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Reflections: Church Talk Section (Altars)

Gothic Style Catholic Church

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Altars

 

Category
Quotation

Altars

"Can. 1235 §2 It is proper that in every church there should be a fixed altar. In other places which are intended for the celebration of sacred functions, the altar may be either fixed or movable." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1237 §2 The ancient tradition of placing relics of martyrs or other saints under a fixed altar is to be preserved, according to the norms given in the liturgical books." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1239 §1 An altar, whether fixed or movable, must be reserved for divine worship alone, to the absolute exclusion of any profane [secular] use." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1239 §2 A body is not to be buried beneath an altar; otherwise, it is not lawful to celebrate Mass at that altar." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 918 § 1 In order to indicate that an altar is privileged nothing else need be inscribed except: 'privileged altar' and, according to the words of grant, perpetual or for a time, daily or not. § 2 For the celebration of Masses on a privileged altar, no greater offering for the Mass can be required on the basis of the privilege." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1197 § 2 In a consecrated church, at least one altar, especially the largest, must be immovable; in a church [that is] only blessed, all the altars can be movable." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1198 § 4 In both an immovable altar and a sacred stone there must be, according of the norm of liturgical law, a sepulcher containing a relic of the Saints, closed with stone." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1200 § 1 An immovable altar loses consecration if the top or table, even for a moment of time, is separated from the base; in which case the Ordinary can permit a priest to perform again the consecration of the altar by a more brief rite and formula. § 2 Both an immovable altar and a sacred stone lose consecration: 1° If they are broken enormously, whether [so considered] by reason of the quantity of the fracture or because of the location [of the fracture] was anointed; 2° If the reliquary is removed or broken or the top of the sepulcher is removed, except in the case where the Bishop himself of his delegate removed the top in order to secure it or repair it or replace it or to inspect the relics. 3° A slight break of the top does not result in deconsecration, and any priest can repair the fissure with cement. 4° Deconsecration of a church does not result in deconsecration of an altar, whether immovable or movable; and the reverse is true too." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1201 § 1 Just like a church, so every altar of a church, at least the immovable ones, shall have its own proper title. § 2 The title of the primary major altar must be the same as the title of the church. § 3 With the permission of the Ordinary, [the title] of a movable altar can be changed but not the title of an immovable altar. § 4 Without an indult from the Apostolic See, the altar of a Blessed cannot be dedicated even in churches or oratories where his office and Mass are granted." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1202 § 1 Both an immovable and a movable altar must be reserved only for divine offices and especially the celebration of the Mass, to the exclusion of any profane [secular] use whatsoever. § 2 Under an altar no corpse shall be laid; corpses that by chance might be buried near an altar shall be separated from it by the space of at least one meter, otherwise it is not permitted to celebrate Mass on that altar until the corpse has been removed." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"To separate the Tabernacle from the Altar is tantamount to separating two things which, of their very nature, must remain together" (Pope Pius XII).

"But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table form; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947) [Note: 'Reducing to antiquity' does NOT refer to the Traditionalists attempts to restore the traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass and pre-Vatican II practices, but to the modernists quest to 'restore' the Church to a 'primitive form' that better corresponds with Protestant sensibilities. In fact, the 'reduction to antiquity' of the Modernists and the restoration sought by the Traditionalists are diametrically opposed. The 'reducing to antiquity' of the Modernists has been condemned by the popes - whereas true faithfulness to tradition has always been guarded in the Church, and is even praised in Holy Scripture. For more information, try the Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Section.)

"The proposition of the synod enunciating that it is fitting, in accordance with the order of divine services and ancient custom that there be only one altar in each temple, and therefore, that it is pleased to restore that custom, [is condemned as] rash, injurious to the very ancient pious custom flourishing and approved for these many centuries in the Church, especially in the Latin Church." ('Auctorem fidei, Condemning the Errors of the Synod of Pistoia, Aug. 28, 1794 A.D.)

"The Church which Christ founded has not only preserved the Word He spoke, and the wonders He wrought; it has also taken Him seriously when He said: 'Do this for a commemoration of me.' And that action whereby we re-enact His Death on the Cross is the Sacrifice of the Mass, in which we do as a memorial what He did at the Last Supper as a prefiguration of His Passion. Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and its meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the altar, and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of all worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Him we are united, in spite of our nothingness; in a certain sense, we lose our individuality for the time being; we unite our intellect and our will, our heart and our soul, our body and our blood, so intimately with Christ, that the Heavenly Father sees not so much us with our imperfection, but rather sees us in Him, the Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. The Mass is for that reason the greatest event in the history of mankind; the only Holy Act which keeps the wrath of God from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth, thus renewing that decisive moment when our sad and tragic humanity journeyed suddenly forth to the fullness of supernatural life." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

Also See: Relics & Flowers Allowed on Altar | Altar Cloth Material | Condemnation / Single Altar | Consecrated / Dedicated / Blessed Altars & Sacred Places | The Tabernacle | Beauty & Decorum in the House of God | Reverence | Kneeling / Prostrating / Bowing / Genuflecting | Notorious Public Criminals Not to Serve at Altar / Assist at Services | Sacred Art / Images | Sacred Furnishings | Sacred Vessels Not To Be Touched by Laity | Sacred Things Not to be Put to Repugnant / Inappropriate Uses | "Our Responsibilities in God's House" (Flier / Resources) | Sacraments Section

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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