Eucharisticum Mysterium 24: Art

We touch a good bit on architecture and art in the following sections. First we hear of the importance of taking care with the buildings we use:

24. “The church, the house of prayer, must be well cared for and suited to prayer and liturgy. There the eucharist is celebrated and reserved and the faithful gather for worship. There the presence of the Son of God, our Savior, offered on the altar of sacrifice for us, is treasured and revered as the aid and solace of the faithful.” [See Presbyterorum ordinis no. 5.]

A good reminder:

Pastors should understand, therefore, that the becoming arrangement of the place of worship contributes much to a right celebration and to the active participation of the faithful.

Churches will need to be adapted for the reformed liturgy. The Consilium touches on just about everything important: altars, places for ministers, proclamation of Scripture, choir members and people.

For this reason the rules and directives given in the Instruction Inter Oecumenici (nos. 90-99) should be followed regarding: the building of churches and their adaptation to the reformed liturgy; the construction and appointment of altars; the proper placement of chairs for the celebrant and ministers; the provision of a proper place for the proclamation of the readings; the arrangement of places for the faithful and the choir.

The altar is singled out, not as a locus for the Sacrifice, but as a “sign of Christ himself.” The altar must be a “focal point for the … faithful” at Mass, with the need for higher “respect” than other aspects, including the tabernacle.

Above all, the main altar should be so placed and constructed that it always appears as a sign of Christ himself, as the place in which the sacred mysteries are carried out, and as the focal point for the gathered faithful, which demands the highest respect.

If the treasures don’t fit, relocate in a respectful way (easier said than done):

Care should be taken against destroying treasures of sacred art in the course of remodeling churches. On the judgment of the local Ordinary, after consulting experts and, when applicable, with the consent of other concerned parties, the decision may be made to relocate some of these sacred treasures in the interest of the liturgical reform. In such cases this should be done with good sense and in such a way that even in their new locations they will be set up in a manner befitting and worthy of the works themselves.

And a few words on vestments:

Pastors should remember that the material and design of vestments greatly contribute to the dignity of the liturgical celebrations. Vestments should be designed “for a noble beauty rather than mere sumptuous display.” [Sacrosanctum Concilium art. 124.]

“Noble beauty.” How would you define it?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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