quasi-Benedictine arrangement


#1

The quasi-Benedictine arrangement.
conciliaria.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/altar.jpg
1.bp.blogspot.com/_VUS38gctSks/TTikNkRoZmI/AAAAAAAACBw/mvZuQGoAp7w/s1600/img054.jpg
This arrangement was seen, I think, mostly in the most advanced liturgical movement in the 1960s – the picture above is taken from the National Liturgical Week in Seattle, 1960, the latter from a German church in the ‘50s. It struck me as a very interesting arrangement, which, with the choir, servers and clergy properly vested, as well as the generally traditional arrangement of of the sanctuary, with the altar elevated on steps, for instance, seemed to be an excellent example of reform in continuity. It's to my mind one well worth copying, to give give one example in churches whose altar could not accommodate the Benedictine arrangement (although to my mind these two larger altars both look magnificent). What do you think of it?


#2

I think it is fine, as long as the candlesticks and candles are truly befitting of the space. The candlesticks with their candles should be tall enough to reach probably at least a foot past the height of the altar. The risk with this arrangement is that the candlesticks can look like a silly afterthought to appease some rubric in semi-continuity with Benedict’s practice rather than true settings of the altar itself, which is what they really are. The candlesticks should therefore be truly architectural in character, they should have what I would call a certain massiveness or immense and heavy-looking quality, befitting of the sacred space they are in. Therefore I would call the candlesticks in the first photo (the one with the wacky, pointless decoration over the altar) rather unsuccessful. They are not fat enough, although I will concede that this is only a temporary arrangement.

The arrangement in the second photo is considerably more successful, aesthetically speaking. The candles are well-proportioned in terms of width to height, and they balance the large altar very well. It is also a nice touch that the middle candles on either side are slightly taller than those flanking them, although equally sized candles are also nice. However, the weird placement of the crucifix in front of the altar several feet away is displeasing all around. It does not work well there at all.

All in all, six candles of good size in this placement is better than the skimpy, usual two. But nothing can beat a set Roman altar with six candles and central crucifix (double-sided being optional at Masses versus populum), regardless of orientation during Mass.

That’s my two cents.


#3

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:2, topic:316669"]
Therefore I would call the candlesticks in the first photo (the one with the wacky, pointless decoration over the altar) rather unsuccessful. They are not fat enough, although I will concede that this is only a temporary arrangement.
.

[/quote]

It is hard to tell due to the quality of the picture what exactly that is, but sometimes hanging screens are used for lighting/visibility purposes in settings like that. So it may not be completely pointless.


#4

It was the practice in the old rite for a high altar to have a canopy of some sort over it. The hanging in the picture was an attempt to be faithful to that practice, while also being avant garde. Msgr. McManus, while an expert on the sacred liturgy, was also very much a part of the avant garde set.


#5

[quote="Chatter163, post:4, topic:316669"]
It was the practice in the old rite for a high altar to have a canopy of some sort over it. The hanging in the picture was an attempt to be faithful to that practice, while also being avant garde. Msgr. McManus, while an expert on the sacred liturgy, was also very much a part of the avant garde set.

[/quote]

Ah, that's what that thing is.


#6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.