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Bendigo Catholics rail over Cathedral renovations


Bendigo Catholics are up in arms over rumoured proposals to move the altar from the sanctuary and remove the altar rails at the regional Victorian city's Sacred Heart Cathedral but a spokesperson says that renovation plans are still at the consultation stage.

Local reports say that Catholics are up in arms over rumoured proposals to move the altar from the sanctuary and remove the altar rails at Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral, although the Cathedral spokesperson, Msgr John Duffus says that so far renovation plans are still in at the consultation stage.

The Bendigo Weekly reports that it received its biggest poll result ever this week when it asked whether the Catholic Church should change the layout of the Sacred Heart Cathedral after a story the previous week suggested that there were ideas to move the altar from the sanctuary and remove the altar rails.

More than 50,000 words were written in response to the story and to other responses, the paper said.

The paper earlier reported that it believed that a special liturgical committee had been established to consider changes.

However, Cathedral spokesperson Monsignor John Duffus told the Weekly that "there is no actual plan".

"The Bishop is just thinking of it," he said.

"It is purely at a consultative level. We don't want to enter into (the debate).

"(People) can talk their heads off if they wish."

However, 92 year old Molly Brennan said that she believes the cathedral should stay as it is.

"People who find the altar rails are interfering with their worship of God are already well served in Bendigo," she told.

"They have no justification, other than they claim it will promote a greater sense of community.

The plan also angered church traditionalists who argue the sanctuary is a holy place and moving the altar would diminish the importance of the priest.

They also claim the cathedral, the last Early Gothic cathedral built in the world, remains almost untouched from the time it was built and should be preserved.


SOURCE
Church idea is a big issue (Bendigo Weekly, 12/1/07)
Sacred Heart Cathedral debate stirs emotion (Bendigo Weekly, 12/1/07)
Altar plans divide church faithful (Bendigo Weekly, 5/1/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo

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15 Jan 2007