Funiture in the sanctuary

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I’ve asked questions in the past, often related to the worship space and what is appropriate to the art and environment of our church sanctuary. Our pastor is open to my suggestions and has come a long way in eliminating distractions and clutter from the area around the altar and the ambo. However, at our Liturgy team meeting, we were discussing the extra wooden stands he has next to the altar. He uses them to hold the bulletin, books (not the Lectionary or the Roman Missal), things he wants to remember to mention, hand sanitizer and other random papers. We suggested he probably doesn’t need those extra pieces of furniture. He replied that they are used to hold the pewter angel figurines that are placed inside the bottom shelf of each stand. He said that ANGELS are EXEMPT from liturgical rubrics and can be used freely in the space. WHAT??? I can find no mention in any liturgical documents of angels specifically. Does he have a case? Did I miss something or does fall under the “he’s the pastor, he can do what he likes” category?

Thanks again for your insight!


A: This is more a matter of utilizing good taste. The rubrics permit a credence table and lists what goes on it (GIRM 118c). It would not be a praiseworthy practice to introduce other tables for accoutrements. Statues of angels of course may fittingly occupy liturgical space. But there are better ways to display them.