Thesaurus responsorum ex « Notitiae » - Notitiae Response Database
[Part of Ipsissima-Verba]

Hoc in situ interretiali ordinantur responsiones, explanationes, et decreta ex « Notitiae » aliisque interdum fontibus (ut AAS) desumpta, quae aliis locis modo promptiore haud inveniuntur. Finis est praestare textum originalem, versionem anglicam, et exemplar PDF paginarum pertinentium ex « Notitiae » vel alio fonte. Presens igitur labor opusculum « Ordo Missae locis correspondentibus illustratus » aliquatenus extendit. Est enim labor imperfectus quem, cum operae mihi est, suscipio. Denique domino Daniel Gill, domino Radosław Gosiewski, et domino Abram Córdova y Muenzberg, qui nonnullas ex responsionibus transcripserunt, gratias refero, item etiam dominae Crista Mootz, quae in linguam anglicam responsiones quasdam verteri adiuvavit. Exemplaria PDF exstant etiam textuum nondum transcriptorum. This website organizes responses, explanations, and decrees from Notitiae and sometimes from other sources (such as AAS) that are not readily available in other places. The goal is to provide the original text, an English translation, and a PDF scan of the relevant pages from Notitiae or other source. In some ways, the project is a further development of my Cross-Referenced Ordo Missae. This is an ongoing prject which I work on in my spare time. I am also grateful for the help of Mr. Daniel Gill, Mr. Radosław Gosiewski, and Mr. Abram Córdova y Muenzberg in transcribing some of these responses and also to Miss Crista Mootz for helping to translate certain responses into English. PDFs are available even for texts that have not yet been transcribed.
Fac Patrem Dylanum Schrader certiorem si habes proposita vel corrigenda. Contact Father Dylan Schrader with suggestions and corrections.
N.B. In « Notitiae » 1 (1965) et 2 (1966), supra responsa, invenitur monitio: Solutio quae proponitur nullam induit vestem officialem. Solummodo habet valorem orientativum: solutiones enim ex officio publici iuris fient, si casus fert, a competenti Auctoritate in « Acta Apostolicae Sedis ». N.B. In Notitiae 1 (1965) and 2 (1966), this notice appears above the responses: The solution which is proposed takes on no official character. It has only an orientative force; solutions will be published officially, if the case warrants, by the competent Authority in « Acta Apostolicae Sedis ».

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7. Utrum liceat altare in medio ecclesiae exstruere, ut Missa semper celebretur versus populum?

Resp.: Instructio non loquitur de « centro mathematico » ecclesiae, sed tantum de « centro ideali », uti dicitur, « quo totius congregationis fidelium attentio sponte convertatur » (n. 91).

7. Whether it is permitted to erect an altar in the middle of the church so that Mass can always be celebrated facing the people?

Resp.: The Instruction does not speak of the « mathematical center » of the church but only of the « ideal center », as it is called, « to which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful is spontaneously drawn » (n. 91).

Notitiae 1 (1965), 137–138, n. 7altar, location, versus populumPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 137–138

8. Utrum liceat, donec ecclesia opportune reficiatur, collocare altare portatile, forma simplicis mensae, ante altare maius fixum ex marmore pretioso confectum, ut adhibeatur pro celebratione Missae versus populum?

Resp.: Affirmative, dummodo a) spatium vere notabile inter utrumque altare intercedat; b) optandum vero est ut altare portatile extra sanctuarium ponatur, quo autem in casu, circa se habeat spatium sufficiens ad modum presbyterii, ab aula ecclesiae opportune distinctum.

8. Whether it is permitted, until the church can be properly renovated, to place a portable altar in the form of a simple table in front of a high altar which is fixed and made of precious marble so that it might be used for the celebration of Mass facing the people?

Resp.: In the affirmative, as long as a) a truly notable space intervenes between each altar; b) but it is to be preferred that a portable altar would be placed outside the sanctuary, in which case it should have a sufficient space around it, after the manner of the sanctuary, properly distinct from the nave of the church.

Notitiae 1 (1965), 138, n. 8altar, location, versus populumPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 138

10. Cum celebratur Missa in altari, posito inter altare maius et populum, potestne asservari SS.ma Eucharistia in altari maiore, etsi celebrans terga vertat SS.mae Eucharistiae?

