The gravitational pull works down under too!

I am informed of a marvelous thing. 

Apparently in Melbourne, Australia’s Cathedral of St. Patrick the altar has been altered.

There is now, front and center, a crucifix.  

Look familiar?

Folks, the gravitational pull is working its wonderous effects, even down under where the seasons are backwards.

Let true ad orientem worship be next!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Ah yes. Almost a code for “Here the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be offered”.

  2. Johnny Domer says:

    Ad orientem, methinks, will only come about if His Holiness starts offering Mass ad orientem regularly. Obviously he can’t really do that in the major Roman Basilicas, where the Pope has always wound up “facing the people” while being ad orientem. However, when they have Mass in St. Peter’s Square, when he offers Mass at the Altar of the Chair or the Sistine Chapel (he did that once), and particularly when he travels, I think it would have a tremendous effect. I think that maybe my expectations are too high, but if he had celebrated just ONE of his Masses in the US ad orientem…oh man…what a tremendous thing that would have been.

  3. EJ says:

    Johnny – the Pope has effectively “reoriented” the exterior perception of his interior disposition to offer the Mass ad Deum per Iesum Christum “ad orientem versus” simply by the way he has ordered the candlesticks and crucifix to be arranged at the High Altar of St. Peter’s. I believe that Paul VI celebrated his coronation Mass in St. Peter’s Square, not in the basilica, and he also faced in the same direction as now – and that was 1962, a few years before any liturgical changes were approved. The Holy Father already set an important precedent in the Sistine Chapel last January. But yes, I do hope he mentions this issue explicitly as well at some point – I do hope we are graced by an encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy by this most liturgically well-versed Pope.

  4. alistair says:

    Ah, yes. And who might be the Bishop of Melbourne? Peter Elliot of course, recently appointed by Benedict. He of the phrase ‘mendacious banality’ as applied to the current ICEL texts. He who celebrates the EF regularly.

    More please!

  5. sigil7 says:


    H.E. Bishop Eliot is not the “bishop of Melbourne”, he’s merely an auxiliary. Pray God that someday he be elevated to his own see as ordinary!

  6. Graham says:

    His Lordship the Most Rev Dr Peter Elliott is Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne.
    His Grace the Most Rev Dr Dennis Hart is Archbishop and Metropolitan of Melbourne.

  7. Rachel says:

    At my church, since the motu proprio, I’ve seen the following:

    1) One of our priests who learned the TLM began to keep his forefinger and thumb closed after the consecration even while saying the NO Mass.
    2) At least one woman began wearing a mantilla even to the NO Mass. (Okay, that was me.)
    3) And just *yesterday* they put a crucifix like the one above on our NO altar!

    Our parish already had a fair bit of mantilla-wearing and Latin and even quick kneeling in line to receive Communion, but the TLM seems to encourage things along.

  8. alistair says:

    Thanks sigil.

    In which case that’s even more intriguing! Who is the current Bish, and do you think Bp Elliot had a say in this?


  9. Andy says:

    Can the “average” priest at a parish have the seven candles? Or is that just a bishop thing?

  10. EDG says:

    I think we need a little re-education program to teach people what the word ALTAR means and what it signifies. And it means the same thing in the OF as in the EF.

    I was in a church – a cathedral, in fact – a couple of days ago when the 40ish female “liturgist” came out to instruct a transitional deacon in something he was supposed to do at an upcoming service. She was standing where the priest stands, and first spent about 5 minutes leaning her bosom on her arms on the altar, sort of as if she were waiting for somebody to bring her a beer, while she talked to the deacon. Then she turned sideways and propped herself up against it for awhile so she’d have a free hand for pointing the deacon around. Finally she turned all the way around and leaned her back and backside against it; she put her hands behind her and for a moment, I thought she was about to boost herself up and sit on it, but fortunately she stopped short of doing that.

    She was not only scandalizing the visitors and revealing her total ignorance of the significance of the altar, but she was also doing a serious disservice to the deacon, who is to be ordained to the priesthood in just a few weeks. The bishop is the teacher for his diocese, and in each diocese, he should be out there teaching about the altar. After all, it’s not something that stands in isolation, but is part of the whole concept of the sacrifice and hence the Mass. And it’s the bishop’s responsibility to see to this. (Of course, firing the “liturgists” might help, too.)

  11. Andy, the 7 candles are just for a Bishop.

  12. Jason W says:

    I hear that Liturgical Dancers spin the other way, down there.

  13. australiaincognita says:

    Archbishop Hart is an outstanding archbishop – one of the few bastians of orthodoxy (with Cardinal Pell) in an otherwise rather barren land. He has celebrated the extraordinary form on many occasions. No surprise that he is following the Holy Father’s guidance on this one.

  14. Archbishop Hart is a man of great liturgical gravitas in his own right. He is the Australian Bishops Conference representative on the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), and has been directly involved in the process of preparing the new translation of the misssal. The marvellous conjunction of two great liturgical stars in the Melbourne episcopate shows what can happen when brothers in the episcopacy support and encourage eachother in doing the right thing. Please pray that the altar cross is a permanent fixture and not a once off.

  15. Al says:

    Thanks everyone for the information on Bishop Hart.

    Melbourne is lucky indeed! I have a good work colleague / friend) who is based there; who knows, I may visit one day, and would certainly drop by the Cathedral.

    This post and the more recent one from Glasgow make me so happy; things are just beginning to look up in places for the poor, beleaguered Ordinary Form.

    Things can only get better!

  16. henri says:

    To be honest, I’m skeptical that ordinaries or bishops will start celebrating novus ordo ad orientem before the Pope regularly does so. It’s taken a while to get to this stage!!

  17. catchy says:

    Thank Heavens!

    To my knowledge, there’s only one place in all Australia where you’ll find the Novus Ordo celebrated in Latin and priest ad orientam, and that’s in the inner city of Melbourne. It seems that Arbhishop Hart has promoted this too.

    I got the link the other day for those interested:

    This group sounds like they are trying to do the right thing.

    It’s a small and amateur schola, I belive, but very dedicated and worthy celebration.

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