Our new pastor says the altar in our Church is too far away from the pews, so for daily mass he uses a table outside the sanctuary. Is this proper?
Generally, the norms of the Church indicate that the altar should be fixed, that is, immovable, made of stone, and located in the sanctuary of the Church, that is, in an area of the church distinguished from where the people gather and are seated. (“Built of Living Stones” 54, 57)
At first glance, it would seem that your pastor is operating outside these norms and that the appropriate place for him to celebrate Mass is at the main altar of the church.
Sometimes however, in older, or larger churches, the pastoral challenge you described is present. In such cases the use of a smaller altar, closer to the people, (as is done in some larger basilicas), is employed.
The movable altar should be truly noble, not a simple folding table, and dedicated to no other purpose other than the celebration of the sacred liturgy. While this is not ideal, in some instances it may be pastorally allowable, especially if recourse to a chapel for daily Mass is not possible.
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