His Holiness of our Lord, Pope Francis, recently celebrated Holy Mass ad orientem versus at the tomb of Bl. John Paul II which is in the Vatican Basilica.
I wouldn’t get too worked up about this. Let’s not forget the appalling rearrangement of the Sistina after his election.
First, it would have been impossible to set up an ironing-board altar within the bounds of the Communion rail at the altar where John Paul is situated. Believe me, those side altars in St. Peter’s don’t leave much room between the altar’s step and the rail.
He could have had an altar set up outside the Communion rail, but then we wouldn’t have been celebrating Mass on the tomb of the Blessed.
The only alternative was to put on the polyester vestment and celebrate as the architecture required. He could have at least used a white vestment and used the Mass formulary for Bl. John Paul.
So, don’t get too excited about this.
At the same time, if someone flings in your face that you can’t have Masses ad orientem, send them this picture. The fact remains: Francis said Mass ad orientem versus.