Brief comment from the Saint Agatha’s blogger

The new blogger of the Portsmouth Ordinariate mission wrote of his recent visit to Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Gregory, Warwick Street:

I passed by Our Lady, Warwick Street. Being the Principal Church of the Ordinariate I was expecting to see Portal magazines, English hymnals, glittering shrines to Our Lady of Walsingham and John Henry Newman as well as a list of where the UK Ordinariate groups are based. Sadly I did not.

our-lady-of-assumption-and-st-gregory-interior

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12 Responses to Brief comment from the Saint Agatha’s blogger

  1. David Knowles says:

    I enter many Catholic Churches and have to play ‘hunt the Tabernacle’!

  2. Matt C says:

    Norm, you wrote “…abject disobedience, seems to be the response of most hard-core Traditionalists to most of the liturgical directives promulgated by the last several popes.” while citing the GIRM as a support for your statement that not having the tabernacle on the main altar and even should be in a separate chapel is preferred. I’d like to point out that adherence to every change to traditional practices since Vatican II is not required of Catholics by citing the instruction Universae Ecclesiae which states, “Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.” http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_commissions/ecclsdei/documents/rc_com_ecclsdei_doc_20110430_istr-universae-ecclesiae_en.html

    Also, even looking at churches where only the Ordinary Form is used, the first option given for the placement of the Blessed Sacrament is “in the sanctuary, apart from the altar of celebration, in a form and place more appropriate, not excluding on an old altar no longer used for celebration.” Given the way that’s worded and the fact that the tabernacle is supposed be be placed somewhere prominent and readily visible, where else could you possibly put it it inside a parish church and fulfill those requirements?

    Matt

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Matt,

      You wrote: Norm, you wrote “…abject disobedience, seems to be the response of most hard-core Traditionalists to most of the liturgical directives promulgated by the last several popes.” while citing the GIRM as a support for your statement that not having the tabernacle on the main altar and even should be in a separate chapel is preferred.

      I think that you are missing the timeline here. There was a major revision to the General Instructions to the Roman Missal in 2004. The earlier edition, promulgated in 1970, was quite clear that a separate chapel is, or at least was, the preferred approach. The revision seems to be a compromise facing the reality that many older church buildings do not have a room that could become a separate chapel. And even in the new instructions, the words “Or even…” indicate some level of preference for what comes after where it’s practicable.

      You continued: I’d like to point out that adherence to every change to traditional practices since Vatican II is not required of Catholics by citing the instruction Universae Ecclesiae which states, “Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.”

      If one is going to celebrate mass according to the 1962 missal, the liturgical space obviously needs to be configured according to the norms applicable thereto.

      This is not, however, the situation that exists in most Catholic parishes today.

      You asked: Also, even looking at churches where only the Ordinary Form is used, the first option given for the placement of the Blessed Sacrament is “in the sanctuary, apart from the altar of celebration, in a form and place more appropriate, not excluding on an old altar no longer used for celebration.” Given the way that’s worded and the fact that the tabernacle is supposed be be placed somewhere prominent and readily visible, where else could you possibly put it it inside a parish church and fulfill those requirements?

      The answer to such a question depends upon the particular layout of each building, so one needs to address it case by case. If it is not possible to create a separate blessed sacrament chapel, the best solution may well be an alcove similar to those that often house a “side altar” or a shrine to a saint. If that does not work, a eucharistic shrine in one corner of the church, with its own provisions for private prayer, may be the best solution. Note that one can bring prominence to the location of the tabernacle in many ways — by elevation, by décor, and even by lighting. It does NOT need to be in the main sanctuary to have the appropriate prominence. In fact, the most prominent elements in the main sanctuary should be the altar and the ambo, where the celebration of mass takes place.

      Note, BTW, that the most prominent elements also should NOT be either the presidium (the seating for the principal celebrant and his assistants) or, in a cathedral church, the cathedra.

      Norm.

  3. Scotrhodie says:

    The sensus fidelium is that the tabernacle on, or over, the high altar is spiritually, typologically, and aesthetically more apt and satisfying. There is some peculiar irony in the fact that the Spirit of Vatican II, in theory so open to the views and intentions of lay people, should in fact trample all over those views and intentions in practice. Did Henry VIII do more damage to the fabric of Catholicism than Vatican II’s misguided liturgical reforms in practice? II beats VIII, in my view, by a mile.

    I find it offensive to look for the Lord in some hideous concrete silo hidden off to the side, as it the case in many American modern churches. In practice, He has been dethroned and is ignored. Yah, boo, and sucks to the GIRM.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Scotrhodie,

      You wrote: The sensus fidelium…

      Your personal preference and that of your closest friends does NOT constitute the sensus fidelium of the universal church. It comes across as rather arrogant to portray it as such, and thereby essentially making yourself the pope, especially when the authentic magisterium clearly has determined otherwise.

      You wrote: I find it offensive to look for the Lord in some hideous concrete silo… as it the case in many American modern churches.

      Yes, this would be utterly repulsive — though I have not seen it in any American, or other, Catholic churches that I have visited. There is absolutely no excuse for a chapel of reservation not being finished and decorated in a manner worthy of the eucharistic presence of the Lord.

      Having said that, there could be some justification for a chapel of reservation being in a location that’s less than obvious. Tragically, there are Satanists in this world who would desecrate it — and even smash the tabernacle to take consecrated hosts for their “black masses” — if they could find a chapel of reservation and gain access to it easily. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

      You wrote: In practice, He has been dethroned and is ignored.

