Sunday, April 30, 2006

What does GIRM 299 really say?

A reader sent me the following links which some may be interested in. It relates to Fr. Lang's book and the issue of freestanding altars and versus populum.

What does GIRM 299 really say?

GIRM 299 has been mistranslated

A summary of what is basically being looked at:

The Latin:
Altare maius exstruatur a pariete seiunctum, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebratio versus populum peragi possit, quod expedit ubicumque possibile sit.

The BLS translation (which is now the GIRM translation):
The altar should be built apart from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible. (Emphases added)

The problem with the GIRM translation is that it gives the impression that it is celebration versus populum which is desirable, rather than the separation of the altar from the wall.

My version:
The main altar should be built separated from the wall, which is useful wherever it is possible, so that it can be easily walked around and a celebration toward the people can be carried out. (Emphases added)

The Latin does not say that celebrations versus populum are desirable. It says that separation of the altar from the wall is desirable (or useful or fitting) wherever possible.

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