Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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@Praxiteles wrote:


I believe we have to make some distinctions here:

The idea of “gathering” around a bishop at a Cathedral in some form of a scaled down Nuremberg Rally is a completely modern invention that has nothing to do with liturgy – at least as understood in the Roman Rite. Large scale concelebrations with all and sundry sacttered all over the place are very unlikely to have been intended by Sacrosanctum Concilium and, from what we understand, are likely to be “cut back” in the not too distant future.

Secondly, a fundamental principle of the Roman Rite is that no one surplus to carrying out what has to be carried out at a given ceremony should be in the sanctuary. The Roman Rite, in its peculiar génie is spartan and no nonsesne in its approach so it does not envisage clerical “flower pots” hanging around the sanctuary for any purpose.

When a bishop requires assistance at a ceremony, it takes the form of a Deacon, Sub-deacon, Assistant priest, Master of Ceremonies and the lesser clerics needed to carry out specific tasks. These are the only persons envisaged as being anywhere near the bishop when pontificating. This is true whether he is celebrating or assisting at Mass or presidingat or celebrating the offices.

You mention the choir arrangements of Cathedrals. Again, this has nothing do do with gathering around a bishop. This is the arrangement developed over the centuries for the chanting of Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. These offices continue whether the bishop is present or not. When he is present, he too is subject to the discipline of the choir – albeit he presides over it. The function of the Cathedral choir is to maintain the continuity between Altar (Mass, Missal) and the Prayer fo the Breviary, not to act as some form heavy muscle gang around the bishop.

You mention the arrangements in San Clemente. Praxiteles recalls posting a diagramm of the arrangements there a very long time ago and explaining what went on and how it works: the Pope when he went in procession to the Basilica (or any basilica) was civilally escorted by armed persons as far as the door of the Basilica where these were shed; the procession made up of minor cleric to sing the Mass etc. and by 12 torch bearers (who replaced the lictores grented to the Pope by Constantine in 312) went as far as the railed off schola where they were shed; the Pope passed through the schola where the minor clerics of the procession were shed (and from where they did there singing), accompanied by the deacon, to the sanctuary where the other clerics needed for the Mass awaited him. There is no suggestion that there was a throng “gathered” waiting for him. Indeed, likely to have been waiting for him were the clerics necessary for the rites. Also, it must be borne in mind that the schola in San Clemente -or anywhere else- is not part of the sancturay. It is an ante-sanctuary – an idea continued in some of the Cathedrals of Spain or in southern France (Auche) and, ultimately, lying behind the development of Cathedral Chapter choirs whose principal business -like their San Clemente ancestors- is to sing the offices.

You mention that the cathedra was placed in the head of the apse. This is true of the ancient basilicas. Again, in so far as anyone sat next to it, we should not presume that it was more than those immediately involved in the rites being performed. That arrangement subsequently took itsel tot he bema prepared for the clergy and to the medieval arrangement of the throne usually flanked by the Deacon and Subdeacon; or in descending hierarchy as was the practice in the Sarum use.

The posting on San Clemente is no. 111 and is to be found on page 5 of this therad. Here is the transcript:

Re. post 109

It also shares the remarkable distinction of being the only major Catholic Church in Ireland to have actually been improved by internal reordering, when thee fussy later altar was removed and replaced by a simple modern table altar, which accords harmoniously with the early Christian style of the interior.
Gianlorenzo wrote:

While the import of the above is not exactly clear, the idea that the modern undersized altar in Longford Cathedral “accords harmoniously” with the early Christian style of the interior is quite remarkable for its evident obliviouness to the findings of Christian archeology and the factual testimony of those Basilicas which still conserve their original spacial lay out. The result of Cathal Daly’s reordering of Longford is a modern construct derived from contemporary theories that has been brutally superimposed on a neo classical basilical context.

Were the reordering to have been conducted with the idea of reproducing or reinterpreting the prinicples underlying the spacial outlay of an early Christian Basilica, then the outcome would have been considerably different. It would have required emptying the nave of its benches]

In this system, the nave is reserved for the entry and exit of the Roman Pontiff and his attendants at least since the year 314when he was invested with the Praetorian dignity. When he arrived at the main door, his military or civil escort was shed; he processed through the nave with clergy any other administrative attendants until he reached the gate of the Solea at which point all lay attendants were shed; the lower clergy lined up in the Solea and remained there while the Pontiff, accompanied by the Proto Deacon of the Holy Roman Church and the Deacon of the Basilica accompanied him through the gate of the Sanctuary as far as the Altar where other priests or Bishops awaited him.

The laity were confined to the side isles; the matroneum (or womens’ side); and the senatorium (men’s side).

In Rome, two extant eamples of this spacial disposition illustrate the point: Santa Sabina which is partially intact [attachment 3]; but, more importantly, San Clemente which is well preserved [attachment 4].

Remarkably, the author who believes that the present interior lay out of Longford Cathedral somehow reflects that of an early Christian Basilica quite obviously has not read Richard Krautheimer’s Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae and may not have been familiar with the same author’s Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture (Yale University Press). C. H. Kraeling’s The Christian Building (The Excavations at Dura Europos…Final Report, VIII, 2 (Yale University Press) and T. Matthew’s writings on the disposition of the chancel in early Christian Basilicas (Revista di Archeologia Cristiana, XXXVIII [1962], pp. 73ff. would certainly dispel any notion of even a remote connection between the early Christian Basilica and the

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