Resp.: Affirmative, dummodo a) spatium vere notabile inter utrumque altare intercedat; b) tabernaculum in altari maiore sit tali altitudine collocatum, ut caput celebrantis, qui stat ad pedes altaris intermedii, superet.

10. When Mass is celebrated on an altar placed between the high altar and the people, can the Most Holy Eucharist be reserved on the high altar, even though the celebrant would turn his back to the Most Holy Eucharist?

Resp.: In the affirmative, as long as a) a truly notable space intervenes between each altar; b) the tabernacle on the high alter is placed up high enough that it rises above the head of the celebrant who stands ad the foot of altar in the middle.

Notitiae 1 (1965), 138, n. 10altar, location, tabernaclePDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 138

11. Utrum tabernaculum in latere sinistro altaris versus populum poni possit et in alio latere crux vel liber sacrae Scripturae?

Resp. Negative. Attendendum est potius ad art. 95 Instructionis, secundum quem « in casibus peculiaribus ab Ordinario loci probandis » tabernaculum poni potest « etiam in alia ecclesiae parte vere pernobili et rite ornata » v. gr. dextera parte sanctuarii, aut in abside.

11. Whether the tabernacle can be placed on the left side of an altar facing the people and a cross or a book of sacred Scripture on the other side?

Resp. In the negative. Attention should be given, rather, to art. 95 of the Instruction, according to which « in particular cases approved by the Ordinary of the place » the tabernacle can be placed « even in another truly noble and suitably decorated part of the church » e.g., on the right part of the sanctuary or in the apse.

Notitiae 1 (1965), 138–139, n. 11altar, location, tabernaclePDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 138–139

18. Utrum Credo solummodo ad sedem vel ad altare inchoare liceat, an etiam in ambone vel ad cancellos?

Resp.: Servetur Ritus servandus n. 50: « ... ad sedem vel ad altare, inchoat, si dicendum est, Credo in unum Deum, ... ».

18. Whether it is permitted to begin the Credo only at the seat or at the altar or even at the ambo or the rail?

Resp.: The Ritus servandus n. 50: « ... at the seat or at the altar, he begins the Credo in unum Deum if it is to be said, ... » should be observed.

Notitiae 1 (1965), 140, n. 18altar, creed, presider's chairPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 140

20. Utrum celebrans calicem pro offertorio praeparare possit stans in medio altaris?

Resp.: Negative, sed praeparet calicem de more ad latus dexterum altaris (excepto casu in Ritu servando n. 99, b indicato).

20. Whether the celebrant can prepare the chalice for the offertory standing at the middle of the altar?

Resp.: In the negative; he should customarily prepare the chalice at the right side of the altar (except for the case indicated in the Ritus servandus n. 99, b).

Notitiae 1 (1965), 140, n. 20altar, chalice, offertoryPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 140

27. Utrum verba Ritus servandi n. 84: « Deinde celebrans, stans in medio, et habens apud se librum ... » et n. 85: « ... stans in medio altaris ante librum dicit ... » ita interpretari debeant, ut Missale ponendum sit in medio altaris?

Resp.: Missale pro legendis antiphona ad Communionem et post-communionne relinqui potest aut ad sinistram, sicut exstat pro Canone, aut, calice ex altari ablato, in medio poni, prout magis commodum pro celebrante fuerit.

27. Whether the words of the Ritus servandus n. 84: « Then the celebrant, standing at the middle, and having the book near him ... » and n. 85: « ... standing in the middle of the altar before the book says ... » should be interpreted such that the Missal would be placed in the middle of the altar?

Resp.: For reading the Communion antiphon and the postcommunion, the Missal can be left either at the left, as it is for the Canon, or, with the chalice having been removed from the altar, it can be placed in the middle, as is more convenient for the celebrant.

Notitiae 1 (1965), 141, n. 27altar, missalPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 141

35. Utrum concelebrantes qui stant circa mensam altaris illud osculentur ad verba « ex hac altaris participatione »?

Resp.: Affirmative, secundum Ritum servandum in concelebratione Missae p. 68: « ... celebrans principalis, et concelebrantes qui stant circa mensam altaris, osculantur illud; deinde omnes se erigunt ... ».

