ASK FATHER: Why on earth did they start offering Mass “facing the people”?

Turn Ad Orientem AgainFrom a reader…

QUAERITUR:

When I first started attending the TLM, I really struggled with Mass celebrated ad Orientem. However, the more I attended the TLM and Mass according to the Missal of Divine Worship (aka, Anglican Use), which in its early days even had the odd OF Mass celebrated ad Orientem, the more I got used to it.

Now I can’t stand Mass celebrated facing the people. It makes me feel very uncomfortable watching the priest, especially during those intimate moments such as the consecration (which our former FSSP priest told us is a type of consummation for the priest who is most especially acting in persona Christi at that moment, hence why the prayers are said in the first person narration, and that in the seminary, they are taught to “embrace the altar” when they lean forward. For that same reason), and when they receive communion.

I don’t want to see these things. These are very personal moments between the priest acting in persona Christi and God. They should be kept private and, dare I say, veiled from public eye. (There was a reason why nuns used to cover their faces with their face veil after receiving communion.) Now I spend most of my time at Masses celebrated versus populum with my eyes closed or staring at the floor so I don’t have to watch the priest.

I see no real value in Mass celebrated versus populum. Why on earth did they feel it necessary or even salutary to start offering Mass facing the people? I don’t like it. I wish it to go away sooner rather than later.

I think there are several factors for why the altars got turned around.

Before launching in, the great liturgical expert Klaus Gamber thought that turning altars around did more damage to Catholic identity than anything else after the Council.  Also, I am leaving aside the blah blah that everyone has to add: “we have to admit that either way of saying Mass is okeydokey”.  No.  Both ways are legal and rubrical in both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form, but they are not “equal”.  I’m not going to make any arguments for Mass versus populum here.

Reams of paper could be offered for each of these following points, so I’ll be telegraphic.  Also, I’ll give you just a few.

First, there was a false “archaeologizing” going on at the end of the Liturgical Movement, the fruits of which were mixed.  Some thought that if was done a certain way in ancient times, it was therefore “pristine” and, therefore, “better”.  The problem with that is that Church matured and learned and changed according to her deeper insights.  Also, the liturgical “experts” adhering like archaeologists to the pristine often got it wrong.  They were wrong that in the ancient Church Mass was versus populum.  Also, when it was shown that they were wrong, some abjured their false notions (such as the great Josef Jungmann), others, dishonestly, didn’t.  Moreover, because the liberal iconclasts controlled the publishing back then, they didn’t allow the dissemination of arguments and opinions that clashed with their own progressivist agenda.

Second, there was a over-optimistic anthropocentrism sweeping the Church in the early days after the Council, just as it swept into the Council itself.  Gaudium et spes is an example of this naive optimism.  That document was criticized early on by the young Joseph Ratzinger who, in his commentaries on the Council documents, pointed out that a few paragraphs (which had been worked on by Karol Woytyla, brought to the constitution some saving Christocentrism to counterbalance its overly-optimistic anthropocentric leanings.  In the sphere of worship, many liturgists made worship less about God and transcendence and more about immanence and about how wonderful we are.  Worship became celebrations of ourselves.  So, why shouldn’t we look at each other?

Also, the notions of Karl Rahner were much in vogue: sacraments celebrate prexisting realities.  So, the enclosed circle, as Ratzinger called in in The Spirit of the Liturgy (UK HERE), is a good posture.  Why open outward when what we want is already here.  This was devastating also for architecture, as my friend Fr. Michael Lang of the London Oratory has explained.

There are other factors as well, but I’ll cut to the final, hardest one.

