Monday, March 7, 2016


This was what St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester, New Hampshire looked like when it was built:

Then after Vatican II, saying that this is what Vatican II wanted, the powers that be at the time ramrodded this fiasco, this sacrilege through. Can you imagine how people must have felt to see the above Cathedral become this:

What joy, when by this past Christmas, the Cathedral looked like it was intended, to look like it is Catholic rather than Presbyterian by restoring it with harvested organs from a magnificent church closed in Boston:
This is what the parochial vicar said about the restoration of the Catholic dignity of this Cathedral  in their local newspaper:

“The people who only come to Mass once a year (on Christmas) will see this,” said the Rev. Eric Delisle, the assistant pastor. “Maybe seeing a renovated church could be a means of evangelization, draw them back to a church that’s beautiful again.”Frontiero said repair work and upgrades were necessary, so the restoration became part of the package.

The installation of the reredos, and initial painting and repairs have cost about $250,000. In total, the cathedral hopes to spend $1.85 million on a restoration that will include elevators, new rest rooms and repainting of the remainder or the interior.

The reredos comes from the Holy Trinity Church in South Boston. It had to be sawed into about 70 pieces and then reassembled in Manchester, at times with ropes and pulleys, said Golumbovic, whose companies Milan Church Restoration and Egan Restoration are doing the work.

“They’re going on the right track, to restore the beauty here,” he said. He said 95 percent of the reredos survived, but some parts had to be replaced. For example, a Jesus statue was missing three fingers. And most of the angels on the reredos had lost their wings.

Frontiero said he understands why the original reredos was removed 45 years ago and destroyed. Primeau had returned from the Vatican II Council, which called for a reorientation toward the Catholic laity.

The Church focus became horizontal, toward worshipers, rather than vertical, toward Heaven, Frontiero said. The restoration, he said, is not a step backward but a reinvigoration of the Catholic faith.

“My sense is Pope Francis, he would say ‘I’m glad you’re repurposing,’” Frontiero said. “He might be very pleased we’re not destroying the patrimony of the church.”

This is Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago before its wreckovation. Again, we see what Protestant reformers did to Catholic Cathedrals and churches in Europe as the Protestant Reformation was in full swing. This, however, was done by so-called practicing Catholics implementing something that neither Vatican II or Sacrosanctum Concilium asked or demanded. In fact, neither did Consilium demand this kind of stupidity!

And this is how that Cathedral looks today after a 1970's wreckovation. I am sure there was a theology to justify this travesty of iconoclasm:
 I wish I could say this is what Holy Name looks like today after a thoughtful restoration, but alas, no. I don't expect it soon either:


Victor W said...

"Can you imagine how people must have felt to see the above Cathedral become this?" Together with a new Mass that lost most of its sacredness, people left in droves, maybe coming back once in a while to check out if the Church still had a place for them, but generally they never came back, in very large droves.

Vox Cantoris said...

It truly was demonic, Father. We have our own examples here in Toronto. Fortunately, while the High Altar in the Cathedral of St. Michael was removed and replaced with the Cathedra, the Cathedral remained otherwise intact. It is now going through a "restoration" that will remove all the added decor over the last 125 years to return it to its original gothic-revival. Alas, the Cathedra remains in the centre which in a Cathedral is probably historically correct.

You might like to see some of the videos.

Alas, many of our older churches lost marble altars and rails to profane purposes. Some survived because they were too poor to wreckovate them.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What we did to our churches and liturgies in the 1960's and 70's explains a lot about what has happened to us today. Couple this with the grotesque mismanagement of bishops of their dioceses allowing these sorts of things to take place, meaning liturgical abuse as well as unnecessary spending for the destruction of the liturgical patrimony of churches and their architectural integrity, rampant iconoclasm and the widespread serial abuse of minors, one wonders how in the world we have anyone coming to Mass today. The only answer is the Holy Spirit and Jesus' assurance that the gates of hell could not prevail against the Church, try as Satan may! I feel that the abuse of minors and how bishops enabled it is part and parcel with liturgical and architectural abuse which they allowed or enabled. A loss of Catholic faith and integrity is at the root of all abuse as is the clericalism that ramrodded this sort of thing onto parishes--abuse of all kinds.

Anonymous said...

The devastation of the liturgy, (music, and architecture most obviously) is evidence of the diabolically inspired reforms in the wake of Vatican 2. Was the Council responsible? Who can say for certain? That among the Council participants were numerous prelates masquerading as Christians is no longer arguable. Pope Paul VI himself accurately diagnosed the situation with his smoke of Satan entering the Catholic Church remark. That John Paul II and Benedict XVI after 50 years of heroic struggles failed to stop the devastation is proof of the fact that the revolutionaries are still holding on to their ill gotten gains although their grip on things may have weakened some of late.

Hope and prayer are in order because Christ promised to be with us till the end of the days. The Church is He after all.

James said...

I'm a little ambivalent on this issue, as not all Victorian and even Baroque altar pieces are worth preserving (even some acknowledged masterpieces, such as the high altar in Toledo cathedral, seem way over the top to me, while the altar of the chair in St Peter's sometimes makes me think of those gargantuan Eastern Europe statues of Stalin and Lenin, especially when viewed close up).

But I've no sympathy for liturgical reformers who claimed that wreckovation was necessary to comply with the spirit of Vatican II. Even as recently as 2005-5, Bishop John Magee was pushing this line with his attempted reordering of the Pugin sanctuary in Cobh Cathedral, which would have involved tearing out the 100ft altar rail. Fortunately, the national historic building panel rejected the changes, citing a parallel case a decade earlier in which Cardinal Ratzinger had intervened:

Jusadbellum said...

I think it boils down to whether people are true believers or not.

Does the pastor or bishop or nun really believe what they claim to believe about the faith?

Because existential doubt as to the very existence and enduring reality of Jesus as the Christ, the very reality and presence of the Holy Spirit.....of Hell and heaven.... all seem very common in the 1970s literature.

I think there was a general apostasy during the sexual revolution, the 5th column of the soviet's advancing a Gramchian 'long march' through the institutions to bring down the West...

The sex, drug, nihilistic, and materialist social upheavals are all based on a lack of faith in Jesus as a real being and in the real power of His Presence and grace.

So everything is reduced to mere human efforts and sales and marketing techniques. Thus the sacred is profaned and replaced with ugliness because it's convenient and 'hip'...and all the signs of disaster are pooh poohed as irrelevant because we're 'singing a new church into being' - since it's all about us and our feelings anyway.

It's the crisis of faith. Do priests and nuns and bishops REALLY believe?

This is what happens during bloody persecutions: people are challenged to clarify their beliefs - what are they willing to take risks for? Do they really believe the Creed, the Church, the Lord.....if not, then move on and get on with your life. But if you don't believe but have a cushy job...well, you'll stay on - it's human nature.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Finally some good news about WRECKOVATION it just proves that it can be un-done by using all of the closed churches throughout our nation. And yes Holy Name in Chicago is still ugly as sin, and with Cupich there now it ain't gonna get pretty. I still want to understand WHY if this was not the intent of Vatican II to destroy our churches and tear Latin away from us WHY was it done?????????????????? All I ever hear is the excuse well they misinterpreted the Vatican II documents, I believe it was Satanic intent!

Anonymous said...

Is it not ironic what the iconoclast reformers did during the Reformation Roman Catholics finished the job.

Mark Thomas said...

The collapse of the Roman Liturgy is denied by many high-ranking Churchmen. They insist that liturgical reform has "renewed" Western Church liturgy and spirituality.

Specifically, to Father McDonald's current post about wreckovated churches, such high-ranking Churchmen as Archbishop Cupich don't view wreckovated churches as ugly, uninspiring wreckovated churches.

Example: In 2011 A.D., then-Bishop Cupich of Spokane had penned a three-part series entitled: "The New Roman Missal: A Time of Renewal".

Here are excerpts from "Part One: Where It All Began".

by Bishop Blase J. Cupich

"Why did the bishops at the Second Vatican Council call for a renewal of the liturgy? Simply put, the bishops believed it was the best way to reinvigorate the Church. The bishops at the Council were primarily concerned about reforming the Church so that she could be faithful and effective in proclaiming Christ to the modern world. Yet, they understood that the reform of the Church had to begin with a renewal of the Church’s prayer and worship.

