Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Back and Forth

Just back from the Catholic Record Society Conference at Liverpool Hope University. As with most conferences, the most valuable thing was meeting with the other members. Yesterday I escaped together with a Benedictine Abbot and a School Master and, after lunch, explored the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ in the city centre.

In terms of architecture, this is certainly more impressive than the Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral at the other end of Hope Street. Indeed, some claim it to be the third largest church in the world and it refers to itself as 'the great space'. And that's exactly what it is - a great space that hardly 'feels' like a place of worship. As you enter, the first thing you see is an exhibition area. One side of the building is taken up by a swish shop and cafe. I saw no-one praying anywhere - not even in the beautiful Lady Chapel, which is the size of a parish church and has its own organ! The place was full of tourists walking around with their audio guides.

Interestingly, the architect was Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, a Catholic, who chose to be buried in his 'great space' (presumably with ecclesiastical permission). His Requiem, meanwhile, was celebrated at St James', Spanish Place in London.

I'm now back in London and, in a few minutes time, will be heading off to Gatwick Airport to fly to Krakow for a few days. So - see you next week!

Picture - copyright Andrew Dunn.



Blogger Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

Many thanks for the beautiful picture of Livrpool Cathedral.
Yes, it's certainly a finer building than "The Mersey Funnel" down the road, isnt it ?
I'm very sorry to hear about the "goings on" you saw inside.
God bless the Gilbert Scott dynasty.
They did a lot of good work throughout England.

2:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many years ago Liverpool Cathedral was described as a beautiful woman without a soul. Its soullessness remains, despite its fine references to Spanish Gothic and its imposing high altar and Lady Chapel. Yet can more be said about the Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral? It, too, it soulless but without beauty. Wits have often commented that the best thing about the Metropolitan Cathedral is the view of the Anglican Cathedral when you leave. Yet if an altar was placed in that vast Gothic space beneath the tower, a tabernacle on the altar of the Lady Chapel, chapels and shrines with banks of votive candles placed in appropriate places the cathedral would be transformed. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott had to work with implacable Protestant clients and it is a miracle that he achieved as much Catholic iconography as he did. It is probably folly to think in these terms but I hope, one day, when the Metropolitan Cathedral finally collapses that Catholics will move to the other end of the Hope Street and fulfil Liverpool Cathedral's unrealised potential.

8:56 pm  
Anonymous Az said...

Dear Fr.,
The memorial in the great space does not contain the remains of Sir Giles and Lady Scott. The actual grave lies in the middle of the road directly in front of the West Porch. Had the cathedral been completed to Sir Giles' design, however, the graves would have been situated to far side of the porte-cochere, along the main axis of the building. As it happens, visitors usually walk past or even drive over the grave, and given the location, there is some damage to the grave slab.

Perhaps a campaign might be started to transfer the remains to a more fitting spot, say within the West Porch itself. If I remember correctly, Sir Giles and Lady Scott were cremated, which would make the transfer of the remains a lot easier, and cheaper.

If I can find a photo of the grave, I'll send it to you.

7:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

may i suggest a a visit to the jesuit church of st francis xavier which is close to lime st station off london road it is magnificent and the glass details the life of the jesuit saints

1:12 pm  
Anonymous John Browne said...

Just came across your blog, Father, whilst searching "40 martyrs".

I've never been to Liverpool, but I do intend on going soon. It doesn't really surprise me about the cathedral. You should see St Martin's CE church in Birmingham city centre...

I'll add you to my Blog roll.

9:17 pm  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Godspeeed, Father!

1:21 am  

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