lördag 30 juni 2012

Altar rails

Northmoor, Oxfordshire by Sheepdog Rex

Northmoor, Oxfordshire, a photo by Sheepdog Rex on Flickr.

The negotiations between SSPX and the Vatican seem to have stalled. This is not good news. As soon as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass or Latin are mentioned, people tend to take up positions. There is a view amongst many traditionalists that the Novus Ordo rite is defective. It is counter-productive to express them, especially now that the Extraordinary Form is gathering momentum. It is better to be patient, firm and sensitive. When dogmatic views are put out, priests who might otherwise be sympathetic then shy away to avoid getting embroiled. Who can blame them?

So I tend to focus on the practicalities of the matter. This applies to Latin, silence in the Mass and all sorts of other things. You can put up a perfectly sound argument for altar rails on Health and Safety grounds!

A priest could in theory be sued for damages if someone fell off the sanctuary and got injured! The edge of the step should be clearly marked, for example, with bright yellow tape, if there are no altar rails to indicate the change of level. This is a good reason for putting them back without getting too involved in matters relating to the theology of the sanctuary.

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