As I said a few posts back, priests have had a tendency to change the Mass in the last fifty years. Another common and unfortunate occurrence of the last fifty years is the issue of what will be called, for convenience’s sake, the Auditorium Church. I’m sure you can guess what I’m referring to here. Heck, your own parish may fit that category. The Auditorium Church is just what it sounds like: a worship space that looks not like a worship space, but an auditorium. A large contribution to the rise of these Auditorium Churches would be the desire among Catholics since the 1960s to do away with the Catholic and get along with Protestants by blurring the differentiating lines. For example, in these Auditorium Churches, you’ll find (most of the time) that things commonly considered “Catholic” are absent. Such things include (but are not limited to):
- The Tabernacle (this “house of God”, as it were, is usually hidden off in a side chapel somewhere)
- Stations of the Cross
- Stained Glass
- Kneelers (how dare we kneel before God, after all)
Such parishes have a tendency to be very happy-clappy and liberal. It makes sense. Anyone who truly knows about the Eucharist and knows what the Mass is would WANT a place to adequately glorify God. Unfortunately, these people see Holy Mass as a communal gathering, just like the church services of Protestants. Sadly for these Auditorium-loving folks (and thankfully for the Catholic identity in all of us), people do, in their heart of hearts, like–get this–beautiful churches. Yup. You got it. Pretty churches. God-glorifying churches. Ornate churches that take care and dedication to build. Does the church have to be a mini-European cathedral? No, but it should be obviously Catholic, insofar as that’s possible (the exception being a chapel in a third-world country).
There’s a very simple proof that people like “Catholic” Catholic churches.. Ask ANYBODY who normally goes to an Auditorium Parish and gets the chance to go to an obviously Catholic one. They will, almost unfailingly, declare how nice it was, and how they “love going to that church”.
Wanna venture a guess as to why that might be?