Card. Sarah: Priests should start saying Mass ‘ad orientem’ at Advent

If as a Church we want to effect something good and lasting, it has to be rooted in our sacred liturgical worship of God.  That’s our source.  That’s our summit.   This is where our identity is most deeply shaped.  We need a revitalization of our worship.

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, we have some news from the Sacra Liturgia conference underway. I soooo wanted to go to that.  My emphases and comments.

Cardinal Sarah asks priests to start celebrating Mass facing east this Advent

The Vatican’s liturgy chief said priests should view the proposed change as ‘something good for the Church, something good for our people’  [Like I said.]

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, has asked priests to begin celebrating Mass ad orientem, that is, facing east rather than towards the congregation.

The proposed reform is arguably the biggest liturgical announcement since Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum gave greater freedom for priests to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.  [The great liturgical scholar Klaus Gamber said that the reversal of our altars was the most damaging (uncalled for) innovation after Vatican II.]

Speaking at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London on Wednesday, the Guinean cardinal, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, addressed priests who were present, saying: “It is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes”.

The cardinal continued: “I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible.”  [It is possible in very many places.]

16_07_05_Sarah_CordileoneHe said that “prudence” and catechesis would be necessary, but told pastors to have “confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people”.

“Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend ‘the Lord who will come’ and ‘who will not delay’.”

These words were met with prolonged applause in the conference hall.

Cardinal Sarah had spoken on previous occasions about the merits of ad orientem worship, saying that from the Offertory onwards it was “essential that the priest and faithful look together towards the east”.

But his specifying of the first Sunday of Advent – which falls this year on November 27 – gives a new urgency to his calls for this form of worship.

Speaking after Cardinal Sarah, Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon said that, although he was “only one bishop of one diocese”, he would celebrate Mass ad orientem at his cathedral, and would address a letter to his diocese encouraging his priests to do the same.

In his talk, Cardinal Sarah also said that Pope Francis had asked him to begin a study of “the reform of the reform”, that is of adapting the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council. The cardinal said the study would seek “to enrich the two forms of the Roman rite”. [Hmmmm.]

Cardinal Sarah said that much liturgical study had suggested that some post-conciliar reforms “may have been put together according to the spirit of the times” and “gone beyond” of the Fathers of Vatican II, in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the constitution on the liturgy.  [Buginicare.  Not to mention the mistranslation of 299 of the GIRM.]

He said that some “very serious misinterpretations of the liturgy” had crept in, thanks to an attitude to the liturgy which placed man rather than God at the centre. [yep] 

“The liturgy is not about you and I,” Cardinal Sarah told the conference. “It is not where we celebrate our own identity or achievements or exalt or promote our own culture and local religious customs. The liturgy is first and foremost about God and what He has done for us.”

The Cardinal quoted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: “Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age.”

Cardinal Sarah emphasised a “hermeneutic of continuity”, saying that it was necessary to implement Sacrosanctum Concilium fully: “The Fathers did not intend a revolution, but an evolution.”

He made some specific observations, praising the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham as an example of how the Church could be enriched by other traditions.

In remarks which he did not have time to deliver, but which were later published on Sacra Liturgia’s Facebook page, the cardinal also encouraged kneeling at the consecration and for the reception of Communion. “Where kneeling and genuflection have disappeared from the liturgy, they need to be restored, in particular for our reception of our Blessed Lord in Holy Communion.”  [Kneeling for Communion!  And let’s all receive on the tongue!]

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

brick by brick

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  1. If it is not merely ignored, this address will be much more important than Summorum Pontificum, which affected only those who chose to attend the extraordinary form of Mass. If it is not simply ignored, this has the potential to affect the lives of far more Catholics on a much more regular basis. If it is not just ignored, some of the rest of what the Novus Ordo needs, such as Gregorian chant and Communion at the altar rail, might just sweep in on ad orientem’s coattails.

    So, will it actually be implemented at all, or just ignored, like so much of Sacrosanctum Concilium?

