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.