reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

Postby GregF » Fri Oct 21, 2005 10:30 am

I dunno if this has been discussed before on a different thread but I saw on the Irish Times this morning that Kevin Myers raises the issue of the proposed renovations of St Colmans Cathedral in Cobh. I had heard this before and couldn't believe it. This is a fine Victorian Gothic cathedral designed by Pugin. Surely any tampering with the orignal features would be an act of vandalism and must not go ahead. As I said before, the councils, clergy etc... here in Ireland can't seem to leave well alone regarding important public buildings, statues etc.....All Corkonians should be up in arms and stop any proposed tampering that should alter the cathedral in any way, especially as it was probably the poor local Cork Catholics that provided the funds to build the cathedral in the first place.

(Bishop McGee of Cloyne is the culprit. Get writing your protest letters rebel Corkonians!)
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby PVC King » Fri Oct 21, 2005 12:42 pm

Apparently there were 210 objections and the list of Appelants included

Department of the Environment

Irish Georgian Society

An Taisce

Friends of St Colmans (largely made up of the parish council of St Colmans)

He was trying to get internal parish support for this for almost ten years and despite everyone elses opinion he is hell bent of leaving his what would appear extremely destructive mark on what is already an excellent interior.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby emf » Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:47 pm

I wandered into St. Colman's when I was in Cobh last year and I was very emotionally moved by the peace and tranquility there.
No doubt in some way it related to the scale and grandeur of the building itself. I'm not sure if this re-ordering is a good idea. It definitely shouldn't be carried out on the whim of one person. I know I definitely wouldn't be affected the same way going into one of the modern creations.

It might be good to sound out opinion on the re-ordering of Carlow Cathedral a few years ago. I was in the church many times before it was carried out but moved away before it was completed.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Oct 21, 2005 1:52 pm

There are special DEHLG guidelines for churches that are protected structures, such is the sensitivity of the area. Ultimately, liturgical requirements take precedence over conservation requirements. But interestingly, when Ratzinger was a Cardinal he wrote a piece (don't know the chapter and verse, sorry) saying that there was no liturgical rationale to remove altar railings or other features, which is the reason usually cited by those trying to change things.
And didn't Jesus himself say 'wherever two or three are gathered in my name' or words to that effect? Christianity began in caves and back rooms, so the setting is surely incidental to the practice. Why can't the Bishop understand this?
Though not a believer, I have been to mass in the Cathedral on the basis that a building comes alive when serving its purpose, and it was a fine sight indeed.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Oct 21, 2005 2:15 pm

They did something similar at Monaghan and ruined it. And the bishop is still a little sensitive about criticism.5 or 6 years back I said something negative here, and the next thing I get a letter from a dioscesan flunkey asked me to desist.
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Postby lexington » Fri Oct 21, 2005 3:16 pm

You'd think of all people who should value the integrity and splendour of such a magnificant structure, it would be the Bishop of Cloyne and Cobh, but no. I'm very much supportive of the opposition on this front - the proposed changes are not necessary requirements. It's a very diappointing scenario. In Ireland, and certainly in Cork, it is perhaps on of the most tranquil and architecturally inspiring structures of a religious nature - especially inside. Along with St. Peter's & Paul's near Paul Street and St. Fin Barre's - it is among my favourite interior designs.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby GrahamH » Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:54 pm

From the vague plans I've seen, the expansive altar interventions look like the flooring scheme of an 80s television chatshow - is it intended to cap it off with a salmon pink carpet?

While it is easy to view the structure as a purely architectural entity, at the end of the day it is a working religious building and as such its use is as equally important as its fabric. Saying that, surely the proposed alterations are not necessary, or at least not on that scale?
Whereas previous Vatican reforms were logical in altering the clearly skewed relationship between the celebrant and the congregation, the notion of 'bringing the people closer' in Cobh Cathedral - which by definition is going to have people somewhere in the building detached from the proceedings - seems to be founded in a vague symbolisim rather than practical concerns.
It would be a great shame to see the interior so radically altered - especially having survived so long as it has intact.
You'd think we'd be able to issue a sigh of relief by now having got through the 70s - clearly not.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:04 pm

Graham Hickey wrote:From the vague plans I've seen, the expansive altar interventions look like the flooring scheme of an 80s television chatshow - is it intended to cap it off with a salmon pink carpet?

With Anna and Blathnaid from The Afternoon Show giving out communion? Or Thelma and Derek?