If everything is made immediate and “understandable”, and if all the hard elements are reduced to the lowest (easy) common denominator, and it everyone is turned in on themselves, distractions multiply and people don’t have to deal with their fear of death.  Making Mass constantly easier by exposing every little thing and making everything audible wars against our stillness.  Immediacy is an obstacle to the apophatic experience we need.  Constant facial expression, loud voices, etc, reduces the opportunity for an encounter with Mystery to zero.  I think that some people who imposed the changes (which the Council Fathers did NOT mandate) truly understood this and… they imposed them anyway… on purpose.  The time of the changes was also the time of the sexual revolution.   Holy Church was the only thing that could stand in the way of the descent into general immorality.  And the most power means of Social Communication that the Church possesses is sacred liturgical worship, especially the Mass.  The Mass had to be brought down in order to facilitate “liberation”.

Those are a few fast thoughts on a really complicated subject.

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34 Responses to ASK FATHER: Why on earth did they start offering Mass “facing the people”?

  1. asburyfox says:

    Facing the people is only legal in the Novus Ordo Mass. Not legal in the TLM. [Wrong.]

  2. Tom A. says:

    The herertic Cranmer turned the altars around since they wanted to destroy the idea of mass as sacrifice and instill the idea of mass as supper. So the altar became a table and meals are ate around a table not facing an altar.

  3. Andrew says:

    I was in my twenties during the time of the changes. I never understood them, I never liked them, and I had to force-convince myself to accept them: they must be good, I used to reason, since the Magisterium is behind these things. Still, I used to cringe inwardly with every change and after all these years the cringing is still there. But I no longer care. It is like when your team loses the game and you’re walking away and the winners are touting you on the way out and you just wave your arm at them without even looking back. Pretty soon, we’ll be all gone, my generation, those Catholics who still remember the pre-Novus Ordo days. Then, if anyone will wonder how it used to be, they will have to “research” the subject because there will be no one left who remembers.

  4. Father G says:

    @asburyfox,

    You are incorrect. It is legal to offer the TLM facing the people.

    Read this: http://www.ccwatershed.org/blog/2014/apr/7/1962-missal-allowed-mass-versus-populum/

  5. Uxixu says:

    Tom A underscores my thoughts on it. Much as with the vernacular, some of use even seems appropriate for the propers and variable parts of the Mass, but requiring it as a matter of dogma is something only the most notorious heretics have done… and most unfortunately my territorial pastor who has said things like “they won’t understand Latin.”

    Cranmer and Luther, however, both quite deliberately wanted to make the point that without Sacrifice, there is no need for a sacrificial priesthood. If it’s just a meal, after all, a good host should speak facing his guests and in a language they understand. If one is trying to offer a worthy Sacrifice to the King of Kings, it’s entirely different, of course.

  6. jfk03 says:

    I converted to the Catholic faith at age 19, in 1961. The changes came during the mid- to late 60’s. I found them a wrenching experience. I dropped out ( I am ashamed to say) for 20 years. I was too immature to stay and fight. What I remember was the abruptness of the changes. The most disturbing to me was the flipping of the altar.

  7. Fr. Andrew says:

    To your Rahner point, if you watch the Oscar nominated “Arrival,” it serves as a wonderful analogical argument for the transformative aspect of liturgy rather than the exaltation of accessibility. We must encounter the heavenly liturgy to be transformed by it.

  8. mepoindexter says:

    I’m not a liturgist, I’m just Johnny lunchbucket Catholic sitting in a pew. I tried to make sense of the NO, I really really did and I tried hard. Just from a “common sense” point of view I should have been able to make sense of it all based on what I was taught the reality of the Mass is and what I was actually seeing. It just. Didn’t. Happen.

    For the year of Mercy we had last year I told God I wasn’t going to get frustrated about it for 1 full year and then after that I could worry all I want. It’s His Mass, it’s not my Mass. It’s His Church, it’s not my Church.

    Near the end of the YoM, like a strike of lightning, like a solid kick to the back of the head, the Holy Spirit “moved me” to a nearby TLM society.

    It was not something I asked for. Its not like I had never been to the TLM before, but rarely in my life have I had such a remarkable answer to a prayer.

