Re-Reading Sacrosanctum Concilium: Article 62

Vatican website translation:

62. With the passage of time, however, there have crept into the rites of the sacraments and sacramentals certain features which have rendered their nature and purpose far from clear to the people of today; hence some changes have become necessary to adapt them to the needs of our own times. For this reason the sacred Council decrees as follows concerning their revision.

Latin text:

62. Cum autem, successu temporum, quaedam in Sacramentorum et Sacramentalium ritus irrepserint, quibus eorum natura et finis nostris temporibus minus eluceant, atque adeo opus sit quaedam in eis ad nostrae aetatis necessitates accommodare, Sacrosanctum Concilium ea quae sequuntur de eorum recognitione decernit.

Slavishly literal translation:

62. However, with the succession of times, certain things have insinuated themselves into the rites of the Sacraments and of the Sacramentals by which their nature and end is less clear to our times, and so as the task is to accommodate certain things in them [i.e., the rites] to the necessities of our age, the Most Sacred Council decrees the things that follow concerning their examination/revision/renewal.

Art. 62 makes the transition from the theoretical foundations found in arts. 59-61 to the subsequent practical decrees for the revision of the celebration of sacraments other than the Eucharist and of the sacramentals. The Council Fathers highlight two overarching principles to guide these practical revisions: 1) if there are historical elements of the liturgical celebration of sacraments and sacramentals that do not pertain to the essence of the sacrament or sacramental which have become impediments to the full, conscious and active participation of the faithful, they should be changed; and 2) changes in the liturgical celebration of sacraments and sacramentals should not be arbitrary, but should genuinely respond to the needs of the day. From my perspective, the second of these principles suggests the need for continuing liturgical renewal since the “nostrae aetatis necessitates” will continue to change over time.

Pray Tell readers may wish to discuss how well these two principles have been in evidence in the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals over the past fifty years. They may also wish to comment on the controversy between adapting/accommodating liturgy to the needs of a given age vs. adapting/accommodating a given age to the structures and sign-systems of the liturgy. Art. 62 seems a concrete manifestation of the insight of SC 21 that “…the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it. “ However the same questions that were raised there about how we distinguish immutable from changeable elements, what criteria are employed to determine which elements of ritual obscure the nature and end of the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals, who has the authority to determine this, and how that authority is to be exercised.

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29 comments

  1. While I won’t be able to comment on each question and point made here, there are a few issues that stand out to me. 1) The accretions that are targeted here are those that obscure the meaning of the rites. The target is definitely not all accretions. Indeed, some features, nay many features, have become attached to the rite which do not obscure the meaning of the rites. They enhance the meaning. These accretions should remain. It seems to me that it is necessary to determine what accretions are unhelpful and remove only these. The document mentions in another passage that no change is to be made willy-nilly. Only that which clearly benefits the faithful should be removed. Some of the changes to the liturgy were made without this second principle in mind. A less-is-more paradigm was made to rule the reform. This paradigm of prove-the-worth-else-it-will-be-removed seems contrary to the document. Instead, the document insists that you must keep things unless they are harmful. The correct paradigm should have been prove-the-harm-to-the-faithful-else-it-stays-in-the-liturgy. 2) As to the question of what is appropriate to our times and what isn’t, that is difficult to make sense of. For, when properly understood, the unreformed rights could make sense even in our time. Indeed many find comfort in them even today (after Summorum Pontificum) . That said, there are elements that seem so difficult to explain that their benefit to the faithful is impeded. Some of the rites, for instance, whose historical meanings have been lost to time and whose so called “mystical meaning” is explained in the completely unhistorically-based handmissals, for instance, seem to have been good candidates for nixing. When we have to make up a meaning for something, it seems like a candidate for removal. (Although, I must admit that based on this principle the mingling of water and wine would be removed, but that would be a horrible idea.). 3) Who can change the liturgy? The Holy See & sometimes the Bishop. Not me. #admittedrubricist

  2. I agree with Steven that the clean-up we will soon read about in this study of SC should be done with care and with generosity toward past generations. Nonetheless, there was a lot to clean up. There still is.

