instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Who was I to be able to hinder God?

Msgr. Pope expresses puzzlement over the newish custom of displaying a church's holy oils in glass containers inside an ambry with a glass door. It's not particularly safe or secure, as he points out, and there are some questions about how exposing the holy oils in this way fits into Sacramental theology.

I am unlearned enough to be unconcerned about this practice. Without declaring that these are the winning arguments, I'll say that I think there's an aesthetic case to be made, since the oil itself is a pleasing color. When displayed in the sanctuary, they remind an observer of the relationship between the Sacraments in which they are used and the Blessed Sacrament, and of the relationship between the church and the bishop.

That said, I do think that at times the American impulse for the functional exceeds its balance with the Latin impulse for the form: