Are older devotional objects or churches more holy than new?


I’m just wondering if there’s any validity to such a claim. I know that for some reason I tend to prefer used crucifixes and rosaries for my own use and that new churches just seem to be lacking something to me.


I dont believe there is any ground for that… However, I can agree with you. I feel like when you are in an old church, or use an old Rosary, or read an old bible, the people who have used it before you look down upon you and are able to intercede for you in a special way, through the object. that’s just my opinion, though


What makes a place holy?


Possessing a sense of the divine or reason to note what is defined as religious ecstasy.


I think it depends on the intensity of prayers and liturgies held there. I see the presence Holy Spirit holies a place and it depends on the prayers and liturgies being held there - intensity, frequency etc. A house for example can never be as holy as a church because there are no liturgies being held in a house.
An older church may have held more prayers once, and maybe even the ones who were later on observed as saints. I definitely feel older churches to be holier and this makes destroying them for financial reasons an even worse desecration because they are old.


I think that there is a greater sense of wonder and awe in churches that are older. Also a sense of the place or item having a history. Many new churches are built in a style that doesn’t really attempt to instil a sense of the majesty and power or God. That said, any church with the Eucharist present is a holy place.


I think that in the past the people who designed and built churches often did so out of reverence and let their belief inspire their work.

Today in many cases they are just people doing a job. Even artwork and other decorations in modern churches is often just “artstic” and shouts “look what a cool artist I am”. The old stuff is not about the artist or architect but about God or about whatever saint is being portrayed. This shows. The same can be said about music.

Of course exceptions exist.

But I think the intentions of those who make these things does show in the final result.


The beliefs of the people who made the older holy objects tended to be stronger. Therefore they put more effort into making them powerful tools of prayer.

Just compare St Patrick’s cathedral in NYC to Our Lady of The Angels in LA. There are not even comparable in their beauty.


Objectively, no, they’re both just as holy assuming that the people who use the new church or object are just as holy as the ones who used the old.

Subjectively, one might feel that an old church or an old object that has been used by previous devout Catholics can really connect one to others who have worshipped in the past, and you get a sense of history from it. For example, if I buy an old military rosary or prayer book, then I like to think about the person(s) who may have used it in the war. Or if I get an old crucifix then I can think about the previous owner and how they prayed on it, etc. But in terms of holiness, my prayers don’t get an added zing if I use the old rosary as opposed to a brand new one I just bought. They’re the same prayers.


Sometimes it can be people with an agenda that get to work on them too.

My Grandfather recounted a conversation he had with someone involved in the construction and design of a new Church in our area. He was at the opening of the Church and commented that he would have liked to see kneelers on the pews. The guy responded that “we don’t really kneel to anyone anymore”. The same Church is an ugly monstrosity of a building, both interior and exterior, and designed more like a basketball arena than a Church. Still no kneelers there after 20 years.


In my experience, people who want to kneel in those places will just kneel on the floor.


True, but it does reveal something of the agenda that was tied up in some of these decisions.


If some guy told me that about “we don’t kneel to anyone” i’d probably tell him off right there on the spot. Is he even Catholic? What is his problem, etc.


I think he may have been a cleric invoved in overseeing the project. Or a layperson on some comittee or other.



This is the interior of the Church in question. Built c. 1998


Lack of kneelers aside, it looks pretty. It also looks like most of the churches in the suburban areas I frequent that were built around the same time.

I will say that almost all of the churches I go to that look like that do have kneelers. The other night I visited one and it had no kneelers, which was a first for me. The Newman Center I often go to has chairs that can be moved, and no kneelers; the students, who are mostly in jeans and so forth and do not appear to be super traditional, all tend to kneel anyway on the floor.


Yeah. But the point is that the removal of kneelers is a concious decison made for a reason.

In Ireland most Churches were either built at the end of the 19th Century (after Catholic Emancipation) or in the early 20th Century. They generally are stone and have beautiful interiors, marble pillars, ornate altars, etc. It’s a pity that the same level of workmanship and effort does not go into building churches now.


The problem with all those beautiful wonderful old churches is upkeep. One in my neighborhood that is truly wonderful is literally falling apart and will cost millions of dollars to fix. No one has the money. I am afraid of what will happen to it and the bishop already tried unsuccessfully to close it once. I am praying for a miracle to save it.

If one of these pretty, but less fabulous, churches has to be torn down or sold, it will be sad for the parishioners maybe, but not a huge architectural loss.

I frankly would rather not see churches built unless people are committed to keeping them forever, but I know that is unrealistic. I like to think when they are destroyed on earth, they are rebuilt even better in Heaven, so people can enjoy them there.


I’m not arguing that they ought to be kept forever. In my parish though, we have one large old church (c 1900), and two smaller “modern” churches. One of the modern churches is actually in worse condition than the hundred year old church and is a horrible piece of architecture. There also are only a few masses there a week. The other is a 1960’s chapel built for the Dominican community in my town. That is actually pretty good architecturally speaking and is in much better condition. But lot of the older churches woud have a preservation order on them and would possbly be enitled to some state funding for major structural upkeep. Though most are very well built and last much better than ones built more recently.


My great grandfather was an assistant sculptor who worked, among others, on the cathedral in Cologne. He also worked on many other churches but unfortuantely we don’t know which bits he did as the archives don’t record that. Some of the churches he worked on no longer exist, which is very sad. My dad still has a statue of Our Lady which we think he made possibly as a test of concept for a larger sculpture in a church

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