Monday, April 03, 2006

Lack of Church Buildings in Krakow

In Witness to Hope, the definitive biography of John Paul II, George Weigel recounts Wotyla's tenure as Archbishop of Krakow. One recurring theme of this period was the struggle for Abp. Wotyla and the local church to get municipal permission to build new churches.

I mention this because after having been here for two weeks, I am actually having some sympathy for the apparatchiks on that score.
Imagine being some construction bureaucrat in Krakow, and have the bishop come visit you and there is a need for new parish buildings. It must be the funniest thing you ever heard. There are churches everywhere, to the point where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting three of them.

Physically, many of them seem smaller than American parishes, with very high ceilings but few pews. They are also without many of the accoutrements we might expect of an American parish: no high school nearby, no parish hall or meeting space in the basement under the sanctuary. In America, they might be called chapels instead.

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