    Here, for instance, is Fortescue (Ceremonies of the Roman Rite) on the privileges of certain classes of monsignori, who are allowed to celebrate pontifically outside of Rome:

    They may not, however, use crozier, throne or cappa magna; nor may they have a seventh candle on the altar, nor an assistance of several deacons. They do not say Pax vobis, as a bishop does, instead of Dominus vobiscum … They do not bless with the triple sign of the cross. Wearing the mitre, they bless, singing the usual form for priests, Benedicat vos, unless the Ordinary or greater prelate be present …

    Their pectoral cross (worn only when they have the mantellettum) is to be of gold with one gem ; it hangs from a cord of ruddy violet (color rubinus) mixed with gold thread. They use a cloth of gold mitre and the simple mitre. Under this they may have a black skull-cap. They use the scotula (p. 17), Canon episcopalis, and silver vessel and dish to wash the hands. At an ordinary Low Mass they have no special privilege, except the use of the scotula. They have precedence over abbots.

    This is but one example; issues of liturgical privilege run throughout the book.

    Here he speaks about non-clerical aristocrats:

    A “maximus princeps” may have a place in the sanctuary. He is given a book of the gospels to kiss (not the one used) after the gospel. He is incensed after a bishop (but Kings and the Emperor—the Roman Emperor—before); he is given the kiss of peace. “Magistrates, barons, and nobles” receive this after all the clergy. A “mulier insignis” is incensed.

    I have little doubt that some – perhaps even here on PTB – will say that this system of liturgical rank and privilege is of benefit to the faithful, and that it should be restored and reinvigorated, following the example of Pope Benedict.

    It strikes me as something that should be set aside, even in celebrations of the older Mass.

  3. To anticipate a bit: the articles that follow this one make a whole variety of suggestions, some quite explicit — e.g. placing the rite of marriage within (rather than before) the liturgy of the word of the nuptial Mass — and others quite vague — e.g. that the funeral rites be revised to “express more clearly the paschal character of Christian death.” The latter sort of suggestion (which abound in the subsequent articles) indicate that the council fathers anticipated an on-going process of liturgical reform, extending far beyond the specific provisions of Sacrosanctum Concilium, in which things like how one makes a funeral express the paschal character of Christian death gets figured out.

    So when some people complain that the liturgical reforms went far beyond what the council envisioned, but that doesn’t seem to square with the text, which in numerous places seems to give an open ended mandate for on-going reform.

  4. I write this with some fear that I am raising an unsolvable issue (the Ship of Fools discussion boards consign these to a category called ‘Dead Horses’). Nonetheless…

    The sweeping character of this paragraph – and of several other sections of SC – suggests to me that the Council had in mind something far broader than a reform of the Mass. It was the entire liturgy, in fact the entire liturgical life of the Church, the sacraments and the sacramentals, that they had in mind to ‘adapt to the needs of our times.’

    Now you could say that the Council was simply wrong in this intent, and that they sought to reform things that cannot be reformed. I think this is the attitude of groups like the SSPX.

    Where does that leave Summorum Pontificum? Is it saying, in essence, “We have reformed the rites of the sacraments and the sacramentals, adapting them to the needs of our times, but if you prefer to, just ignore these reforms”? The older rites contain elements that no longer fit our situation – the example of kings in the sanctuary I cited above may be uncommon, but what about the prohibition of women in the sanctuary? Or of reception by the laity in both kinds? How can a reform be temporarily or locally or partially un-reformed? Doesn’t a two-rite system lead us not just into liturgical pluralism, but into liturgical relativism?

      1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #8:
        Jordan hits it on the head…..different ecclesiologies; if not theologies. Would suggest that your examples still expressed and were based upon the same Trentan ecclsiology and theology.
        If I can borrow from Nathan Chase’s post:
        “…..The first approach, according to Aune, begins with ecclesiology, the liturgical assembly and the experience or action of the worshiping community – an “ecclesiocentric” approach. The second with what God does in the liturgy, or his self-communication – a “Theocentric” approach. In his book On Liturgical Theology, Aidan Kavanagh, a representative of the first school of thought, famously argued that liturgy is “theologia prima”.

      2. @Bill deHaas – comment #11:
        The Dominican and Carthusian rites well pre-date Trent (that’s why they were allowed to be retained) and unless you think there was a monolithic ecclesiology stretching from 1200-1962, then it beggars the imagination that they express a Tridentine ecclesiology.

