When pastors and congregations began to implement the decrees of Vatican II, they often experienced a need to remodel and adapt their churches and worship spaces.
With the advent of concelebrated Masses and fewer side-altar celebrations, the need for side altars became less. With the emphasis on participation in the liturgy, proximity to the altar and visibility of the celebrant and ministers became important.
In the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy they were told to seek noble beauty rather than sumptuous display. The Constitution told them, “The practice of placing sacred images in churches so that they may be venerated by the faithful is to be maintained. Nevertheless, their number should be moderate and their relative positions should reflect right order."
In renovating churches and sanctuaries pastors were not acting in arbitrary fashion. They were carrying out the mandate of the Church. And if they were faithful to the demand of the Church, they did so with consultation from liturgists, artists and architects.