*******"Perhaps the most noticeable result of this new emphasis on the communal nature of the Church and its witness of solidarity came with the development of new designs by Church architects."*******

"Their plans for renovations and new churches gave greater attention to the needs of the assembly as it gathered and worshiped as the Body of Christ.

"In particular, the design and location of the altar was changed to reflect this. Once distanced from the people and in an area off-limits to them, the altar was now to be designed and situated so that people could understand that at Mass, Christ takes the initiative.

"The goal of reinvigorating the faith lives of Catholics, however, could only begin by reconnecting the spiritual lives of people to the liturgy. Over the centuries, a split developed in this regard. Literally and figuratively, the laity became distanced from the public worship of the Church. The priest did virtually everything.

"The rites were in a language unknown to most. The accumulation of ritual actions, many of which had their origins in the royal courts of Europe, made the meaning of rites even less accessible to the common person. The people were reduced to passive attendance as silent spectators.

"Instead of relying on the transforming power of the Eucharist as the source of their spiritual lives, people did their best to find nourishment in individualistic piety and personal devotions.

"In view of this, it is not surprising that the bishops called for a renewal of the liturgical life of the Church that would lead to the full, active and conscious participation of the faithful. This would require both reform and restoration.

"The reform began with the call for a return to the noble simplicity of the Roman rite. Those features that had crept in over time had to be removed so that the rites would be short, clear, not weighed down by useless repetitions.

"The aim was to make sure that ordinary people could understand what is going on without much explanation."


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

To add please to my previous comments...

We will not lift the Roman Liturgy from its collapsed state as long as high-ranking Churchmen pretend that wreckovated churches and radical liturgical reforms have renewed Latin Church liturgy and spirituality. The party line adhered to by far too many bishops and priests is as follows:

-- Wreckovated churches are not wreckovated churches. They are beautiful churches that have brought altar and congregation together and promoted "full and active participation" at Mass.

-- The "old" Mass was dreadful.

-- The Church architecture inspired by the "old" Mass was dreadful.

-- Thanks to Latin and the magnificent and beautiful church architecture that had reflected the ethos of the "old" Mass, the Faithful had been reduced at Mass to "silent spectators".

-- The Faithful never "understood" the Mass.

-- The "transforming power of the Eucharistic" was of little meaning to the Faithful.

-- Despite some "bumps in the road," the liturgical reform has produced a wonderful "new Springtime" within the Latin Church.


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

I have seen the same type of wreckovations throughout the northeast as well. It is astonishing to think of how quickly these changes were made to so many old historic buildings. I always understood the Vatican 2 liturgical arrangements in some of the newer modern church buildings, and never really objected to the modernity there. The wreckovations to the older churches, without any thought to restoration, was similar to the destruction of artifacts by those terrorist regimes currently occupying the Mideast. So obvious was its attempt to destroy a cultural identity.

Charles G said...

The Manchester, NH cathedral looks wonderful with a restored reredos. Is there a separate altar or will mass be celebrated ad orientem there? I couldn't make out from the pictures.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There is a matching free standing altar.

TJM said...

Cupich is part of the problem, not the solution. Typical lefty

Anonymous said...

Strange for me to see the reredos from Holy Trinity Church in Boston, now in the cathedral in Manchester, N.H., though it being there is certainly a vast improvement over what it replaces. I attended Holy Trinity, Boston, which was called the "German church". Masses were in German and English (the new Mass) and Latin (the Tridentine, with permission). The interior of the church, though worn here and there, was beautiful. The pews were usually filled and the parish was active, not dying, yet the archdiocese closed it (and other area churches) because it needed "pedophile scandal money", though it denies it. What was Holy Trinity now houses condos and offices, facilitated by a massive glass and steel "box" being plopped onto the roof of the gothic structure. Manchester's gain is the result of other people's loss - an unjust loss. A collective Catholic inheritance or memory of over a century of Masses, baptisms, burials, confirmations, first communions, Christmases, Easters, parish dinners, etc., swept away, with architectural elements from the church building going elsewhere.