sanctuary

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to sanctuary

  1. Dr. Eric says:

    WOW! Where’s that?

  2. Nan says:

    That’s my church; the Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Paul, MN.

  3. Not that I don’t see the other gorgeous handiwork but do I see an altar rail?

  4. Nan says:

    You mean the railing setting apart the sanctuary from the rest of the church? The one with the step in front of it for people to kneel on?

    Not habitually used.

  5. I remember being astounded the first time I entered this monumental church.

  6. Nan says:

    But have you seen it since the canopy was dusted?

  7. Ricky Vines says:

    It reflects a work of love and homage to God. It promotes awe and respect befitting the worship celebrations.

  8. Matt says:

    This reminds me of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. Walking into a building like this inspires a sense of awe and reverence. My favorite part of the National Shrine are all the side chapels. Buildings like these aren’t necessary in order to worship God, but their existence sure inspires me.

  9. Andrew A says:

    I was visiting the University of St. Thomas’s St. John Vianney Seminary, and the rector used to be an architect. He gave us a tour of the church. We then went to Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica, which I almost like better. The problem with going to Mass there, however, was that the old priest who said the Mass did way to many liturgical abuses. He changed the “He’s” to “God,” for instance. Anyway, they are both extremely beautiful, and St. Paul is blessed to have such a splendiferous structure.

  10. Al says:

    was just there last weekend for a twins game. Went to mass at st Paul

  11. Nana says:

    Last fall our Asst. Pastor, young Fr. D., took a busload of folks from our six linked parishes in n. central IA to St. Paul to view the Vatican Museum exhibition. Beforehand we attended Mass in a lower chapel of the Cathedral of St. Paul, followed by a self-guided tour. It is truly beautiful, truly inspiring. Thank you for the photo recollection, Fr. Z.

  12. This magnificent cathedral, like the National Shrine, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC and many other churches around the world, has a glorious altar, and instead of celebrating the Sacred Mysteries on the altar, we are forced to settle for a Cranmer table installed in front of the altar during the Season of SIlliness. Isn’t it time to put the Cranmer tables away and use the altars built and consecrated for divine worship?

  13. Athelstane says:

    I think I can safely observe that the Cathedral of St. Paul is easily one of the most beautiful churches of any kind in America – the world, for that matter. Exterior and interior. The architectural harmony of the design and the remarkable attention to detail are unusually superb even for the great age of traditional American Catholic ecclesiastical architecture (be it neo-Gothic or, as in the case of St. Paul, beaux arts).

    Fr. Newman asks a great question. I presume most readers here would answer it the same way.

  14. cordelia says:

    what’s up with all the potted plants? they are distracting and unnecessary.

    i wish Fr. Newman was my priest!

  15. Nick says:

    The common saying in Washington is that if you stacked beer cans as high as the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception they would be imposing too. The hideous, glaring “Christ” in the apse has frightened adults as well as children — and not in a good way. It amazes me at all the millions of dollars that have been spent to erect so many tasteless churches. Even the beautiful St. Paul Cathedral now has the schizophrenia of two altars.

  16. What is that wooden thingy down front?

  17. Nan says:

    Wooden thingies on floor level from left to right; chairs for priest and deacon; book stand for book of gospel with fancy cover, only present for special occasions; altar; seating for readers or spare priests. Wooden thingy above altar; crucifix.

    With regard to plants, I can’t tell if those are the palm fronds from Palm Sunday or if they’re the plants that showed up for Easter and have since been joined by potted flowers. I was at the Cathedral a lot during Holy Week so it became a blur. It could be from Easter Vigil morning because the flowers showed up after the Prayer Service and I think the crucifix was uncovered by then.

    Would an individual priest decide to change the altar or would that come down from the bishop? In my archdiocese there are plenty of other things that are a greater concern than which altar to use. We got our current Archbishop last year so he hasn’t had a lot of time to make changes but has made a lot of positive changes. At least I think they’re positive. The Rector has been in position for a few years and has made a lot of changes during his tenure.

  18. I just attended my sister’s confirmation there.

  19. mpm says:

    Nan,

    “seating for readers or spare priests”

    I had to laugh at the idea of “spare priests”. Are they naturally thin, or
    just worn out?

    Seriously, this is a wonderful Cathedral, and reminds me a bit of the one in
    St. Louis. Does it have any Byzantine elements to it?

