Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Presider’s Chair . . . And That Place Where the Priest Sits

February 8th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

A commenter on one of our recent posts stated that Fr. Tyman, the Sacramental Minister for the Our Lady of Lourdes+St. Anne Cluster, has expressed a desire to move the presider’s chair at St. Anne to the right of the altar, when looking towards the sanctuary from the congregation. Personally, I feel like there is potential for some good here, but also, potential for great liturgical woes.

For example:

Pro – the sanctuary will be among the most uncluttered in the entire city – the only things visible will be the altar, the painting of St. Anne, the pulpit, and the tabernacle, located to the left of the sanctuary (very visible to all). 
Con – more room behind the altar means more room for hordes of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. 

Pro – the priest will appear to be in a more “presidential” position, being directly next to the altar. 
Con – this means that Sr. Joan’s chair will be blocked from view. We all know she will go searching for an appropriate seat, one which everyone can see.
Pro – the people can more fully engage in the Mass, i.e. “active participation.” While I personally prefer a quiet, subdued role for the laity, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Con – it may make things too casual, and thus remove the “mystery” of the Mass for some in the congregation.
Pro – perhaps now the concelebrants and altar servers will sit closer to the presider, rather than the benches in the rear of the sanctuary
Con – perhaps Sr. Joan will keep them in their places, and use this as an excuse to be more active in the liturgy, i.e. handling the sacred vessels, etc . . .  

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7 Responses to “The Presider’s Chair . . . And That Place Where the Priest Sits”

  1. What he is suggesting is not really a problem although his reason for doing so will not be any better served than simply putting the original riser under the celebrant's chair (the way Fr. Lioi originally had it). Keeping the chair where it presently is a more ancient arrangement if that is of any concern (probably not). I have no idea how liberal Fr. Tyman is but I do know that liberals love to move the furniture around. A "spirit of Vatican II" reason is almost always given so as to mask a political agenda. Not saying that's true in this case. However, the pastoral administrator will no doubt capitalize on the move, if possible. I'm betting she will end up right next to Fr. Tyman again(!) –to his left, if she can at all get away with it.

    Just my opinion:
    If I were Fr. Tyman I think I would forget it. The parish probably lost 10-15 more people just at the mere mention of a possible relocation of the chair. My wife was in attendance at the 11am Mass Sunday and was stunned by the small size of the congregation and the lack of participation in the singing. What a change. The choir and music were still terrific, however.

  2. Dr. K says:

    Maybe they should consider putting the tabernacle where Fr. Tyman's chair is currently located. I'm not a fan of having the priest sit behind the altar in any church setting. Churches start to resemble masonic lodges when you have such a setup.

    Where Joan will sit will be something interesting to watch in the coming weeks. How about the front pew? She's a layperson; she belongs in the congregation if she is not serving the priest at the altar.

    ~Dr. K

  3. Louis E. says:

    With regard to Sr Joan and your countdown…how fixed is that retirement date?Will she actually be out of her job than or can she be kept in place "ad nutum Roffensiae Sedis" at Bishop Clark's (or some newfangled committee's) option just as Bishops can stay in place past 75 until Rome says otherwise?

  4. Dr. K says:

    It just means that she will reach the DoR retirement age of 70 in that many days. The bishop is free to do whatever he wants.

    ~Dr. K

  5. Anonymous says:

    The attendance is getting thin but I am not sure the chair arrangement is going to drive people away. Someone asked me, "what exactly has this nun done that is so bad"? All I could come up with is: that she sits at the sanctuary in an alb, sometimes gives the homily, and interrupts the Mass at every possible opportunity. Anyone have any other specific things I might mention?

  6. Gen says:

    She openly supports female ordination. That's the big one. When that's coupled to all the rest, it become huge.

    And from what I have heard and experienced, her demeanor has a lot to do with things, too.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. Yes, female ordination is the big one. It gets "glossed" over because the parishioners are going for cafeteria style Catholicism. That is, "I believe this but not that" mentality. They don't have a strong root in the Catholic faith or they haven't taken the time to learn about the Catholic Church.

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