A US Bishop pushes “ad orientem” worship.

First… and this is pertinent… a young man in the Diocese of Madison is helping to collect the spiritual bouquet for the fearsome yet affable Bishop Robert Morlino.  Yep. You can write about him every other day.

The Young Madisonian reports that, as of this writing:

68 contributors have prayed 198 rosaries, 129 chaplets of Divine Mercy, 48 hours of adoration, stations of the cross 21 times, and have had 70 Masses offered for Bishop Robert Morlino. There is 9 days left to join! Join us today!

But why I am really posting is that this same young man posted about a sermon Bp. Morlino gave about the importance of ad orientem worship.

If you want to listen to the sermon, go HERE.

Excerpt with my emphases and comments.  I am not sure what the date of the sermon is:

[The first reading] says, “look to the east and see your children gathered” meaning the children, the saints, of the new and heavenly Jerusalem. [...] The essence of waiting is waiting with your whole heart and soul. You’re turned in the direction that is that which you’re waiting for. And that gives your waiting a sure and certain hope, a beautiful hope. The prophet says “Look to the east.” Look toward heaven. Look toward the heavenly Jerusalem. And John the Baptist repeats the prophet in another place, saying: “Every valley will be made lifted up, every mountain will be leveled, and a straight way will be made to heaven so that all flesh will see the salvation of God.

Our advent waiting is a full intent directed waiting. Just as I look for dad up the street to make that turn around the [corner after work], so too we are looking to the east. [Nice analogy.  I would add that the Lord is looking for us to look for Him.  Think of the parable of the prodigal son.  The father saw his his fallen son "from afar".  That means he was looking for him.  Then the father went to meet him.  The prodigal, looking towards his true home, saw his father from afar, coming to him.  Imagine how the prodigal son strained his eyes for that first glimpse of home.  So too... we need ad orientem worship.]

[...]

We have to be people who concretely, physically, look to the east. Now clearly, that doesn’t mean nobody can go to work or school tomorrow, because we’re going go spend the day looking toward the east. Our great opportunity to look east is here at the liturgy.

Pope Benedict says over and over again that to look toward the east means to turn toward the Lord. And that’s why it’s so important to have the crucifix front and center, both for the priest and for the people. [As I have explained in various PODCAzTs and posts here, Benedict intends the so-called "Benedictine" arrangement of the altar as a transitional arrangement on the way back to ad orientem worship.]

Because during Mass, I’m supposed to be looking toward the east, toward heaven. I’m not supposed to be trying to entertain you, or hold your attention in some way. I’m supposed to be looking toward the east. So it’s good that the crucifix is right there, so that I can’t see the people clearly, nor can they see me clearly. They’re not looking at me, the priest. They’re looking at Jesus Christ, the high priest, toward the east. [In this case, the Crucifix.  So, let's do it right?]

The crucifix on the altar, a big one, is not an obstruction. It’s there to help us live the very basics of our faith, including advent, which means looking toward the east, which is turning toward the Lord. And when we look at the crucifix, you from your side, I from my side, we’re all turned toward the Lord.  [How much better, easier, clearer, to make this true ad orientem worship?]

And I’m sure that the day will come when we will turn toward the Lord together, [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] in even a more full way when we all face east, when we all turn toward the Lord in the same direction. And when we do that, that’s not the priest turning his back on the people, [OORAH] it’s the priest directing the people to look toward the east, to obey the prophetic word, to believe how concrete, real, physical and visible Jesus Christ was and is. How concrete, real, physical and visible is the last coming, from the east.

The east matters. It matters a lot. That’s why the creator gave us the sunrise from the east to remind us that from there, comes the light, who is Christ. [Sol invictus... Christus Victor... how appropriate to read this on St. Lucy's Day!]

As we behold the flesh and blood of Christ, in the sacramental sign of the Eucharist, we are turned toward the east, as Jesus comes to use here in mystery, to remind ourselves that our whole life is an eager, prayerful waiting for him to come in majesty, waiting for him to come from the east, turning toward the Lord.

