Pauline Chapel reopened and renovated--Back to tradition!!!
:thumb:  Way to go, Pope Benedict XVI!

Here is the article.

Pauline Chapel Reopened for Worship, Renovated
By Sandro Magister  (emphasis is added by me, LoveOurLady)
Chiesa (

Subjected to a complete restoration,the Pope's Chapel has the altar turned toward the tabernacle.

Crucifixion of Peter and Conversion of paul from pope Benedict's private Chapel.
ROME (CHIESA) - The Pauline Chapel is not open to visitors. Situated in the Vatican buildings just a few steps from the Sistine Chapel, it is a place of prayer reserved for the pope. After undergoing a complete restoration, it was reopened for worship on Saturday, July 4, by Benedict XVI, who presided over vespers there.

The news of the reopening of the Pauline Chapel for worship received scant coverage in the media, being overshadowed by the imminent publication of the encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" and by the meeting between the pope and Barack Obama.

But at least two new developments must be noted.

The first is that the renovation included a restructuring of the sanctuary, in fidelity to the liturgical tradition.

In 1975, Paul VI had replaced the altar turned toward the tabernacle with an oval-shaped altar detached from the wall, to be used while facing the faithful.

He had also eliminated the wooden communion rail, and replaced it with an ambo in carved marble. The floor was covered with a red carpet. So were the side walls, up to the level of the frescoes.

Benedict XVI has put the previous altar back in its place, although still a short distance from the tabernacle, restoring the celebration of all "facing the Lord." He has had the ambo removed, and the communion rail put back in its place. The red carpet has disappeared from both the floor and the walls, which have been restored to their original appearance.

The second important new development concerns the interpretation of the two frescoes by Michelangelo dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, in particular the interpretation of Peter's expression.

The traditional interpretation says that Peter - while he is about to be crucified upside down - is turned to look at everyone who enters the chapel, to remind him that martyrdom can be the fate of those who follow Jesus.

In support of this interpretation, it is recalled that until 1670, many conclaves were held in the Pauline Chapel. Peter was looking into the eyes of the cardinals preparing to elect his successor. And the newly elect, who from then on would go into that chapel to pray, would exchange glances each time with the first of the apostles.

Those in charge of the restoration, in presenting the renovated chapel to the public on June 30, also adhered substantially to this interpretative tradition.

So then, the new development is that Benedict XVI has distanced himself from it. In the homily for vespers with which he reopened the Pauline Chapel for worship, he gave a new interpretation of Peter's expression in the fresco by Michelangelo.

The pope said that Peter's gaze, instead of being directed at the visitor, is instead intended to be directed at the face of Paul on the opposite wall: at Paul, who bears within himself the light of the risen Christ. "It is as if Peter, in the hour of the supreme trial, were seeking that light which gave the true faith to Paul."

Naturally, the pope added, this does not change the fact that this dialogue of gazes between the two apostles is a great lesson for those who enter to pray in the Pauline Chapel, and in particular for the successors of Peter.


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Pauline Chapel reopened and renovated--Back to tradition!!! - by LoveOurLady - 07-06-2009, 09:06 PM

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