Holy smoke – and a lot of it

By | November 8, 2010

A nod to Whispers in the Loggia blogger Rocco Palmo for that title and for the link to the YouTube video below. This is for those of you who think there is sometimes a bit much in the way of incense soaring aloft at some Masses.

On his Nov. 6 visit to the pilgrimage shrine of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Pope Benedict XVI was allowed to use the cathedral’s REALLY big thurible.  Called the botafumeiro – or “smoke thrower” in the local dialect – the incense burner stands five-feet-tall and weighing about 175 pounds. Hoisted aloft and swung by eight men using an elaborate pulley system devised in the 17th century, the botafumeiro swings back and forth in a huge arc. It can swing 200 feet high.

Fortunately, there were no mishaps this time, but there have been accidents. One accident in the 15th century sent the thurible out a cathedral window. (Having a large thurible in the cathedral is said to date back 1,000 years.)

Here’s the link to see it in action at the papal Mass.

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