27 January 2008

Come Under My Roof

There was depressing news last week over at the blog of Monsignor Mark Langham, the administrator of Westminster Cathedral. It seems that parts of the building are in danger of collapsing if repairs aren't made. It seems that three of the four domes and the supporting arches are in serious trouble. I know, you might think this is bad form, considering that the Cathedral was only dedicated in 1903, barely a hundred years ago, but I've a feeling that John Bentley didn't have German bombing raids in mind when he designed his neo-Byzantine marvel.

It looks as though three million pounds will be needed if the repairs are to be made, and though it might seem a bit cheeky for the Church to seek such an amount of money, it's probably worth bearing in mind that unlike plenty of Anglican cathedrals, Westminster Abbey and Yorkminster being perfect examples, you don't have to pay to enter Westminster Cathedral, which depends for its upkeep entirely on vulntary contributions. Despite its remarkable beauty, it's not a tourist church. It's a real, living, working house of God, where mass is held several times every day, and a place which, as Ruth Gledhill says, 'offers a rare chance for a moment's peace, to light a candle and say a prayer.'

In as hectic a city as London, that's something to treasure.

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