Thursday, 15 October 2015

The desacralisation of Europe


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


  1. This is not going to end well for Europe.

  2. If people do not sicerely believe if not "God is with us" at least "we are wth God" - then how can they stand against the horrors that often attack civilisation in this fallen world?

    Paul Marks

  3. The CoE collapsed a decade or more ago, with a whimper, but nobody noticed,
    A fortnight or so ago, I listened to our new Bishop of Gloucester - Rachel Treweek - speaking on "Woman's Hour". She spoke of how her Bishop's cross had been made of molten bullet-casings from the Mozambique civil war ('77-'92).
    I wondered to myself then whether this was to remind her of the total failure of communism throughout Mozambique, Rhodesia and South Africa thereafter?
    But I concluded that I was most probably mistaken.

  4. Gluttony in its modern guise as a virtue. How very unsurprising that the Church of England should embrace it.

    1. Provided "nouvelle cuisine" is on offer, it would hardly be gluttony!

  5. I am not an Episcopalian but a Catholic, and I realize that we have enough problems in our own catechesis programs. BUT omgoodness - how the Hell do conservative or even middle-of-the-road parents send their children to Episcopalian Sunday Schools in this day and age?

  6. To host secular bacchanalia in churches is to blatantly beckon bloodthirsty barbarians who, seeing that Western traditions are being thus diminished, will be more than happy to finish the job. The nihilists are coming, and I cannot say that they were not invited. (Excellent post, Paul Wood!)

  7. We in the US are a bit more conservative when it comes to religion, but we too are experiencing a decline in the traditional Christian sects. The non-religious are growing as our religious are declining. With that goes also what drives identity, and our/your ruling elites feel that bringing in foreign ethical systems are a boon to our societies-as they have departed their respective sects long ago. In the US, we tend to deal primarily with the immigrant people from south of our border, they tend to be Spanish speakers, but believe in the same God and are generally Western in their outlook. You in Europe tend to get people who are not so inclined to assimilate into your culture, and instead wish to change it to match their enlightened worldview, and if you challenge it you are a bigot. I am worried for you, especially in regards to the recent influx/surge to Europe from Syria and other places. Faith I feel really does matter. Tom