  2. GrumpyYoungMan says:

    If I weren’t at an FSSP-run parish, I would pester my pastor and Bishop regularly about this request from Card. Sarah.

    I might pester the Bishop anyway… :)

  3. Geoffrey says:

    I remember the one and only time I attended the OF Mass celebrated ad orientem. What a difference it made.

    There is more great coverage here:

    Let us pray for Cardinal Sarah. I have a feeling this request will fall on deaf ears in the majority of places, but time will tell. The Holy Father has requested Cardinal Sarah to study the issue of the “reform of the reform”. Good things could be on the horizon.

  4. TWF says:

    Wonderful news! Pope Francis may be confusing at times but he must be lauded for his appointment of Cardinal Sarah. I will be very disappointed if our cathedral doesn’t follow suit. We already have plenty of chant, Latin, incense and polyphony at the 11 am solemn (Novus Ordo) Sunday mass. Plus, amazingly, as long as I’ve been there (almost a decade) receiving kneeling at the altar rail has been an option (and an option chosen by I would say half the faithful at all Novus Ordo masses)

  5. Paul Young says:

    Thanks be to God! I realize this is one small brick, but it’s a start, just the same. Even if only 10% of the congregations comply, it will be 9.9% more than is at present worshiping as is called for by tradition and VII itself.

    I’m 56 this month and God willing, I feel like I might live to see the restoration of some of things we lost. Much more importantly, I might see the Church again becoming the beacon she is meant to be. It’s a lot to read from a small change, but I’m optimistic. My prayers will continue to be with this good Cardinal and his efforts.

  6. baileymxd says:

    I heard it through the grapevine our pastors had this idea in the works starting this advent. If this doesn’t give them more motivation, I don’t know what will!

  7. iudicame says:

    Gee, what a neat idea. Someone should have “suggested” it earlier.


  8. Random Friar says:

    So, asking for a “friend”:

    Is there a good pamphlet we can use to help promote Ad Orientem at our own parish, to help people prepare? We could come up with our own, but why re-invent the wheel, and probably a better-designed wheel? Any suggestions out there?

  9. Kerry says:

    Massive granite block by massive granite block!

  10. juergensen says:

    Alas, Cardinal Sarah “asking” that Mass “should” be celebrated ad orientem will be viewed by most bishops as the quaint musings of a “reactionary”, lacking the magisterial authority of a Pope Francis airplane presser.

  11. JCHanson says:

    Question based on ignorance (just joined the Church at Easter): Is facing East literal or symbolic? I am wondering if the altar in our church is supposed to be oriented towards the East or if the priest simply facing the altar along with the congregation is what is meant by Ad orientem? Sorry if my terminology is incorrect, going from a non-denominational Christian to a fully orthodox Catholic is a bit like drinking from a firehouse. I am learning, slowly but steadily.

  12. Father K says:

    The only likely way this can come to fruition would be for the Cardinal to address the bishops, especially the Ordinaries of each diocese. Leaving it up to priests to ‘just start doing it,’ is a bit like Mrs. Regan’s ‘Just say no.’

  13. Richard_amdg says:

    Isn’t this, in effect, meaningless unless he were to issue a decree as head of that congregation? And if His Eminence is serious about it, why wouldn’t he do so?

  14. Father K says:

    ‘The cardinal said the study would seek “to enrich the two forms of the Roman rite”. [Hmmmm.]’ Well I don’t know about a hmmmm. Many of the ‘new’ prefaces could be incorporated in the EF Missal as could many of Masses ‘at the back end’ of the OF Missal. Readers may also have their own ideas. Of course, this does not stop with the Missal. The Breviary of John XXIII is woefully impoverished, the patristic readings in the Liturgy of the Hours could be very beneficially incorporated. The Catholic practice has never been ‘either… or’ rather ‘both… and’ If this had been kept in mind in the 1960s we wouldn’t have gone through half a century of liturgy wars and worse.

