Thesis writing and the various thrills and spills of the vita monastica have caused me to neglect the blog. Maybe that is a good thing. A series of events, not with an ominous air when seen together, have challenged any sanguine approach I might have had towards the current state of play in the Church and the world. The dismal presidential election in the USA, the hideous new presidency in the Philippines, the aggressive posturing of Putin, the demonic embodiment that is IS/Daesh, exhortations to “celebrate” the tragedy of the Reformation, the recent radical reformation of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and a series of earthquakes in Italy that have destroyed the basilica in St Benedict’s home town, Norcia – all these militate against optimism.
So, distracting myself in nostalgia (a traditional escape) I discovered that I had not made any further progress in a mini-series I started just over four years ago, on Douai’s abbey church. It seeks to be a sort of photo-essay showing the changes in the abbey church since its construction in the early 1930s, and the first part is still up and might need re-reading before heading into part 2 which I am now, finally, going to get around to posting (a useful distraction from other work I should be doing… plus ça change).
In part 1 the focus was more on the building of the original part of the abbey church and its general arrangement, including its side altars. These were few in the abbey church because the majority of altars for the fathers’ daily Masses were already erected in the old college church, St Mary’s, which had been reconfigured for monastic use after our arrival in 1903. Here we will look a little more at the pre-conciliar choir. In the original plans by Sir Arnold Crush, and never fully built, what is now the monastic choir was intended to be the Lady chapel. It makes for a very serviceable monastic choir to this day.
In the next instalment, l’avènement du Conseil!