35. Whether the concelebrants who stand near the mensa of the altar should kiss it at the words « ex hac altaris participatione »?

Resp.: In the affirmative according to the Ritus servandus in concelebratione Missae p. 68: « ... the principal celebrant and the concelebrants who stand near the mensa of the altar kiss it; then all stand up straight ... ».

Notitiae 1 (1965), 143, n. 35altar, canon, concelebration, kissPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 143

50. Utrum liceat legere Evangelium e sede praesidentiali, e qua etiam pronuntiatur homilia?

Resp.: Servetur Ritus servandus nn. 46 et 47: « ... celebrans legit vel cantat etiam lectiones et Epistolam in ambone vel ad cancellos... Stans deinde in eodem loco... cantat vel legit Evangelium. Si tamen non habetur ambo aut magis opportunum videtur, celebrans potest omnes lectiones etiam ex altari proferre versus ad populum. ».

50. Whether it is permitted to read the Gospel from the presider's chair from which the homily is also delivered?

Resp.: The Ritus servandus nn. 46 et 47 should be observed: « ... the celebrant reads or sings the lessons and the Epistle at the ambo or at the rail... Then, standing in the same place... he sings or reads the Gospel. If, however, there is not an ambo or it seems more opportune, the celebrant can even proclaim all the readings, facing the people, from the altar. ».

Notitiae 1 (1965), 188, n. 50altar, ambo, gospel, readingsPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 188

62. Utrum stabiliter extrui liceat altare portatile ante altare maius ad celebrandam Missam versus populum?

Resp.: Per se licet, sed non consulitur. Nam Missa ad normam novi Ordinis celebrata, optime participatur a fidelibus etiam si altare ita extruitur ut celebrans terga ad populum vertat. Tota enim liturgia verbi celebratur versus populum, ad sedem vel ad ambonem.

Si autem, his non obstantibus, ecclesiae rector aestimaverit aliud altare, partatile, [sic] collocare ante altare maius, hoc ponatur ad tempus, et inter utrumque altare intervallum vere notabile intercedat, et altare portatile circa se habeat satis magnum spatium ad modum presbyterii.

Notitiae 1 (1965), 251, n. 62altar, versus populumPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 251

63. Utrum, si altare maius versus populum exstruitur, ad mentem Constitutionis et n. 95 Instructionis SS.ma Eucharistia asservari conveniat in altari minori ab altari principali distincto?

Resp.: Affirmative.

Notitiae 1 (1965), 251, n. 63altar, tabernacle, versus populumPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 251

64. Utrum liceat sacrum litari coram SS.mo Sacramento exposito, in altari portatili, in eodem loco altaris expositionis, sed ab eo distincto?

Resp.: Negative. Nec potest in oppositum afferri Cod. rubr. n. 349 agens de Missa die medio occasione quadraginta Horarum, quae celebrari debet « in altari ubi Ss.mum Sacramentum non est expositum ». Nam agitur de altari, ita ab altari expositionis distincto, ut non impediatur adoratio Ss.mi Sacramenti.

Notitiae 1 (1965), 251, n. 64altar, exposition, forty hours devotionPDF of Notitiae 1 (1965), 251

91. Si prima pars Missae ad altare peragitur, potestne celebrans semper in medio altaris manere sicut provisum est pro fine Missae?

Convenit ut paulatim ecclesiae provideantur apta sede praesidentiali ut sacerdos « revera universae communitati praeesse videatur » (Instructio, n. 92), et loco pro decora proclamatione verbi Dei ditentur, ita ut Missae « singularum partium propria ratio necnon mutua connexio clarius pateant » (Const., art. 50). Hae sunt enim exigentiae hodiernae et futurae instaurationis, quibus etiam edificia sacra aptari debent.

Ubi tamen ratio pecularis interim suadeat ut sacerdos ad altare maneat, ipse se gerere debet modo in Ritu servando, nn. 25 et 34 descripto. Hodiernae rubriace totam primam partem Missae in medio altaris peragere non permittunt. Si autem etiam lectiones ex altari proferuntur (n. 47), possunt ab uno eodemque latu altaris versus populum proclamari. Ita aliquando distinctio habetur inter duas partes Missae.

