The best of the UK’s Catholic weeklies, The Catholic Herald interviews the great Cardinal Pell, of Sydney, Australia.
He spoke about the issue of Holy Mass ad orientem. My emphases and comments.
Where do you think the liturgical development is heading?
I don’t know. I’m not a professional liturgist. [And therefore probably more qualified to answer the question.] I am keen that we strengthen the vertical dimension of the liturgy, if we can, in the popular understanding, so that it’s very obviously not just community-centred, it’s God-centred, it’s an act of worship. [RIGHT] I’m very sympathetic to that. I’m even sympathetic for the Canon of the Mass that the priest has his back to the people. [WDTPRSers love Cardinal Pell.]
As something obligatory?
Yes. [Hear him! Hear him!] Now there’s nothing like a consensus in favour of that at the moment. I think I would be in favour of it because it makes it patently clear that the priest is not the centre of the show, that this an act of worship of the one true God, and the people are joining with the priest for that.
Another way of acknowledging that: I’m very much in favour of having a crucifix in front of the celebrant during the Mass when we’re facing the people. ["The Benedictine Arrangment"]
Between the priest and the people, in front of the altar?
Yes, sometimes it might be flat, sometimes it might be vertical. But that distracts attention away to some little extent from the main celebrant. I think also I find the figure of Christ is a great aid to recollection and prayer while you’re saying the Eucharistic Prayer.