Monday, 27 April 2009

ANZAC Day Requiem in Canberra

Thanks to Peter for these photos of the Canberra Latin Mass Community's ANZAC Day requiem.


Anthony OPL said...

Fascinating! It was my understanding that when the requiem mass is celebrated for a military Catholic, the flag draped over their coffin must be removed on entering the church and replaced after leaving, since the Church is an even higher loyalty than the state (heaven being the true and eternal Patria).

With this in mind, I am confused at the use of a flag here. I understand that this is not a requiem mass for a particular individual, but for all the souls of our war-dead. Does the flag here take the place of the deceased?

...or are they offering a solemn requiem for Australia?

Peter said...

Anthony OPL - I am not sure, I'll have to do some research.

However, I think the practice was widespread, especially at actual exsequial Masses (that seems to be my recollection of the description of my grandfather's funeral).

And, I wonder if that isn't resorted to straining gnats ...

Certainly the practice has been undertaken for a number of years in all good faith as being licit.

My own 2 cents worth would be that the flag does not denote a loyalty greater than to God, but a visual recognition of who is being prayed for - the Australian service men and women who have fallen in war.

As to catafalques, the first time ever I saw one was about 15 years ago (at a liturgical conference in Adelaide), and I was most unsure about the licitness or sense of such a thing. One of the explanations I was given refered to the origin of the catafalque - oft times the arms or shield of a crusader would be borne home but his mortal remains interred in the Holy Land. The Requiem would be celebrated with his arms in place of the body.

In that light, the flag makes sense to me - our heraldic shield.

However, I shall research the rubrics.

Peter (the photographer)

Anthony OPL said...

That sounds entirely reasonable. Thanks for the explanation!