      That is exactly what recommends in favor of a separate chapel of reservation where the tabernacle is the ONLY focal point, rather than one of several.

      Norm.

      • John Walter S. says:

        Hi, Rev. Fancy seeing you here.

        Maybe what is “Preferred” by the Vatican does not mean anything? For example, the “preferred” form for receiving the Holy Communion is kneeling, but most people ignore this preference.

        All in all, when you have to make all sorts of legal gymnastics over where the Tabernacle should be, versus where the Tabernacle had always been, which is in the Sanctuary, as per the tradition of having followed the model of the Jewish Temple, with Jesus Christ Himself in the Holy of Holies. The documents you cite are so vague and self-contradictory, no doubt you can fit any agenda you want into it. This is why abusers at Mass, EF or OF, can get away with what they do.

        I don’t know what personal grudge you have against these people who prefer the Latin-Mass, but I do not think it is your responsibility to “enlighten” us, nor do you have any real authority to “teach” us, so we are not really obligated to unquestioningly accept your opinion as facts to guide us. Just a friendly reminder, fellow netizen.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        John,

        You wrote: I don’t know what personal grudge you have against these people who prefer the Latin-Mass…

        I don’t hold any “personal grudge” at all. My only issue is with those who arrogantly think their way to be the only way, and who thus try to shove it down the throats of the rest of us.

        You continued: … but I do not think it is your responsibility to “enlighten” us, nor do you have any real authority to “teach” us, so we are not really obligated to unquestioningly accept your opinion as facts to guide us. Just a friendly reminder, fellow netizen.

        But what you might not realize is that I do hold the degree of Master of Theological Studies from a fully accredited and highly regarded Roman Catholic national seminary here in the States. The information that I’m passing along here is not “just” my personal opinion or preference.

        Norm.

      • Scotrhodie says:

        I’m sorry, that is simply off the mark. (You know my friends? Barely a Catholic among them.) This is not just my personal preference. It is the practice of the church universally for centuries, which is the very definition of “sensus fidelium.” Hanging pyx or tabernacle, the Sacrament was connected to the main altar for at least a thousand years, perhaps much longer. That was erroneous? Why?

        The “authentic magisterium” of Benedict XVI noted that what has been held sacred for centuries cannot suddenly be thrown out or regarded as wrong. The hermeneutic of rupture implies precisely that. I can think of few things that more offended the sensibilities of the faithful than the removal of tabernacles and the destruction of high altars. I have encountered several people who left the Church the day that happened and never went back.

        My own experience as an Anglican was of the Sacrament reserved in an aumbry, usually in the Lady Chapel. I never minded that at all. Spent many hours there, attended low masses in the chapels. When I became a Catholic, I was persuaded that having the Sacrament sequestered diverted from the centrality of the Real Presence. Why? Because so many Catholics told me so, and I observed how eucharistic piety among lay people seemed to have evaporated. In several older parishes I know, the tabernacle has been restored to its old place by popular demand, even though the liturgical practice of the parish is far from traditional (that “sensus fidelium” again, you see).

        If the most important thing in the church is Jesus, the economy of attention requires that He be front and center. He was not crucified in a little room behind the back of the courtroom. He did not offer himself just for the meditatively inclines. He will not come again in glory in a phone booth.

        Further, the sacrament chapels were not set up to accommodate private devotion, but to separate the altar of sacrifice from the place of reservation. This was based on a novel (and entirely wrong) idea that human minds can manage only one idea at the same time, and that the action of consecration should not be confused with adoration. You could not, therefore, have an altar and a throne in the same place. Baloney. Think of the Crux Fidelis words. Both pointed to the same, eternal reality in different ways, as do music and scenery in an opera. In any case, we now have a competition between the action of consecration and Father Muggins’ amateur theatrics, which is scarcely edifying.

        Strong tabernacles on altars are no less secure that those in chapels. And while the Satanist insurgency is not fictional it is rather less of a problem than Catholics who do not actually believe what the Church teaches.

        A small group of liturgical innovators with views often outdated and erroneous do not constitute the sensus fidelium. Thinking so seems to me considerably more arrogant than simply respecting inherited tradition. It says “We, the in-group of boffins, know better than ordinary Christians, and have superior academic and analytical skills. Therefore, we can change everything you hold dear and replace it with our pet theory of the moment. So shut up and do what we tell you, even if you hate it.” Is that Catholic or is that Robespierre?

        While the revolutionary tendency may have, perhaps temporarily, dominated the secretive power structures of the Vatican’s liturgical establisment, they appear not to have captured the hearts and minds of the people. Can you think of one spontaneous bit of popular pious devotion or folk religion that the new rites have engendered — something as rudimentary as a Marian May procession, or a Simnel cake, or a regional novena. No? I can’t either. Instead we have mass defection from the Faith and great boredom in church — at least half the time I go a to a typical novus ordo parish where the congregation appears to be caught half way between a PTA meeting and asleep in front of the TV.

        One should not put too much faith in the rushed and revisionist reforms of the late 20th century. (See, for reference: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-reform-of-holy-week-in-years-1951.html). I have a feeling they will not be around in the 22nd.

  4. Paul Waddington says:

    It is pleasing to see that in Warwick Street, the tabernacle occupies a central position. Maybe one day the altar will be returned to its original position and ad orientem celebration restored.

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