        Aidan Kavanagh had many interesting things to say about liturgy (and was a very entertaining teacher), but when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; which is to say that I think he tended to overstate the theological authority of liturgy. It is not that liturgy is theologically unimportant, but perhaps it does not have the singular importance he claimed for it. In fact, if it were theologia prima, as he claimed, it would be irreformable, like the canon of scripture. I’m not sure that is a position we would want to endorse, is it?

      3. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #15:
        Fair enough! Not sure I would interpret Kavanaugh that way, but whatever.

        To offset or add to this discussion, from Rev. Komonchak:

        http://jakomonchak.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/jak-ecclesiology-of-vatican-ii.pdf

        Highlights:

        – pg. 71 describing the 19th century church
        – pg. 72 describing the church prior to VII
        – pg. 73-74 describing the VII’s descriptions of Church and how this impacts liturgy

        Agree with your Dominican/Carthusian comment but then would suggest that their ecclesiology is what was formulated at Trent. Also, classify these as ancillaries and connected more to a specific spirituality of a religious community vs. SP and the thoughts articulated by Jonathan. In many ways, see them as apples to oranges.

      4. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #8:
        Fritz, I don’t know enough about the different usages to say much here.

        It does seem to me that SC was the first and perhaps central element in a wide-ranging reform, and that the Council fathers intended that the liturgical reform of SC would complement reforms promulgated in documents such as Nostra Aetate and Dignitatis Humanae.

        The most common reading of Summorum Pontificum that I come across, in conversations and on the internet, is that it enables SC simply to be set aside, if a group chooses to do so. This was reinforced, very unfortunately in my view, by the bizarre provisions of Universae Ecclesiae. Like Summorum Pontificum, UE removed power from bishops, so both of them rowed against the collegiality espoused in Lumen Gentium.

        And so I think it is no accident that virtually every “1962 Mass” adherent I know tries to soften or get beyond the other provisions of the Council: it is a pastoral council that didn’t define dogma; it didn’t issue anathemas, so it was ambiguous; we have to read it in “continuity” with Vatican I and Trent; etc.

        I am not claiming that liturgy is the primary source of theology; rather that SC complements the other provisions of the Council, like a large stone in an arch. Remove that stone and the arch begins to topple.

        The Dominican and other order-specific uses strike me as different, in particular because I don’t know of documents parallel to SC that speak of them. But I may be way off base on this last point.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #4:

      Jonathan: Where does that leave Summorum Pontificum? Is it saying, in essence, “We have reformed the rites of the sacraments and the sacramentals, adapting them to the needs of our times, but if you prefer to, just ignore these reforms”?

      Summorum Pontificum is merely the legal spearhead of a traditionalist movement which views itself as a separate ethnos within the Church. Traditionalists consider themselves to be a different “people” in the Church, a nation within a larger country whose cherished folkways are under threat from liturgical changes. Some of these changes are due to positive law, and others are organically developed. Regardless of origin, any threat to the traditionalist ethnos must be forcefully resisted.

      The traditionalism as ethnos metaphor is rather flexible. The post-Quiet Revolution Quebecois have only been able to create a francophone secular society through a strident legal resistance to the external pressure the English language places on their society. Even so, the linguistic other is often used even in legal situations. The traffic cop I unfortunately met on a recent trip immediately spoke to me in English, probably because I have American license plates 🙁 Similarly, Catholic traditionalism upholds SP as a means to create a legal space for Tridentine worship which, though artifically created, nevertheless creates a perceived haven for traditionalist expression. As you’ve noted many times Jonathan, the absurdity of an OF Mass following an EF Mass in the same parish questions whether traditionalists can credibly claim that the reforms do not apply to them, or that their lifestyle is absolutely independent of the postmodern Church.

