Death of a Cathedral

It seems that further shocks in the City of Christchurch may lead to the demolition of its Cathedral. For many this is a truly terrible event. It seems to cut to the roots of faith. Yet there is no reason why this should be so. We live in a world of suffering and impermanence. The problem comes in the way the church seeks to create material symbols apparently lasting for all eternity, or at least a very long time. Other traditions see it differently. The Ise Grand Shrine is due to be rebuilt in 2013, as it has been every 20 years for the last 1240 years. It is always new and always old. Surely this is model for a new kind of Cathedral, one that the Church of England may have to face in the future. Canterbury Cathedral is now facing dissolution and decay on a scale that the Church itself does not, and perhaps should not have, the resources to halt. Is it not time for the Archbishop of Canterbury to process out of the building carrying its treasures and bow to the inevitable process of decay whilst thinking anew about what a Cathedral should be?

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