Ad Orientam

By Augustinus

This morning (12.11.16) at Mass our parish priest celebrated the Mass ad orientam, much to the shock of most of the congregation. “What is he doing?  He is not not even facing us!” said some scandalized parishoners behind us ….progress I thought!  I went up to him after the Mass to thank him but I could not get a straight story from him as to why he did it. Either he did it on instruction from the new Bishop for our region OR he did it on his own initiative. Either way I am glad he did it.

Ever since Cardinal Sarah had suggested that priests return to the ad orientam form of worship there has been significant numbers of diocesan priests doing just that. Catholics do homage to God NOT the people. Protestants supplicate the people–not God. The Mass is a sacrifice, not a communal meal. The Mass is ABOUT God and our duty to give him our worship. It is NOT about US. It is not about community-building, social support, helping others in need and so forth. It is about the fundamental virtue of religion  –   namely the worship of God.  Therefore it is right and fitting that the priest face the tabernacle which is positioned at the eastern end of the chapel.

3 thoughts on “Ad Orientam

  1. Steve Shields

    Actually, facing either way is “right”, because both are allowed by the US Bishops and both are considered as valid. I had a similar discussion with someone years ago who insisted that the Latin Mass was not “right” and that only the vernacular was “right”. I had to remind her that an opinion of what works for her does not make her preference “right” and the other method “wrong”. If Jesus is present in the Eucharist, it is “right” and the Bishops are not suggesting that Jesus is any more present in the Eucharist in a Mass if they face away from the Congregation or face the congregation.

    That being said, I am glad there is a more liberal stance in the Church to lessen restrictions on pre-Vatican II Liturgy. There are many who prefer this and they should be allowed to experience it if it helps deepen their faith and Liturgical experience.

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