9 September 2010

A Catholic cathedral ...

... is a sort of world, every one going about his own business, but that business a religious one; groups of worshippers, and solitary ones - kneeling, standing - some at shrines, some at altars - hearing Mass and communicating - currents of worshippers intercepting and passing by each other - altar after altar lit up for worship, like stars in the firmament - or the bell giving notice of what is going on in parts you do not see - and all the while the canons in the choir going through matins and lauds, and at the end of it the incense rolling up from the high altar ...

Newman wrote this after experiencing the Duomo in Milan. I know it will remind readers, as it does me, of the great purple passage .... what a stylist the man is ... near the end of Loss and Gain ... where he describes the experience of Charles Reding in the unfinished Passionist church in London.

Please God, by Newman's prayers, such a Christian culture may be given back to us.

2 comments:

Bad Catholic said...

Amen and Amen.

Lew said...

Somehow I've never found a scrap of "purple prose" in Newman's writing. Luminous, glorious, clear and lucid, but not purple.

Your Mileage May Vary