That, folks, is why Madison has 35 seminarians, to whom he said they should know the Extraordinary Form before he ordains them.

Please participate in the Spiritual Bouquet.

Click HERE.

ASIDE TO PRIESTS: He is joining us for our summer priests meeting in the third week of July.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Benedict XVI, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to A US Bishop pushes “ad orientem” worship.

  1. benedetta says:

    The more I experience ad orietem worship in the EF (of course) as well in a few NO Masses, the more solidarity I feel with the priest and congregation in prayer and find the way in which the celebrant’s back is toward the Lord to be disruptive, distracting, and focusing on the person and personality of the particular celebrant.

    I couldn’t agree more with this wonderful Bishop. I am praying for him.

  2. acardnal says:

    Nice photos of Bp. Morlino celebrating the OF/Novus Ordo Mass ad orientem at the “Young Madisonian’s” website.

    Brick by brick.

  3. joan ellen says:

    What a blessing for us from the Bishops and priests who are working so very hard to bring us the faith…especially in the Liturgy. Am praying for them especially, and especially for the Bishops who are making us really take notice of our faith. The brick by brick is increasing in such a way that one can almost feel the critical mass growing…

  4. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    That day has arrived in our parish! For weekday Masses celebrated in the chapel of our church, ad orientem has begun!

  5. mschu528 says:

    I’m just surprised that Fr Z didn’t pick up Mr Yanke’s hilarious post from yesterday titled Geeky Liturgical Humor for Advent:

    The priest chants: “Gloria in excelsis Deo:”
    Organist chants: “In Adventu Gloria non dicitur.”
    Priest pauses; then turns to the people: “Oremus.”

  6. mamajen says:

    I would love to see ad orientem implemented in the NO as the next step after the new translation. The “why” of it would be easy to explain to people, and although I’m sure there would be some griping at first, I think most would be receptive to it in the long run. I’ve only been to a couple TLMs but often see photos, and it just looks so right for the priest to be facing the crucifix and reaching up toward Heaven. It looks so humble and holy. The one caveat would be churches that don’t use microphones. People who are hard of hearing (like myself) would have a difficult time…but most churches I’ve been in have sound systems so I don’t think it would be a widespread issue. And of course we can always read along if we can’t hear well.

  7. acardnal says:

    mschu528, I agree the joke is funny but not many priests know Latin so they wouldn’t understand it. :=(

  8. mschu528 says:

    @mamajen

    I assure you there would be more than some griping. Here in Madison, our good bishop has suddenly become public enemy #1 for declaring that women who teach that the Wisdom of God is a woman named Sophia who became incarnate in Mary as well as in “Mother Tao” and “Spider Woman”, and the we must learn about “BE-ing in the NOW, continuing lively work in quantum awareness and honoring the Oneness of the diversity of all life” are not qualified to teach the Catholic Faith in Catholic parishes.

    There will be more than a little griping, but the Eternal Faith will survive unharmed. Often it is in times of great persecution that the Church is most able to thrive. Thus, bring on the ad Orientem worship!!! Bishops, Priests, and seminarians, we all know that you want to!

  9. quamquam says:

    ‘They’re not looking at me, the priest. They’re looking at Jesus Christ, the high priest, toward the east.’

    I wonder a little at this dichotomy in the bishop’s words. Might we sometimes go too far in our reaction against ‘clericalism’? We all know the priest is essential to validly enact the sacrifice, but on the level of visible symbols too, the priest is not simply an irrelevancy in the situation. In his person, and above all at this moment, the priest is himself a sacramental icon of Christ the High Priest. (This is the very reason why in Christ’s plan the priest must be male.) And there’s a good reason why God has made it that the sacramental form must be spoken, and cannot simply be said ‘mentally’: God wants the visibility and audibility of the minister to play a key role in effecting a sacrament (granted that nobody else needs to ‘perceive’ these for validity).

