Built of Living Stones 245-246: The Altar

Two issues today. First, the altar. The one altar:

§ 245 § In the construction of new churches, there should be only one altar to signify the one Eucharist and the one Lord, Jesus Christ, who gathers the community at the one Table of his Body and Blood. However, in renovating an existing church, when the position of the old altar hinders the people’s participation, or if “it is impossible to move it without detriment to its artistic value, then another fixed altar may be erected” in the church. This new altar is the one on which the liturgy should be celebrated.(GIRM 303)

How much of a problem is the matter of attached names?

§ 246 § It is usually better to avoid attaching individual names to specific appointments, furnishings or works of art within the church. While allowing people to pay for these objects may be an easy fund-raising solution, it can lead to future problems when there may be need to remove or alter the memorialized object.

All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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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.
This entry was posted in Built of Living Stones, USCCB documents. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Built of Living Stones 245-246: The Altar

  1. David D. says:

    “However, in renovating an existing church, when the position of the old altar hinders the people’s participation, or if “it is impossible to move it without detriment to its artistic value, then another fixed altar may be erected” in the church. This new altar is the one on which the liturgy should be celebrated.”

    The artistic value of the existing altar, to say nothing of the sanctuary in general, is typically destroyed either way. I’ve seen too many examples of the Church of the Disfiguration.

    • Todd says:

      For churches built after WWII, not so much.

      Another factor to consider is the overall architectural theme. Individual pieces may indeed have some artistic value–but it has to be a little deeper than just “pretty.”

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