Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/397

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355

ALTAR 355 ALTAR Altar-Linens. — The altar-linens are the corporal, pall, purificator, and finger-toweb. The Blessed Sac- rament and the vase containing It must always be placed on a corporal, which must be made of linen (Miss. Uom., Kitus celebr. tit. i, n. 1) or hemp (Cong. Sac. Rit., 1.5 .May, ISl'.)) without any embillish[[nMl or embroidery, t'orporals made of muslin (t'oiig. .'^ac. Rit., l.'j March, 1GG4) or cotton (ibid., 15 .May, IM'.)) are forbidden. The edges may >c ornamented with fine lace, and a cross may be worked into it near the front edge. No cross is allowed in its centre (De Herdt, I, n. 167), which would necessarily give EccHARisnc Tower, Cathkoral of Arras, XIV Cenicrt some difficulty when collecting the fragments. The rubrics do not prescribe its size. It must be spa- cious enough to hold the chalice and large host used by the priest, and al.so the cilxirium containing the smaller hosts for the Communion of the laity. It should be a square, at least fifteen by fifteen inches, or an oblong, fourteen by eighteen inches. The cor|X)ral must be blessed by a bishop, or by a priest having the faculty to do so, before it may be used the first time. It is not blessed again after it is wiislied; use at the Holy Sacrifice docs not con- stitute a blessing (Cong. .'^ac. Rit., SI .ugust, 18G7). The form of the ble.ssing is the "Hencdictio corpora- lium" found in the Rituale Romanum (tit. viii, cap. xxii) which is not changed to the plural even if many corporals are blessed at the same time (Cong. Sac. Rit., 4 Septomt)er, ISKO). The corporal loses its blessing when no part of it is sufficiently large to hold the chalice and host together, and it is forbidden to use a torn or ripped corpond (llartmann, 5 31G, n. 6, b). When the corporal becomes unfit for use I.— 23 it should be destroyed by fire, and its ashes thrown into the sacrariuni. After the corporal has been washed, bleached, and ironed it is folded into three equal parts, both in its lengtli and in its width, i. e. the anterior part is folded over the middle; then the posterior part is turned down over the anterior part; after this the part at the priest's right is folded over the middle, and finally the part at the priest's left is folded over these. The corporal is placed in the burse in such a manner that the edge of the last fold is towards the oiwning of the burse. It is prob- able that the corporal was prescribed as early as the fourth century. Originally it was longer and wider than the one in use at present. It covered the whole table of the altar, and was looked upon as a fourth altar-clotli. About the eleventh century it began to be curtailed, and by degrees was reduced to its present size. The Carthusians use the cor- poral in its old form (Benedict XIV, De Sacrif. Missie, I, § 31). Driginally the pall was not distinct from the cor- poral, bccau.se the latter was so large as to do away with the need of a distinct pall, and the posterior part of the corporal was so arranged that it could be easily drawn over the host and chalice. When the corporal was reduced to its present size the pall became a distinct cover of the chalice, and is called by Benedict XIV Corporale quo calix tegilur (ibid., § 34). Although prescribed by the ru- brics, theologians hold that its use does not bind sub gravi. It may be a single piece of linen or hemp, or it may consist of two pieces of linen or hemp, between which a piece of cardboard is inserted for the sake of stiffening it. The upper side may be ornamented with embroidery or painting in va- rious colours, or covered with cloth of gold, silver, or silk of any colour except black (Cong. Sac. Rit., 17 July, 1894). It may be embellished with a cross or some other emblem. The nether piece must al- ways be of plain white linen or hemp (ibid.) and be detachable for the purpose of washing it (ibid., 24 November, 1905). Since the pall was originally a part of the corporal, the blessing "Benedictio cor- poralium" is used without change in number or words when blessing one or more palls alone, or one or more palls with one or more corporals (ibid., 4 September, 18S0). Like the corporal, it is blessed by a bishop, or by a priest who has faculties to do so. It should be large enough to cover the paten. If the pall is wanting, a folded corporal may be used in its stead. The purificator is a piece of pure white linen or hemp (Cong. Sac. Rit., 23 July, 1878) used for cleans- ing the chalice. Its size is not prescribed by the rubrics. It is usually twelve to eighteen inches long, and nine or ten inches wide. It is folded in three layers so that when placed on the chalice beneath the paten its width is about three inches. A small cross may be worked in it at its centre to distinguish it from the little finger-toweLs used at the "I.avabo", although this is not prescribed. It is not blessed. It is also called the "Mundatory"' or "Purificatory". The Greeks use a sponge instead of the linen puri- ficator. Before soiled corporals, palls, and purifica- tors are given to nuns or lay persons to be laimdried, bleached, mended or ironed, they must be first wiushetl, then rinsed twice by a person in sacred or- ders (Cong. Sac. Rit., 12 September, 1857). When preparing soiled corporals for the altar a little starch may » used to stiffen them and give them a smooth surface. The same may be done with the palls. The purificators are alwaj-s prepared without starch. Finger-towels, used at the "Lavabo" and after administering Holy Communion, may be made of any kinil of material, preferably, however, of linen or hemp, and of any size. Altar of Our Lady. — From the beginning of