Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Random Items From the IPPG Minutes

September 1st, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

Below are concerns from the people of STA prior to their parish clustering with Christ the King and St. Salome in 2006, and responses from the Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group (IPPG). While STA presented numerous serious concerns, the IPPG demonstrated a lack of respect for the traditions of St. Thomas. Read on.

The STA concern:
The altar rail is an integral part of STA sanctuary — architecturally not feasible to remove it. The tradition of kneeling during the consecration is important.

The IPPG response:
Historically, the altar rail kept animals back… The altar rail is not an issue for this committee.

Commentary: The altar rail was used to separate the holy of holies, the church sanctuary, from the congregation, it was not put in to keep out sheep and goats. People knelt at the altar rail to receive Holy Communion as a sign of reverence to the Lord God. The animal comment was frequently used by the Protestant reformers to destroy altar rails and not install them in their churches. Why would the IPPG dare to make that statement when it is not true historically?

The STA concern:
STA concerned that the liturgy will change. This is the heart of the matter. Concern for orthodoxy, style, that the communion rail remains intact.”

The IPPG response:
Christ the King (CtK) should not be considered unorthodox. Concern that this is perception.”

Commentary: While true that both are “orthodox” (as far as I’m aware), there is a noted difference between the styles of worship of the two communities. St. Thomas is rooted in traditional liturgy and art, while Christ the King is rooted in less formal liturgy and modernist/abstract art. I’ll make a post contrasting the two parishes later.

The STA concern:
Trying to preserve, protect, parish and respective culture, integrity.

The IPPG response:
Communion rails are secondary to maintaining a parish’s unique identity.

The Communion rail is central to the differences between the parishes, as it represents the contrasting theologies of the two parishes. The rail is very much a part of St. Thomas’ identity.

The STA concern:
“STA would like to maintain our traditional approach to the Mass.”

The IPPG response:
“As long as it aligns with Vatican II”

What does it mean to “align with Vatican II”? There does not exist a requirement to have altar girls, to remove altar rails, to mandate that people stand for Communion, etc. St. Thomas is more than in alignment with Vatican II. I hope the IPPG is not confusing the DoR’s “Spirit of Vatican II” with the actual documents of the Council. Also, the Pope is promoting receiving Communion while kneeling and on the tongue. Given that this is the way the Church is heading, it would make no sense to alter in any way St. Thomas’ traditional approach.

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7 Responses to “Random Items From the IPPG Minutes”

  1. Anonymous says:


    Take a look at
    "Christ the King (CtK) should not be considered unorthodox. Concern that this is perception."
    "As long as it aligns with Vatican II"

    Might there be a perception that STA does not align with Vatican II by the IPPG, the same people criticizing the people of STA for having a perception of unorthodoxy about CTK?

  2. Fight them, folks. They will destroy your parish according to their warped interpretation of the Council. Bishop Clark is in scorched-earth mode; your goal is to stay viable until the end of this foul episcopate so that the next shepherd can take a fresh look.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well said!

  4. Mike says:

    Dr. K.,

    So the altar-rail-as-livestock-barrier claim has once again reared its ugly head.

    I first read of this a year or so ago and did a little research at the time that, for some reason or another, never got turned into a post.

    Anyway, here's what I found. It comes from pages 76 and 78 of Steven J. Schloeder's Architecture in Communion: Implementing the Second Vatican Council through Liturgy and Architecture (see here).

    "The use of an architectural barrier to separate the nave from the sanctuary and choir dates at least to the fourth century, with some archaeological evidence of earlier chapels in the catacombs arranged with a low railing separating the nave from the apse. In the early basilicas the cancelli (also called septum or transenna) was a balustraded wall to protect the altar from irreverence. Eusebius, the court historian of Emperor Constantine, writes of a cathedral at Tyre as having a ?wooden trellis-work wrought by the craftsmen with exquisite artistry? that protected the altar from undue familiarity. In the Byzantine church this protective barrier developed into the iconostasis ?

    "Likewise, in the Christian West, by the twelth century there was often a similar disposition [i.e., the width of the church and at least two stories tall] of the cancelli. This effectively created a sort of ?church within a church?, although in general the altar was more open to the nave than with the iconostasis. In the late Romanesque period, with the widespread use of unleavened bread, the cancelli began to evolve into a communion rail. Up to this time, Communion under both species had been received standing up. Now, as the practice of reception from the chalice died out, the Eucharist was regularly distributed in small wafers placed directly on the communicant's tongue, and the ancient devotional practice of kneeling became the common posture at Holy Communion: thus a low communion rail was used to facilitate reception while retaining the traditional idea of hierarchic separation found in the cancelli and the iconostasis."

    Some of the "undue familiarity" mentioned by Eusebius in the 4th century could have been on the part of wandering livestock in some churches; however, the communion rail appeared 800 years later, and its morphing from a much larger structure had nothing to do with cattle, sheep or goats.

    So much for the livestock barrier theory.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Who are these people on this Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group?

    Give us a list of their names and any information about them, including where they work. If Tom Golisano or Danny Wegman and hundreds of other employers in Monroe County found out that one of their employees was trying to force a Catholic parish to close, that person or their husband or wife may be out of a job.

    You can't handle these people with kid gloves. They are doing a lot of damage to our Church.

    Imagine the pain and agony our Lord must be suffering, while his parishes are being destroyed.

  6. Andrew says:

    Lots of alter rail talk. I wonder what these guys think of the Eastern Catholic / Orthodox practice of the iconostasis: a full wall between the sanctuary and the congregation, behind which all women are forbidden?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I'm in the mood for writing letters. I'll get right on it.

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