This picture of Liverpool Cathedral really did shock me deeply.
The net has pictures of twelve of England's cathedrals holding huge dinner parties in the nave of the cathedral - right up to the rood screen or even altar. Some advertise that you can hire a chapel for a dinner.
I know that then nave of Old St Paul's was a melee of people, a sort of agora, a public gathering place. The crowd included prostitutes, publicans and sinners. Perhaps I am wrong but this, renting the church out for parties, seems different. The Church of England, my favourite ex-Anglican and favourite living Englishman Edward Norman has said, will tip into the sea. It seems to me to be doing so.
But it is not just the Church of England. I went into a very fine Gothic monastery church in Maastricht , once Catholic then Protestant, with an amazing roof, triforium and clerestory, turned into a 5 star hotel.
I was invited this summer to a wedding at the 800-year-old Oude Kerk ("old church"), Amsterdam's oldest building and oldest parish church, the only church in Amsterdam that was famous enough for me to have heard of it. When I arrived I found it hasn't been used a s a church for years and the service was wholly secular. More tellingly, I asked half a dozen local people for directions and none had heard of it or had any idea where it was. It is in the very centre of the city and one of the city's principal sights.
This is the desacralisation of Europe. Though Muslims and Hindus are resacralising it.