The "people’s table" in the Sacred Heart Chapel of the Cathedral of Ferrara. Change of the direction of celebration as an expression of the change of direction.
(Ferrara) On February 15, 2017, Pope Francis retired Archbishop Luigi Negri of Ferrara, a change with some, sometimes amazing consequences.
Archbishop Negri, as a diocesan bishop, stood out from among his confreres, and not just in Italy. Nevertheless, he was immediately retired by Francis, although in good health, upon reaching the age limit. Negri's opponents wanted to chase him out of his office much earlier. Nevertheless, he also raises his voice as emeritus bishop: as co-editor of the Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, whose founding he supported, as a pastor, speaker and author. In his latest book, The Challenge, published in March, he writes that there is a "climate of confusion" and a "climate of retribution" in the Church under Pope Francis.
Cathedral of Ferrara
Next to the presbytery of his former episcopal church is the Sacred Heart Chapel. There has been no free-standing altar in it so far. Under Archbishop Negri, this chapel was to be the starting point for a liturgical renewal through the restoration of sacral understanding. Here, not only the Holy Mass was celebrated again in the traditional rite, but celebrated at the request of the retired archbishop in the New Rite versus Deum. Because of the parallel location to the presbytery and the chapel is also facing to the east, which is why the celebration direction on the high altar was actually ad orientem.
On the instructions of his successor, Archbishop Giancarlo Perego, a "people’s altar” has also been set up, says the traditional site Messa in Latino.
The provisional "people’s altar" in use since 1970 has now been largely replaced by fixed, consecrated altars. The "altar table" was replaced by a cube, usually black, dark gray or dark brown, and more recently by all sorts of other designs. In Ferrara, they first resorted to the "altar table" in order to obscure the high altar and to implement a main aspect of the liturgical reform of 1969: the turning of the direction of celebration towards the people. (So they could worship themselves)
One of the leading promoters of the liturgical reform - 55 years ago, in which Rome seemed to become a city on the Rhine and not on the Tiber, has been due to German influence for several years - the archbishop of Cologne, Josef Cardinal Frings, who explainsx the central rationale of Folk altar and the changed direction of celebration: "It corresponds to the democratic course of our days".
In Ferrara, too, this view has taken hold again.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: MiL / Wikicommons
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