Notitiae 2 (1966), 29, n. 91altar, liturgy of the wordPDF of Notitiae 2 (1966), 29

101. Estne adhuc ponenda crux in altare versus populum?

Resp. Difficultas movetur ex imaginibus propositis in Notitiae (2 [1966] 176) ad illustrandas quasdam ecclesias ad novas liturgiae pastoralis exigentias aptatas, in quibus crux super altare non apparet. Immo in quadam nota explicativa (p. 162) dicitur: « Unica magna crux in medio absidis totum Coetum liturgicum dominatur ».

Praescriptio Codicis Rubricarum, n. 527, per se adhuc viget: « Super altare adsit in medio Crux satis magna cum Crucifixo ». Quae crux iuxta Caeremoniale Episcoporum (lib. I, c. 12, n. 11), « cum imagine Crucifixi, versa ad interiorem altaris faciem » esse debet.

Tamen Ritus servandus anni 1965 amplius non praecipit sacerdotem debere oculos ad crucem elevare durante Missae celebratione. Insuper « crux et candelabra, de iudicio Ordinarii loci, etiam extra ipsum poni possunt » (Instructio, n. 94).

Si altare ponitur versus populum, opportunius videtur hac facultate frui, secus aut tantum littera legis servatur et adhibetur crux ita parva ut aliquando fere invisibilis sit, aut crux impedimento est ut fideles ritus, praesertim ad elevationes et ad per ipsum, bene conspiciant.

Extra altare triplex datur possibilitas: ponendi crucem processionalem ante altare, facie versa ad celebrantem, quod non semper cum aliis elementis presbyterii bene cohaeret; adhibendi magnam crucem ex alto pendentem vel in pariete absidis positam. Neque, in ultimis duobus casibus necessaria est altera crux pro altari, sed sufficit unica magna crux, quae, in celebrationibus versus populum, non incensatur primo loco, sed cum sacerdos, altare circumiens, coram ipsa sistit ad alteram altaris faciem.

Notitiae 2 (1966), 290–291, n. 101altar, cross, versus populumPDF of Notitiae 2 (1966), 290–291

104. Utrum liceat sacram Communionem per mensam altaris distribuere?

Resp.: Sensus quaesiti est utrum conveniat altari formam mensae dare ita tamen ut sacerdos, stans ad altare, dideles ad aliud latus accendentes possit communicare, ut melius exprimatur participatio ad idem sacrificium.

Iuxta Rituale romanum (tit. V, n. II, n. IV) sacra Communio fidelibus distribuenda est extra presbyterium.

Nec recendendum videtur a more tradito iuxta quem fideles ad cancellos presbyterii sive dona offerunt sive sacram Communionem recipiunt.

Notitiae 2 (1966), 339–340, n. 104altar, communionPDF of Notitiae 2 (1966), 339–340
Not yet transcribed.Notitiae 6 (1970), 263, n. 34altarPDF of Notitiae 6 (1970), 263
Not yet transcribed.Notitiae 6 (1970), 263, n. 35altarPDF of Notitiae 6 (1970), 263

2. In Missa cum populo modo sollemniore celebranda, adhibentur diversi modi turificandi oblata et altare: alter simplex ac planus, alter idem ac ritus turificandi praescriptus in praecedenti Missali. Quinam usus sequendus est?

Resp.

Numquam obliviscendum est Missale Pauli Papae VI, inde ab anno 1970, successisse in locum illius, qui improprie « Missale S. Pii V » nuncupatur, idque ex integro, sive pro textibus, sive pro rubricis. Ubi rubricae Missalis Pauli VI nihil dicunt aut parum dicunt singillatim in nonnullis locis, non ideo inferendum est quod oporteat servare ritum antiquum. Proinde non sunt iterandi gestus multiplices atque implexi turificationis iuxta praescripta Missalis prioris (cf. Missale Romanum, T. P. Vaticanis, 1962: Ritus servandus VII et Ordo Incensandi, pp. LXXX-LXXXIII).

In turificando, celebrans (IGMR 51 et 105) hoc simplici modo procedat:

a) erga oblata: triplici ductu turificat, sicut agit diaconus erga Evangelium;

b) erga crucem: triplici ductu turificat, quando ante eam celebrans venit;

c) erga altare: passim turificat a latere, dum circuit altare, nulla distinctione facta inter mensam et latera.

