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Article: Post-Trent Churches

July 23, 2007

Elizabeth Lev / ZENIT:

The liturgy and the Church worked together to emphasize the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ. At the altar, placed against the wall, the celebrant recited the Eucharistic prayer in silence. From the nave, the faithful saw the priest’s numerous gestures; 27 signs of the cross, five genuflections and most significantly, the raising of the Host amid incense and ringing bells.

The altar was a block of stone, resembling a tomb or sepulcher, vividly reminding the flock of Christ’s death and burial. In the Gesù, Giovanni Battista Gaulli frescoed the initials of the Latin translation of Holy Name of Jesus — “IHS” — in a burst of light above the altar. This glorious image helped the people to understand Christ’s triumph over sin and death.

With the same intensity of St. Ignatius’ spiritual exercises, the Tridentine churches and liturgies invoked all the senses, exhorting the faithful to ” love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

Full article here.

See also:
Catholic Sensibility: Trent’s Architectural Heritage
Idle Speculations: Structure and Reality
Idle Speculations: Altar of St. Ignatius Loyola in the Gesu

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