  9. kurtmasur says:

    I wonder if there was any sort of catechesis in the months leading to the implementation of the Novus Ordo in Advent of 1969 in order to prepare the faithful for the drastic changes that were to come? I suppose the changes into the Novus Ordo was sudden rather than gradual…or am I wrong? I ask in light of the fact that it is recommended to first catechize the faithful before making any changes going into ad orientem at their parish, for example.

  10. tjb says:

    “They were wrong that in the ancient Church Mass was versus populum”

    Could you point me to some further literature regarding this point? I was under the impression that in the early Church there were some versus populum Masses. (I never agreed for a second that we should go back to such a thing given that, as you pointed out, the Church learned and matured and why in the world would we go back to a less-mature, less developed theology?
    But you are saying that Masses actually weren’t verses populum in ancient times? I would love to read more about that. Thanks

  11. Charles E Flynn says:

    @kurtmasur,

    The date of the transition was November 29, 1964, according to the article at https://adoremus.org/2010/02/15/The-Day-the-Mass-Changed/ .

    For some months prior to the transition, there were sermons devoted to what was called at the time the “new mass”. For a while, in my parish in Rhode Island, the Sunday morning masses alternated between English and Latin, with the Latin masses becoming less numerous over a period of a few months. It was acknowledged that many older people would never fully accept “the changes”, but people apparently comforted themselves with the fact that the sufferings of the elderly would not last long.

    I was an altar boy at the time, and presumably because I was considered to be relatively responsible and lived within a ten-minute walk of the church, I had to make several trips on some Sunday mornings to prepare the altar for whichever mass was going to be said, a duty I shared with a few other altar boys.

    The entire project was “sold” to the people in the pews as “new and improved”, as if we were making the transition from black-and-white TV to color TV.

    My years as an altar boy were mostly the ones in which I was attending a public junior high school. I burned my bridges to the public school system when I informed the principal that friends of mine were entering the men’s room with a teacher, and leaving $5 richer, at a time when my weekly allowance was 25 cents. I applied for admission to Saint Raphael Academy, and was told three years later that I barely got in. At Saint Raphael’s, we had a “rock mass” in the gymnasium, complete with electric guitar. The same Christian Brother who used to try to catch my eye and the eye of a few of my friends did his “eye rolling routine” during the “rock mass”. He taught math, and he had taste. After the “rock mass”, the principal (another Christian Brother) announced on the intercom that a neighbor had called to complain about “the noise” coming from the gymnasium.

    Some months later, we were all assembled in the gymnasium again, and were told that the principal had eloped in Las Vegas with the head of the ladies’ auxiliary, and that we would not be seeing him again. We were assured that the school would go on, which it did, taking pride in requiring the reading and discussion of those books that were banned in the local public school system, such as “Brave New World” and “1984”. Our English teacher went on to become the head of the Christian Brothers in New England.

    In college, I witnessed a clown mass, a large pseudo-puppet mass, the substitution of readings from “Winnie the Pooh” for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and at one midnight mass, the public manipulation by a flagrantly effeminate priest of a young couple into receiving the Eucharist, when they did not intend to receive. The priest went down to the couple’s pew, asked them why they did not intend to receive, and when given an answer the congregation could not hear, replied “Oh, that. Open up.” I thought to myself, “I will be back when these people (the hierarchy) figure out what they are peddling” and became a lapsed Catholic for the next seventeen years.

    At least the priest did fire the “liturgist” who had made the “Winnie the Pooh” substitution.

  12. Mariana2 says:

    I so understand the enquirer. I look at the floor, too.

    I’m a former Lutheran. I used to love the swish and ripple the minister’s vestments made when he, from standing at the altar with his back to us, turned 90 degrees, took a few steps and turned back to the altar at the Gospel end. And then turned toward us.

    I was completely mystified when I started attending Mass. There was none of the above. The priest was (and is) behind the altar and looks at us. Our parish priest loves this arrangement, he even used to wink at my unruly son when he (said son) was squirming and rolling on the floor. My son loved it, but it is not what I want.