    Yes, looking at the crucifix focuses us on Christ, but so, in its way, should looking at the priest, if we truly understand his role. He isn’t meant to be as invisible as possible, but is himself an element in the symbolism. Transparent to Christ, but not invisible. And for all his limitations, isn’t the person of the priest also sacred, like the crucifix and the altar?

  10. joan ellen says:

    quamquam says: “And for all his limitations, isn’t the person of the priest also sacred, like the crucifix and the altar?”

    Yes. That is why Our Blessed Mother calls priests her beloved sons. She is most offended when we offend a priest. It certainly is a sin against her Immaculate Heart. The sin when we do offend one of them, in person and/or in bad mouthing them.

  11. joan ellen says:

    sacerdosinaeternum says:
    13 December 2012 at 6:19 pm
    “That day has arrived in our parish! For weekday Masses celebrated in the chapel of our church, ad orientem has begun!”

    Good news. Maybe more will follow. Am happy for you and your parish.

  12. Good news, Father! Good news!

    It’s so important to have our bishops lead on ad orientem.

    And I’m glad to hear he’ll be there in July.

  13. frjim4321 says:

    And when we do that, that’s not the priest turning his back on the people…

    Since when does saying that something isn’t what it is make it something other than what it is?

    [Oh boy... here it comes.]

  14. Michelle F says:

    I can’t find a copy of the picture online, but The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 2 has the perfect picture on pg. 174 illustrating why we worship facing one direction together.

    The picture is a 3/4 view of a congregation as Mass, drawn so that the viewer is looking at the congregation from the right wall of the Church, toward the back.

    Flames emanate from the congregation and move forward toward the priest, who is elevating the Chalice at the consecration. The flames move up over the priest, and on up toward Heaven, mingling with flames emanating from the priest and the altar boys.

    A concentrated set of flames is emanating from the Chalice and flowing up toward Heaven.

    The caption reads, “The Mass – Our Act of Love.”

    This drawing shows how the entire congregation’s love and worship moves forward and up toward Heaven, and how the love of Christ also moves up to Heaven from the Chalice, all in one harmonious, flow.

    From the drawing, one can see that if the priest were to turn around and face the congregation, the flow of worship would be stopped; the congregation’s flow and his flow would meet at the front of the Sanctuary and cancel out each other.

    I don’t know who holds the copyright for this picture, I suppose it’s still the Catholic Book Publishing Company of New York, but I would like to see it being used by Bishop Morlino and others to show people why we should all face God together, and how not doing so disrupts and cancels the flow of worship.

  15. mschu528 says:

    @frjim

    In much the same way that transubstantiation really, truly removes the presence of bread and wine, and replaces them with the Whole Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Our senses still see “bread” and “wine” but we know they are in fact the Body and Blood of the Lord.

    If we perceive the Body of Christ as mere bread, it is because we are not looking at it through the lens of faith. Likewise, if we see the priest as “turning his back on us,” we are viewing the Canonem Missae in only its basest sense.

  16. benedetta says:

    It isn’t now, and never was, about “turning his back on” the congregation, period. When you think about it, that whole canard is a bit of angry propaganda asserted to serve an agenda, and never truly had a basis in the reality of what the priest is/was doing.

  17. mamajen says:

    I think ad orientem actually seems more respectful of the congregation because the priest appears as one of them. He is facilitating the mass, not putting on a performance. And as I said before, there is just something about the priest kneeling beneath the crucifix, instead of standing over a smaller crucifix on the altar, that is incredibly moving and proper.

  18. anilwang says:

    @mamajen,

    I don’t actually think there would be very much griping either among clergy or the laity so long as the Liturgy of the Word was directed towards the people and the Liturgy of the Eucharist was directed towards God. Its easy to explain, and the words of the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the unchanging nature of this part of the mass already make it clear that it is not directed at us but at God. I’m sure more than a few laity find it odd that in such a prayerful part of the liturgy, we’re gazing at the priest since the priest is not God.

