The Brighton stop continues

I am in Brighton until tomorrow, when I dash southward to Rome.

I am hosted here by Fr. Raymond Blake, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen parish, who has his own blog.

Here is Fr. Blake in action this morning:


He has instituted celebrations of Holy Mass ad orientem with the Novus Ordo.  I think this is very significant.  Turning around the altars may have been the single greatest damaging blow to Catholic worship after the Council.  It will take great patience and some intestinal fortitude on the part of priests to get these altars reoriented, but the stakes are high and the effort worth the headaches created by those who will resist anything they mistakenly think is "turn the clock back".

We had a nice walk around the city today, and I got to see the usual tourist sites.  Included was a trip down the pier.  Again, Fr. Blake:

It seems Father is is always snapping photos with his little digital camera.  Again he is in action:

Tonight we will have a bit of supper and then I must get a good night’s sleep before the next stage in the trip. 


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Dear Father Z, I couldn’t agree with you more. In my untrained mind, I saw the versus populum doing the following:

    1) Diminished the sacrificial aspects of the Mass in a highly visible way.

    2) Gave us “Father Entertainer”.

    3) Destroyed artistic treasures that should have been left untouched.

    I’m sure you could think of many more.



  2. Jonathan Bennett says:

    I think Msgr. Conlon, chaplain at the Oratory School, also celebrates the Novus Ordo ad orientem.

  3. Eamonn says:

    The trend is definitely catching on. The Ordinary Form English language Mass in St Kevin’s Church, Harrington St, Dublin is now celebrated “facing God”! It means that the TLM (whose Chaplaincy is based at St Kevin’s) and the Parish faithful are now facing the same direction. A happy development.

  4. anon_irish says:

    I note the many comments from catholics supportive of the change back to ad orientem, but may I point out that for the not insignificant numbers of deaf and hard of hearing massgoers, it threatens to be disappointing and alienating. This is because the deaf, unable to use their ears must use their eyes. For us deaf and hard of hearing, seeing the priest’s face, especially if we are lipreaders, helps us experience connection with the liturgy. A celebrant’s turned back cannot offer us nearly the same sense of connectedness – in fact only its opposite – and our experience of mass would almost certainly suffer. If ad orientem were to become the norm, it would be a big step backwards for deaf catholics.

  5. Adam Y. says:


    This is yet another reason why we should return to the silent canon, in addition to ad orientem! In the TLM, the deaf are no less privileged than the rest of the congregation during this central part of Mass. (In the rest of Mass, of course, most people will rely on hand missals anyway, even though they can hear the Latin; but, unfortunately, the deaf will always miss out on the Gregorian Chant.) It seems that ad orientem gets all the discussion lately, with the point being that it conveys a certain symbolism that is more important than any desire of ours to see the priest’s face. What I haven’t heard discussed as much is the symbolism of the priest saying certain parts of the Mass inaudibly, which in turn is more important than our desire to hear him. If we’ve been well-catechized, and especially if we have access to a missal, then we _know_ what the priest is saying; so, what is important is not that we see his face, or hear his words, or that the words are in a language we know fluently; what is important is that the ceremony of the Mass symbolically communicates the reality of the Sacrifice that is taking place, in a way that no language can.

  6. Michael says:

    At my own parish, we have a deaf parishoner who comes to the Tridentine Mass every day. Clearly, he doesn’t feel threatened by ad orientem posture because he can’t read lips anymore than I do by Latin because I can only understand English. He uses a Missal, knows the order of the Mass, and participates just like anyone else. In fact, I’d venture to guess that as a deaf mute he feels more at home at the Tridentine Mass than the NO, where you’re not “actively participating” unless you’re shouting out the responses at the top of your lungs.

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