Rorate Caeli

The stripping of the altars... in 2009

A sobering reminder of the fragility of the new liturgical movement, and an incentive to greater prayer and vigilance for the defence of the sacred liturgy -- CAP.

On March 9, 2006, the Archbishop of Oristano, Pier Giuliano Tiddia, in consultation with the metropolitan chapter, gave his approval to the decision of of the cathedral parish priest, Msgr. Costantino Usai, to take away the temporary wooden altar that had been erected some time ago in the chancel of the cathedral in order to facilitate Masses coram populo. All Masses in the cathedral were henceforth offered upon the marble high altar, ad orientem. In addition the crucifix -- which had hitherto been placed at the side -- was restored to its central place upon the high altar. Shortly afterwards, Archbishop Tiddia retired and was succeeded by Msgr. Ignazio Sanna, whose consecration as bishop on June 25, 2006 in the Oristano cathedral saw the newly-consecrated archbishop and Camillo Cardinal Ruini (his principal consecrator) offering Mass on the high altar.

Archbishop Sanna lost no time in making his liturgical preference known. Before 2006 ended he restored the wooden coram populo altar and reinstituted Masses facing the people. The Archbishop denounced Mass offered ad orientem as "(a)n experiment which has failed, an experiment which places the celebration in a pre-conciliar dimension and – this has been my own experience – does not respond to the sensibility of the People of God."

The Archbishop recently revealed plans to take apart the old chancel floor and to construct a permanent table (mensa) with matching ambo at the right side. As part of the renovation (wreckovation) of the cathedral, the old high altar is currently being broken and removed.

BEFORE: The High Altar used for Masses in the Cathedral in 2006

(The Chrism Mass in 2006)

AFTER: The High Altar being dismounted and packed away