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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“Partly on account of these alterations, and partly because I have been unable to ascertain the authorship of many compositions—which have come to me either in manuscript or through other collections—I have thought it right to publish the volume without appending the names of writers to their works. This, however, I confess to be a defect…”
— Benjamin Hall Kennedy (1863)

Sacred Architecture and Brexit
published 17 February 2019 by Fr. David Friel

Salisbury N EDITORIAL in the Christmas double-issue of the London weekly, The Tablet, observes that, between Great Britain and the European continent, there is a notable link to be found in sacred architecture.

First, a disclaimer: neither Corpus Christi Watershed nor I have a position on “Brexit,” the matter of whether (or in what fashion) Great Britain should remain a part of the European Union or withdraw therefrom.

That being said, the point made in the editorial is intriguing and worthy of consideration by anyone interested in church architecture or in culture, more generally.

The relevant section is quoted here:

If Sir Simon Jenkins is right and England’s medieval cathedrals remain supreme creations of the national genius, it is worth noting that they were a Catholic—that is to say Roman Catholic—accomplishment, and very much the fruit of European creativity. The Gothic architectural style links Britain’s ancient cathedrals to some of the greatest buildings in Europe. But that is only one of dozens of ways Britain has benefited from and contributed to European civilization. 1

What strikes me about this observation is that it uses an uncommon criterion for establishing cultural association. More common criteria include currency, cuisine, customs, spoken and written languages, etc. To speak of architecture—and, more narrowly, of sacred architecture—as a means of connecting cultures is fascinating.


1   The Tablet: The International Catholic Weekly, 22/29 December 2018, p. 2.