Tuesday, December 20, 2016


I was asked when I would start ad orientem in my new parish. I have and almost as soon as I got here in June. This is one way, not the only way, to do ad orientem. I did it this way at all the Masses in Macon except for the one Mass that was ad orientem with the celebrant facing the same direction as the laity.

As Pope Benedict makes clear, this works for ad orientem too!


Anonymous said...

Ad orientem refers historically to priest and people facing together in the same direction--liturgical east--in their worship of God. With the priest at the head of the people as its leader in persona Christi. Thus "with his back to the people". (Why mince words?)

It's simply sophistry to say that facing the cross on the altar is the same. Sure, it may suffice for the priest himself. But it's just another form of clericalism to ignore the needs of the people for "true" ad orientem.

Universal experience shows that true ad orientem (in the historical sense) makes ALL the difference in the worship experience of the congregation--whether they perceive in a vertical or in a horizontal way. Congregations as a whole do not worship the same without it, no matter how reverent the celebration.
Ad orientem in the Benedictine sense may suffice only in a basilica setting where distance between people and altar can provide an equivalent sense of worship.

TJM said...


As always, spot on!

Victor said...

The problem is that the people do not know what is good for them because they think they know better than anyone else what is good for them. Since the Council, the liturgy has been about the people, about giving them what they want which became the same as what they need. The instructions of the Apostles on worship no longer matter. Ad orientem, not the fake discussed by Fr MacDonald, focuses on the second coming of the Christ, which no longer seems important to the needs of the people.

Anonymous said...

To every Mass, turn, turn, turn.

There's a direction, turn, turn, turn.

Many ways, to be scared, under heaven.

Mark Thomas said...

Does not Mass ad orientem feature the priest and people facing the same (eastward) direction? I don't understand as to how the priest and congregation facing each other constitutes Mass ad orientem.


Mark Thomas

Rood Screen said...

Mark Thomas,

Good grief. This has been explained repeatedly, most notably by Pope Emeritus Benedict. If you would spend more time reading sensible things and less time reading extremist blogs, you would know this.

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

Knock me over with a feather! You were succinct and made an excellent point!

Merry Christmas

TJM said...

As a tremendous admirer of Pope Benedict, a kind and gentle Pope, and a true intellect, I believe he came up with this Benedictin arrangement, as a kind of middle ground for the beginning of the process for a return to true ad orientem worship. Having the 6 candles on the altar with the crucifix prominently in the center, it was a breath of fresh air and a welcome change so we could begin to focus on the Lord once again, instead of ourselves. It also would mark the beginning of the end for the "jolly-olly", entertainer priest, consumed with himself and performing to his "audience." That is why celebration versus populum is so pernicious. The focus should be on the Lord. I have great hope that the younger priests, who do not appear to be buying the 1960s bilge, will return us to a sense of the sacred and as such the Mass will once again be seen as an encounter with the divine.

Merry Christmas to All!