You might say that it's only a building, made of ordinary stone-- however artfully crafted. You'd be half right. It is a building, but not only a building. A church is never only a building. It is a sacred space.
Even in the humblest little parish church, the Eucharist is celebrated. People are baptized, confirmed, married, and mourned; perhaps they are buried in an adjoining graveyard. Catholics can trace their own spiritual histories through their parish churches, and some can boast that many generations of their ancestors were baptized and married in the same building.
Something precious is lost, therefore, whenever any church is closed. The Church is walking away from some precious heritage, sealing off access to memories that can never be replaced. A parish is a Christian community with its own spiritual life, uniting different families and even different generations. Those bonds are severed when the parish is closed. [more]
10 November 2007
On church buildings
Phil Lawler has an excellent reflection on the importance and meaning of church buildings. He writes: