|Annual Requiem for the Latin Mass Society in Westminster Cathedral|
Daniel McCarthy’s splendid suggestions about the readoption of an ambo go a long way to resolving the problem of “a place for everyone”, but will only succeed if the concept of an ambo as an “empty tomb” is seen to trump that of an occupied tabernacle.
One of the consistent features of Loftus' output is that as well as being theologically wrong-headed, he makes the most ludicrous historical claims. Shrines to the Blessed Sacrament? It sounds quite nice, but it's not accurate.
In cathedrals we have always had the Blessed Sacrament in a special chapel, where people can pray without distraction. Look at the High Altar in Westminster Cathedral (above), and the High Altar at another fairly grand church, such as Our Lady of Willesden (which like the Cathedral has a baldachino: a little roof over the Altar: below), and the presence of the tabernacle clearly makes very little difference to the design or architectural focus. Westminster Cathedral's High Alter clearly wasn't designed as a 'shrine to the reserved sacrament': He wasn't there. So on what basis does Loftus say that a place like Willesden was?
|LMS Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Willesden|
Moving down the scale of liturgical grandeur, we have side chapels which, again, have no tabernacles. All the architectural features remain, on a smaller scale, to frame and focus our attention on the celebrant and what he is doing.
|Low Mass at the LMS Training Conference in Ratcliffe College|
|St Patrick's Soho Square: the subdeacon had to stand in the space behind the Communion Rail...|
|...and kneel between the open Communion Rail gates.|
In the largest and grandest church in the whole world, St Peter's in Rome, what is deemed an appropriate distance between the Faithful kneeling in prayer and the tabernacle? See for yourselves: here it is, below.
|The Blessed Sacrament chapel in St Peter's Basilicia in Rome, |
with Cardinal Castrillon saying Mass for the Una Voce General Assembly.