    Then the Lutherans here, who closely follow Catholic things, started having altars away from the wall, and called them ‘peoples’ altars’. So now even the Lutheran laity have to endure this silliness.

    The OF Masses here are very reverent, no funny business like the ones reported by American readers here, ever, but how I wish we could have the EF!

  13. Hoc mihi magno dolori est. Thus I will limit my comment to an expression of appreciation to the person who sent the “QUAERITUR”, writing that the “intimate moment [of] the consecration . . . is a type of consummation for the priest who is most especially acting ‘in persona Christi’ at that moment . . . [A]nd that, in the seminary, they are taught to ’embrace the altar’ when they lean forward . . . [as well as] when they receive communion.

    “Lean forward” is expressed variously in the rubrics, but nowhere more fitting to what the Questioner shares with us than: “Profunde inclinatus, junctis manibus et super Altare positis . . .” After all, the altar represents Christ, the Rock.

    As then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, we should be a collective force turned toward the coming of the Lord. I pray that what is obvious to many will leave the realm of the juridical and enter into an honest discerning of the essential character of the sacrifice of the Mass and the Parousia of Jesus in the Eucharist (again: I lean on Scott Hahn’s teaching when I speak about the Eucharist at Mass as Parousia).

  14. cwillia1 says:

    When mass is served versus populum, I close my eyes and lower my head.

  15. susangillett1@gmail.com says:

    Wasn’t that about the time some of our Priests started telling jokes and personalizing their comments to the congregations during the MASS?!!! I always felt our Mass was no place for personal EGOS.

  16. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Andrew, et al.:

    My grandmother, an emigrant from Croatia who knew three languages and who was in her seventies when these changes came about, had no problem with the vernacular English in the Mass. “Only, I just don’t like it when the priest turns his back on the tabernacle,” she answered when I asked her if she liked the “new Mass.” How could one not agree with that simple observation.

    Those of us who remember the “old Mass,” who were altar boys (who struggled to memorize the Suscipiat), who learned at a young age to set up their St Andrew’s hand missal with all the ribbons in the right place (why were there never enough ribbons for the Rogation Days?), who thus participated in daily Mass, who learned the intricate details of serving at funerals and weddings, who answered the phone call from Fr X at 5.20 in the morning on holy days (“Come down to the Church, we need an altar boy for the 5.30 Mass”), who insisted on reading the prayers from the left page of the Missal, who naively but courageously tried to understand the Latin texts at the age of seven, who knew how to bow when holding a lighted candle, who could anticipate how much wine any priest would want poured into the chalice, who…
    … who could never understand why the beauty of the Mass was suddenly chucked in favour of Protestant hymns and insipid language…
    Those of us who lived through this have had to carry the cross of banality for half a century. It has never been easy for me to go to NO Mass. Yet, the Mass is still the Mass, and Holy Communion is still Holy Communion, as mepointdexter has pointed out. And so I go for the inevitable grace and bring my dog-eared and foxed St Andrew’s Missal with me and pray the prayers of the ancient rites while others “watch the show at the table,” raise their arms in the orans and shake each others’ hands while Jesus lies on the paten on the altar waiting to be crucified.

  17. BillRedic says:

    In response to kurtmasur’s comments: here are some excerpts from a history booklet (about the Latin Mass movement in Pittsburgh, PA) that I wrote in 1999:
    Evidence exists that greater resistance to the new Mass was expected by those implementing it. Literature distributed in some Pittsburgh parishes in anticipation of the Novus Ordo Missæ warned readers that “Despite the care that was lavished on these new texts, we know that bickering, bitter debate, anger, even open street fighting” were to be expected, before scolding them for “an indefensible attitude of fear and resistance.”…
    In reality, the Roman rite of Mass had already been altered, slowly and incrementally, over the preceding six years. This new Missal of Paul VI was just the latest in a seemingly unending series of visible changes in the Roman Catholic Church… The Mass, as it was offered in the typical Pittsburgh parish on the last Sunday before the Novus Ordo Missæ was imposed, was already

    – completely in English
    – offered on a table altar facing the people
    – with a novel Eucharistic Prayer replacing the venerable Roman Canon of 1,300 years’ tradition
    – with the addition of the Prayer of the Faithful and lay lectors
    – without the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar or the Last Gospel
    – and with Holy Communion received by standing in line.

