From a reader…
Is it permissible for the catafalque to be used in an Ordinary Form Mass? The pandemic is making visits to cemeteries very difficult. I was wondering if the catafalque could be used in our November 2 Masses. If it is permissible, what prayers could be used and is it fine to have the catafalque be sprinkled with holy water and then incensed?
I cannot fathom why the pandemic makes visits to cemeteries difficult. I’m trying, but I just can’t see it.
Use of the catafalque in the Ordinary Form. If I remember correctly, the adaptations for the GIRM in these USA excludes the use of the catafalque when the body cannot be present. So, No. I don’t think there is a provision for it in the Novus Ordo.
Some of you might not know what a catafalque is.
In one sense, a catafalque is a platform upon which the body of the deceased is lain, either in a coffin or not. In the other sense, it is a platform which can include an empty coffin or something that imitates the shape of the coffin, generally draped with the (black) funeral pall. The catafalque is the symbol of the deceased whose body is not present. As in the case of the coffin with the body of the deceased, it is flanked with 6 (3 + 3) floor candelabra with unbleached beeswax candles. The priest will say or sing the absolutions over the catafalque as he would over the body of the deceased.
Since the catafalque is not used in the Novus Ordo, but it is used in the older, Traditional Latin Requiem Mass, perhaps just use the older Missale Romanum.
It is interesting how this situation we are in is forcing people to rediscover how and why things were done in yesteryear and how it still makes sense to do those things today.