100 years Ago

by
11 July 2007

.July 12th, 1907.

THE ECCENTRICITIES of Diocesan Chancellors are aptly exemplified in a case tried before the Llandaff Consistory Court last week. It appears that a stone mensa, dating from the fifteenth century, had been removed from the pavement and fixed upon the altar. The learned Chancellor delivered himself of certain dicta, to the effect that an altar must be of wood and movable, although there are plenty of examples of fixed stone altars, the legality of which has never been questioned, and in the eighteenth century, in particular, it was a comparatively common practice to make altars of marble. In his judgment, the Chancellor sanctioned a device which could only have occurred to the legal mind — namely, to construct the altar base of wood, and place upon it loosely the stone mensa, so that the legal requirements as to a movable wooden altar might be complied with. Apparently, it is the Cancellarian theory that a structure of wood is a table, and a structure of stone is an altar; that the one is designed for Communion, the other for the Mass. We wonder that no Chancellor has yet discovered the distinction between a wooden and a stone pulpit, the one as being a guarantee of good, sound, Protestant doctrine, the other a dangerous seat of Catholic pro-paganda.

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