Friday, August 27, 2010
This is most Certainly True.
More often than not, people feel that it's heresy to even insinuate that the white wedding-cake reredos with shelf altar, tiny box tabernacle and giant exposition throne is neither ideal, nor lawful. I have no problem with finally admitting it: I don't like them. The fact that most churches with these types of altars never attempt to fully and properly vest them, with a liturgically-coloured frontal only makes it worse. The white altar fades into the background of the white reredos, and the altar and sacntuary as a sacrificial place fades away as the idea of the altar as a shrine of the blessed sacrament comes in in place. Hence, there is a bit of a prevailing idea in the tradition-minded and traddy community that the church is a shrine or temple of the blessed sacrament, and not a consecrated building set apart for the worship of almighty God through the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Me, I would see the ideal altar as free-standing, vested with frontals on the front and back, with a single gradine a bit behind it, on which sits the tabernacle and the cross and six candles. No multiple gradines. On the wall, or perhaps attached to the gradines, there ought to be an altarpiece with statues of the saints and religious images,or maybe a liturgically-coloured dossal, to bring prominence to the altar and sanctuary. A ciborium covering the altar and tabernacle would also do well. The above is an example similar to what I propose, only the gradines attached to the wall, and the altar where it stands now. The altar at Ampleforth Abbey is another passable example. They also have here a proper tabernacle.
Another example. I love the tester.