Saturday, January 6, 2018

LIVING BISHOPS AND PRIESTS MY AGE AND OLDER SEE MASS FACING THE PEOPLE AS THE FOUNDATION OF VATICAN II'S REFORM OF THE MASS AND THUS BRISTLE AT THE IDEA OF RETURNING TO AD ORIENTEM--THUS THAT WHICH WAS DONE FOR ALMOST 1,500 YEARS OR MORE AND CONTINUES IN THE CHURCH OF THE EAST IN AN UNBROKEN TRADITION TO THIS DAY, IS SEEN AS WRONG BECAUSE FACING THE PEOPLE IS NEW AND IMPROVED!

The 1955 Roman Missal celebrated facing the congregation in 1957:


Mark Thomas said in a comment on gradually introducing ad orientem by Msgr. Pope:

What a bunch of nonsense and drama in regard to the traditional practice that is ad orientem worship. No wonder Catholics who wish to connect to God via traditional practices turn to the TLM. A priest associated with a TLM community adheres to ad orientem posture. There isn't any drama involved...he faces eastward...that is it...he faces eastward. That is it. He need not jump through hoops in regard to his bishop and congregation to face eastward during Mass. 

Pax. 
Mark Thomas

 Mark, but Mark, let me tell you that the first Sunday in my parish of St. Joseph in Augusta, Georgia in 1965, the very first liturgical change we experienced was the 1962 Roman Missal celebrated on a faux altar placed in front of our old altar attached to the wall.

The mensa of the faux altar was the same level as the old altar, which meant that the legs of the faux wooden altar were shorter on the priest's side of the three steps up to the old altar and longer at the foot of the old altar--it was a weird looking thing! But it allowed for the priest to be between it and the old altar in order to face the people. It has two candles on it and a small central crucifix.

Thus it was seared in my mind that Vatican II had mandated this first change, because Vatican II was still in progress at the time and it was still the old Mass but facing the congregation. And of course, this was the 1960's and the foundation of the new advertising gimmick of that day, "NEW AND IMPROVED" was in full swing. This of course implied that old and unimproved was anything that preceded the new and improved.

 And of course, Mass facing the congregation even with the 1962 Roman Missal would lead to a new springtime for the Church--which is laughable today, but there are those my age and older who still believe this. Alas, sigh! So for many, many bishops to actually allow or encourage ad orientem is like a denial of Vatican II and that is really, really sad.

 Although somewhat obscured, this is the altar arrangement at my home parish of St. Joseph Church in Augusta, Georgia in July of 1966 at my sister's wedding. You can see how the new and improved faux wooden altar is in front of the old and inferior attached to the wall altar behind it. If you look very, very closely, you can see with a magnifying glass the altar cards for the Last Gospel and Lavabo slightly, very slightly raised on the new and improved altar: 
 

9 comments:

Joseph Johnson said...

The simple fact that they were willing to make such a one-off altar to fit those steps in Augusta, Ga. shows a certain level of determination to force this change to versus populum celebration of Mass. Not easy, natural and organic but very deliberate, forced and contrived.

TJM said...

Versus populum: most pernicious of the liturgical “reforms.” It spawned Father Entertainer and the group hug approach to Mass. These contumacious bishops and priests can’t retire fast enough. Maybe then we will experience a new Spring

TJM said...

Joseph Johnson,

Our parish tossed aside gorgeous gothic style chasubles and spent a small fortune on burlap chasubles with crappy designs so they would appear humble. Talk about irony!

Joseph Johnson said...

TJM,
Talk about deliberate and contrived---geeesh! I thought the preferential option for the poor was supposed to be more about not acquiring new things in a contrived effort to make the Church appear "poor" but, rather, making do with what you have and using financial resources to help the actual poor!

John Nolan said...

On the first Sunday of Lent 1965 Paul VI celebrated Mass in the vernacular in a Roman parish, versus populum at what appears to be a dining table set up outside the sanctuary. Ironically the rubrics for a Papal Low Mass had not yet been altered, and were adhered to!

As well as setting an obvious example, bishops world-wide were encouraged to follow suit. VP did not simply creep in; it was clearly (though not officially) mandated.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."So for many, many bishops to actually allow or encourage ad orientem is like a denial of Vatican II and that is really, really sad."

Father, I accept your explanation. Your insight as to why bishops oppose ad orientem worship is far superior to my insight into that matter.

But what has succeeded in regard to the Mass versus populum liturgical novelty that has spurred bishops into believing that the novelty into question is an irreversible reform?

Are bishops unaware that Mass versus populum has aided greatly priests who view themselves as liturgical entertainers.

Pax.

Mark Thomas





bishops and priests who

Adam Michael said...

Mass facing the people is an innovation, but so is not orienting churches with the altar toward the east. Any condemnation of Mass facing the people that has little concern with whether the celebrant is actually facing geographic east is the defense of a form without traditional meaning (i.e., seeing the back of the priest, which historically was only the by-product of worship facing east), which is defended on the basis of more or less convincing arguments. In reality, the truly traditional practice has been optional in Rome since the 16th century, when the requirement for liturgical worship to face the geographic east became optional. All arguments against Mass facing the people that does not advocate reversal of this innovation (optional facing of geographic east) will never succeed because it is only a modern defense of the form of a practice that has lost its ancient meaning (and thus will always be prone to the preferences of modernity).

John Nolan said...

Adam Michael

Up to a point, Lord Copper. However, in England, the medieval churches which were oriented correctly are now in the hands of protestants; and when Catholic churches were built following the 1829 Emancipation Act they had to conform with the ground plan of the land available in large towns and cities. Westminster Cathedral is oriented more or less south; the London and Birmingham Oratories north; the Oxford Oratory west.

Therefore the common orientation was ad apsidem rather than ad orientem.

Adam Michael said...

Of course, historical contingencies exist, but they cannot justify a lack of defense of the traditional practice. Ad orientem is not a doctrine of the Faith, and one can possibly see exceptions to its practice when permitted by the bishop, but the rule should always remain ad orientem and the precision of the norm be restored whenever possible.

Unfortunately, in the Latin Church, ad apsidem has become a synonym for ad orientem, when this is not the historical Christian practice. In my opinion, this change of the ancient Christian liturgical orientation hindered the preservation of a common orientation in worship, because it caused its defenders to argue for its preservation on the basis of inadequate arguments (e.g. "it's a priestly posture - what about the Divine Liturgy of St. James, which is offered facing the people?" "the sacred rites should remain a mystery - why then show them in picture missals?"). In short, ad apsidem is sometimes hard to defend and will always be a modern defense with modern arguments that modern man will reject, but ad orientem has the weight of 2000 years of Holy Tradition to justify it, whose defense is the same defense as that of ancient Christianity.