Straight from the void between their ears….

Our friends at Rorate have captured a photo of what appears to be the prelude to what may be an invasion of Earth by the Zorkons.

The red cube, according to Messa in Latino, is what is currently used as the altar in the church in the Camaldolese monastery of Montegiove, which is currently down to 7 monks and 1 nun. According to the monastery’s website, Mass is offered in the church only on Sundays and feast days. Messa in Latino states that communion is always "self-service".


Self-service Communion!    Niiiiiiice!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    By their fruits shall ye know them.

  2. sawdustmick says:

    What’s that “thing” behind the red cube – OH ! It’s an ALTAR !!!!!! What’s one of those ???? (Sorry for the sarcasm).

    Anyway, just going to have a look on ebay to see if I can get a Red Cube (or any other colour for that matter !)

  3. wanda says:

    Is that chairs sitting in front of the altar? People seated with their backs to that beautiful altar, worse yet, with their backs to the tabernacle? I’d love to hear the explanation for this horror show.

  4. AlexE says:

    I’ve always wanted to have self serve communion, I mean who wants to get up early and attend the August and HOly Sacrifice of the Mass. Oh brother this is perhaps the sadest thing I have seen in a long long time.

  5. Cath says:

    What exactly is “self-service” Communion?

  6. FrCharles says:

    That’s the easiest Rubik’s cube I’ve ever seen.

  7. Art says:

    The Borg have such a wonderful sense of liturgy…

  8. TNCath says:

    Cath: “What exactly is ‘self-service’ Communion?

    Perhaps there is a drive-thru window as well?

    I’d hate to see what pops out of that box.

    Cardinal Canizares, are you taking notes?

  9. Peggy R says:

    Are they prepared to take on the decepticons?

  10. drwob says:

    It looks like if you turned the crank (on the side not visible), “Pop Goes the Weasel” would play and a liturgical dancer would pop out.

  11. TravelerWithChrist says:

    When I saw this, I had a vision of the great sadness of a mother; or perhaps our Mother Mary. The once-great joy turned sadness.

    To see that aweful cube in front of a beautiful alter…puts a pain in my heart. As a mother of a daughter who talks of becoming a nun, it makes me sad. The parents, surely some were good, devout parents, must be crushed (or crying in heaven) to see their children worshipping at a ‘Rubic’s Cube’ as somebody put it. Look at that beautiful marble alter in the background, then this faux-painted press-board box… they are truly crazy.

    …and Jesus wept…

  12. Erik P says:

    The folding chair off to the left is a wonderful touch…

  13. Athelstan says:

    On the bright side, it does distract attention from the tacky tile floor.

    “…which is currently down to 7 monks and 1 nun.”

    Can’t imagine why that giant red cube isn’t drawing in young vocations by the bucketful.

  14. susanna says:

    Why can’t they see the absurdity when it’s so clear to
    you and me?
    Oh! Maybe it’s a penance!?

  15. Sedgwick says:

    Reminds me of the movie “The Box.” So, if you serve yourself Communion, somewhere a soul you don’t know dies.

    What next, drive-through Communion?

  16. I wonder: perhaps a visitation from the head of the Camaldolese order is in order… to remind them of who they are and to strengthen their vocations? We all need encouragement and nourishment in tough times.

  17. Andy Milam says:

    On a brighter note….oh wait, it doesn’t get much brighter than that garrish red color….

    On a more lambent note….errr….

    On a more radiant note….ummm….

    On a more resplendent note….ok seriously now….

    What I’m trying to get at is that the cubical altar can at least be moved….

  18. MikeM says:

    The strange thing is, someone must have gone and sought out that cube. While I don’t prefer it, I can see why a group would have mass on a plain table instead of an altar… just about everyone has a plain table handy. But a bright red cube?!?! Where do you even get that?

    The color even clashes with the surroundings.

  19. benyanke says:

    Who thunk’a that one?!?!?

  20. Joseph says:

    this photo perfectly illustrates the difference between our two Latin rites. There is a good possibility that the promoters of that pink butcher block have lost their faith, Catholic faith at that.

  21. Emilio III says:

    Let me guess… The sacristan is Sister Snow White?

  22. What it goes to show is:

    1. Some people are stupid enough to turn their backs on beauty.

    2. Imitating early medieval/modern Eastern altars doesn’t do you any good, if you don’t imitate the other stuff from that period/place that makes it make sense, or bring it into your own tradition and make it make sense. This is neither fish nor flesh.

    3. I guess if all the monks happen to be priests, and all the priests concelebrate, they’re okay. But even if she’s an EMHC, I can’t see that the nun has any business self-communicating.

    4. If they’re not using that beautiful altar and credence table, why do they put out the beautiful altarcloth set on them? Just to increase the cognitive dissonance?

  23. JonM says:

    I think the caption got cut off:

    Mass of the Ages meets Mass of the Aged Hippies

    This picture speaks for itself.

  24. coletmary says:

    Aren’t all cafeteria (Catholics) self-serve?

  25. Rob Cartusciello says:

    At least they’re taking the time to dress the old altar, rather than use it for a plant stand.

    Camaldolese – the Benedictine reformers are in need of a reform.

  26. MichaelJ says:

    “Self-Service communion” is what happens immediately after “automated voicemail confession”

  27. Maltese says:

    The manner of living, praying and working should be suitably adapted everywhere, but especially in mission territories, to the modern physical and psychological circumstances of the members and also, as required by the nature of each institute, to the necessities of the apostolate, the demands of culture…Therefore let constitutions, directories, custom books, books of prayers and ceremonies and such like be suitably re-edited and, obsolete laws being suppressed, be adapted to the decrees of this sacred synod.

