Friday, March 16, 2012

Bring Back the Portable Altar of the Lateran

The portable altar can be seen in front of the confessio.


  1. Normally portable altars are seen as a bad thing in these parts (which I agree with!). Is the call for this particular portable altar b/c the high altar at the Lateran Basilica was traditionally reserved for the Pope alone?

  2. A portable altar bofore the Papal High Altar was common and proper because of the reservation of the latter to the Holy Father himself.

    These altars should come back to show this. The use of other side altars/chapels in the Pope's basilicas does not send as direct an instruction as did the use of the portable altar before the High Altar itself.

    Like everything else she does, the Church would be "teaching" an aspect that has fallen by the wayside.


  3. Anonymous, I think that's the idea; generally the high altar was reserved for the Pope, while the portable altar was used for regular Masses.

    I have one question about the portable altar. When the Pope offered Mass at the high altar in the Lateran or any of the other major Roman basilicas, he would face the geographical east, which meant he was facing the nave while he offered Mass. But which way would the priest face when offering Mass on the portable altar? Would he look towards the geographic east, facing down the nave of the church, or would he face the "liturgical east," pointed towards the apse?