I had a note from a priest with a question:
I have had a TLM at my Parish, which I celebrate, every Sunday since last November and is going great. But my question is about what I see in the way The Holy Father celebrates Mass in extraordinary form with a cross and 6 candles in the altar, a seventh candle behind the cross because he is Pope. Is this to be an "expected" way of what is to be on the altar for the celebration of Mass? (ordinary or extraordinary form?)
First, the Holy Father is saying Mass only in the Ordinary Form, so far. But the use of the seventh candle, next to the Cross at the center of the altar, is a very old custom.
This is not just something that the Roman Pontiff does.
The seventh candle could be used for Pontifical High Mass when celebrated by an Ordinary in his diocese (or by the Pope anywhere, of course).
The seventh candle, placed in the middle and in line with the other six, should be a little higher. This pushes the crucifix a little out of line… which also emphasizes it, in my opinion. Pope Benedict is acutely sensitive to the position of the Cross during Holy Mass.
So… this is an old Mass element enriching the new Mass.
It also rather explodes the Bugnini notion that the old ways of doing things shouldn’t be assumed to be the way we ought to do things in the Novus Ordo.
So, is this to be expected? I think so. I think that priests who are preparing for the coming of the bishop to the parish should use the Benedictine arrangement, if they are still having Mass versus populum and be sure to add the seventh candle.