Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The technical term is "wreckovation"

A horrified Mr. Smith, recently having joined himself to the Barque of Peter, has discovered a few leaks. Poor chap. [...me smirking...]

He left the following comment:
"Hang on, moving the altar to the centre of the church? What on earth?"

[...me grinning evilly...]

"Soooo, new around here eh? Welcome to the Angry Catholics Club."

[...me cackling wickedly...]

There's something about Trad Catholics you ought to know sir: we just can't resist the evil glee we experience when someone makes the same discoveries we did, making their lives as miserable as our own.

It's evil. I know. But, I just can't seem to help enjoying the horrified exclamations of dismay when someone comes into the Church and discovers the mess. I'm sure there's some fancy Greek technical term for it in the psych manuals.

Not wanting to keep the pleasure all to myself, I had the urge to email all my Evil Trad friends and tell them, "Hey guys! we've got someone new! Go get 'im."

But all I did was mention in passing the habit of our modern Church leaders to do what is often referred to as "wreckovating" churches to bring them more "up to date" with the "norms of Vatican II".



The usual method is to break up the ancient altars, sanctuaries and stonework and toss them into the rubbish heap. (Or, as is the rumoured end of the marble altar at St. Mary's Basilica in Halifax, dump them in the harbour). These are normally replaced with something resembling a wooden ironing board (usually on castors) which is placed in the centre of the church. The pews are removed, especially if they are walnut or cherrywood and hand-carved with Christian symbols, and either sold or destroyed. These are then replaced with either folding metal chairs (usually because the updating has already cost so much money that the parish is over budget)or with those little wooden jobs with the raffia seats that are placed in concentric circles around the ironing board.

This is called "making the Church more inclusive".

The statues, if they are more than 50 years old and/or very beautiful, are removed and "lost", (sometimes to be recovered by private citizens, bought in junk shops and at yard sales, and stashed away against the day when sanity returns to the world). They are replaced with burlap banners that, although they look like they were made by the First Communion class with a bottle of Elmer's glue and a tin of glitter, actually came from a liturgical supply house that specializes in maintaining the great tradition of 70's kitsch that was avante garde when bellbottoms and the True Faith were going out of style together, and cost upwards of £100 each. On each banner is the word "Rejoice" in cut-out felt letters, in case the parishioners are apt to display the wrong sort of reaction upon seeing their newly re-ordered church when it is opened.

The entire process has given rise to a new verb in English: "to vosko", a transitive verb meaning "to destroy the patrimony of the Church" or more specifically, to alter a traditional (esp. Gothic or neo-Gothic) church in the manner related above. It can also mean "to hoodwink and bully the faithful into going along with changes that will result in their children losing the Faith".

It's all available on the net. Just put the keywords "Richard" and "Vosko" together with something related to "Ravening hordes of vandals" or "the end of Western civilization and all good things" and you will get all you need.


Listen Smithy, it's not that bad, really [you poor shmoe] [I just can't stop laughing...]


[ooops! sorry. Fell off chair for a moment].

Some links can be found here.

So Smithy,

welome aboard.

Here's your bucket. Now start bailing.


Mark S. Abeln said...

I must admit when I first saw photo #3, I was shocked at the senseless destruction, until I realized that it was my church, and that I even took the photo.

As of last week, Saint Francis de Sales Oratory has been unwreckovated.

It has been reordered in recent years, though. The Cranmer Table in the sanctuary was removed, and additional communion railings were added to three of the side altars.

In the 1960s, much of the walls have been painted Battleship Gray color, and there are plans to eventually put in a brighter color scheme.

Anonymous said...

You mean there's no Papally-approved flamethrower to sort this mess out? Oh dear...

M. Alexander said...

I was at St Ignatius Loyola Church on the campus of Boston College (my daughter was recertifying her lifeguard permissions} when I was overjoyed to see that the pine trestle table placed in front of the high altar and rerederos could not weigh more than 15 lbs and appeared to be made of pine. Lacking an altar stone (I admit I'm guessing here) I think it would make short work in a bonfire.

I'm starting to think there was some sense in the madness and that someone somewhere thought- this is temporary insanity and let's make it easy.