Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Set design for "Shrek the Musical"

Sometimes it's not the sun bursting through the rose window, but another sphere entirely: The wrecking ball. A while back at the First Things blog, there was a tenderly written essay by Stephen Vincent about demolished neighborhoods in New York City.
I lived through Vatican II, receiving First Communion at the council’s close in 1965 and Confirmation in 1967, as the new Mass and other innovations got their sputtering starts. By 1969, the school and church along First Avenue were closed and another wrecking ball came crashing through the stained glass and fine masonry. The strongest support and sanctuary in a changing city had gone away, in the most violent fashion imaginable. The world, it seemed, had won.
It reminds me of that awful scene at the end of Schrek (I) where the dragon smashes the stained glass, after which I suppose all the kids in the audience are supposed to cheer.

For another heartbreaking tale of urban destruction, consider this characteristically insightful John J. Miller interview (who has a gift for asking good questions). The Little Pink House is a cautionary tale. I wonder how many churches have been destroyed under the aegis of eminent domain.

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