Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tonight's "Coming Home" Program - The Sanctuary, etc.

I'm starting to feel like a fish out of water in this group. Most of the lay leaders involved are progressive. They're also between the ages of 50-65. So we often hear "Back in our day, we weren't allowed to do this..." or "It used to be the priest didn't face the congregation at all, so it was like he was up there doing his thing and we just watched."


The leader tonight pointed out that after Vatican II, most church buildings had the pews arranged in a fan formation, around the altar area. This seemed to be much preferable in everyone's eyes versus the "old" way of having the church be one long rectangle with a few wings to the side to create a visual cross.

The parish that is sponsoring this program has a modern sanctuary. I can't help it. Modern tabernacles leave me cold. (For the one on the left - I have no idea where it is.)

Is there any way a modernist cube could evoke the majesty and splendor of our God? Now church buildings like this, take my breath away:

I much prefer the "old" style. Why? Because everyone is facing the altar. The tabernacle is right there, calling to us.

I know it's an issue of preference, but to me, the whole "fan" idea just invites distraction. Instead of looking at the altar and being unified in our hearts toward Jesus Christ, our eyes inevitably drift toward the late-comers or the young mother leaving with her child. I loved the Latin Mass because the priest was facing the tabernacle. I felt more connected to him as he performed the rite. I felt as though he was truly leading us, his congregation.

I find it slightly amusing that I feel like a radical. Somehow, I found all these blogs online that celebrate gorgeous church architecture, the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy, Gregorian Chants and sacred song. I don't know how it happened (I think it started with The Curt Jester's blog but I can't remember how I found him.) but it did. Now my days are filled with listening to Ave Maria Radio, praying the rosary with Mother Angelica and her sisters, visiting Fr. Z's site and loving all the other blogs I'm starting to discover.

For the most part, they're all leaning toward orthodoxy and I just love it.


Adrienne said...

I'm 62 and would never, ever say anything that stupid. Of course - I also don't wear polyester or any other kind of ester:)

The priest does NOT "have his back to the people." We are joining with the priest in offering the sacrifice to God - therefore we all face liturgical east.

Is this class at your church?? If so - find another church, post haste.

Mary Rose said...


You made me chuckle! What annoys me is that not once have they ever presented any alternatives to "their way" of doing things. It seems as though it's presumed that if one is coming back to the Catholic church, one desires a more liberal approach toward the liturgy.

Not once did they mention there is a Latin Mass that is celebrated at another parish. In fact, the nun last week derisively referred to this parish and our diocese newspaper by saying, "You'd think XYZ Parish is the only parish in town!"

She tipped her hand with that one. Just to let you know, I am attending the XYZ Parish who celebrates Latin Mass. I have an appointment to meet with the senior pastor. Can't wait! :-)

Adrienne said...

Make sure it is a Diocesan church (not SSPX)

We're headed off to Spokane to a Latin Mass this Sunday. We have a Latin Mass quite close but it is populated with SSPX rejects and their attitude is not very charitable. I should know - I used to be one of them:)

Mary Rose said...


Funny you should mention the SSPX. We do have one SSPX church in town. So yes, I do know a little about them.

I'll have to miss TLM this Sunday morning but I'm going to see if it's actually offered Monday morning. If it is, I'm there! Meanwhile, I'll attend a regular Mass probably on Saturday.

We have an Una Voce chapter in town. I think I may check 'em out. :-)

Enjoy your time of worship on Sunday and I'm very glad another church is going to provide this beautiful liturgy!

Rosemary said...

I totally agree about the tabernacles and church architecture. Have you ever been in the basilica at Notre Dame. Now there's a tabernacle!

Elisabeth said...

There's something spiritually moving about a church built in cruciform arrangement, also; it reminds us on so many levels of His Sufferings, and unites us with Him.

I'm with you - as a convert, especially; if I liked the plain ol', same ol' - I'd've remained Protestant. The Power of our Faith should be reflected in our buildings, our liturgy, our private devotions, our striving torward holiness...