Saturday, 5 January 2008

Leeds Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Sanctuary with the new screen effectively blocking access to the high Altar.

I will go unto the Altar of God..... if I can get over this screen!

The Lady Chapel is a far more appealing prospect.

As is this side Chapel.

Tabernacle in the Lady Chapel.

Today I had the pleasure of Lunch with the Bishop of Beverley and his charming wife Betty, with some delicious desserts made by Deacon Ann Turner from Broughton. On the way I was eager to see the reordering work which had taken place at Leeds Roman Catholic Cathedral and I have to say I was stunned. Alas, in a bad way. I cannot understand this fashion for erecting screens in between the High Altar and the Nave Altar and this one seems to be the sort of thing which would grace a Provincial Town Hall's Mayoral Parlour or a minor Masonic Hall. I suppose it is better than removing the High Altar completely, but this partial covering was a great disappointment. The Cathedra, again, seems more suited to whatever they call the big chair in a Masonic Lodge as well, rather than an Ecclesiastical symbol. Ho hum, I do not pretend that Anglican Churches are any better at this, but I am surprised that such a recent renovation produced such a dated finish. I also do not understand this fashion for using High Altars as a backdrop, as though they have no function or place in the Church now. If that is the case, then do away with them.

I passed the great Anglican Church of St Aidan, Harehills on the way, which was closed, unfortunately, as it is built as a Basilica, containing one of the largest mosaics in the world. It is stunning and I hope to visit soon as they have daily Mass so access is relatively easy. I do wonder if renovations are as necessary as we all seem to think and if they will all need undoing in twenty years time. At least the outside of these great buildings is safe, although mainly due to their listed building status. It is unfortunate when the civil authorities are more interested in preserving the sacredness of the Churches than the ecclesiastical authorities!