Good point about the difference between this and the post-Vatican II changes too.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby PTB » Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:37 pm

As a member of the dioses of cloyne I must say that most people are fairly tired of sending off parish funds to fund the restoration. The work that was done from 1992 until 2002/2003 were the first four of five phases of restoration. This last phase is not so much restoration as an alteration. As well as the other objectors mentioned by Thomond Park are the Pugin society in London who are very angry at the proposed work, which is considered by some as Pugins finest work.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby PVC King » Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:52 am

PTB wrote: This last phase is not so much restoration as an alteration.


That is an extremely mild description
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby anto » Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:21 pm

didn't eamonn casey "ruin" the cathedral in Killarney in a similar drive?
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby J. Seerski » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:42 am

I think the problem is ideological - there is a body of opinion in the church that says that a church is not a museum but a living building that should be changed as they please according to their liturgical requirements. Though Im puzzeled as to why churches on mainland Europe and even in Britain retain pre-vatican two layout without much difficulty. It seems over here the churches are gutted just to prove a point.

Was in Iona Church (St Columba's - a fine celtic revival church) on Sunday and I was amazed how it retained its pulpit and much of its altar railing was untouched. It seems this place was luckily overlooked when churches elsewhere were gutted.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby PVC King » Tue Oct 25, 2005 5:26 am

Those are good points you make;

In essence the choice is not whether one wrecks masterpieces such as St Colmans but rather what one does with newly built places of worship. Surely if the parishioners of Cobh want a post V2 church atmosphere they can select another RC church on Great Island.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:09 pm

The text of Cardinal Ratzinger's letter to Bishop Ryan of Kildare and Leighlin (12 June 1996) was published in the Carlow Nationalist on 10 January 1997 - having been requisitioned by the High Court. The full text is available on the internet at; htpp://www.ad2000.com.au/articles/1998/ ... 0_544.html. The tragedy is that what has happend in churches throughout Ireland was liturgically needless.

An interesting summary on liturgical requirement is available on the news section of the webpage of the Friends of St. Colman's Cathedral (http://www.foscc.com) prepared for An Bord Pleanala by Arthur Cox.

As is clear from the case of Cobh Cathedral, Diocesan Historic Church Committees are a complete farce. In this case, the Historic Church Committe of the diocese of Cloyne, mostly made up of unqualified persons, did not even bother to conduct a heritage impact study of the proposed changes on the interior of the building.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:26 pm

Thanks for that info Praxiteles (great name, btw!). The FOSCC site is a goldmine.
One minor correction, though, to the URL you posted.
http://www.ad2000.com.au/articles/1998/oct1998p10_544.html
This should work. :)
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby GrahamH » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:32 pm

What came of the appeal to the Supreme Court do you know Praxiteles?
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:35 pm

As far as I can make out from the webpage (http://www.foscc.com) the matter is still pending with An Bord Pleanala.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby GrahamH » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:05 am

Sorry, I mean Carlow Cathedral - do you know what the Supreme Court ruling was from what seems to be 1998?
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:28 am

I do not, I am afraid.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Gianlorenzo » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:38 pm

How can the great Prof O'Neill have gotten himself involved in such a foolish enterprise
View his plans on http://www.foscc.com
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:39 pm

That is indeed a million dollar question.
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby MacLeinin » Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:40 pm

You would think that after his disastrous fiddling with the pro-cathedral, he would have learnt his lesson.
I am told one local wag in Cobh referred to his current plans for the interior as an 'ice rinque'
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Gianlorenzo » Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:53 pm

The Friends of St. Colman's Cathedral are made up of a group of concerned Cobh parishioners, none of whom are on the parish council. To clarify information posted by Thomond Park
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Does anyone have any biographical or professional information re Thomas Aloysius Coleman (1865-1952), who was George Ashlin's partner while working on the completion of St. Colman's Cathedral?
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Re: St Colmans Cathedral, Cobh

Postby ctesiphon » Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:16 am

A former colleague of mine wrote a History of Art thesis in Trinity in 1999 or so, either M.Litt or M.Phil, on Ashlin. I'm sure it would have some info you require. I'll send you her email by private message.
Also, the office of Ashlin and Coleman still exists, though without family connections to Ashlin or Coleman, I believe. They might be able to help re old drawings, company archives etc. A quick google gives two addresses: 36 Pembroke Road, D.4, or 1 Grant's Row, off Lwr Mount St, D.2, and an email (possibly out of date) of info@ashlincoleman.com
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