Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
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A stand or platform to support a coffin. At a funeral Mass the coffin contains the body of the deceased. At an anniversary Mass the absolutions are given at the catafalque as though the body were present. Sometimes it is made of wood and covered with a pall. Six candles usually burn around it during absolution services.