Different ways to arrange a church are at odds with each other. The "Order of Mass" was composed with one arrangement in mind, but liturgy is celebrated in churches built or renovated according to another arrangement found in the "General Instruction of the Roman Missal". Bringing these two to a fruitful synthesis requires reclaiming the arrangement at the basis of the "Order of Mass".
This extensive study traces the history, arrangements and theology of the presidential chair as a way of understanding the whole arrangement of a church for liturgy.
An extensive investigation of what the Second Vatican Council said about church architecture is detailed in speeches given at the Council and presented here in English translation for the first time, along with the work preparing for the Council and developing the renewed liturgy implemented after the Council.
The volume concludes with 13 principles for arranging a church for the celebration of liturgy. These are richly illustrated and described in 17 churches located in Rome, England and the Kansas City area.
Presiding at liturgy involves recognising the presence of Christ, the Word of God, and helping the assembly to yield to the promptings of the Spirit by giving itself to Christ present. The art of presiding in the liturgical assembly is considered from the study of the Council and in poetic reflection on the cover image of the touch of Thomas by Caravaggio illustrating the two hands of God at work, both Word and Spirit.
"A magisterial reflection on ‘the double role of presiding in the assembly and directing the prayer.’ … Daniel McCarthy gives us the tools whereby priest and people can truly be in communion with God and each other during the celebration of the Mass. the double role of presiding in the assembly and directing the prayer is both a comfort and a challenge to all who are directed, ordered, ordained to the sacred ministry. It is their privilege to empower all the baptized to worship God in a way that goes beyond mere human words and actions. It is none other than the work of God himself., Archbishop of Cardiff, Wales."~+ George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff, Wales