    (The entire booklet is available online here: http://stjohnxxiiiparish.org/history/ )

  18. mschu528 says:

    @tjb

    In The Spirit of the Liturgy, Benedict XVI discusses the orientation of early Christian worship at some length, expounding on the work of Louis Bouyer, a French Lutheran minister whose studies of early Christianity led him to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and he became an Oratorian priest.

    Benedict XVI and Bouyer both view early Christian worship in light of continuity with pre-Christian Jewish worship. During the era of the Temple, Jews — regardless of where they might be — faced towards the Holy of Holies in the Temple when they prayed. After the destruction of the Temple, Jews in the synogogues would still face towards Jerusalem, towards where the Temple had stood, to pray.

    They both also discuss the concept of the Mass as a meal; as a re-creation of the Last Supper. But, as Bouyer points out (and Benedict concurs), a formal meal in the Middle East at the time of Christ would have the host as well as his guests on the same side of a C- or horseshoe-shaped table, the other side remaining clear for the servants to serve the food.

    They both ponder the example of St Peter’s Basilica, where the altar is located in such a place that it would be a practical impossibility to celebrate Mass ad Orientem (as we now think of it). This unusual example is to keep the celebrant (of course, this is often the Pope) as close to the bodily remains of St Peter as possible while he is at the altar. He is still facing to the (navigational) east while doing so, thus it is technically ad Orientem. And, as Bouyer points out, citing the theologian and liturgical historian Prof Cyrille Vogel: “Never and nowhere, before [the sixteenth century] have we any indication that any importance, or even attention was given to whether the priest celebrated with the people before him or behind him. As Professor Cyrille Vogel has recently demonstrated… even when the orientation of the church enabled the celebrant to pray turned toward the people, when at the altar, we must not forget that it was not the priest alone who, then, turned East: it was the whole congregation, together with him.”

    Finally, Bouyer goes into some length uncovering the architecture of the earliest known Christian churches in Syria, finding that their blueprint is essentially a cross between a Jewish synagogue, and a traditional Catholic church. This included altars that were placed against, or nearly against, the eastern walls, such that it would have been impractical — if not impossible — for those early Christian priests to have offered the Holy Sacrifice versus populum.

    So, in summary, the development of versus populum worship in the 20th Century seems to be a culmination of misunderstandings about (a) the nature of the Mass as worship of the One True God, in continuity with the Abrahamic tradition, (b) the nature of the Mass as both sacrifice and Passover meal, (c) the structure of a meal at the time of Christ, (d) the reality of what worship was like at St Peter’s, and other Roman Stational churches with similar layouts, and of course as Benedict XVI has often pointed out, (e) the desire to close the circle around man with horizontal worship led by a “presider” whom we look upon, rather than casting our eyes up to God.

  19. PA mom says:

    When a person has sinned so grievously, and child abuse is such a sin, then it is a natural impulse to hide from God.

    Not having to face Him while speaking to Him would have been easier to carry on, I imagine.