    One thing that would have to change, however, is the position of the sign of peace. It clearly belongs before the Liturgy of the Eucharist otherwise prayers to God are interrupted by human directed activities.

    I think this is a much better transition than the Benedictine arrangement, since the Benedictine arrangement is only different from ad populum if you’re already catechized that both the priest and the laity should be worshiping towards Christ.

  19. mschu528,

    True story at our House of Studies in Oakland back in the 1950s: One of the priests was always slow into the sacristy, asking “is there a Gloria today? is there a Credo today? One day he got there with only enough time to get his vestments on and leave with the procession.

    All the coventual Masses were then Solemn Masses and sung, so all went fine until he intoned the Creed. What followed was the following sung dialogue:

    Priest: Credo in unum Deum.
    Cantor: Non habemus.
    Priest: Deo gratias.

    Wish I could add the music, but I think most of our readers can add it.

  20. RichR says:

    I always snicker at this tired old line about the priest “turning his back on the people”. It is perfectly in line with the 70′s human-centered style of worship where the goal is to realize your own dignity as a community. The moment God is emphasized, the “dignified community” is outraged at their demotion.

  21. Matt R says:

    Anilwang, I disagree. The OF in my view, is disjointed as a whole. The transitions between the various prayers are choppy, and I prefer the Extraordinary Form’s structure in this regard. I find the opening rites to be heavily distracting since the priest initiates the Mass, by making the Sign of the Cross, in the overwhelming majority of parishes that don’t pray the Introit. I think it’s divisive for the Mass to be said in two halves, one facing the people and the other facing the apse, even though the Mass is supposed to be unified.
    On the sign of peace: eliminate it entirely as it is found in the OF. I think that in The Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger was quite clear that it is up to us whether we want to keep it, as it is quite inessential and innovative, but it must be moved if kept. (I would not mind an exchange that is simply the current introduction that speaks of Christ leaving his peace with the apostles, followed by ‘The peace of Christ be with you always,’ with the response being ‘And with your spirit.’ I have no idea where to place it though, so perhaps cutting it is still better.)

  22. mamamagistra says:

    How long, Lord? How long?
    How long should it take a decent non-heterodox parish to make the switch from the “Benedictine” arrangement to ad orientem? With proper catechesis, shouldn’t this be doable in months? a year? any more than 2 or 3 years? It’s worrisome that in the course of restoring the high altar (which had been dislocated decades ago, but not destroyed) and putting the tabernacle back in its rightful place, the sanctuary renovation plan also calls for glorifying Cranmer’s table (by elevating it; I’ve seen other renovated sanctuaries where the floor’s marble tile pattern emphasizes it). Anyone who tries to convince me that this plan is not shortsighted argues that ad populum won’t be going away in our lifetime. What a depressing thought that is. (Now it might be effective to produce a bona fide English translation of the 1993 Notitiae regarding unicity of the altar but time is running out.)

  23. RobertK says:

    Try implementing “ad orientem worship” in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and they may as well close all of the churches down. Because most of the clergy will rebel as well as the laity!. They have been taught that God is omni present, and that it doesn’t matter which direction you face. This basically shows improper seminary training and the lies the laity were taught in Catholic School or CCD for the past forty years, in all things liturgical and traditional. Omnipresent mentality, is now impregnated in their brains and the NORM, like EMHC and Altar Girls. The only exceptions would be your churches that offer both forms of the Roman Rite. And with the past sexual abuse scandal still in the minds of most of the parishinors here in Philadelphia. This would be a a big no no, since it would anger even more happy clappys, and probably draw local media attention, even though I am personally all for it!!. So if you want to attend a liturgy with “ad orientum worship”, you may as well go to an Eastern Church, except the Maronites, , whose liturgy is still highly novus ordo latinized, or find a church that offers the Extraordinary Form. Nothing will change here in the Archdiocese for the forseeable future. Unless Rome comes out and sternly implements it in the OF Mass. My observation!.

  24. RobertK says:

    Quote: “mamamagistra says
    How long, Lord? How long?”

