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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Church Renovation Plans Don't Ring True

June 14, 2003

I am a parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. I like the church just the way it is. "Congregation Divided Over Design -- but Not the Divine" (June 7) quotes the Rev. Robert Gallagher saying it is "insulting" to suggest that the church's traditional design is what attracts worshipers. When my family moved we chose St. Charles precisely for its traditional look and feel. Walking in, one feels a connection to previous generations of worshipers in this sacred space. What no one is talking about is exactly who would pay for the remodeling. At my former parish, after construction was approved, each family was "asked" for a minimum of $2,600 for the million-dollar sanctuary. The parishioners lost control of the result.

Why is it suddenly necessary to change the worship space when Vatican II happened over 40 years ago? Will European cathedrals be compelled to renovate? Contrary to what Gallagher says -- "we don't just make changes ... based on people's feelings" -- maybe a man of God should consider them. Vatican II reminded us that priests are the servants of the church. Perhaps what needs renovating is not the building but the pastor.

Brydon Baker

Toluca Lake

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Gallagher stated that the L.A. Archdiocese would ask, "What have you done to rearrange the worship area in line with the Second Vatican Council?" If the Second Vatican Council requires changing all the churches, why has it not changed St. Peter's Basilica in Rome or Notre Dame in Paris? They are destroying all the beautiful churches in our country for no reason. St. Charles Borromeo is the most beautiful building in the whole San Fernando Valley.

Francesca Moreno

North Hollywood

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