Monday, February 24, 2014

Solemn High Mass Meme

I'm sure many of you readers who follow Catholic sites have already seen this meme.

First, I find it funny. I also find it quite edifying and beautiful for this is the highest form of celebration in traditional form of the Roman Rite, with priest, deacon, and subdeacon.

This sanctuary is very balanced, and is a good example for churches to follow with new construction. The altar is free standing, but there is more than adequate room for celebrations ad orientem. That's what the Council called for, at least by implication since it did not abolish worship towards the East nor call for only versus populum, and what the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has repeatedly said, that the altar should be free-standing as much as possible but not that the Mass should always or often be facing the people.

I accept the point that in some Baroque churches the altar is overwhelmed by the reredos, and I know that in some later churches the altar wasn't much more than a shelf and that the three steps became one, which is not ideal at all. Not all altars are like this. The altar at my home parish is a fine example, and so is the altar of the Blackfriars chapel at Oxford.

It's also good because in this arrangement with a free-standing altar the gradini do not become overwhelmed with flowers that seem to spill over onto the altar. The way to do it is shown in this picture.

Also, the CDW has made clear that tabernacles should be centrally located (though they are inconsistent in showing that the reserved, exposed, and newly-consecrated Hosts are all equally Christ: look at the changes to genuflections during the Mass and during Exposition...), and Vatican II did not call for the abolition of the altar rail, nor did any document, not even the indult for Communion in the hand. I realize this is the effect of the liturgical reforms, where the liturgy became less vertical and more horizontal.

Let us ask the Lord how we can suffer with Him, and then pray for an increase in devotion to His Sacred and Eucharistic Heart.

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