    Judging by this crowd and location, I’d say a very long time!.
    http://youtu.be/Y3iTpM9F7bY

  25. Clinton R. says:

    The restoration of Holy Mass ad orientem is crucial. How can we say we adore and glorify God if our worship of Him is not directed to Him? Even in pagan religions, worship is in the direction of that which is being worshiped. The whole “the priest has his back to me” argument is so hackneyed. By that reasoning, the man in the pew in front of you has his back to you as well. The fundamental flaw with the Novus Ordo as most of us experience it, is it is very much man centric. The Mass is presented as entertainment. The assembly is the audience to who the production, if you will, is performed for. If we truly desire to evangelize the world to the Holy Catholic Church, then the Mass ad orientem has to be first and foremost in the New Evangelization. No more turning our backs to God.

  26. NoraLee9 says:

    I attended a lovely Armenian Orthodox wedding in October. At the homily, the Bishop (it was the Cathedral on East 34th Street) talked about how, in the Orthodox Rite, the priest faces East with the congregation, not as in the current Latin Rite. Hubby and I were there poking each other, because we attend EF exclusively, but we knew exactly what he meant. The Bishop went on to explain all the reasons for Ad Orientem worship.

    Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity!

    (I’ve been waiting awhile to say that!)

  27. Supertradmum says:

    Well, in the end, the changes did not take THAT long, but two generations of Mass attenders have to be re-catchecized. God bless this excellent bishop.

    Now, all the Confimation prep and RCIA teachers and others in religious ed need to follow suit with proper teaching on the Mass and stop calling it a family meal at the table… etc.

  28. JonPatrick says:

    I’m thinking that the “priest has his back to the people” thing came about because of the alleged clericalism in the period before Vatican 2, when it sometimes seemed that Mass was something between the priest and the servers with the people not engaged or making responses but doing their own devotions. However I think the number of people for which this resonates is diminishing.

    Here in New England I don’t see Ad Orientem returning anytime soon, outside of the few EF Masses. Too many sanctuaries were “wreckovated” and no longer have a high altar. The progressives are firmly in control here and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The only exception might be the Diocese of Portland (Maine) which is due to get a new bishop to replace +Bp. Malone. I have been praying for the Holy Father to send a holy orthodox bishop in the +Bp. Morlino mold.

  29. Pingback: The Mystic Who Was Wrapped In Fire | Big Pulpit

  30. Kevin Fogarty says:

    Good Fr Z says that the Benedictine arrangement of the altar is a transitional measure on the way to Ad Orientem. I doubt that gradualism can work. Versus Populum and the vernacular were brought about by proven methods: bloody minded supression.

  31. raitchi2 says:

    All the hot air is great, but did he actually celebrate ad orientem?

  32. Brian2 says:

    Honestly, I think is could and should be mandated by Rome or the Bishops conference. is. Just like with the new translation, there would be griping from the usual suspects, but once it is a fait accompli… Fr a few reasons:

    since AO isn’t asking the laity to do something (like not vote for pro-death candidates), most people won’t care.

    In ultra progressive parishes, the altar is probably in the middle of a circle anyway, so those who don’t like it can just move to the other side of the altar :)

    As they say, “make it happen captain!”

  33. acardnal says:

    Supertradmum said, “Now, all the Confimation (sic) prep and RCIA teachers and others in religious ed need to follow suit with proper teaching on the Mass and stop calling it a family meal at the table… etc.”

    In this area, Bp. Morlino has required that only certain catechetical materials be used to teach young people in both parish schools and CCD classes. So, he’s on the right track! Personally, I am only familiar as a CCD teacher with the Ignatius Press series.

    http://www.madisondiocese.org/Ministry/EvangelizationandCatechesis/ParishCatecheticalLeaders/Textbooks.aspx

  34. Gratias says:

    Thank you Bishop Morlino for teaching all your seminarians the forma extraordinaria of the mass. That will make a great difference. Latin should be taught in all seminaries.

