Help Now >
FREE Catholic Classes
Catafalque, derived from the Italian word catafalco , literally means a scaffold or elevation, but in its strictly liturgical sense the word is employed to designate the cenotaph-like erection which is used at the exequial offices of the Church, and takes the place of the bier whenever the remains are not present. It is covered with a black cloth or pall, on which there is a cross either of white or some other colour (De Herdt, Praxis Sac. Lit., II, 328). The catafalque is usually placed immediately outside the sanctuary, and is the centre of the ceremonies of that part of the exequial office known as the absolution, receiving the same attention as the corpse would if present. Hence it is that lights burn around the catafalque during the function, and it is aspersed with holy water and incensed. During the absolution at the catafalque the cross-bearer should always stand between it and the door of the church, the celebrant or officiant being at the other end, between it and the sanctuary. When it is not possible for any reason to have a catafalque, its place may be supplied by a square piece of black cloth ( pannus niger ), which should be laid in front of the lowest step of the altar, and be sprinkled with holy water and incensed at the proper time by the officiant. Formerly the word was used to designate the bier or structure on which the corpse rested. No flowers should be used in connection with it, but it is allowable in the case of deceased prelates to mount their insignia to show the dignity, and in the case of nobles to display the family coat of arms , together with coronets, orders, and other insignia, to show the rank of the deceased. A very notable monument of this kind was that erected to the memory of Michelangelo by his brother artists on the occasion of his funeral in the Church of Santa Croce, Florence.
By the Grace of God, with the help of Montana Ranch and Cattle, Catholic Online School has become one of the fastest-growing, online K-Adult schools in the world. The school now has over 915,000 student enrollments from 193 countries. Click to Save 25% Now >
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.
Saint of the Day for Thursday, Aug 18th, 2022
Mysteries of the Rosary
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Apostles' Creed
Saint Feast Days in Aug
Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony
St. John Eudes
Prayer of the Day for Thursday, Aug 18
- Daily Readings for Friday, August 19, 2022
- St. John Eudes: Saint of the Day for Friday, August 19, 2022
- A Spirit to Know You: Prayer of the Day for Friday, August 19, 2022
- Daily Readings for Thursday, August 18, 2022
- St. Helena: Saint of the Day for Thursday, August 18, 2022
- St. Christopher's Prayer for Strength: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, August 18, 2022
Help Now >
Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.