Rorate Caeli

A new altar for the Cathedra of Saint Peter?

A new altar, with a traditional format, has been photographed in the place of the anvil-like iron structure which had been used as an altar under the Cathedra of Saint Peter, in Saint Peter's Basilica, since the time of the destruction of the Traditional altar (cf. our post "Liturgical Renewal at Saint Peter's: How does an altar disappear?").

The new altar is still a freestanding structure, but it is an improvement. However, when will the Traditional altar be put back in its place? Its destruction remains one of the most symbolic acts of the entire "liturgical renewal" and is a stain in the record of the Wojtyla pontificate.


  1. Anonymous9:53 AM

    "...a stain in the record of the Wojtyla pontificate."

    One of many. JP2 accomplished much but is not "the Great" as the groupies go out of their way to constantly refer to him.

    Let us pray for Pope Benedict that there will not be such stains on his papacy when it is assessed one day.

  2. Anonymous10:46 AM

    Would you please create a post about the history of the destroyed altar, perhaps with some before and after pictures. I am not able to find information or pictures about this, and would like to know the details, and how it used to look.



  3. Anonymous10:54 AM

    I am one of those who will continue to maintain that John Paul II merits the appellation Magnus but I couldn't agree more with your characterisation of that altar's removal.

  4. Anonymous11:00 AM

    One stain among many. Not necessarily out the ordinary. The modus operandi of his pontificate all to often seemed to be "Say one thing, allow the opposite to take place (or participate in the opposite).

    Please God that the old altar will return.

  5. Dear R, just click on "Liturgical Renewal at Saint Peter's: How does an altar disappear?": it's our earlier post, with pictures.

  6. Anonymous3:51 PM

    Is this a product of photoshop or is this for real? Does anyone know? The question mark in the headline and the wording make me think that the altar change hasn't been confirmed.

  7. Anonymous5:26 PM

    If you click on the link to the Rinascimento Sacro site given in the article there are three or four shots in a kind of fancy slideshow which would seem to show the ironing board altar moved into a side chapel where other items are stored. You can see in one picture that the " new" altar is not just a frontal, it has sides as well, visible beneath the low hanging altar cloth. I believe it is a portable altar which I have seen used in St. Peter's Square for outdoor Masses. There is a papal Mass scheduled for the Altar of the Chair on Monday 3rd November for deceased cardinals and bishops. Could it be in place for this?? We can hope!

  8. Anonymous6:05 PM

    While the original altar must be restored, this is a HUGE improvement. Now if only those distorted candle stumps and altar cross can somehow disappear...

  9. Anonymous6:10 PM

    no it the real deal if you go to Rinascimento Sacro blog site yo can see more pictures the "old iron board" in the sacristy and the new altar its place. So its not a frontal either

  10. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I suspect it's the same altar, but with a new frontal.

  11. Anonymous7:00 PM

    Oh it is real. Look!

  12. Anonymous9:03 PM

    Why the candles at an angle, one wonders. Do not the Boss's tastes prevail in his own basilica?

  13. Anonymous9:51 PM

    "I am one of those who will continue to maintain that John Paul II merits the appellation Magnus"

    Doctor Sentenarium or ANYBODY, can you please explain this to me - logically and in connection to why we call Sts. Leo I and Gregory I "the great". Can you please explain this to me deftly and without the usual "personality of cult" monologue...

  14. Anonymous11:57 PM


    Since 1492, 50 Popes have not been canonized; 3, though, are beatified. Only 2 are canonized and the two popes are not "Great."

    Prior to 1492, there were 214 popes. Among this group, 77 are saints; of the 167 not canonized, only 7 are blessed. Three of the pope-saints comprise "the Greats" (Gregory, Leo, and Nicholas).

    I don't think JPII, a GREAT MAN BUT NOT A GREAT POPE, stacks up to Pope St. Pius X, as being the greatest of the 20th century popes. IMO he should be canonized, but not for a long time (at least until good men like Bl. Pius IX, Popes Leo XIII and Pope Pius XII of recent times are canonized).

    So...What makes Pope John Paul II worthy of being dubbed "the Great" ahead of 75 pope-successors to St. Peter?

    You can say that many of the early popes, atleast to Pope Liberius, but even for a few centuries onward, were blanketed as Saints in the early days of The Church.

    Yes, we should bring back Traditional altars, but so should we wait to call Pope John Paul II a Saint before we jump to Pope St. John Paul II Magnus. He had a chance to "bind" a lot of things that he "loosened" and caused a lot of scandal in the process.

    Just my two cents. The altar is a positive step back into continuity with past ages and popes.

  15. Anonymous6:44 AM

    They will canonise JPII and call him 'great'

    Escriva was canonised - anything is possible.

  16. Anonymous5:28 PM

    In the XXII century (yes, 22nd), when the new Pope authorizes the restoration of thew old altar, it will be remarked that it is high time but could not happen until one of the SSPS bishops could occupy the Chair of Peter.

    Oh, and there will be a long article about who did what along the way to make the restoration possible. Benedict XVI will be credited for raising the excommunication naturally, however the article will emphasize that first, the John Paul bishops had to be replaced and the liberal remnant everywhere had to die off too.

  17. Anonymous11:55 PM


    Don't hide your name cowardly if you are going to write such nonsense full of prejudice against a great saint as St. Josemaría Escrivá.

    Regarding the new altar, we should know by now that our Holy Father likes to introduce changes slowly. To get rid of the previous iron altar and put at once an "ad orientem" one would have been too drastic. But I am sure that eventually we will see one.

  18. Anonymous12:08 AM

    Will anyone answer my question?

  19. Anonymous3:18 PM

    I know this is unrelated to this post, however, I have been reading this blog for a number of months and have a quick question:

    What is a good book that discusses the doctrine of the Papacy and a separate book which explains Marian doctrine?

    I'm a Protestant and trying to work through some rather difficult issues. Thanks!

  20. Dear friend,

    Thank you for reading our blog.

    Any indications will depend on what is your level of knowledge of those issues. Please, send me a note (and, if any of you have any suggestions, send them to me): newcatholic AT gmail DOT com .

  21. Anonymous5:00 PM

    For a concise intro to Catholic doctrine see Scott Hahn's Rome, Sweet Rome where he explains his conversion from stauch protestant (and opponent of Rome)to Roman Catholicism. Invocante

  22. Anonymous3:48 AM

    "Will anyone answer my question?"

    Dear Sacerdotte of Italia,

    My understanding is that the title "Great" is a title of honor given to a doctor of the Catholic Church. Very few people receive this title and it is not bestowed lightly. Hence the controversy about JP11 getting such a title without due process.

    "Doctor of the Church (Latin doctor, teacher, from Latin docere, to teach) is a title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their additions to theological or doctrinal matters." Ref:Wikipedia



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