  35. acardnal says:

    Now that the Diocese of Orange, Calif. has taken ownership of the former Protestant Crystal Cathedral, I wonder if they installed kneelers?! I hope so. I can’t tell from the above video.

  36. MichaelJ says:

    frjim4321,
    A Priest is a man, not a PushMePullYou. He cannot simultaneously face the Lord and the congregation. Let me turn the logic back to you though. When you offer Mass, how can you claim that you are not turning your back to Christ?

  37. schmenz says:

    Can we please have Bishop Morlino transferred to Milwaukee?

    Better yet, can we have Bishop Morlino in charge of Madison AND Milwaukee?

  38. raitchi2: “but did he actually celebrate ad orientem?”

    See for yourself:

    http://blog.yankehome.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/DSC_0134-682×1024.jpg

    Obviously OF, since there’s a concelebrant, interestly in Gothic chasuble, while the bishop in in Roman chasuble.

  39. raitchi2 says:

    @ Henry Edwareds: Well good for him. I am happy to see him back up his words with actions. Next we need a mandate about limiting lay people touching the host (except with their tongues of course)

  40. Dr Guinness says:

    But Father! But Father! GIRM 299! It banned the Presider turning his back to the people!

    I take great delight in this sort of news. Wish it’d happen here in Australia!
    Time… all in good time!

  41. fvhale says:

    Well, what about GIRM 299: “The altar should be built separate from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible…,” or, in Latin, “Altare exstruatur a pariete seiunctum, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebratio versus populum peragi possit, quod expedit ubicumque possible sit…” (MR ed. typ. tertia)?

  42. I pray that every Bishop starts to offer all of their Masses Ad Orientem and in conformity to the rubrics of Holy Mother Church.

  43. Stefan says:

    @Fr. Z, this homily happened last week at the 11am Mass his Excellency celebrated.

    Also, @fvhale, see Fr. Z’s post in April 2006:
    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2006/04/girm-299-has-been-mistranslated/

  44. fvhale,

    Father Z has written several posts about GIRM 299, and a response by the CDW to a dubium as to whether it really says that Mass should be celebrated facing the people whenever possible.

    The Congregation replied with a “Negative” answer and a brief lesson in Latin grammar, which explained that the dependent clause “which is desirable whenever possible” modifies the main clause “The altar should be built . . . in such a way that is is possible to walk around it wherever possible” rather than the subsidiary clause about Mass facing the people.

    I understand that altars “against the wall” are fairly recent in history, and that in older times free-standing altars as recommended in GIRM 299 were the norm, though the celebration of Mass was ad orientem except in special circumstances.

    Thus we have another with GIRM another of the misunderstandings so common in recent decades.

  45. mschu528 says:

    @raitchi2,

    His Excellency has already ended all use of EMHCs in the Cathedral Parish. The (male-only) altar servers hold the Communion paten for communicants at all Masses, and the vast majority do already receive on the tongue.

    Brick by brick.

  46. frjim4321 says:

    I find it sad that the ordinary is imposing his personal, eccentric piety on those entrusted to his care. This is wrong at either end of the ideological spectrum. This is my most benign read of the situation lest I spin off into despair over how fundamentalism had already undermined Islam and then Protestantism. What now? Fundamentalist neocatholicism?

  47. Ben Yanke says:

    @raitchi2 Next we need a mandate about limiting lay people touching the host (except with their tongues of course)

    Not to brag, but there’s also no EMHCs in use at his Cathedral anymore on any regular basis. Either the parish deacon or concelebrants handle all distribution of the precious body. There is no distribution of the precious blood, except on Christmas, easter, etc, and even then, at some of the Masses, there’s even enough concelebrants to handle it there with no EMHCs.

  48. mschu528 says:

    @ frjim

    This is not Bishop Morlino’s “personal, eccentric piety.” Everything His Excellency is doing is following in the footsteps of the Holy Father. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in The Spirit of the Liturgy (p. 81):

    [A] common turning to the east during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not the case of something accidental, but of what is essential. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue, but of common worship, of setting off toward the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle but the common movement forward, expressed in a common direction for prayer.

