Wreckovation is a term used by some Catholics to describe the renovations which historic Catholic cathedrals, churches, and oratories have undergone since the Second Vatican Council. Several changes to Catholic churches have been cited as examples of wreckovation. These include the removal and destruction of high altars, side altars, altar rails, statues, elevated pulpits and non-face to face confessionals. In some Catholic churches the apse area was often extended into the nave which sometimes made the seating space small and irregular. Walls that were once covered in reredos which were taken down were often left bare which often made them look out of place. Often, large baptismal fonts were installed which critics thought resembled water fountains, bath tubs or pools. Perhaps most controversially, in many renovated churches the tabernacle was removed from the sanctuary and placed in a less prominent part of the church, such as a side altar or even a separate room.
These changes in church architecture and design have been criticized from an artistic standpoint. Many historic and irreplaceable works of art have been discarded or destroyed during these renovations. The end results of many renovations have also been criticized as unattractive and not an improvement from the pre-concilliar designs.
Opponents of wreckovation also charge that such changes to churches are iconoclastic and result in Catholic churches that look more like theaters, airport terminals, or barns rather than churches. A major concern is that the design of renovated churches downplays the sense of the sacred in favor of focus on the congregation. Critics see this as inconsistent with the traditional Catholic understanding of communal worship. Meanwhile more liberal Catholics have referred to the renovations as necessary steps in order to emphasise the role of the congregation in worship in accord with the wishes of the Second Vatican Council. Conservative Catholics charge that this is a misinterpretation of the documents of Vatican II.