Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ad Orientem


Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has returned to the practice of celebrating Mass ad orientem in his cathedral.

Bishop Slattery explained in his diocesan newspaper about Mass celebrated with the priest facing the people:

Unfortunately this change had a number of unforeseen and largely negative effects. First of all, it was a serious rupture with the Church’s ancient tradition. Secondly, it can give the appearance that the priest and the people were engaged in a conversation about God, rather than the worship of God. Thirdly, it places an inordinate importance on the personality of the celebrant by placing him on a kind of liturgical stage.

When we study the most ancient liturgical practices of the Church, we find that the priest and the people faced in the same direction. With the traditional Mass the priest doesn't turn his back on the people any more than the people in the front pew turn their back on the people in the pews behind them. Rather, the entire congregation -- with the priest at its head -- is oriented in the same direction to adore God as a unified body.

The modern business of the turning the priest around to face the people has taken the focus off God and put it on the people. There's six days in every week to do that if you're so inclined; leave Sunday for focusing on our Heavenly Father.


Patti Petersen said...

Wow! Thanks for the encouraging news, Sean. This is a brave stand on the part of His Excellency and a welcome change. We need to pray for the Bishop of Tulsa that this may be an intermediary step to his celebrating the true Mass!

Kindred Spirit said...

It is never too late to do the right thing; and, contrary to the opinion of some, it is sometimes possible to undo damage which has been done. "All things are possible to God". "All things work together unto good for those who love God." Deo gratias! It's looking more and more like the morning is finally coming...