Susan Brigden, 27 May 1993
At the Reformation a world was lost that could never be recovered. The images and altars, the dooms and roods of the parish churches, the towers and cloisters of the religions houses were desecrated. But the loss and profanation of the treasures donated over centuries was nothing compared to the shattering of the beliefs they had symbolised. For Catholics, the desecration threatened the end of mediation, propitiation and spiritual solace: the loss of community between the dead and the living. It is this lost physical and mental world, as well as this desolation, which Eamon Duffy discovers and, wishing it had been otherwise, movingly describes.