From a reader:
Is it still rubrical for reliquaries to be covered when the Sanctissimum is exposed? The old rubrics call for it, I believe.
So, this is about what to do in the newer, post-Conciliar forms of liturgical actions.
A long time ago the Congregation in Rome replied to a question. When the new rubrics are directives are vague or absent, are we to do things as we have always done? The Congregation replied that it was not to be assumed that we should in those cases do things the old way.
Well… then what in the name of all that is holy are we supposed to do? Make it up as we go?
That seems, in fact, to have been their intention. A close reading of the book which came out under the name of the former papal MC Archbp. Piero Marini reveals the laser beam focus the Bugnini and the Consilium had in stripping Rome of its centralized power to regulate liturgical matters and to place everything in the hands of local communites.
The resulting discontinuity with the past and between local Churches has been devastating for our Catholic identity.
This is one reason why Pope Benedict has given us Summorum Pontificum whereby the older Missale Romanum and older Rituale and Pontificale can be used freely. We must regain continuity and thus revitalize our Catholic identity.
Thus endeth the lesson.
To our question.
My understanding is that relics on the altar were in the old days and now when the older forms are used, to be covered in some way or removed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed. In practice, they are sometimes exposed on the feast of the Saint whose relic is exposed for veneration. This is probably not the case with relics of the True Cross, with documents, etc., but I am not sure.
My answer is that if it was done that way before, then do it that way now! Did the Blessed Sacrament suddenly get demoted in dignity?
Also, when it comes to Exposition and Benediction if you follow the old way of doing things… which you are perfectly free to do know, then you have your answers to these questions.