  15. iPadre says:

    When we start seen ad orientem in the cathedrals, it will be a sign of the reform taking effect. But until then, it will fall on dead ears among most of the clergy.

  16. Nan says:

    @JCHanson, welcome home! East is meant to be both liturgical and symbolic; in an ideal world the Church would be faced so the altar faced East but failing that, facing the altar will do. We’re meant to look toward the Lord; the priest isn’t turning his back on us but leading us toward Our Savior.

    Grmpy Young Man, you bug your bishop, I’ll bug mine. And maybe a guy in the Department of Faith.

  17. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Continuing from JCHanson’s comment, Cardinal Sarah is quoted as saying, “It is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes”. “A common orientation” truly eastwards would mean, (1) towards the apse where the apse is truly in the east, and (2) together away from the apse in those Churches (including great ancient ones) where the apse is truly in the west. But (2) is probably not always very easy with much contemporary seating.

    And Cardinal Sarah seems to envisage a common ‘orientation’ towards a symbolic or notional or ‘liturgical east’ as an acceptable alternative to true actual eastward orientation regardless of how the particular Church is built.

    Does he go on to express a decided preference for truly over ‘symbolically’ eastward, or for ease of “common” direction even if apsidal rather than truly eastward ?

    This post has suddenly got me wondering if, for example in the liturgical movement prior to Vatican II, there was ever a preference for imitating those great ancient Churches where the apse is in the west even in Churches where the apse was actually in the east, resulting in a ‘liturgical east’ which coincided with the Celebrant behind a freestanding altar and versus populum (with them turning toward this ‘liturgical east’ at appropriate parts of the liturgy)?

  18. majuscule says:

    you bug your bishop, I’ll bug mine. And maybe a guy in the Department of Faith.

    My bishop is at the conference! It will be interesting to see what develops when he returns…

  19. Augustine says:

    It’s neither the reform nor the reform of the reform, but the restoration of the reform!

    I’m with Him!

  20. Pingback: Morning Catholic must-reads: 06/07/16 | CHRONICA

  21. donato2 says:

    What is this about “enriching” the Extraordinary Form? The idea of a pontificate that is not friendly to the Extraordinary Form “enriching” it makes me nervous.

  22. DanJay1983 says:

    “He said that “prudence” and catechesis would be necessary”

    I understand the purpose of ad orientem with the priest and people facing the Lord together. However, are there more in-depth resources available from a historical and/or theological perspective? Is there a good book, article or other catechetical resource that dives into it more?

  23. oldconvert says:

    For a return to kneeling to receive, many of us of a certain age will require also the restoration of the altar rails, as something to hang on to! I manage to genuflect in the queue just before receiving, only by hanging on to the nearest pew, but if I kneel in the empty space where the altar rail used to stand, I will need a helping arm to get up again.

    Reversing the physical damage done to Catholic churches by the “reforms” after VII will not be a simple matter. In my own parish the altar was literally smashed up, statues dumped, wall and ceiling paintings hurriedly just emulsioned over with a plain wash. It has achieved all the quiet devout atmosphere of a bus shelter. Even the great crucifix that hung over the altar was banished to a side wall, where nobody need look at it unless they seek it out, and replaced by a modern abstract confection so confusing in execution it could be representing anything at all.

    The whole episode was reminiscent of the accounts of the 1530s and the 1650s. Thomas and Oliver would have been proud of that generation. Many of whom are still around to say to Card. Sarah, “But it’s a step back!”

  24. Sonshine135 says:

    Lord, we pray Cardinal Sarah is our next Pope, not only for his liturgical understanding, but for his bold and prudent proclamations. Send you holy angels to watch over and protect him. Open the hearts of your people to understand him. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.

  25. TNCath says:

    This is an extremely courageous endeavor for Cardinal Sarah to initiate. The question is whether bishops, particularly the ones in the United States, will actually implement it. Or will this be yet another “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” “Essential Elements in the Church’s Teaching on Religious Life,” or Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter to Cardinal McCormick regarding “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles”?

