It seems to me that the entire article is a "no brainer" and one wonders why the emphasis today is not shifted by those of us in the "new liturgical movement" not away from the EF Mass, but more toward celebrating the OF Mass well.
St. Mary Church in Greenville, SC has had its Ordinary Form Mass celebrated in an ad orientem way since 2008! I don't believe they celebrate the EF Mass there. Shouldn't this be the focus of parishes? Shouldn't we really strive to celebrate the OF Mass properly and being scrupulous in following this Missal's GIRM and rubrics, but with the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem?
At St. Joseph Church, now for more than two years, our 12:10 PM Mass like all our Masses is celebrated the best way we know how and with attention to detail and having well trained and sincere lay ministries allowed in the form of the Mass, as well as Holy Communion under both forms of the Most Holy Eucharist.
Our 12:10 PM Mass is exactly the same as the others except for the Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated ad orientem. I feel it makes a huge difference, although in reality there is no difference, in focusing us away from self-referential ideologies in the Mass towards God, clergy and laity together and facing the same direction for the eschatological aspect of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It brings the focus to the Paschal Mystery and this event exclusively!
The following excerpt from the New Liturgical Movement article on ad orientem caught my attention. My comments follow:
" Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was one of most thoughtful and respected critics of the unintended consequences which flow from the priest and people facing each other across the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer. Ratzinger argued that this arrangement, in addition to being a novelty in Christian practice, has the effect of creating a circle of congregation and celebrant closed in upon itself rather than allowing the congregation and celebrant to be a pilgrim people together turned towards the Lord. And this closed circle, in turn, too easily renders the Eucharist more of a horizontal celebration of the congregation gathered than a vertical offering of the sacrifice of Christ to the Father. This flattening of divine worship into a self-referential celebration is, in part, why too many Catholics experience Mass as much less than the source and summit of the Church’s life, and the remedy for this malady is to open the closed circle and experience the power of turning together towards the Lord."
My Comments: I think Pope Benedict's teachings on ad orientem echo what is reported by the outgoing head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, that the celebration of the Liturgy, even using the revised Books initiated by Pope Paul VI should be celebrated in such as way that the primary focus and spirituality of the clergy and laity is toward the Paschal Mystery.
As I have mentioned recently and consistently over time, the post-Vatican II Church through a series of unbridled reforms beginning with Liturgy but moving to other areas of Church life has focused not on Jesus Christ and the Father and Holy Spiirt, but rather in a self-referential way about all the things that have distracted Catholics since the late 1960's even to today.
For example, most Catholics hear or heard about Vatican II and reference to these documents more so than Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law (morality) in the last40 years. They have heard more about the "nature of the post-Vatican II Church's so called "ecclesiology" which is far from a defined dogma to say the least but has focused people in the Church on distracting elements of the Church rather than the Paschal Mystery.
Spirit of Vatican II post-modern liturgists don't talk about the Paschal Mystery. What is important to them is female clergy, females in the various ministries of the Mass and the absolute need for lectors, Communion Ministers and the laity to feel as needed and as important as the so-called "president" or "presider" of the "Eucharist." Thus churches have to be renovated or designed anew with no altar railings, the altar in the center of the congregation with pews or moveable chairs angled around it and the altar not placed in a high or distant position from the assembly. This makes way for a "low Christology" as Jesus as nothing more than a friend, buddy and dead hero of the past, not as Lord, King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Supreme Being, Creator of all!
There can be no so-called distractions to the altar and the action of the assembly to include in a egalitarian way the "presider." So no candle sticks, except two on the altar, no crucifix on the altar and no statuary or artwork that would take away from what the so-called "action" that the people do during the liturgy in a horizontal way, so to speak.
Where is the "Paschal Mystery" in all of this gobalygook? Where is Jesus Christ, the God and Savior of the Universe? Where is the Holy Sacrifice re-presented in an unbloody timeless way at every Mass and the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of The Lord received first by the priest who completes that Sacrificial offering by His exclusive consumption of the Holocaust and then by the laity who do so free of mortal sin and in a state of grace and proper disposition to recieve worthily?
I will make a bold statement. I think the focus on the Paschal Mystery, with the Mass completely ad orientem, in Latin, with the clergy "doing" all the so-called formal ministries of the Mass to include reading or chanting the Scriptures and distributing Holy Communion was more of the focus of the Church prior to Vatican II than afterwards. As well, pleasing God, showing devout reverence and a strong, healthy fear of The Lord and sorrow for one's sins, not so much because of the dread of the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because our sins offend God who is all good and deserving of all our love! These sentiments were shared by at least 90% of Catholics prior to Vatican II.
How about today in the so-called new springtime of the Church? Where do we stand with the primary focus on the Paschal Mystery and the Most Holy Trinity and worship that is open to God in a vertical way rather than in a sociological/horizontal way to bring about social change and a false egalitarian ideology?