church was disposed of, out went the altar rails, away went the statues (to be replaced by wrought iron figures and impressionist type images), the tabernacle was moved to some obscure corner and the altar morphed into a good old Protestant table.
It followed quite naturally that genuflecting was redundant and that the holy water fonts were left to go dry.
There is nothing unique about this story, it happened everywhere in the world.
But it does illustrate just how embedded the ways of the new religion have become.
At the time of the Protestant Reformation England and Wales the Catholic population just as quickly adopted the new faith and forgot the true one that had nurtured the sick and the frail, educated the young and provided work for the poor.
And it is precisely the same in the post Vatican II era.
The collective memory (not a rose tinted on by any means) has gone and, in its place?
Nothing of substance, nothing of depth, nothing that can last - just a circular Church where you go round and round in ever diminishing circles.