  20. AlexB says:

    I walked through the St. Paul Cathedral on a weekday in 2006, and Mass was being celebrated ad orientem on a side altar to the right of the main altar. I believe this was a scheduled Mass. Brick by brick, perhaps?

  21. jedesto says:

    Is there a spokesman for my fellow-pilgrims in Generation U (for “Unidentifieid”)? I’m assuming that I am not the only cradle Catholic who already had completed 12 years in parochial school, served our countnry during World War II, graduated from a Catholic college, married and were raising a happily Catholic familly by the early 1960s. when the Second Vatican Council was convened.
    Among the facts we were taught in secondary school was that the Church is always guided in truth by the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, we were taught Church history as a reflection of that divine guarantee, and we learned the Baltimore catechism. With this basic formation, such Catholics had no problem accepting the “changes” decreed by Vatican II.
    Over the past 50-odd years the majority of us have tolerated and adapted to some rather odd innovations in liturgy and parish life: innovations that have been opposed and rejected by some of our friends and neighbors. Fortunately, most of the rediculous fads of the 70s and 80s have long since faded away. We believe, however, that Vatican II “changes” do not–and have not–altered our faith (what it teaches and what we believe), because the “changes” affected only the expressions of our celebrations of faith. Obviously we continue in a transitional period of adjustment in authorized liturgical language and traditional rites.
    Is there no credible scholar to argue that even philological experts do not resolve the problems posed by translations from Latin liturhgical books easily, uniformly or quickly? Who will reassure us that without restoring and reverting to Latin exclusively, the Church must resign itiself to expressions of its faith in languages that the faithful in their local churches can understand and comprehend?
    As much as I enjoy reading your posts and as much as I have learned (and sympathize with you) about your enthusiasm for more traditional liiturgies, I feel–as I said–unidentified, as a “traditional” Catholic with a well-trained formation in pre-Vatican II “tradition.” Surely the Church’s tradition continues today! So, what “brand” of Catholic are folks like me? Do we have a name?
    Perhaps I am overlooking something that should be obvious, even something that is fundamental, about my faith. I don’t think this is the case, but I would certainly appreciate your reactions to my concerns.
    God bless,
    Jedesto

  22. Nan says:

    mpm; spare priests = concelebrants for Mass or extra confessors for penance services.

    Byzantine elements? The Byzantine Rite was suppressed for a period that ended at about the same time they started to build this Cathedral, so other than a couple of recent icons (SS Peter and Paul I think), no.

    Alex, in the last year I’ve seen Mass celebrated ad orientem in side altars twice when neither the main altar nor the basement chapel was available. On one occasion, Mass was on one side, confession on the other and a wedding in the middle. The other time, the canopy was being cleaned.

  23. Dear Nan,

    Thanks.

    I have never understood the appeal of free-standing altar arrangements, especially “replacement” ones like that above.

    I live in Rome, and because of my schedule, I hear Mass at many different churches. Daily Mass will often be celebrated at one of the many side chapels, and so necessarily ad orientem. Sunday Mass is almost always at the new-fangled table-altar, even when a beautiful, grand, splendid high altar is available and usable for celebration versus populum.

    I suspect this is the case for one of two reasons: the priests do not know any better, and are trying to follow what they have been taught to think are the Conciliar dispositions and the requirements of 1970-2002 rubrics, etc. (the bona fide majority); the priests are “true believers” in the hermeneutic of rupture, and want to ruin everything old (the mala fide minority).

    But people will always be drawn to beauty, unless they have been taught to hate it.

    Emphasizing the positive, i.e. giving the broadest exposure to beauty as practicable in the happiest, most joyful and inviting terms possible, is the best way to gain ground in the battle for the liturgy, wherever one is in the world. I find that, in my own efforts to actualize this notion, the practical result is flavored with a soupcon of humor and a sense of irony, not always good-natured or healthy.

  24. Dear Jedesto,

    If I may, the issue is not so much the Latin language, but the language of the Latin. Fr. Zuhlsdorf has a regular column called “What Does the Prayer Really Say” in which he dissects the various liturgical prayers of the Church, showing the continuities and discontinuities in the language of the older prayers, when these are compared with the newer prayers in the Latin Rite liturgical books.