    Vatican II’s Decree on the “Renewal” of Religious life.

  28. MarkJ says:

    One word to describe all those involved in this church desecration: BLOCKHEADS

  29. sawdustmick says:

    At least it is CARDINAL red.

  30. Patrick J. says:

    While some of this is nutty, actually not all of it is, referenced by the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic prescription for the altat:

    (From an Orthodox website)

    “Some people may think that an altar is an altar, (or holy table a holy table), no matter what church houses it. They would be mistaken if they applied that reasoning to the altar of an Orthodox Church. The distinctive features of an Orthodox altar are not repeated anywhere else and have their own essential significance. In this article I shall refer to the “Holy Table” as the place for the Holy Mysteries. Strictly speaking, “altar” in Orthodox terminology refers to the whole of the “sanctuary” in its western reference.

    The Holy Table itself should, ideally, be a perfect cube and one cubic metre is often a useful guide as to size. By this is indicated the perfection and wholeness of God’s dispensation to us in Christ. Inside the Holy Table a small reliquary is secreted with the relic of a saint given by the bishop to the church. At each of the four corners are embedded small icons of the four holy Apostles and Evangelists. All this is sealed with a super-covering which forms the upper surface of the Holy Table. When a church is consecrated by the bishop the Holy Table is washed and anointed with chrism and vested in a fair white linen covering and then the altar vestment. This procedure indicates that the Holy Table is the place of Christ, the anointed King and Saviour of the world. Only the appointed ministers of the altar, the Bishop, his priests and deacons may stand about the front and sides of the Holy Table and no one else may touch it. Servers may go about their business behind it and make the sign of the cross as they pass the throne and high place of the altar … an elevated section with the Holy Cross and the seven-branched menorah in front of it with the processional fans.

    The whole arrangement of an Orthodox altar and Holy Table reflects the worship about the heavenly altar indicated in the Apocalypse (Revelation) of St. John in the New Testament.”

  31. JaneC says:

    It’s pretty clear what has happened here. Someone spilled a science-fiction-y chemical (perhaps radioactive) onto one of the floor tiles, which caused it to grow to a terrible size, and probably to emit noxious fumes that affect the brains of nearby humans. I’m sure a passing Time Lord could whip out his sonic screwdriver and reverse the process. The re-sized tile would fit perfectly back into the floor, the fumes would dissipate, and life would return to normal.

  32. Sandy says:

    “drwob”, that’s perfect, LOL, if it’s possible to laugh at this! We must laugh or cry, or maybe both. I’m trying to hold my lunch down after looking at the “cube” again.

  33. Clinton says:

    Luckily for the monks and nun of that community, the silly cube business is easily undone and the space restored to its former,
    sensible arrangement. I’m not so sure that the fact that the community itself is withering away can be so easily corrected. I’m
    always amazed at the rationalizations I hear from religious of dying congregations–they are open to anything, anything, anything
    from labyrinths to self-service Communion to reikei. Just don’t ask them to be open to the tradition that had made them great.
    That is the one place they will not go.

    [And now…]

    There is something so sad in the thought of this shrinking group of religious huddled together around their red cube, their backs
    turned to all the beauty surrounding them–beauty built up and handed down by generations of monks before them.

    Gold Star for the Day

  34. robtbrown says:

    It reminds me of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

  35. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Pretty kooky!

    Well… That beautiful altar is still intact – that amazes me. Clods in the clergy who have no appreciation for innate beauty destroyed so much in the States here.

    I think its very interesting the juxtaposition of beauty and the hideous. Although the use was outlived, those responsible for the altar’s preservation saw its beauty and left it alone. That cube is easily removed – the altar can still be used.

    When the kooks clear out, it looks like there will be something left for the Church to use!

    As mentioned at the recent DC blognic, do you sense a disturbance in the Force?

  36. Clinton: There is something so sad in the thought of this shrinking group of religious huddled together around their red cube, their backs turned to all the beauty surrounding them—beauty built up and handed down by generations of monks before them.

    Just right.

  37. mikew says:

    Tough to believe that they have that beautiful high altar behind them that begs… screams out for the TLM and yet, the use the cube… and “self service” no less. No wonder they are down to so few. If they were true to Mass, its rubrics and I’ll bet other teachings of the church they’d have no problem in attracting new members to the order. Disgraceful.

  38. ipadre says:

    Aww, I’m disappointed. I thought it was a big Christmas gift. Maybe everything needed to offer a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form is in that box and they just need to open it! That just can’t be an altar, well maybe on Mars!

  39. MaryAgnesLamb says:

    Apparently the Zorkons have no liturgical, architectural or genrally, an sort of Aesthetic sense at all.
    Seriously, how sad.

  40. timelord says:

    could that red cube be the TARDIS for the Master? He may be trying to go back into time and bring leftovers from the defunct 1960’s and 1970’s into this 21st century.

  41. Athanasius says:

    Frankly, it is not half as bad as that “altar” they put in in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.

  42. irishgirl says:

    What the heck is THAT? It does look like a Rubik’s Cube!

    St. Romuald, please come down and slap your monks and nun silly! [for those who don’t know, St. Romuald is the founder of the Camandolese Order]

    And they think this will attract vocations? Not likely!

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