2. In a Mass with the people celebrated in a more solemn manner, different methods of incensing the offerings and the altar are used: on the one hand a simple and plain method, on the other hand the same method as the rite for incensing prescribed in the preceding Missal. Which practice should be followed?

Resp.

It must never be forgotten that the Missal of Pope Paul VI, from the year 1970, has taken the place of that which is improperly called « the Missal of St Pius V » and that it has done this totally, whether with regard to texts or rubrics. Where the rubrics of the Missal of Paul VI say nothing or say little in specifics in some places, it is not therefore to be inferred that the old rite must be followed. Accordingly, the many and complex gestures of incensation according to the prescripts of the earlier Missal (cf. Missale Romanum, T. P. Vaticanis, 1962: Ritus servandus VII et Ordo Incensandi, pp. LXXX-LXXXIII) are not to be repeated.

When incensing, the celebrant (IGMR 51 and 105) should proceed in this simple manner:

a) with regard to the offerings: he incenses with three double-swings, as the deacon does for the Gospel;

b) with regard to the cross: when the celebrant comes before it, he incenses with three double-swings;

c) with regard to the altar: he incenses all around the side as he circles the altar, with no distinction made between the mensa and the sides.

Notitiae 14 (1978), 301–302, n. 2altar, hermeneutics, incense, offertoryPDF of Notitiae 14 (1978), 301–302

3. In casu quo presbyter qui, parvo adstante coetu, celebret, sine sede celebranti destinata ac sine loco proprio pro Liturgia verbi peragenda, potestne sacerdos:
a) ad altare permanere durante ipsa Liturgia Verbi?
b) ponere Missale in latere dextro vel in medio altaris
c) quodnam latus sinistrum vel dexterum altaris nuncupatur?

Resp.
a) Normae liturgicae vigentes, plane distinguunt ab altari locum verbi proclamandi (IGMR, 257-272). Si loca nondum aptata sunt iuxta instauratam Liturgiam — quod sine mora fieri debet — opus est saltem sedem pro celebrante et pluteum mobilem pro lectore disponere. Ubi ipse celebrans lector esse debeat, praesertim pro Evangelio, proclamet ex pluteo mobili. In casu perraro, quo ne scamnum quidem poni possit, presbyter potest ad altare consistere, Missali et Lectionario super altaris « legile » exstantibus.
b) Hoc « legile » manifeste collocari debet in loco aptiore ad celebrantis lectionem, verbi gratia in medio altaris. Usus collocandi « legile » in latere sinistro pervenit ab aetate qua calix ab initio Missae erat in medio altaris. Quod quidem nunc, post instaurationem liturgicam, minime obtingit, cum calix collocetur in abaco, extra altare.
c) Nuncupatur altaris latus sinistrum quod a sinistra, dextrum quod a dextra celebrantis est.

3. In the case where a priest celebrates with a small group assisting, without a seat designated for the celebrant and without a proper place to carry out the Liturgy of the word, can the priest:
a) remain at the altar during the Liturgy of the Word itself?
b) place the Missal on the right side or in the middle of the altar
c) which side of the altar is called the left or the right?

Resp.
a) The liturgical norms in force plainly distinguish the place for proclaiming the word from the altar (IGMR, 257-272). If places have not yet been rendered adequate as regards the reformed Liturgy — which should be done without delay — it is necessary to set up at least a seat for the celebrant and a movable lectern for the lector. Where the celebrant himself has to be the reader, especially for the Gospel, he should proclaim [the reading] from the movable lectern. In the case given in which not even a bench can be set up, the priest can remain at the altar with the Missal and the Lectionary on a « book stand » on the altar.
b) This « book stand » should manifestly be located in a place more suitable for the reading of the celebrant, for example, in the middle of the altar. The practice of setting the « book stand » on the left side of the altar has come to us from the age when the chalice was in the middle of the altar from the beginning of Mass. But now, after the restoration of the liturgy, this is hardly necessary, since the chalice is placed on the credence table away from the altar.
c) The side that is on the left of the celebrant is called the left side of the altar, the right that which is on his right.