  20. Maynardus says:

    @kurtmasur (et al)

    If you ask an observant (in both senses of the word) Catholic who lived though the post-Conciliar liturgical revolution you will almost invariably hear that their perception of the changes date to late ’64 through ’67. Some parishes moved faster than others, but by 1969 most American Catholics were already attending a vernacular liturgy, celebrated facing the people, with readings proclaimed by a laic, permitting the use of a selection of Eucharistic Prayers; with Communion given standing etc., etc., etc. To most people all that really seemed to happen around 1970-71 was the implementation of the new text of the Mass and the final rubrical “simplifications” of the 1969/70 Missal. In most dioceses, parishes which waited until 1970-71 to implement the major changes were few and far between…

    As for catechesis, it also varied by diocese and parish, but the real problem was in its content, which as we now know typically consisted of material prepared by the avant-garde liturgists of the Liturgical Conference as a means of imposing their agenda. As such, priests and people were presented with ready-made justifications for implementing the litniks’ pet ideas, regardless of what had actually been stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    Adoremus Bulletin had a good two-part series on this whole fiasco a few years back: https://adoremus.org/2010/02/15/The-Day-the-Mass-Changed/

  21. Pigeon says:

    Arguments I’ve heard for the various “N-O-vations.”

    “Mass needs to be made more relevant for modern people.” [As if the traditional Mass hasn’t made Saints out of people across the centuries from diverse cultures.] — Yet most of the people you were trying to reach by making Mass more “relevant” have left the Church, many never to return. [I wonder if NcR folks think that all these people went to the SSPX?]

    “We’re trying to reach out to Protestants.” [As if most people making this argument think there’s anything wrong with being a Protestant.] — By making the Mass more Protestant, we made it equal [subjectively speaking] to Protestantism. That appeases Protestants, but doesn’t convert them. It does, however, lead Protestants to say to Catholics, “Hey, your Mass is basically what we do, except ours has more contemporary music, it’s more fun, it’s got better preaching, and best of all, it’s got BIRTH CONTROL!” [Everything’s affected.]

    “We’re going back to how the early Church celebrated.” [And we hopped in the TARDIS to find out just how that was.] — Indeed, soon we’ll be small in number, worshiping secretly in our homes, fearful of the authorities. Get your priest holes ready.

  22. Knight from 13904 says:

    Since a TLM parish has opened in my part of New England back in July I’ve attended Mass there every Sunday except one. Like mentioned in the opening letter to Fr. Z it took me a few weeks to get use to the Mass and the priest being ad orientem and some of the other differences. But not too long and now the thought of attending a Mass in a NO parish is unthinkable. A few weeks back I went back to our cathedra, which in general is very reverent and has an outstanding choir that sings sacred music, the thing that was most annoying was the difference in the people in the pews. I’m not pointing fingers but once you get into the TLM you are intellectually engaged in a way that, for me, is not possible in the NO. Does anybody else get that feeling?

  23. The Egyptian says:

    tjb
    rather long but gets into the gist of you question,
    http://www.sacredarchitecture.org/articles/domus_dei_quae_est_ecclesia_dei_vivi/
    Cannot find the better explanation I recalled but this is a start

  24. scholastica says:

    As a convert 20 years ago, I heard that the Mass is a sacrifice and intellectually believed it, however, I never saw it, experienced it, or knew it in the depths of my soul. For the last few months I have been able to attend the TLM daily and I finally get it because I see it, because along with everything else present therein, the Mass is ad orientem.

  25. Mike of Arkansas says:

    Kurtmasur wrote: “I wonder if there was any sort of catechesis in the months leading to the implementation of the Novus Ordo in Advent of 1969 in order to prepare the faithful for the drastic changes that were to come? I suppose the changes into the Novus Ordo was sudden rather than gradual…or am I wrong?”

    The above illustrates the very common modern misconception of thinking that the Church changed radically only with the implementation of the Novus Ordo in 1969. In reality, that was just a minor and barely noticeable event. The very radical derangement of the litutgy began in 1965. The ersatz crowd-facing card-table altars and English translations and elimination of chant and introduction of pop “music” and instruments and lay readers and innumerable other derailments were well in place by 1966. However, I am thankful that lay “extraordinary ministers” and communion-in-the-hand were still years away.

