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Altar Carpets

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The sanctuary and altar-steps of the high altar are ordinarily to be covered with carpets. If the sanctuary floor be marble, tile, or tessellated woodwork, at least a broad strip of carpet should be placed before the lowest step in plano . On solemn feasts particularly, rugs of fine quality are reserved for the predella and altar-steps. If the whole sanctuary and altar-steps cannot be covered, at least the predella of the high altar, and of the other altars should have a rug (Caerem. Episc., I, xii, 16). Exceptions to this rule: (1) From the time of stripping the altars on Maundy Thursday to Holy Saturday the carpets are removed. They are replaced on Holy Saturday before the Mass. (2) During solemn Requiem Masses the floor of the sanctuary and the altar-steps are to be bare although a suitable rug may be placed on the predella and, when a bishop celebrates, in front of the faldstool (Caerem. Episc., II, xi, 1). The same authority mentions that the carpet should be of green colour, but any may be used. Care should be taken that crosses, images of the saints, emblems, e.g. chalice, lamb, etc., and monograms of the Holy Names, etc., be not woven into the carpets, for it is unbecoming and unseemly that the figures of sacred things be trodden upon. These remarks apply equally to marble, tile, mosaic, etc., floors.

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