- Mar 31, 2003
- Reaction score
Welllllll, are there any WR churches in this country with a screen? Looking about, I haven't seen any.Aristibule said:No - the point remains that what Episcopalians did with liturgical features has no bearing on why we have rood screens and find them incompatible with having an altar rail.
And I think you have forgotten what you originally asserted: that those Victorians made a mistake by putting rails and screens in the same buildings and ought to have omitted the rail. Those Victorians were, of course, Anglicans, and those Anglicans in the USA had no surviving rood screens to work with. As far as I can see, the rail was an established feature by the time they got to work, so it is hard not to understand what they did as adding screens to churches which they already knew were going to have rails.
The division by the screen into an outer and inner space is so obvious it needs no law to create it. But the question is whether the choir area should be so included. If the choir is so small that it holds only the clergy, then it is essentially subsumed into the sanctuary and the "rail or not to rail" question as division of the space is eliminated. But if it holds what in current usage we call the choir, then two issues arise. First, it tends to produce a "church within a church" structure (which indeed was what it was for in the first place) which may or may not be desirable. Second, it then raises the issue of whether the sanctuary proper needs division from the choir. What I see without exception in the parish photos is they do see the need for some sort of division at that point, even if it's not with a rail.
None of this has to do with what denomination is involved. It strictly has to do with how you adapt the form and appointments of a medieval church to modern use. We've reached a point where this "tradition" is nothing more than a set of notions about how to make this adaptation. That's fine, in its way, but then the implication of some sort of historical continuity is pretty much a fantasy, unless it traces back through the places these people came from. The various parish histories testify the ubiquity of Episcopal origins, and at that point I see the tradition tracing back through those Victorians.