    No…there was no period of introduction and conditioning before any of the changes were implemented. We had heard vague rumors that Mass would “sometime next month” begin in English, but I still remember with horror what I saw the first Sunday that the English versus populum Mass was unleashed in my parish.

    So, by the time the Novus Ordo appeared three years later, the only memorable (for me) change compared to what had been inflicted already was the attempt to implement the “kiss of peace” in the congregation. At first, it was tried as a real or symbolic kiss with those in near surroundings. Predictably, that did not go over well. Perhaps that would have worked better in a latin country.

  26. Henry Edwards says:

    “They were wrong that in the ancient Church Mass was versus populum”
    Could you point me to some further literature regarding this point?

    The book Turning Towards the Lord by Fr. Michael Lang–which Fr. Z links with a cover photo above–presents the abundant evidence of modern research, that Mass was NOT normally offered versus populum in ancient times (contrary to false claims in the aftermath of Vatican II).

  27. PatrickPilcher says:

    Any idea where I can find Ratzinger’s commentaries on the VII documents?

  28. Lavrans says:

    I serve the Mass in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Since I began doing so, I can hardly get through the Ordinary Form, versus populum, without longing for something more…well…mature. The OF just seems like a children’s Mass to me now. It doesn’s sustain. Like cotton candy: It was interesting at first as a child, but now I can’t stomach the stuff. Too sugary. Too sweet. And ultimately, for me, not all that good for me except in very rare circumstances!

  29. Sconnius says:

    kurtmasur said: “I wonder if there was any sort of catechesis in the months leading to the implementation of the Novus Ordo in Advent of 1969 in order to prepare the faithful for the drastic changes that were to come? I suppose the changes into the Novus Ordo was sudden rather than gradual…or am I wrong? I ask in light of the fact that it is recommended to first catechize the faithful before making any changes going into ad orientem at their parish, for example.”

    I’ve asked my grandparents similar questions, and everyone who I’ve ever talked to about this says the same thing. One week, you went to Mass and the priest spoke Latin, facing the altar. The next week, you came to Mass and he was facing you speaking English. My grandpa recalls being terribly confused, and the only thing the priest said is this is what the Vatican and the Bishop want us to do.

    That was the only catechesis they received on the matter.

  30. Henry Edwards says:

    In summary, my recollection from having suffered through the 1960s—seeing utterly destroyed what had brought me (a then-recent convert) to Catholicism in the first place—is that both the careful preparation that Charles E Flynn describes (here), and the case of abrupt total change (from one Sunday to the next) with zero-zilch-nada preparation that Sconnius describes (here), both occurred in numerous parishes (though I suspect the latter was more common than the former). As did most possibilities between these two extremes. Thus there was no consistent pattern of preparation in U.S. parishes.

  31. Maynardus says:

    Further to the timing and pace of the changes in parishes, when I was growing-up in the 60’s and 70’s there were six parishes within reasonable walking distance (1m or less) of my home. My recollections of the period from 1966-71 are of a wide diversity in liturgy, from high-octane “spirit of V2” complete with guitars, to “Changes? What changes?” with three that were more moderate in terms of ratio of Latin/vernacular, music, use (or not) of the Communion rail, etc.

    Even in CCD we were only told that the changes were required by The Council and were all for the good of the Church…

    Things didn’t really level-out until ’72-’74… unfortunately that proved to be the lowest common demominator which for that era meant pretty low. Sadly that was about the time when many of the men in my family stopped attending Mass regularly… just a coincidence I guess… if not for “The Splendor of the Renewal” I suppose the rest of ‘me

  32. RobertAllen says:

    We were in the car following our 1st TLM back in 2012 (@ St. Josaphat in Detroit). Neither my wife nor I knew what to say nor did any of the children. Finally our 16 year old son piped up, ‘Geez dad; they really dumbed it down.’ Nuff said. RFGA, Ph.D.

  33. Doug says:

    Here’s something that might help the discussion. On the first occasion, in scripture, was Jesus facing the others or the altar?