ASK THE LITURGIST (32) – Concert etiquette

– Enrico Finotti

Is it possible for people to sit on the seats of the presbytery and also on the priest’s seat with the motive of a large crowd on the occasion of concerts or performances?

What is said about the altar and the ambo applies to the seat of the priest. All three are sacred places and their dignity must be protected by reserving them exclusively for their own liturgical functions. It is evident that an incorrect use of the seat leads to attenuate the sacred sense of the place of the liturgical presidency of which the seat must be permanently surrounded.

 As the altar cannot become the support of profane objects and deeds and the ambo of circumstantial discourses, so the seat – and in a very eminent way the bishop’s chair – must appear as the noble and worthy sign of Christ the shepherd and Church leader. Evidently, if the seat is devoid of due dignity and is debased in a common seat without decorum and beauty, it cannot arouse in the faithful the symbolic call of the mystery it should convey. The presbyterial area, however, should already protect the holy places it contains (altar, tabernacle, ambo, seat) and ensure their sacredness. Respect for the presbytery is also expressed in the norm of the ceremonial of bishops which states: Let  any minister who does not wear the sacred robe or cassock and the cotta or other legitimately approved dress (EC 50) not enter the presbytery during sacred celebrations. However, even outside the celebration, the presbytery should always remain extraneous to improper people and actions and carefully preserve its sacredness. The elimination of the balustrade or other traditional structures in the custody of the presbytery has certainly not favored the necessary protection of the sacred sense of the presbyterial area.

(From Il mio e il vostro sacrificio. Il liturgista risponde, 2018©Chorabooks. Translated by Aurelio Porfiri. Used with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved)

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