Modern installations: reredos/rood screen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Hello friends,
    Are any of you familiar with 20th/21st century architectural installations of either A. a reredos; or (I know it may be unlikely, but a semblance example welcomed) B. a rood screen?
    I've perused NLM and Shawn T's new site without success.
  • The Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham has a rood screen.
    It is of wood with gilt details and is topped with a polychrome rood scene.
    It was installed in the autumn of 2017, replacing the earlier rood beam.
    (It can be seen on Walsingham's website.)

    The reredos was installed when the present church was built, in 2004.
    It was, I think, crafted in Spain, is ploychrome and gilt, with our Lord crucified in the centre panel and has St Catherine and St Laurence respectively in the north and south panels. St Laurence was much revered in mediaeval England.

    The tabernacle is a representation of the Ark of the Covenant, complete with prostrate angels on either ends of the top. On the doors are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This tabernacle was designed by Fr Moore, Walsingham's first pastor and a very old friend of mine.
    Thanked by 2melofluent CHGiffen
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,597
    The newly constructed All Saints Newman Center in Tempe, Arizona has something that isn't a rood screen, but is perhaps could be looked at as being a descendant of the rood screen. Pictures online don't quite do the job of showing it... but it's visible here:
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Jackson, do you have links to photos of same to share from OLW?
  • Our Lady of the Atonement Parish in San Antonio, TX also has a rood screen. It is adorned with the four evangelists over its pillars, and has five arches with five sanctuary lamps marking the 5 wounds of Christ (Our Lady's Chapel has 7 for her 7 sorrows).

    The diocese has also been renovating its Spanish colonial missions over the past twenty years and has put a fine retablo in the cathedral, as well as several of the missions.

  • Many of the chapels of the National Basilica in DC are also adorned with various modern takes on a reredos
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • KyleM18
    Posts: 150
    The retablo in the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano is from this century I believe.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • Charles -
    I do not have pictures, but if you go to Walsingham's website there should be some up-to-date pictures of the sanctuary with screen and reredos. Some pictures are not up-to-date and only show the old rood beam. Others will show the new screen.


    Many thanks to others for the pictures of old Spanish missions and cathedrals.
    They are beautiful.
    Too, it is so refreshing that Catholics are at last (in some places) restoring and caring for their architectural treasures. We went through a period (which isn't over in some too many places) in which such treasures were either destroyed, thrown out, or whitewashed. Deo gratias for these evidences of a more favourable and sane wind.


    Though the intention is tres laudable in the picture of the All Saints' Newman Centre supplied by Matthew, my immediate impression is that of an incomplete work. There is hardly anything there except post and lintel. Some angels or saints atop the posts would be satisfying. An actual rood scene in the centre would likely conflict un-satisfyingly with the very beautiful iconography of the east wall. This is a well-intended but poorly executed screen. Thanks galore at least for the effort.

    Closer inspection reveals a rood in the centre. It is, though, too small in proportion to the screen, which also has two-too-few posts. Two more towards the centre (perhaps in line with those pilasters on the east wall flanking the iconography) would redeem this screen architectually - the central span between the current posts is too great and leaves the beam-lintel unrealistically and psychologically quite insufficiently supported.

    Still - there is a screen, which speaks volumes about the holiness of the space beyond it. Wunderbar!


    For those who may be unfamiliar -
    A rood is a cross with the crucified Christ on it.
    A rood scene (which typically sits atop a rood screen) consists of a rood with our Lady and St John on our Lord's respective right and left.
    Such a screen without a rood scene is called a choir screen (assuming the church has an architectural 'choir').

