Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Europe's Old Churches Turn Into Bars, Eateries

"Its transformation ... is shocking and completely unacceptable," says Jiri Pesek, head of the European Center for Old Sacral Art. But protests often come too late. "People are just not aware of what is happening—until it happens to their church," says Brussels-based Chris Gillibrand, who runs a web site called catchcon.blogspot.com that opposes the conversion of Catholic churches.

- 'Remodeling the Churches', Newsweek International, February 12, 2007 issue

[link via Catholic Church Conservation]

Shocking and completely unacceptable indeed.

While it is bad enough that disused churches be converted into mosques and temples, it is downright disrespectful and offensive that they be used for parties and clubs. You will never find the same being done to Moslem mosques or Buddhist temples, and this blogger wonders why.

There are not too many converted churches in this country, but whenever I pass the most well-known, the former Catholic Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), now CHIJMES (pronounced 'chimes') - dining, shopping and entertainment centre - I cannot help but sigh.

Its chapel, the finest example of Gothic style architecture in this country, is reduced to hosting dinner parties and fashion shows. It is truly unfortunate, but on hindsight, its sale to the Singapore government in 1983 saved it from the tasteless changes inflicted on Catholic churches following Vatican II.

Such secularism is not universal. Russia has seen the construction of 11,000 new churches and chapels since the collapse of communism.

"The further you head east into the Orthodox world, the more you will find church buildings being repaired and new ones going up," says the Rev. Darrell Jackson of the World Council of Churches.

Thanks be to God.

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Blogger Karen said...

This is horrible indeed... although, to be honest, I'd much rather see a church become a restaraunt than a mosque.

Europe has become a socialist-progessive and atheistic society, and soon they'll all be prostrating in the direction of Mecca unless they wake up.

Tue Feb 06, 10:08:00 pm 2007  
Blogger Mimi said...

It is difficult for me to understand, and I'd have a hard time because it will always be a sacred space for me.

I am gladdened by the growth of churches in Russia, and love the photo on the bottom. Thank you.

Wed Feb 07, 02:48:00 am 2007  
Blogger Margi said...

I'd rather see a church become a restaurant than a mosque too. A restaurant might keep a lot of the fixtures depending on its ambience (I've seen 'Irish' bars in the US with fittings quite clearly taken from old churches). A restaurant is also more likely to close down than a mosque (sadly) and when it does the building is still there for groups of Christians who might want to purchase it. Let's face it, distasteful as some alternatives uses are, they are far better than the building being demolished for yet another multi-storey car park.

Wed Feb 07, 09:31:00 pm 2007  

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