A few days ago I received a copy of a note from the diocesan offices of the Diocese of Rome about the renovation of the sanctuary of the mighty Jesuit church in central Rome called “Il Gesù”. My soul groaned within me even before I read anything. What fresh hell would the Jesuits concoct for their flagship, to lead the way for others to uglier, “gayer”, sanctuaries far and wide?
The passages that were really bothersome was…
The Church of the Gesù, mother church of the Society of Jesus in Rome, presents a renewed arrangement of the sanctuary in keeping with the Second Vatican Council. Designed at the end of the 16th century – its dedicated 1584 – … the church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus at Argentina incarnates fully the spirit of the Council of Trent, with a single nave and attention focused on the altar. There was needed, therefore, a liturgical update.
This concerns a reorganization in line with suggestions of the Council…. The new arrangement does not compete with the original, but complies with the concrete exigencies of a community which celebrates in the present day. It was necessary that the People of God could gather and feel like a single body..
I haven’t seen the changes yet. I imagine, imagine, that there is now a “thrust” stage for a table altar and various concoctions that pull focus away from the main altar, because – you know – The People.
Mind you, “Il Gesù” is one of the exemplary Counter-Reformation churches in the world. When you start changing something like the Gesù, you are saying something to the world about what the Church believes about herself, what our identity is.
This will really help The People feel more like The People.
And I really think the People friendly inscription on the big iron shackle is great… People friendly Ancient Greek!