Tuesday, November 6, 2007
The Church of the Holy Trinity, Fátima, Portugal
. . . the 'rest of the story' . . .
Now that I've painted a picture of Heaven-on-earth and sweetness and light, let me turn you around and focus your attention on what lays in the other direction--just across the square from the lovely Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Please look at the attached photos before you read any further. Especially the first one on the right. You have to see this cross to believe it. The bent wrought iron is supposed to represent the crucified Christ--but I can't bring myself to call it a crucifix. It seems to make a mockery of a real crucifix. Although I did cut off the top portion of it in my photo; trust me, you aren't missing a thing. It is as hideous as it looks. It stands outside the Church of the Holy Trinity, which was dedicated on the morning of the 90th Anniversary celebrations.
I will keep this article blessedly short by letting my pictures of the modern structure speak for themselves. (I wanted to write modern 'monstrosity', but refrained.)
There are no kneelers, stained glass or Communion rail. More simply, there is no beauty in this church. There is one statue of Our Lady.
The church seats 9000, but the seats aren't even secured properly. Every time someone moves, the whole section of seats--the 'pew', I suppose you could call it--shifts. The workmanship is very shoddy. In fact, the church wasn't finished, but they went ahead with the dedication anyway.
We were more or less 'forced' to attend Mass there on Sunday, the 14th of October, because all Masses in the Basilica were cancelled. Linda and I were sitting in the Basilica waiting for 9 a.m. Mass to begin when they made the announcement (in Portuguese) and the people started getting up to leave. We, of course, didn't know what had been said, but we figured it out soon enough.
According to a dear friend who is much more knowledgeable about such things than me, the design of this church violates the Church's Book of Directives on architectural design. I wouldn't know about that--although I will be reading up on it in the near future.
What I do know is that it is ugly.
Here is an article which tries to give a fair and balanced assessment about the church, but even so has many errors. http://www.unitypublishing.com/Newsletter/FatimaBasilica.htm Still it was the only article I could find which provided this much factual information on the church. Everyone seems strangely silent on the whole subject of this church. Even our guide would only say that architectural tastes change over time.
I -- respectfully -- beg to disagree. They may change . . . but not that much!