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Code of Canon Law

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  • BOOK IV : THE SANCTIFYING OFFICE OF THE CHURCH (Cann. 834 – 848)
    • PART III : SACRED PLACES AND TIMES
        • TITLE I: SACRED PLACES (Cann. 1205 - 1243)
          • CHAPTER IV : ALTARS
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CHAPTER IV : ALTARS

Can. 1235 §1 The altar or table on which the eucharistic Sacrifice is celebrated is termed fixed if it is so constructed that it is attached to the floor and therefore cannot be moved; it is termed movable, if it can be removed.

§2 It is proper that in every church there should be a fixed altar. In other places which are intended for the celebration of sacred functions, the altar may be either fixed or movable.

Can. 1236 §1 In accordance with the traditional practice of the Church, the table of a fixed altar is to be of stone, indeed of a single natural stone. However, even some other worthy and solid material may be used, if the Episcopal Conference so judges. The support or the base can be made from any material.

§2 A movable altar can be made of any solid material which is suitable for liturgical use.

Can. 1237 §1 Fixed altars are to be dedicated, movable ones either dedicated or blessed, according to the rites prescribed in the liturgical books.

§2 The ancient tradition of placing relics of Martyrs or of other Saints within a fixed altar is to be retained, in accordance with the rites prescribed in the liturgical books.

Can. 1238 §1 An altar loses its dedication or blessing in accordance with Can. 1212.

§2 Altars, whether fixed or movable, do not lose their dedication or blessing as a result of a church or other sacred place being made over to secular usage.

Can. 1239 §1 An altar, whether fixed or movable, is to be reserved for divine worship alone, to the exclusion of any secular usage.

§2 No corpse is to be buried beneath an altar; otherwise, it is not lawful to celebrate Mass at that altar.




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