I picked up this postcard of our Birmingham Cathedral of St. Paul at an estate sale a couple of years ago. I’m guessing it’s from the 1920’s. I thought it would be interesting to compare it to the Cathedral now.
Well, not exactly now. There have been a few more changes made since this photograph, and others ongoing. There are now racks of devotional candles in front of the Mary and Joseph statues in the far alcoves. Also know that previous, post-Vatican II renovations of the Cathedral obviously resulted in changes from the postcard state – the placement of the ambo and altar, removal of the altar rail, etc. At some point those original paintings circling the sanctuary were removed or painted over. When we first moved here in 2008 there was nothing but blank space there, but a couple of years later, new representations of the sacraments were painted. (Click on individual photos for larger versions)
Different people are struck by various elements of older churches. For me, it’s color. Your regular parish church before the Council was not afraid of color. It didn’t have to look perfect. It just had to be bold and glorious.