    I hope and pray this will not be the case.

  26. albizzi says:

    I am afraid that the holy cardinal Sarah will not be obeyed but only by a few traditional priests.

  27. stuart reiss says:

    HE Robert Cardinal Sarah address at SL 2016 London

  28. stuart reiss says:


    I hope i’m not impinging on some copy right laws..but I think this involves the universal Church so all have a right to information..I was there so would like to share…

  29. Henry Edwards says:

    Random Friar: “Is there a good pamphlet we can use to help promote Ad Orientem at our own parish, to help people prepare?”

    The materials with which Fr. Jay Scott Newman prepared his parish in Greenville, SC for ad orientem celebration:

  30. Matthew Gaul says:

    I’ve seen that traditional liturgical improvements such as this are often only suggestions, or at best, “facultative.”

    I tend to presume that this is because this is seen as “the best we can do” in the face of reality, or because as a matter of philosophy and temperament traditional leaders are not revolutionaries, they prefer digestible changes.

    But I’m curious if by doing it this way, they are setting up local bishops or priests to some day claim the force of custom.

    That is, if Rome mandates ad orientem by law, the next frisky pope could just reverse it, but I understand custom is tougher to undo.

    Anyone more knowledgeable than I think there is anything to this?

  31. EeJay says:

    Unless this becomes part of the liturgy by some kind of official decree then I can’t see parishes adopting this. I would love it if they did but I can’t see it happening by polite invitation.

  32. Benedict Joseph says:

    Our parish began the practice “ad orientem” three or four years back. Combined with the proper translation of the liturgical texts provided at the time it has achieved an enormous improvement in reverence and prayerfulness at Mass. We still have lousy music and an atrocious church building, but this small reform made all the difference. Our pastor was brave to make the move. I worried that he would find disapproval from the chancellery and the parishioners, but all went beautifully. Anywhere it is given a chance I am sure, after a month, no one will question its impact for the good. Only those with an axe to grind, anyway. And you do have to watch for axes.

  33. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Random Friar: No need to reinvent the wheel, as you say. My friend Fr. Jay Finelli has produced a good pamphlet explaining ad orientem celebration. You can contact him at Holy Ghost Church in Tiverton, RI:

  34. Emilio says:

    I notice Archbishop Cordileone walking next to Cardinal Sarah. If at advent the Archbishop of San Francisco offers mass ad orientem, then we can be assured on these shores that the Cardinal has been taken very seriously. I love how he said “BE COURAGEOUS!” He nails it, because where there is the good will and conviction to face east, often it’s the courage that is lacking. I am blessed that the OF that I attend is already offered ad orientem, with chant and polyphony, and we kneel at the altar rail for Holy Communion. I sincerely hope that beauty and correct worship will come the way to the rest of you who do not experience this regularly.

  35. Giuseppe says:

    Overheard a few years ago at Mass (OF):

    Elderly woman, visibly annoyed at all of the chit chat going on in the church before Mass, to her friend in a stage whisper: “In the days we faced the altar, you’d never hear this cacophony before Mass.”

    There is no sense of place in many churches now.

  36. VeritasVereVincet says:

    We have a freestanding altar, so my priest could begin saying Mass facing east (and it would be facing east) any time he chose, provided there’s no heap of decorations in front of the altar.

    I would prefer he focus his effort on different battles, like getting the tabernacle into the sanctuary for the first time ever.

  37. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless Card. Sarah.

  38. HeatherPA says:

    Please, Lord, let the priests of our country heed this request.

    Would that it will also necessitate bringing the tabernacle back to the altar in those poor churches where the Lord is relegated to a dusty forgotten corner, away from the altar.

  39. Mike says:

    My pastor (ordained 1970) would think I was insane if I asked for this change. On the other hand, a wonderful parish we go to about once or twice a month for a TLM is doing this for all their Masses. In this sense, I think it’s the SSPX who says this crisis is a crisis of the priesthood. Indeed.

