I'm starting to feel like a fish out of water in this group. Most of the lay leaders involved are progressive. They're also between the ages of 50-65. So we often hear "Back in our day, we weren't allowed to do this..." or "It used to be the priest didn't face the congregation at all, so it was like he was up there doing his thing and we just watched."
The leader tonight pointed out that after Vatican II, most church buildings had the pews arranged in a fan formation, around the altar area. This seemed to be much preferable in everyone's eyes versus the "old" way of having the church be one long rectangle with a few wings to the side to create a visual cross.
The parish that is sponsoring this program has a modern sanctuary. I can't help it. Modern tabernacles leave me cold. (For the one on the left - I have no idea where it is.)
Is there any way a modernist cube could evoke the majesty and splendor of our God? Now church buildings like this, take my breath away:
I much prefer the "old" style. Why? Because everyone is facing the altar. The tabernacle is right there, calling to us.
I know it's an issue of preference, but to me, the whole "fan" idea just invites distraction. Instead of looking at the altar and being unified in our hearts toward Jesus Christ, our eyes inevitably drift toward the late-comers or the young mother leaving with her child. I loved the Latin Mass because the priest was facing the tabernacle. I felt more connected to him as he performed the rite. I felt as though he was truly leading us, his congregation.
I find it slightly amusing that I feel like a radical. Somehow, I found all these blogs online that celebrate gorgeous church architecture, the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy, Gregorian Chants and sacred song. I don't know how it happened (I think it started with The Curt Jester's blog but I can't remember how I found him.) but it did. Now my days are filled with listening to Ave Maria Radio, praying the rosary with Mother Angelica and her sisters, visiting Fr. Z's site and loving all the other blogs I'm starting to discover.
For the most part, they're all leaning toward orthodoxy and I just love it.