    If you will fault Bp Morlino for following the example of the Supreme Pontiff too closely, then your quarrel is not with the good bishop, but with the Successor of Peter himself.

  49. fvhale says:

    Reading of ordinaries imposing and piety, I could not help but think of Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Second Vatican Council:

    “Devotions proper to individual Churches also have a special dignity if they are undertaken by mandate of the bishops according to customs or books lawfully approved.” (SC n. 13)

    “The bishop is to be considered as the high priest of his flock, from whom the life in Christ of his faithful is in some way derived and dependent.

    Therefore all should hold in great esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church; they must be convinced that the pre-eminent manifestation of the Church consists in the full active participation of all God’s holy people in these liturgical celebrations, especially in the same eucharist, in a single prayer, at one altar, at which there presides the bishop surrounded by his college of priests and by his ministers.” (SC 41)

    Pretty strong language there from the Second Vatican Council. It sounds to me like the good bishop is just exercising his office as High Priest of his diocese, especially “his cathedral church,” according to the spirit and letter of the Council.

  50. OHCA says:

    Regarding the problems associated with the (intrusive) Sign of Peace: About 15 years ago I used to attend a church where the the parish priest, when he entered the sanctuary to begin Mass, used to invite the parishioners to offer each other the Sign of Peace. After this formality, he would then begin Mass. This is the most suitable alternative I have encountered in the many churches where I have assisted at NO Masses.

  51. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    I find it sad that the ordinary is imposing his personal, eccentric piety on those entrusted to his care. This is wrong at either end of the ideological spectrum. This is my most benign read of the situation lest I spin off into despair over how fundamentalism had already undermined Islam and then Protestantism. What now? Fundamentalist neocatholicism?

    1. I would hardly call it “eccentric” when it was the MO of celebrants for many hundreds of years. In fact, historically, the versus populum approach is “eccentric”–unless of course someone is Protestant.

    2. I would say that in the 42 years I’ve been a Catholic, the celebrant imposing his personal, eccentric piety on the congregation has more often than not been my experience at versus populum vernacular masses. It is understandable–the celebrant facing the people makes such an imposition almost irresistible.

    3. I would also say that you seem not to know the difference between the golden mean and political compromise.

  52. acardnal says:

    I second what robtbrown said above, frjim4321. Couldn’t have said it any better.

    From my experience of 58 years, it has been the priest in the Novus Ordo Masses who has been
    “imposing his personal, eccentric piety” on us. I am convinced that is a major reason that Mass attendance has declined over the last 40 years and also why I attend the Traditional Latin Mass now whenever possible. No innovations. No priest drawing attention to himself and his bizarre chasuble designs and gesticulations.

    Say the Black, do the Red.

  53. Ben Yanke says:

    Fr. Jim,

    I am rather hard pressed to find what you mean about Bishop Morlino imposing ” his personal, eccentric piety.” Ad orientem, something that is supported by the GIRM, and that was NOT requested to be changed in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    I would hardly call that “his…eccentric piety.” That’s just simply what’s in the liturgical books, even though at first glance, the GIRM appears not to say so.

  54. Pingback: People, Look East | Sacred Mysteries |

  55. PA mom says:

    This will help with other developments too. The only time our priest tried chanting the liturgy of the Eucharist, he looked quite uncomfortable. Doing something new, something he was not confident doing, and staring at all of us I suspect was too much. Have not heard it since. Honestly he was not bad at all, and my son really likes chant, so I hope he will try again.

