Christchurch officials are, once again, claiming that, for this one last time, the decision, this time for certain, regarding the fate of the Christchurch Cathedral has, definitely, been made.
Forgive me, I did suppress the compulsion to write this article for a number of weeks, but that infernal New Zealand Media just kept rubbing it my face; every night, from three or four weeks’ ago, they’d be on at me, with all their ‘…over six years on…’, ‘…remains an eyesore…’, ‘…fate of the Christchurch Cathedral…’, ‘…rebuild or demolish…’, ‘…so many years on and still not been decided…’
‘But that can’t be right…’ I was, three or four weeks ago, thinking, while hastily referring to my own documentation of this monumental debacle – in the form of ‘Tim Walker’s Cathedral, Cathedral II, and Cathedral III – to find that, (three or four weeks’ ago) shock horror, those unfathomably dilatory yet unquestioningly devout, followers, in fact did have yet to come to a decision.
2015, approximately five years after Canterbury’s 7.1 quake had precipitated the downfall of the Christchurch Cathedral, (as reported in the original ‘Cathedral’) Christchurch zealots, frustrated at the continuing state of disrepair of their beloved church (having some years prior banded together to erect a ‘temporary replacement’ in the form of a $5 million cardboard cut-out of their place of worship; because of course at this time there was still plenty of insurance money left to fritter away on outlandish and frivolous enterprises of that nature), indeed so frustrated they were at the continually changing status of their church – from fixable to irreparable then back and again, and so forth – they finally decided they were going to fix it…
The problem with this apparent (2015) solution was that after over five years’ of litigation costs (along with, I assume, the tea, coffee, and the muffin breaks inherent in the litigation process), generous insurance payout notwithstanding, regarding a potential rebuild there was a mild funding shortfall; within months a new decision has revealed itself – Christchurch’s religious community had again decided to demolish the remains of their existing Cathedral and ‘start anew’.
…A reasonable person might well have expected that the time taken to construct a cardboard cut-out replacement place of worship, then to flip-flop on the decision of what to do with their genuine holy structure, would have provided sufficient time to farewell their beloved, albeit dilapidated, Cathedral, and to prepare it for demolition, thereby making way for this newer, wholly modernised version to be constructed, but no; flick forward to ‘Cathedral II’, and one will see that these infernal God botherers, rather than electing for the logical choice of upgrading to a modern, plush, centrally heated and air conditioned design (estimated at under $100 million), have again elected to repair their existing, broken construction (estimated at up to $200 million).
Flick forward now to ‘Cathedral III’ – where it is clear just how weary I am becoming of this topic – six years on and one will see that the question of the Christchurch Cathedral rebuild has still not been properly answered.
The problem as I recognised it back then, I recall thinking, was not so much to do with the issue of re/construction at all, and nor was it to do with the inevitable bureaucracy that tends to surround this kind of endeavour; indeed shockingly, for the first time in just under six years, those idiot bloody malcontents couldn’t even blame our Government for their church’s ongoing disrepair (because contrary to what most of these Kiwi malcontents seem to believe, it is not our nation’s Government which is in charge of recruiting builders to build stuff, it is in fact our nation’s people). That’s right, on this rare occasion, it turned out to not be the Government’s fault at all; no, as it transpired it had more to do with the fact that Christchurch’s band of religious fanatics had, and evidently still do have, less decision-making ability than a party of 14-year-old girls getting ready for their first big high school dance.
Christchurch’s religious community, typical of zealots, want everything their own way; both ways, if you will. They initially considered their church rebuild a priority that needed to be fast-tracked, despite the majority of Christchurch also requiring extensive repair; ‘We need a place to house and to worship our Lord and Saviour’, they demanded, while many of Christchurch’s tangible residents went without shelter at all.
They then wanted a cardboard monstrosity to be built in replacement of the Cathedral, presumably to house God while they considered their options regarding the fate of His other Christchurch residence. Then after that stage had passed, indicating no progress had been made on the matter at all, with renewed zeal they returned to the ‘Cathedral rebuild/demolish debate’, which is apparently ongoing; but here’s the thing, all the money, and resources, efforts and time that have been wasted in the meantime, are now shown to have been just that – a total waste of time.
The fact is that every bit of this past discussion and debate has been pointless; Christchurch’s religious community were never going to accept that their beloved Cathedral should be demolished.
Now – given that the bulk of their insurance payout has been wasted on deliberation, litigation; ultimately on funding professional procrastination – along with financial assistance from the Government, and of course the always faithful (yet largely atheistic) taxpayer, the Cathedral’s fate has been decided for certain this time (and dear God let’s hope that’s the truth).
The Christchurch Cathedral is to be rebuilt and, to the delight of God-botherers everywhere (just probably not so much the atheistic taxpayers who will likely never step foot inside their investment for as long as they live), restored to its former glory.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Jesus Marianne Joseph
Photography by Jesus H Christ