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Redeemably Awful: The Christian Altar

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In last month’s article, I started this series on the current state of the Liturgy of the Eucharist as celebrated in many of our parishes. My title for the series is “Redeemably Awful” and I am proposing an uncomfortable examination of conscience as we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Roman Missal as promulgated by Pope Paul VI.
This month I continue the reflection by looking at the place of the altar in the church building. Everybody knows that the altar is important, but it often doesn’t receive the importance it needs. At the start I must admit that things today are better than they were once upon a time. In the late sixth century, St Columbanus, had a problem with a certain lack of respect in the manner that his monks treated the altar of his monastic church and had to provide a specific penance in his Communal Rule to deal with those monks who spat at the altar.

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