    Here is an important point: the official, normative liturgical texts of the Roman Rite are in Latin. Latin is still the language of the Roman Rite.

    Most of the changes are in the emphasis a new prayer places on one spiritual or theological aspect of something in the language of the older prayer (most of which are of very ancient standing), e.g. a change from a plural to a singular, in order presumably to emphasize the unity of the sacrifice at the altar.

    Some of the changes are more radical, perhaps substantial: the advisability of any one of them is debatable.

    Of course, the new prayers are valid. Holy Mother Church tells us that they are – as are the translations of the new prayers, which She has approved.

    The new calendar is legitimate – it is a calendar, after all – but why were so many liturgical celebrations canceled? Did the Council fathers really mean to do away with them, rather than recover and teach their meaning in and for the life of the Church?

    Remember, it was not “Vatican II” that made most of the real radical changes in the Church’s liturgical life. It was a committee of experts established after the Council, and even those who agree with their work will not dispute that the committee far exceeded its mandate.

    The point is that we pray what we believe and we believe what we pray. It is far from obvious that a change in the prayers does not constitute a change in the faith they express – now don’t get me wrong – Catholic faith is Catholic faith, yesterday today and forever – but many people were legitimately concerned about the clarity with which the new liturigcal dispositions give expression to that faith.

    I hope this helps.

    C.

  25. wsxyz says:

    Jedesto, I have two short things to mention.

    First, as Chris mentioned, most of the changes in the liturgy and the practices on parish life were not envisioned by the council, although those who implemented them claimed they were. For example, nowhere did the council require, or even recommend, that altars be replaced with tables or that priests face the faithful. But I once read an article in the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Atlanta from the late 60s about a newly formed parish that was renting space at a Methodist Church that mentioned that the priest had to bring a folding table to celebrate Mass because the Methodist altar was against the wall and that since the council that was no longer acceptable. Anyone who had read the council documents (very few people in those days – but certainly the bishop!) would have known that was a falsehood.

    Second, the biggest problem with the changes since the council is not so much the external forms of the sacraments — although there are big problems there — it is in the lack of catechesis and loss of faith among Catholics who have grown up in that time. You are fortunate to be able to recognize that the faith does not (can not!) change even when the external forms change. But millions and millions of younger people have not been taught the faith as you were and do not believe in the unchanging and binding nature of Catholic doctrine and, in fact, simply do not hold the Catholic Faith in its fullness. It is a simple fact that many people who think of themselves as Catholic wholly reject such basic doctrines as the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the historical fact of the bodily resurrection of Our Lord. It stands to reason that millions of souls have been lost that otherwise might have been saved. Clearly, the time since the council has been anything other than “a new springtime”. It has been a time of failure and decline.

    In case you are wondering, I was born in 1970.

  26. Dear WSXYZ,

    I agree with your statements about the disastrous failure of catechesis – but I cannot follow you so far as to say, “It stands to reason millions of souls have been lost that otherwise might have been saved.”

    I would ask on what basis you claim that the time since the council has been anything other than, “a new springtime,” and on what basis you argue that [the post-Conciliar period] has been a time of failure and decline?

    Best,
    C.

  27. Henry says:

    Chris Altieri: on what basis you argue that [the post-Conciliar period] has been a time of failure and decline?

    Given the disintegration of liturgical practice and the failure of catechesis that your own preceding comments appear to take as granted, I would be most interested in knowing on what basis you might argue otherwise.

  28. Ken Milton says:

    Thanks, Fr.J.S.Newman, for the “Cranmer table” label. Should not such a table be reoriented north/south so as to fit between the choir stalls (thankfully absent in most RC churches)? Did you see the movie “Shakespeare in Love”? At one point WS goes into a church and there in all its glory is a rough wooden table in the position that I have mentioned. Things could be worse. In my parish the original plywood altar was replaced several years ago by a marble “side altar” from the local Benedictine monastery. The monks no longer said individual Masses, so the multiple marble altars were given to local churches. Of course, the beauty of the marble altar will make it more difficult to have it eventually removed in favour of the original high altar, which is still in place. I do not expect to live to see that restoration, however. Our present pastor did reinstall an altar rail (purchased from a demolished Anglican church).

  29. The enormous growth of the Church in Africa and Asia, to start.

    C.

