Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/399

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ALTAR 357 ALTAR stands, should be made of wood. The steps sliould be about one foot in breadth. The predella slioild extend along the front of the altar with a breadth of about three feet six inclies, and at the sides of the altar about one foot. The height of each step ought to be about six inches. Side altars must have at least one step. Altau-Stole. — An ornament, Iiaving the shape of the ends of a stole, which in the Middle Ages was attached to the front of the altar. Alt.k-Stoe. — . solid piece of natural stone, con- secrated by a bishop, large enough to hold the Sacred Host and chalice. It is inserted into or placed on the surface of a structure which an,swcrs the purpose of an altar, when the whole altar is not consecrated. Sometimes the whole table (mensu) takes the place of the smaller altar-stone. It is called a portable altar. ALT.R-ToMn. — K tomb, or monument, over a grave, oblong in form, which is covered with a slab or table, havmg the. appearance of an altar. Some- times the table is bare, and sometimes it supports one or more recumbent sculptured figures. It either stands free, so that the four sides are exposed, or one side may be attached to the wall, when a canopy or niche is often raised above it. Alt.r-V.se. — Vase to hold flowers for the deco- ration of the altar. The Ca-rem. Episc. (I,xii,n. 12) says that between the candlesticks on the altar may be placed natural or artificial flowers, which are cer- tainly appropriate ornaments of the altar. The flow- ers referred to are cut flowers, leaves, and ferns, rather than plants imbedded in soil in large flower- pots, although the latter may fitly be used for the decoration of the sanctuary aroimd the altar. If ar- tificial flowers are used they ought to be made of superior material, as the word serico (ibid.) evi- dently implies, and represent with some accuracy the natural variations. Flowers of paper, cheap muslin, or calico, and other inferior materials, and such as are old and soiled, shoifld never be allowed on the altar. Alt.r-Vessels. — The chalice is the cup in which the wine and water of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is con- tained. It should l)e either of gold, or of silver with the cup gilt on the inside; or it may have a cup only of silver, gilt on the inside; in which cjise the biise and stem may be of any metal, provided it be solid, clean, and becoming (Miss. Rom., Ritus celcbr.. tit. i, n. 1). .ccordinK to the Roman .Missal (De Defoc- tibus, tit. X, n. 1) it may be also made of utannum (an alloy of tin and lead), witli the cup gilt on the in- side, but authors jiermit this only by way of ex- ception in case of extreme poverty. Chalices made of glass, wood, copper, or brass are not permitted, and cannot be consecrated by the bisliop (Cong. Sac. Rit., IG September, ISC')). The ba.se may he round, hexagonal, or octagonal, and should be so wide that there is no foar of the clialice tilting over. Near the middle of the stem, between the ba.se and the cup, there should lx> a knob, in order that the chalice, especially after the Consecration, when the priest has nis thumb and index finger joined together, may be easily handled. This knob may!«■ ailnrncd witn precious stones, but care should be taken that they do not protrude so far as to hinder the easy handling of the chalice. The ba.se and cup may lie embellished with pictures or emblems, even in relief, but tho.sc on the cup sliould lie about an inch below the lip of the chalice. The cup should be narrow at the bottom, and lieeomo gradually wider as it approaches the mouth. The rounded or turned- down lip is verj- unserviceable. The height is not determined, but it should x: at least eight inches. P.TEN'. — The paten is a ves.sel of the altar on which the altar-bread is offered in the Holy Sacrifice. It should be made of the same material as the chalice, and if it is made of anything else than gold it should be gilt on the concave side. Its edge ought to be thin and sharp, so that the particles on the corporal may be easily collected. It should not be embel- lished, at least on the concave side, in any manner; however, one small cross may be set near its edge to indicate the place on which it is to be kissed by the celebrant. Any sharp indentation on the upper side prevents its being easily cleaned. Those liav- ing a plain surface throughout, with the gradual slight depression towards the centre, are the most serviceable. Uy a decree of the Cong. Sac. Kit., G December, ISGO, I'ope Pius IX allowed chalices and patens to be used which were made of aluminium mixed with other metals in certain proportions given in the " Instructio", [irovided the whole surface was silvered, and the cup gilt on the inside, but this decree is expunged from the latest edition of the Decrees. Both the chalice and the paten, before they can be used at the Sacrifice of the Mass, must be consecrated by the ordinary, or by a bishop designated by him. Only in exceptional cases can a priest, who has received special faculties for doing so from the Holy .See, consecrate them. By virtue of Facultates Extraordinarix C, fac. vi, the bishops of the United States may delegate a simple priest. The mere fact of celebrating the Holy Sacrifice with an unconsecrated chalice and paten can never supply the place of this rite, specially ordained by the Church. Loss OF Consecration. — The chalice loses its consecration when it becomes unfit for the purpose for which it is destined. Hence it becomes devoid of consecration: (1) when the slightest break or slit appears in the cup near the bottom. This is not the case if the break be near the upper part, so that without fear of spilling its contents consecration can take place in it. (2) When a verj- noticeable break appears in any part, so that it would be un- liccoming to use it. (3) When the cup is separated from the stem in such a manner that the parts could not be joined except by an artificer, unless the cup was originally joined to the stem, and the stem to the base, by means of a screwing device. If, how- ever, to the bottom of the cup a rod is firmly attached which passes through the stem to the base, under which is a nut used to hold the different parts to- gether, then, if this rod should break, tutius viddur to reconsecrate it (Van der Stappen, III, quajst. l.x'iii). (4) When it is rcgilt (Cong. Sac. Rit., 14 June, 1845). A chalice does not lose its consecration by the mere wearing away of the gilding, because the whole chalice is consecrated; but it becomes unfit for the purpose of consecrating in it, for the rubric prescribes that it be gilded on the inside. After being regilt. the celebrating of Mass with the chalice cannot sup- ply its consecration (St. Lig., bk. VI, n. 380). The custom of desecmting a chalice, or other sacred vessel, by striking it with the hand or some instru- ment, or in any other manner, before giving it to a workman for regilding, is positively forbidden (Cong. Sac. Rit., 23 .pril, 1.S22). By making slight repairs upon the chalice or paten the consecration is not lost. The Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office in 1874 decided that a clialice loses its consecration if it if emnloved Ijy heretics for any profane use, e. g. foi a (irinking cup at table. The paten loses its conse- cration: (1) When it is broken to such an extent that it Ijccomes unfit for the purpose for which it is in- tended, e, g. if the break be so large that particles could fall tlirough it. (2) When it liccomcs battered to such an extent that it would he unbecoming to use it. (3) When it is regilt. . chalice which be- comes unserviceable is not to be sold, but should, if po.ssible, be iisetl for some sacred purpose, CiiioHU'M. — The ciborium is an altar-vessel in which the consecrated particles for the Communion