  5. The Church doesn’t need an ecumenical council to change some of the cultural accretions of the liturgy and life of the Church, a pope could do that and not have the hassle of so many bishops wasting their time on these things.
    I distributed Holy Communion at Pope Francis’ consecration of the world to Our Lady of Fatima. What would the Council say about that during Mass? On top of that, I distributed Holy Communion that had been consecrated at some other Mass by whoever to the laity. What about that in the Ordinary Form? On top of that no laity whosoever received the Precious Blood either by intinction or the common chalice and the concelebrating clergy did so only by self-intinction at the altar. All this at the Ordinary Form of the Mass, three weeks ago and again this past Sunday at the Mass for families.
    The genius of Vatican II as well as its curse is the Mass in the vernacular, more laity involved in specific ministries of the Mass, i.e. readers and what some call noble simplicity. I have no problem with any of these until they become ideologies. The Mass is the Mass in whatever valid form that is celebrated in the world, and the Word of God is proclaimed, the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross is made present and Christ is received in Holy Communion as sign of the Church which is His Body of which He is the Head. We are then sent forward to live as Christians where we spend 99.9% of our time and to evangelize by our lives. That’s what is important. Having women or no women in the sanctuary, drinking from a common chalice and whatever the language, Latin, Greek, Aramaic or whatever, are tangental and of little importance as long as one gets what the Mass is, in the East or the West, Ordinary or extraordinary and now the Anglican version.

    1. @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #5:
      As usual: “….cultural accretions of the liturgy and life of the Church, a pope could do that and not have the hassle of so many bishops wasting their time on these things”
      and we have ignored one of the primary changes in SC; these decisions are best left to episcopal conferences (not a centralized Vatican/pope)

      And more……”as its curse is the Mass in the vernacular, more laity involved in specific ministries of the Mass, i.e. readers and what some call noble simplicity. I have no problem with any of these until they become ideologies”
      Where to even start with this comment – vernacular (yep, we all know that this started the departures of the faithful?); laity involved (yep, how tragic and to think that the primary starting principle of VII is that the church is the people of God and the liturgy is the people of God – we could just fix this by going back to a nice, comfortable, and clerical liturgy); noble simplicity and ideologies – of course, the devil is in who decides what is noble and what is an ideology?
      Even your language betrays you….women in the sanctuary? drinking from a common cup (oh, sorry, chalice)? whatever language? these are just tangential…..and who knows….accretions that we may or may not want to keep?
      Sorry, this is a typical dodge – ignore the important discussion points and just reinfornce that it is all about God, period – pretty much guts SC and VII….and sort of implies that the *human* element is secondary and yet, what does that say about the goodness of creation, the incarnation of Jeus Christ? that the divine is realized, experienced, and communicated in the church (physical, human, relationships) (and really, is the Word of God really proclaimed in the unreformed mass of 1962 with the fullness of the reformed?)

  6. Jonathan, I agree that Summorum Pontificum leaves the Church in an odd place. I am not at all opposed to it, as I enjoy the Old Mass and lament some of the changes made in the New Mass, changes that I view as sometimes hastily made. However, going to the Old Mass also makes me appreciate the new mass all the more. I see the excess, I hear readings proclaimed to no one (and I read and understand Latin) and prayers that should be communal offered quietly. Some of it doesn’t make sense to me. These are things that seem, to me, to have been good changes. Moreover, your example of a monsignor pontificating is an excellent example of something that obscured the meaning of the episcopal office. It needed to be stopped. However, doing away with the maximum number of pontificals doesn’t seem to help. I am not saying that silk booties are necessary to understand the episcopacy, clearly they are not, however, the less-is-more seems to have played a bigger role than it should have. Why aren’t bishops required to wear the episcopal dalmatic, for instance? What an excellent sign of the fullness of the office. Along those same lines, I think that the Papal Fanon was an excellent sign of the Papal office, an episcopal office with something a little more. The Fanon didn’t obscure anything. Though, I admit that the Papal Pallium and special Papal Staff (ferula?) does this just as well. I do think that the Council intended major changes to the liturgy, but I think it also intended great conservation. Innovation was to be avoided UNLESS THE GOOD OF THE FAITHFUL CLEARLY SHOWED ITS NECESSITY. I agree that there were lots of thing up for debate- everything in fact. But the rule was to be keep it unless it clearly distracts or is clearly meaningless (Bishop’s slippers and monsignors in Miters are great examples).

