Sunday, January 20, 2008

Go EAST young man


Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

Is this the future for the novus ordo ? I certainly hope so.

As I remember, Mass facing the people was introduced where I lived circa 1965. Just one Mass on a Sunday. Then all Masses on a Sunday. Then all weekday Masses.

This was accomplished without consultation or explanation, and was a fait accompli years before the "novus ordo" Missal was promulgated in 1969.

Of course, many of "the changes" of the 1960s were imposed on the people with great pastoral insensitivity by over enthusiastic reformers.

They said the liturgical changes were mandated by Vatican II. When challenged on this, they appealed more vaguely to "the spirit" of Vatican II.

I doubt this could happen nowadays, in the age of the internet, when information is much more freely available, and when the laity are somewhat better informed.

Liturgical scholarship, too, has developed since the heady days of the 1960s, and the scholarship of, for instance, Vagaggini and Jungman, distinguished scholars though were, has been superseded by Bradshaw et al.

Nevertheless, a generation of Catholics has grown up with the mistaken belief that the novus ordo Mass is necessarily celebrated versus populum.

I would have thought that Pope Benedict, with his especial knowledge of Vatican II, and his deep understanding of the liturgy, is very well placed to interpret the liturgical aspirations of the Council in a spirit of continuity with the Church's history.

Hence, the novus ordo Mass celebrated ad orientem in the Sistine chapel, which as Mons. Guido Marini has carefully explained, is not a return to the past, or a rejection of Vatican II, but is fully in accord with the current liturgical norms.

This seems very clearly to be a case of the Pope leading by example.

Hopefully, others will follow.

A postscript :
I do not see why a a more widespread use of the ad orientem position need involve a ban or prohibition on celebrations facing the people for those who have become attached to this form.

(Not that I am one of them!)

Thank you, Father for your excellent blog and this fascinating post.

Anonymous said...

Papal liturgies offend me. There is a noticeable lack of altar girls and I rarely see any extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. And all that Latin, chant, incense, elaborate ritual, etc., and now he's facing east! The pope is going to put ideas in the minds of our people in the pews and confuse them. Can you imagine what would happen if we started doing that in our parish?
(Maybe people would start filling our churches, and then what? The aisles would be so crowded that there wouldn't be room for the liturgical dancers and the clowns! Or is that the idea? It's all a vast High-Church conspiracy!)

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