Thursday, February 06, 2003

Round churches
I've already posted months ago (but I'm too lazy to go in search of the exact post: if one of you finds it, put it in a comment.) that I, on the whole, like round churches so long as the sanctuary is clearly distinguished from the nave and so long as the choir is not on the altar. Our chapel here at Sacred Heart is one of them and it is quite beautiful, if underdecorated.

What made me think of this again, however, is a passage I read in a Latin missal called The New Marian Missal that my son has. It is a reprint of an old missal from before the Vatican II liturgical reforms. At the beginning there is a wonderful essay that I wish I could reprint and comment upon in full if for no other reason that it wonderfully belies the notion that the liturgy before the Council was completely closed to the "new" insights of Sacrosanctum Concilium. In fact, many of the principles from SC are quite evident in this essay, including the emphasis on active participation.

At any rate, one of the points the essay makes is that the shape of the Church is to remind us of Christ with the sanctuary and altar as the head and the nave as the body. And so, the sanctuary (or presbyterium) is the proper place for the ministers, and the nave the proper place for the laity. I hope to write an entry soon with a detailed explanation as to why this distinction is important and therefore why I wish they would reinstall altar rails. This will be related to the other post I'm composing (in my head) about the distinctive liturgical office of the laity.

So, then I start thinking about applying this idea of head/body to round Churches and the images that spontaneously pops into my head is that Christ is like Jabba the Hutt! Oh, well.

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