Notitiae 14 (1978), 302, n. 3altar, ambo, lectionary, location, readingsPDF of Notitiae 14 (1978), 302

DE USU CONDENDI RELIQUIAS
IN RITU DEDICATIONIS ALTARIS

Dubium
Utrum reliquias Martyrum aliorumve Sanctorum sub altari condendi usus servari debeat necne.

Responsio

1. Can. 1237, § 2 CIC1 statuit usum condendi sub altari reliquias Martyrum aliorumve Sanctorum servandum esse iuxta normas, quae in libris liturgicis inveniuntur:
« Antiqua traditio Martyrum aliorumve Sanctorum reliquias sub altari fixo condendi servetur, iuxta normas in libris liturgicis traditas ».

2. Normae, de quibus CIC loquitur, enumerantur in ODEA (p. 22, n. 5 et p. 85, n. 11):
« Liturgiae Romanae, traditio Martyrum aliorumve Sanctorum reliquias sub altari condendi, opportune servabitur. Haec tamen notentur:

a) Reliquiae deponendae eius sint magnitudinis ex qua intellegi possit humanorum corporum eas esse partes. Itaque vitandum est ne nimis exiguae condantur reliquiae unius vel complurium Sanctorum.
b) Maxima cum diligentia inspiciatur num reliquiae deponendae authenticae sint. Praestat altare sine reliquiis dedicari quam dubiae fidei reliquias sub eo deponi.
c) Reliquiarum capsa neque super altare neque in altaris mensa est collocanda sed, attenta altaris forma, sub altaris mensa condenda ».

3. Novus CIC praedictas normas minime immutavit,2 qua de re vim suam retinent.

Haec est interpretatio facienda n. 266 IGMR, qui in textu « Variationes » refertur, abrogatione ibi facta adverbii « opportune » haud obstante.

1 Sigla:
CIC = Codex Iuris Canonici auctoritate Ioannis Pauli II promulgatus 25 ianuarii 1983.
ODEA = Ordo dedicationis ecclesiae et altaris, 29 maii 1977.
IGMR = Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, 2 martii 1975.
« Variationes » Variationes in libros liturgicos ad normam Codicis nuper promulgati introducendae, 12 septembris 1983: cf. Notitiae 19, 1983 pp. 540-555.

2 Textus « Variationes » nullam de re variationem exhibet (cf. ibid. p. 17, X. In Ordinem dedicationis ecclesiae et altaris).

ON THE PRACTICE OF INSERTING RELICS
IN THE RITE OF THE DEDICATION OF AN ALTAR

A Doubt
Whether the practice of inserting the relics of Martyrs or other Saints beneath an altar should be preserved or not.

Response

1. Can. 1237, § 2 CIC1 establishes that the practice of inserting the relics of Martyrs or other Saints beneath the altar is to be preserved according to the norms that are found in the liturgical books:
« The ancient tradition of inserting the relics of Martyrs or other Saints beneath a fixed altar should be preserved, according to the norms given in the liturgical books ».

2. The norms of which the CIC speaks, are enumerated in the ODEA (p. 22, n. 5 et p. 85, n. 11):
« The tradition of the Roman liturgy of inserting the relics of Martyrs or other Saints beneath the altar will opportunely be preserved. These things should, however, be noted:

a) The relics to be placed should be of sufficient size to be understood to be parts of the human body. Therefore, inserting the relics of one or several Saints that are too small should be avoided.
b) With the utmost care, it should be investigated whether the relics to be placed are authentic. Better to dedicate an altar without relics than to place relics of dubious authenticity beneath it.
c) The capsule for the relics must not be placed on the altar or in the mensa of the altar but, with attention to the form of the altar, should be inserted beneath the mensa of the altar ».

3. The new CIC did not at all change the aforementioned norms,2 so they retain their force.

This is how to interpret n. 266 of the IGMR, which is referred to in the document « Variationes », the removal made there of the adverb « opportunely » notwithstanding.