  30. Henry Edwards says:

    Chris Altieri: The enormous growth of the Church in Africa and Asia, to start.

    Is it your impression that the afore-mentioned liturgical and catechetical problems are confined to geographic areas whose populations are not expanding rapidly? Or that the “third world” is free of them?

  31. RBrown says:

    The enormous growth of the Church in Africa and Asia, to start.
    Comment by Chris Altieri

    That’s the fruit of work started before 1965.

  32. RBrown says:

    I would ask on what basis you claim that the time since the council has been anything other than, “a new springtime,” and on what basis you argue that [the post-Conciliar period] has been a time of failure and decline?
    Comment by Chris Altieri

    Oh, jeez, the list is so long that the problem is where to start.

    1. In 1964 the US SJ’s had c. 500 novices and 4000 scholastics; 25 years later it was 10% of those numbers. I don’t think there’s been any appreciable improvement since then.

    2. Many orders of sisters are now in trouble because there aren’t enough young women in apostolates to generate the money to pay for the elderly sisters in nursing homes.

    3. The obvious shortage of priests and religious.

    4. The near collapse of the entire Church in France, Her first daughter.

    5. The revolt of the German and Swiss Catholics against Rome.

    6. Legions of poorly trained priests.

    7. In one parish in my hometown, two of the last three priests have left the priesthood. The priest now occupying that assignment is on Prozac.

    8. The de-emphasis of Confession.

    9. Rhode Island, the state with the highest % of Catholics, also has the highest % of those who favor abortion on demand.

    10. The systematic persecution of seminarians who favor Catholic doctrine or–God forbid–Latin liturgy.

    That’s just a few. Now, it’s your turn. What evidence do you see of a New Springtime?

  33. RBrown says:

    One other, which mainly sums it all up: The Protestantization of the Church, including the theologies of the priesthood and the Eucharist.

  34. RBrown says:

    This magnificent cathedral, like the National Shrine, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC and many other churches around the world, has a glorious altar, and instead of celebrating the Sacred Mysteries on the altar, we are forced to settle for a Cranmer table installed in front of the altar
    Comment by Fr Jay Scott Newman

    Those tables were installed in case the Food Network decided to film some shows at St Patrick’s.

  35. Henry says:

    RBrown: Oh, jeez, the list is so long that the problem is where to start.

    Surely you don’t think the 10 rather superficial symptoms of decay you mentioned are among the more serious problems in the Church of recent decades. Or are you just warming up with some of the more peripheral matters before moving on to signs of actual devastation of faith and belief, liturgy and devotion?

  36. RBrown says:

    Surely you don’t think the 10 rather superficial symptoms of decay you mentioned are among the more serious problems in the Church of recent decades. Or are you just warming up with some of the more peripheral matters before moving on to signs of actual devastation of faith and belief, liturgy and devotion?
    Comment by Henry

    I certainly wouldn’t consider the collapse of US SJ vocations or of the whole Church in France to be superficial, but I was listing some of the effects. In the follow-up post I posited the cause–the Protestantization of the theology of the priesthood and of the Eucharist.

  37. Dear all,

    I decided to jump in and respond to jedesto, who seemed to be sincerely struggling with a legitimate question, on which I was able to shed some little light.

    That’s it.

    I am not going to get into it with you all over whether the post-Conciliar period has been one of unmitigated failure and decline.

    I will not argue with you because your reactions have shown you to be incapable of detached critical consideration of an interlocutor’s points.

    For example: Spring, especially early Spring, is a terrible time – think of Eliot – in which many things fighting to be born are destroyed by wind and water. You cannot get to May idylls without going through March and April.

    You see, you assume that anyone who does not toe the party line in his every expression, is worthy of suspicion – crypto-modernist.

    You do not think all the way through what I did say before you respond, and you do worse: you challenge me on the basis of things I have not said.

    The Church has been through some rough times since the Council, but the Council itself was and continues to be a great gift to the Church. Catholics must believe this, and I do, and that’s that.

    Your attitudes and behavior are harmful to the case for traditional worship.

    C.

  38. wsxyz says:

    Chris, I think it is very much impossible, without choosing to disregard the blindingly obvious evidence that sits right in front of our eyes, for anyone to deny that the time since the most recent Vatican Council has been a time of failure and decline. But if one were to nevertheless attempt to “argue” about this assertion, it seems to me it would be far too boring and technical for Fr. Z’s comment box.