  56. Michael J. says:

    I once was a parishoner of a very old and beautiful Catholic Church in, basically, the heart of our downtown. Beautiful High Altar, everything about the manner that the church was built was top quality and God centered. Seeing as I was born in 1972, I unfortunately never got to see firsthand how beautiful it once was, as things have been removed, like the Communion Rail (there are just two small sections that remain, and they are not used for people to receive Holy Communion),I believe some beautiful statues, and a beautiful Crucifix above one of the entrances/exits that had the Corpus removed but the Cross remained. Unfortunately as well, I have never attended the Extraordinary Form of Mass there, as it is not offered at that church. I have seen pictures, however, and it was undescribely beautiful. Now, to my point. At some time, it was already like this from my earliest memories, the Blessed Sacrament was removed from the Tabernacle in the center of the High Altar and was moved to one of the side Altars, I believe the Altar of Saint Joseph. And they, as they no longer use the High Altar, have placed chairs in front of the High Altar, I believe the center one is higher and is where the Priest/Celebrant sits, which is basically just slightly to the side of the Tabernacle (no longer used), and the other two I think are one step down, and either the Altar Servers or, if the Deacon is present, he sits in one and a server sits in another. It really looks, at least to me, like Our Lord was removed from the center of the Altar, and was replaced by chairs, where the Priest and Deacon and Altar Servers have taken the place where Our Blessed Lord and Savior should be. God, Please Have Mercy On Us All.

  57. fbcallicoat says:

    We recently switched parishes, from our FSSP parish of many years to a diocesan parish where the priest says the Mass ad orientem, and with great reverence. This follows the good example of our good and holy bishop, His Excellency Bp. Edward Slattery, Bishop of Tulsa.

    Our new pastor, Fr. Timothy Davison, began offering the Extraordinary Form, after a couple years of saying the OF ad orientem, and reverting to Communion while kneeling at the altar rail.

    Words cannot express my family’s joy at being members of a regular diocesan parish, which is extremely reverent! We are head over heels in love with our new diocesan parish home.

  58. AnglicanCatholic says:

    You folks should investigate the Anglican use Mass, celebrated ad orientem in English from Shakespeare’s time. The order of things is somewhat different, including having the exchange of the peace precede the Eucharistic Prayer, which is indeed much more proper and not an interruption at all, and the addition of prayers which lift the whole experience far above the Novus ordo Mass celebrated ad orientem. Expect to spend much more time on your knees, including reception of Holy Eucharist in both kinds while kneeling. It is worth the time to drive a bit to find one.

  59. YES!!! I began to realize little by little that when the priest turns Ad Orientem, he has such a great closeness to God. He in in intimate conversation with his Beloved!

  60. Bonomo says:

    The question I have is simple, though probably not answerable, unless Bishop Morlino reads and posts on this blog:
    Given that:
    1. the GIRM already permits the celebration of Mass ad orientem, and
    2. Bishop Morlino obviously LIKES saying Mass ad orientem, and
    3. both Holy Redeemer (especially) and St. Patrick’s churches are suitable for celebrating Mass ad orientem, and HR has a perfectly good communion rail,
    then
    why doesn’t Bishop Morlino start doing it?
    I’d be thrilled (especially if he would grace us with his presence at 0900 at HR every now and again), and I suspect many others would be…
    Why wait?

  61. MAJ Tony says:

    @ Bonomo

    Actually the GIRM seems to EXPECT “ad Orientem”

    146. Upon returning to the middle of the altar, the priest, facing the people and extending and then joining his hands, invites the people to pray, saying, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren). The people rise and make their response: Suscipiat Dominus (May the Lord accept). Then the priest, with hands extended, says the prayer over the offerings. At the end the people make the acclamation, Amen.

    One can imply that GIRM 146 assumes that the Priest is not facing the people before, or at the very least, if he is not, he should be for the Oratre, fratres.

    Off topic, except that it’s GIRM-related, but it seems this one below doesn’t get much respect outside EF circles. I was beginning to wonder if it was even in there. Happy to see it is.

    275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.

    A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.

    A bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Almighty God, cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (Lord God, we ask you to receive); in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man); in the Roman Canon at the words Supplices te rogamus (Almighty God, we pray that your angel). The same kind of bow is made by the deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the priest bows slightly as he speaks the words of the Lord at the consecration.