Of course there is widespread shock and disappointment at the decision not to rebuild the Christchurch Cathedral. But it’s hardly unexpected. The building is stuffed. And even if rebuilt at massive expense, who could guarantee its future safety?
I grew up in Christchurch. Many’s the sunny lunchtime I spent in The Square (usually listening to the wit and wisdom of the Wizard – g’day Ian). I love that building as a symbol of the city as much as anyone I think, and I understand and respect those that are going to fight to save it. Good for you.
But if that fight is lost and the building, as planned, comes down, then I won’t grieve too much. Even reduced to a ring of walls, the Cathedral can serve a fantastic role in the city. Bishop Matthews has apparently suggested turning the site into a prayer garden. Interpreted broadly as a place of multi-cultural prayer / mediation and remembrance, I think this is a great idea. Some of the ruined cathedrals of Europe are powerful and beautiful places.
Things change. Christchurch is changed forever and there’s no going back. Let the heart of the old city become its memorial, and thus serve a vital role in the new city that emerges.