    On another topic, you say “the Council itself was and continues to be a great gift to the Church. Catholics must believe this”

    This is a false assertion. Catholics have absolutely no obligation to believe this. You may choose to believe so, but Catholics are not bound to this belief.

    We may believe that “this particular council defined no dogma at all” and that “it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility”. We may even believe that this council “has not been fruitful” and, in fact, “has been just a waste of time.”

    This is helpful, not harmful to the case for traditional worship, because traditional worship is not a goal in and of itself. Traditional faith is the goal, and traditional worship as an outgrowth of traditional faith. Abandoning the rotten fruits of the most recent council is a first step to recovering the traditional faith for many people.

  39. Dear wsxyz,

    This started out as an attempt to help a person understand what the issues are vis a vìs traditional worship, what the rationale for its preservation is, what the intellectual and spiritual concerns of traditional Catholics are.

    It has turned into a disheartening debate among people who ought to recognize each other as allies and co-workers, even friends in and for the truth.

    Why?

    Because you hate the unfortunate and yes, even disastrous misinterpretations of the Council more than you love the truth.

    The greatest living defender of traditional worship, Pope Benedict XVI understands it as a tool in the right intrepretation of the Council, which he understands as a great gift to the Church.

    I concede that Catholics need not agree with this estimation of the Council. You have a fair point there.

    I am willing to take the Pope at his word, though.

    Best,

    C.

  40. RBrown says:

    Chris Altieri,

    You did it again. First, you insist that there be a response to your opinions about the past 40 years. Then, after that happens, you say you won’t engage in the discussion.

    I think that when JPII promised that God has prepared a New Springtime for the Church, he was referring more to the beauty of flowering nature than the destructive forces of wind and rain.

  41. Henry says:

    Chris Altieri: Because you hate the unfortunate and yes, even disastrous misinterpretations of the Council more than you love the truth.

    Is it reasonable to ask how you can judge the extent to which anyone here loves the truth?

    In any event, I wonder whether the extent of a person’s dislike for perversion of truth might well be a measure of his love for the truth.

  42. Henry Edwards says:

    I prefer to identify myself, and my last name is getting dropped. Let try it again.

  43. Dear Rbrown, dear Henry Edwards,

    I did not insist that there be a response to my opinions.

    When I asked the question, the only thing like an opinion that I had offered regarded the concerns of traditional Catholics vis a vis the continuity of faith and worship.

    I do not think you find anything objectionable there, though I would be happy to learn otherwise.

    I said I would not engage in back and forth regarding the basic soundness of the II Vatican Council.

    I make a distinction between the Council’s teachings and the sometimes wilful and often disastrous misinterpretations and poor implementation of the Council’s teachings.

    The failure has been in the implementation of the Council; the decline has largely been a result of the erroneous interpretation and faulty implementation.

    I was too harshly judgmental in my expressions regarding people’s relative hatred of error/love of truth.

    More on that later.

    Best,
    C.

  44. Dear Rbrown,

    Regarding the new Springtime, I think it at least reasonable to think the Pope was encouraging the faithful in the midst of withering Srping weather.

    It is a general rule of interpretation that one ought to explore all the implications and ramifications of the text one is interpreting.

    I do not claim to have done this, though what I have done is in keeping with this rule.

    As regards my judgment: I allowed myself to speak harshly and judgmentally, and this was a mistake.

    I will try to convey my menaing more simply and humbly.

    It is striking to me that often, anyone who sees the Council itself as anything other than an unmitigated failure, is derided in these pages as a modernist or a fellow traveller with the champions of the hermeneutic of rupture.

    Do I think that Paul VI did a terrible disservice in suspending the old books?

    Yes.

    Do I know with utter certainty that the Consilium overstepped its mandate?

    Yes.

    Have I suffered along with others under the ideological commitment of “post-Vatican II” Catholics?

    Yes.

    Does this mean that the Council itself was a failure?

    I say, “No.”

    Best,
    C.

  45. Henry Edwards says:

    Dear Chris Altieri,

    Let me thank you for your 9:15 am post, and add that we are in agreement on Yes-Yes-Yes-No.

  46. Thank you, Henry.

    Best to all.

    C.