Wednesday 6 November 2013

Papal Mass in Saint Peter's 1965

Adjacent is a rather rare photograph, taken in Saint Peter's during a Session of the Second Vatican Council.

Standing at the centre of the altar is Pope Paul VI and with him, concelebrating bishops. At the Opening of the Third and Fourth Sessions of the Council, which took place on 14th September, 1964 and 14th September, 1965 respectively, Pope Paul concelebrated Mass in the basilica with a select number of the Council Fathers.

This Mass, of course, is being celebrated according to those modifications of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite known colloquially as The Interim Missal. The Rite of concelebration, however, is quite similar to that which is found in the new Missal of 1969.

Nevertheless, the concelebrated Masses celebrated in Saint Peter's before the introduction of the new Missal differed very significantly from those after that date, as is illustrated by this photograph. Although the Basilica on this occasion in 1964 or 1965 was filled with bishops, archbishops and cardinals from all around the world, only a small number concelebrated with the Pope.

These concelebrants were standing at the altar during the Canon and Communion Rite. To facilitate this, a temporary enlargement of the altar of the Confession was made, together with platforms on which the concelebrants would stand.

It was of little importance that the concelebrants obscured the congregation's view of the principal celebrant, the Pope. The most important considerations, therefore, were that the concelebrants stood at the altar in close proximity to each other (and the principal celebrant) AND that they could clearly look upon the elements to be consecrated.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.