1 Sigla:
CIC = Codex Iuris Canonici promulgated by the authority of John Paul II 25 January 1983.
ODEA = Ordo dedicationis ecclesiae et altaris, 29 maii 1977.
IGMR = Institutio generalis Missalis Romani, 2 martii 1975.
« Variationes » Modifications to be introduced into the liturgical books according to the norm of the recently-promulgated Code, 12 septembris 1983: cf. Notitiae 19, 1983 pp. 540-555.

2 The document « Variationes » shows no change on the subject (cf. ibid. p. 17, X. In Ordinem dedicationis ecclesiae et altaris).

Notitiae 20 (1984), 192–193altar, relicsPDF of Notitiae 20 (1984), 192–193

Utrum liceat disponere in medio spatio ecclesiae mensam cum pane et vino prope altare vel in presbyterio occasione Missae « In Cena Domini » aut primae plenae participationis Eucharisticae, « primae Communionis » ut aiunt?

℟. Negative.

Normae ad hoc vigentes debitum momentum altaris explicate asseverant, cuius locus attentum sibi universum populum faciat oportet: « Expedit in omni ecclesia altare fixum inesse, quod Christum Iesum, Lapidem vivum (1 Petr 2, 4; cf. Eph 2, 20) clarius et permanenter significat; ceteris vero locis, sacris celebrationibus dicatis, altare potest esse mobile. Altare fixum dicitur, si ita exstruatur ut cum pavimento cohaereat ideoque amoveri nequeat; mobile vero si transferri possit » (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, n. 298). Inde fit ut unum necesse exstet altare, sedes praecipuissima presbyterii totiusque ecclesiae, quia participationem christifidelium singularitas eius foveret: « In novis ecclesiis exstruendis praestat unum altare erigi, quod in fidelium coetu unum Christum unamque Ecclesiae Eucharistiam significet. In ecclesiis vero iam exstructis, quando altare vetus ita situm est, ut difficilem reddat participationem populi nec transferri possit sine detrimento valoris artis, aliud altare fixum, arte confectum et rite dedicandum, exstruatur; et tantum super illud sacrae celebrationes peragantur. Ne fidelium attentio a novo altari distrahatur, altare antiquum ne sit peculiari modo ornatum » (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, n. 303).

Mos ergo mensam cum pane et vino disponendi ad Novissimam Cenam Iesu revocandam vel ad pueros collocandos in prima participatione eucharistica est symbolice iteratio, paedagogice distractio et pastoraliter inanis, cum populum ab altari distrahat, intellectum ponderis singulorum elementorum architecturae Ecclesiae confundat et minime participationem christifidelium foveat.

Whether it is permitted to set up in the middle of the church a table with bread and wine near the altar or in the sanctuary on the occasion of the Mass « of the Lord's Supper » or of the first full participation in the Eucharist, so-called « first Communion »?

℟. In the negative.

The norms in force regarding this have explicitly asserted the due importance of the altar, whose place should be recognized by all the people: « It is preferable that there be a fixed altar in every church, which more clearly and permanently signifies Jesus Christ, the living Stone (1 Petr 2, 4; cf. Eph 2, 20); in other places destined for sacred celebrations, the altar can be movable. An altar is called fixed if it constructed such that it is attached to the floor and therefore cannot be removed; it is movable if it can be moved elsewhere » (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, n. 298). Thus there arises the need to have one altar, the most important feature of the sanctuary and of the whole church, because the fact that there is only one fosters the participation of Christ's faithful: « In building new churches it is better that one altar be constructed to signify the one Christ and the one Eucharist of the Church in the gathering of the faithful. In churches that have already been built, however, when the old altar is situated such that it makes the participation of the people difficult and it cannot be moved without detriment to its artistic value, another fixed altar, artfully made and properly dedicated, should be set up, and only on it should the sacred celebrations be carried out. So that the attention of the faithful will not be distracted from the new altar, the old altar should not be decorated in any special manner » (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, n. 303).

The custom, therefore, of setting up a table with bread and wine to recall the Last Supper of Jesus or to gather children for their first participation in the Eucharist is symbolically a repetition, pedagogically a distraction, and pastorally inane, since it distracts people from the altar, confuses the understanding of the importance of the individual elements of Church architecture and does not at all foster the participation of Christ's faithful.

Notitiae 38 (2002), 492altar, bread, first communion, holy thursday, lord's supper, table, winePDF of Notitiae 38 (2002), 492