Facing the East… and a QUIZ

Put everything down and read this:

The Byzantine Divine Liturgy, like that of all the Eastern Churches, is celebrated facing East. The priest and all the faithful look to the East, whence Christ will come again in glory. The priest intercedes before the Lord for his people; he walks at the head of the people towards the encounter with the Lord. At different moments the priest turns to the people: for the proclamation of the Gospel, for the dialogue preceding the anaphora, for the communion with the holy gifts, and for all the blessings. These symbolize moments in which the Lord himself comes forth to meet his people.

Sounds familiar, right? Does this not sound precisely as it should be (is, actually) for the Roman Rite as well? Do these reasons not perfectly describe why in the Latin Church we really ought properly to orient our celebration of Holy Mass so that the priest and people face the East whence Christ will come in glory?


Okay… here is the quiz.

Who wrote that piece above? (Answer below)

The famed liturgist Klaus Gamber, author of Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background, so appreciated by Joseph Ratzinger, thought that the changing of the direction of the altar was more damaging than any other change after the Council. Both Jungmann and Bouyer said they were wrong in their initial support of versus populum celebrations.

I have a sneaking suspicion that we might see something from Pope Benedict about Eastward celebration of Holy Mass.

Oh yah. Who authored that quote above? Here is the answer (HIGHLIGHT with your mouse over this for the text ->): His Excellency, Most Rev. Piero MARINI, Master of the Pontifical Ceremonies

For more click HERE

I also recommend the book: Turning Towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer

There is a great deal to be done to educated people about this important matter and to dispell what has fossilized into ignorant prejudice.

Biretta tip to FA for the initial link: o{]:¬)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Augustine says:


  2. Suits me fine. We could “re-orient” our sanctuary pretty easily, I think. But it’s going to be tough on a lot of folks my age (60) & older. They obediently went along with this and so many other changes 40 years ago (if Father says so, it must be true). Part of the catechesis used at the time was to make you feel stupid if you didn’t go along with it wholeheartedly. Now they’re going to feel stupid again for having been taken in in the first place. In most cases the catechizers themselves were victims of this. People are going to feel like they’re being jerked around. There will be a lot of resentment to overcome. Then there’s all the money people were asked to fork over for all the sanctuary mods and new churches ALL OVER THE WORLD because this was “required by the ‘new liturgy.'” People were so lovingly docile then. Some still are, God bless ’em, but I’m afraid a lot of that has been squandered. I have to stop now and count to ten–my blood pressure is up.

  3. Andrew says:

    I’ve seen priests who want to be “NICE” (I suppose) to the congregation invite the folks up to the sanctuary saying: “stand there behind me as I pray over the gifts” and I’m saying to myself: “Father, if you hadn’t turned the altar around all of us would have been behind you, just the way you like it …

  4. terry nelson says:

    Father, why do the server or the deacon lift the chasuble at the elevation?

  5. terry nelson says:

    I’m sorry, “Why does the server or the deacon lif the chasuble?”

  6. dcs says:

    I’m sorry, “Why does the server or the deacon lif the chasuble?”

    Quite simple — to enable the priest to lift the Host and Chalice over his head. It’s a holdover from the days when chasubles were both ample and heavy. Now there are mystical reasons for it.

  7. Pingback: Versus Deum « Societas Sancti Gregorii Magni SSGM

  8. Az says:

    Pray, what are the mystical reasons” for lifting the chasuble?

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