  7. One problem that adapting to “the needs of our own times” creates is that sometimes, it is “our own times” that need to change. For instance, many of us today can’t stand silence. Does this mean silence should always be avoided in the liturgy? Many Americans want everything simple and egalitarian, but the Church is symbolic and hierarchical. We don’t like gender differentiation, but the Church teaches that sex is a sacramental sign with important meaning. The rites need to speak to our times; they need to have meaning for people today. Sometimes, however, that meaning needs to be a slap in the face, a bold symbolic rejection shown clearly and meaningfully to our times. Of course, we don’t lead with this rejection! Rejection is not the thrust of our message. Christ’s message of love, acceptance, and mercy must be foremost! But, the message of mercy includes the acknowledgement of sin and shame that such acknowledgement elicits. Sometime the liturgy should be contrary to our times. But that message should be clear! It should not be obscured by secondary accreditations.

  8. Jordan,

    While I think that your characterization fits many who who participate in the unreformed mass, it is overly broad. I know many who attend both forms of the Mass (like myself) and appreciate many reforms while at the same acknowledging that something was lost in the reforms, something recoverable by access to the older rites. I know that I, and many of my acquaintances, do not view ourselves as part of a church within a Church or a holy elite. I admit that some other “traditionalists” do fit your characterization to a T. But, grouping off into a church within a Church wasn’t BXVI’s reason for offering the older rites.

    BXVI did not want to go back to the old rites! In his writings he criticized the unreformed Mass as much as, or perhaps more than, the reformed Mass (the Older Funeral, the older Holy Week rites, certain Papal traditions). In fact, as a cardinal, BXVI celebrated the reformed mass daily. These were versus populum, vernacular, run of the mill, Novus Ordo Masses. He occasionally observed the older rites as a concession to those who sought them. As Pope, he emphasized aspects of the older rites because he thought that the liturgical reforms as carried out were interpreted as a rupture. He wanted to highlight the continuity of the pre- and post- conciliar rites. Summorum Pontificum was in no way an example of BXVI’s desire to create a church within a church! He did want to give space for those attached to the old right (that is an allowance for some of the ethnos mentality you mention) But, he wanted to old rite and the new to have an effect on one another! He wanted the intelligibility of the new rites (and many other positive things he has to say about the reform) to affect the old rite, and the traditional expressions of reverence and continuity to affect the new. I know BXVI seems like an over-the-top traditionalist to many. But that is because he was trying to express an opinion that was unpopular (before he became Pope). When arguing for a position, one comes on strong. For…

    1. @STEVEN SURRENCY – comment #12:

      After looking back at almost twenty years as an ardent and uncompromising traditionalist, I am convinced that Summorum Pontificum cannot be interpreted outside of its reception by traditionalists.

      I don’t know Pope Benedict’s motivations for issuing SP. Perhaps he did so to avoid further schism; perhaps he wished to heal the often belligerent and oppositionally defiant attitude of some traditionalists. Neither possible motivation matters. What matters is the traditionalist reception of SP as a validation of the perceived injustice of bishops who in the immediate postconciliar period restricted or prohibited Tridentine liturgy. Nowhere in SP, however, is the paramount traditionalist question of perceived persecution considered. SP only expands the use of a former rite. Never has the Church claimed that there are different types of Roman Catholics. This reality has not deterred some traditionalists from thinking that they are intrinsically different from other members of the Roman rite.

      I still don’t like the Ordinary Form as it is often celebrated. I departed traditionalism because of the cultic behavior of some of its adherents and the emotional-psychological instability found in some traditionalist communities. I did not depart for aesthetic or performative reasons. Sometimes I wonder if postchristian secularism is my new ticket to ride. Regardless, my sentiments do not change the severe asynchronicity between the Church and traditionalists on the ground.

  9. Here’s a couple of accretions that could go by the board by any standard: The admixture of water and wine and the dropping of a fragment of the “Host” into the chalice. Almost nobody knows or cares that the admixture is a symbol of the human and divine natures of Christ. We profess that in the creed and this mystery is alluded to regularly in homilies. The fragment represents a time when couriers were sent out from the Bishop’s Mass to outlying places where it was being celebrated by presbyters as a sign of the unity of the priests with the bishop. Maybe doing away with that accretion would also do away with the priest’s personal sized Host from which the fragment was taken. Then all priests could use a Host large enough to be actually seen from a distance and which could be broken into parts some of which can be shared with the people. Someone made reference to the church being hierarchical. The church does indeed have bishops, priests, and deacons who are ordained for roles of service not of domination. The reform of the liturgy was inspired by the need to make it more apparent that sacraments and sacramentals belong to the whole church, rather than sacred things given by the clergy to the laity. I believe that Benedict issued SP as a bargaining chip with SSPX to end the schism and to appease the traditionalists that were still within the fold. It is clear to me that the SSPX hope is now doomed for which I say thanks be to God. Those people are catholic in the same sense as “old catholics” are catholic.

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #13:

      But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side: and immediately there came out blood and water.

      I have always loved the symbolism of the admixture of water and wine.

      1. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #18:
        I’m really not trying to be obnoxious, but I’m wondering why. Our version of the institution narrative doesn’t follow any of the scriptural accounts anyway and while mysterium fidei is undoubtedly an accretion, it’s a pretty ancient one, going back to our earliest text of the Roman Canon. It seems to me that it’s a pretty good test case for thinking about what principles we would employ in figuring out what accretions would be kept and what wouldn’t.

    2. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #13:

      I might get on board about the particle of the Host, but not about the water and wine. It is just too ancient, it goes back to the very first reports.

      As to the hierarchical nature of the church, I agree and disagree. Yes, the church is service, but nonetheless, it is service conducted in a hierarchically constituted Church. The Church is the people of God: clergy and laity. Those at the “top” are responsible to serve the greatest number. Nonetheless, the liturgy need not erase such distinctions. As Pope Francis has said, no need to clericalize the laity! The active participation need not mean the laity doing more of the priests’ roles in the mass. It means particpating in their own roles: singing, responding, proclaiming (Maybe? not sure how much of the people’s role that actually was originally), understanding, praying. Any development in the liturgy that obscures this is unwelcome! We must be careful not to assume that breaking down the wall between clergy and laity is the primary goal of the liturgical reforms. The unnecessary exaltation of the clergy over the laity is discusses in the Council, for sure, but it doesn’t drive the liturgical reform.

  10. I’m not clairvoyant but it would seem to me reading what has occurred with the revision of the Anglican Use Mass and sacraments that the Latin Rite’s ongoing liturgical renewal is about recovery of things lost in the immediate aftermath of SC where the baby often was thrown out with the bathwater.

    Some of the ideas listed in the comments above of ridding the Mass of the mingling of water and wine and the Host’s particle into the Precious Blood could have happened with the Anglican Use Mass if it followed the revised Book of Common Prayer for their Eucharist. I think many Catholic reformers of the 70’s saw the Episcopal and Lutheran revisions of their liturgies as the template for further Latin Rite reforms.

    However, this is not the case with the recently revised Anglican Use Mass which in its calendar uses many elements of the previous Roman Calendar such as Septuagesima, Ember days and the Octave of Pentecost. Safe-guarding Latin rite elements has been assured and eliminating some Easternr Rite elements has occurred also. But the most interesting thing is the option for Extraordinary Rite elements of the Mass in English for their Mass, such as the PATFOTA, Offertory Prayers, rubrics of the EF for the Roman Canon and the Last Gospel.

    I would suggest that these reforms as well as Vox Clara’s reforms through ICEL point to a very different on-going reform of our Ordinary Form of the Mass which is welcomed by many.

  11. Good news! Pope Francis today, Thursday, October 31, celebrated his daily Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at the side chapel of the altar where Blessed Pope John XXIII is entombed and he did so celebrating the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem! I believe this is the first time and with pictures of this Holy Father modeling this manner in which to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass and certainly bodes well for the continuing reform of the Mass by a recovery, not a rejection of classical aspects of the Roman liturgy lost in the immediate aftermath of the first round of implementing SC. This is indeed a good sign.

    Pope Francis models but does not mandate this way of celebrating and has also kept all these months the Benedictine altar arrangement. At the World consecration to our Lady of Fatima Mass, the candles were not even angled but in a straight line across the altar as was the case when Pope Francis ordained two new archbishops in St. Peter’s Basilica about a week ago.

    1. @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #24:
      I think Rorate Coeli got it right – this isn’t a big deal, he did it that way because that’s how the altar is set up. He could have set up another little altar in front of it, but it doesn’t mean much that he didn’t. For you to read a whole agenda a la Benedict into this is really grabbing at straws.
      awr

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