PLEASE EXPLAIN...
Some Questions for the American Bishops

November 2002By William H. Soisson III

William H. Soisson III is a retired attorney in Naples, Florida, and is working on a volume of wit to be called The Curmudgeon's Dictionary.

Your Excellencies:

Many of your people are concerned about where our beloved Church is, and where it is going. That is why we'd like to ask you, our spiritual custodians, several questions. I travel a good bit and meet a lot of concerned Catholics. Their questions are relevant. I'll put them into categories.

Architecture

This is a question that badly needs to be addressed. When you look at a new church building in your diocese, are you sometimes reminded of Querry, the Graham Greene character who spent his career bilking American bishops with irrelevant buildings? Don't amphitheaters have an effect opposite that of a real church? That is to say, shouldn't a church building help us lift our minds and hearts to God? Or should a church be a community center, a fun place, where actors play out fantasies on a stage below us? If so, what does this do to our sense of the eternal reality of the Mass?

Where are the kneelers that used to help us relate so well to God? What is the message when the kneelers are missing? Why is the sanctuary crucifix so small now? Where is the Communion rail? Where is the sanctuary? Where is our awe? Where are the statues that helped us to focus? Doesn't their absence create an impression that our Faith is impersonal and vaporous?


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