    Such screens are derived ultimately from the oriental iconostasis and were once common all over Europe. They have become very scarce in continental churches but are not at all rare to this day in English churches. Not only are they very often quite beautiful in themselves, but the holiness which they bespeak of the sanctuary beyond them is profound; too profound, it seems, for modern Catholic thinkers (if one can call them that) and the poor Catholic populace whose minds they have mis-shaped.
  • Yeah. The decline and fall of Catholic liturgy didn't begin with the Second Vatican Council. It began when they started building churches and chapels without Rood screens.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    Which happened centuries ago.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Well, we demarcate and venerate the particular priestly office of the "confectioner" of the Eucharist by vesture. Why not afford the same respect to the particular space of that action via architecture?
    Of course, many will castigate a rood screen as antithetical to their notion of what constitutes "sacred space;" "not in some heaven, light years away....."

    PS. Excerpt from Wikipedia:
    "The decrees of the Council of Trent (1545–1563) enjoined that the celebration of the Mass should be made much more accessible to lay worshippers; and this was widely interpreted as requiring the removal of rood screens as physical and visual barriers, even though the Council had made no explicit condemnation of screens. "

    Does that analysis seem redolent as regards the place of chant in the immediate post conciliar era?
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757

    It's not like chant exactly had a heyday everywhere in the lived experience of the PIPs after Trent, either. And Trent called for frequent communion by the faithful, something that was not implemented until...Pope St Pius X just over a century ago.
  • Liam -

    The most perfidious errors have a gestation period of many centuries. Just look at Ockham's nominalism. That's the germ of Modernism (and I suppose post-Modernism) right there.

    Melo -

    Concerning the erroneous interpretation of Trent (Oh Lord, save us from interpretations of Councils!): The Greeks have iconostasi. That doesn't stop them from singing their whole service.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Gentlemen, I fear my language was imprecise: I meant the widespread notion that chanting was dead after V2, not Trent.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    "The most perfidious errors have a gestation period of many centuries. Just look at Ockham's nominalism. That's the germ of Modernism (and I suppose post-Modernism) right there."

    I think that meme is oversold. Ockham wasn't quite so original as to be the Ground Zero or Germ, as it were. As it was/is, moderate metaphysical realism is a matter of degree, not an absolute pole position. I tend towards the idea that that erstwhile heresies are rarely as new as we may think they are. In any event, years ago, I realized that disagreements (and heresies) about the faith can be thought of within the following framework:

    Starting with 1 John 4 (“God is love”), perhaps the first and most profound *description* of Most Holy Trinity, a Scriptural passage illuminates the necessarily Trinitarian nature of God’s essence and economy, the keys to apprehend (if not comprehend) the nature and purpose of the Incarnation and Paschal mysteries. Most questions involving basic belief implicate the following series of questions (and variations thereon), the first of which is clearly indicated by Scripture as the paradigmatic first question posed by Jesus to his disciples:

    1. Who is Jesus of Nazareth? ("Who do you say that I am?") Real or myth? Man or God, both or neither?

    2. Who is God? If Jesus is God, how can that be?

    3. Who am I?

    4. How do we know the answers to these questions? How do we know we don’t know such answers?

    5. Who gets to say so? How do we know that?

    Thus, the initial theological and anthropological questions tend to be ontological, epistemological and ecclesiological.

    However, the journey of the believer is to get to answer the question we may be asked at the end of our earthly lives: “[Name], do you love Me?” The answer to which we can't fake.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    The attached image made me think of this thread.

    The images of the renovation underway at St. Francis de Sales show a truly remarkable transformation of a small church being restored to its former beauty. (For more images, find "Regina Pacis Chaplaincy" on Facebook.)

  • igneusigneus
    Posts: 267
    Enjoy this (brand new, wonderful, 2017) reredos (in stainless steel).
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,557
    Please oh please oh please Mrs. Cooze. Tell me that is being used for a rood screen.


    Please oh please of please Brother Igneus. Tell me that is being used at the graduation ceremony of Starfleet Academy. (J/K - it is pretty impressive)
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • Such screens are derived ultimately from the oriental iconostasis

    Or rather they ultimately are derived form the cancelli which still can be seen in some ancient churches in Italy (e.g. St. Clement in Rome). Both western rood screens (and communion rails) and oriental iconostases appear to be developments of it.