I was in St. Peter’s Basilica the morning they tore out the Altar of the Chair. There were people stationed to prevent anyone from taking photos. Workers pried it apart with crowbars and hauled it off like so much junk. Theologically, the altar brought deep significance to Bernini’s masterpiece above it.
I am in Rome today, on the morning when a “Cranmer table” will be bolted into the floor of Santa Maria “Ad martyres“. This day is the Feast of the Dedication of that church which took place in 609. S. M. ad martyres is also called the Pantheon. More on that in Italian HERE.
Since I’ve been in Rome these last few days, I’ve seen quite a few nasty changes since my last visit in September for the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage. There are more dreadful tables in place and they are ostentatious. Go into S. Andrea della Valle and weep. The same for the Chiesa Nuova. Weep.
How ideological do you have to be to ignore a magnificent high altar, built for that church? It makes no sense at all. In fact, its intellectually insulting. In the end, it comes back to an overreaching and condescending and self-centered clericalism. These lib clerics have to be the center of attention. They impose these innovations on people who haven’t asked for them. They disrespect the contributions of their forebears and squander their treasures.
There seems to be a rush in Rome to get these altars in place.
I wonder if they are not afraid.
Meanwhile, since it is the anniversary of the dedication of the Pantheon as a church in 609, we might have a taste of the exorcism that the Pope performed on that building which was dedicated to pagan gods (demons). In Italian HERE.
“In 608 the Byzantine emperor Foca gave [the temple] to Pope Boniface IV and there was organized an evocative ceremony to consecrate it to the Christian God. On 13 May 609 a huge crowd gathered near the Pantheon to witness the event. Chronicles recount chaos and chilling screams that were felt from within: the pagan demons were aware of what was about to happen. The doors were thrown open and the Pope, in front of the entrance, began to recite the formulas for the exorcism. The screams from the idols increased in intensity, and the commotion deafened the ears of the onlookers. Fear gripped the crowd and no one was able to stand on their feet, looking and hearing that terrible spectacle. Only Boniface IV resisted and, undaunted, prayed and consecrated the Pantheon to Christ. It is said that the demons left the ancient temple chaotically and with a great din, fleeing from the open “eye” of the dome or from the main doors. Once the ceremony was over, the Pope dedicated the building to the Madonna dei Martiri, in memory, perhaps, of the many Christians killed in honor of those filthy idols … “
Messa in Latino also calls to mind a vision of Catherine Ann Emerich:
One of the visions of Bl. Catherine Emmerich was precisely about the exorcism and consecration of the Pantheon: “… I saw again the whole ceremony of the consecration of the temple: the holy martyrs assisted with Mary at their head. The altar was not placed in the middle, but was was up against the wall. I saw carried into church more than 30 carts of holy bones. Many of these were put into the walls. Others could be seen, where there were round holes in the wall, closed up with something that looked like glass. (p. Schmoeger, ‘Vie d’Anne Catherine Emmerich’, tomo III, pp. da 69 a 71)
Battles with the Enemy are fought on many levels. Let is not forget that demons are territorial and legalistic. Once they claim a toehold, it requires effort to break their hold and get rid of them from places, things and persons.