  40. arickett says:

    Live and let live cuts both ways this is interfering with the majorities right to have their mass hope you are ready for the fight back

  41. Jon Haines says:

    This is good news, but I’m also a bit nervous.

    I hate to be a the one who brings the negative out when apparently good things are happening, but there were many other projects which Benedict XVI started, which, apparently out of mere respect, were continued but jettisoned his original intention. For example, the investigation of the women religious in the U.S., the “Reform of the Curia” (everyone agreed that needed to be done, but how?) and many other things.
    The phrase “both forms of the Roman Rite need to be enriched” is something obviously Benedict would support. What that looks like, however, and if Francis (or any future pope) can or will stick with Benedict’s original intention, is totally up for grabs once the project gets started. Considering how those who Benedict placed in the curia (presumably because he trusted them to carry out that view have been treated) have been largely replaced by those with a different view, I’m not extremely optimistic about launching the project in this windstorm. Its a great opportunity to cut the legs out from under Summorum Pontificum by enriching both forms – the same way Bugnini did. I wonder what Fr. Z thinks…

  42. Mike says:

    “Live and let live cuts both ways . . .” sigh. The idea that there could ever be, or have been, a “both ways” is what’s devastated the Church’s mission at least for the last two generations.

    Holy Mass is not built for the comfort of the majority. It is the worship due from every man to Almighty God, our Creator, by Whose only-begotten Son our redemption is effected and re-presented in the Sacrifice of the Altar. It is the means through which Christ calls us to know Him, without Whom no one can be saved, in the most intimate way possible, and to be led by Him to holiness in this world and beatitude in the next.

    If we don’t get that message straight, and start acting like we believe it, and then start sharing it as boldly and broadly as possible, we’re in a heap of trouble. Possibly for eternity.

  43. Simon_GNR says:

    Giuseppe wrote: “Elderly woman, visibly annoyed at all of the chit chat going on in the church before Mass, to her friend in a stage whisper: “In the days we faced the altar, you’d never hear this cacophony before Mass.”
    “There is no sense of place in many churches now.”

    I strongly agree with Giuseppe. The chattering before and after Mass, as if the Lord Jesus was not truly, physically present in the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, is really annoying. It seems to me that the problem has appeared only over the last 30 years – the time for which I have been attending Catholic Mass. I cannot understand or explain the increasing lack of reverence for the Real Presence, except by a decline in belief in this fundamental doctrine.
    At the Saturday evening Mass I usually attend, there’s one old lady who often stops to have a natter with her friends as she is making her way back to the pew after receiving Holy Communion!! And she’s old enough to have been brought up in the faith pre-Vatican II!! She must have been taught to act reverently and with proper decorum in the pre-V2 Church, surely?

  44. Rocha90 says:

    Deo Gratias!

    Thank you Cardinal Sarah!

  45. Michael_Thoma says:

    I suspect the majority of churches are oriented with the priest facing the wrong way, but the people still face East as they had previously. The nonstop chatter and conversation has less to do with the congregation’s physical dimension – rather it’s probably due to the lack of spiritual soberness of the priest, Bishop and inability to hand down what they do not themselves do not have.

    Even quite serious and otherwise solid Latin Rite priests I have met in my lifetime, have been prone to silliness and plain dumb behavior (flicking the water at the server holding the water/bowl for the lavabo) unbecoming of the somberness and sobriety of the Holy moment. I’m not sure what the remedy is – if one was able to complete one or more Masters level degrees in theology and other areas, interact with people as a spiritual elder and counselor, spend years as an associate, counsel the dying and sick, some even volunteer to serve in military chaplaincy – and still not ‘get it’..

  46. ACM says:

    Father K says that “The Breviary of John XXIII is woefully impoverished, the patristic readings in the Liturgy of the Hours could be very beneficially incorporated.” Hmmmmmm. Interesting to note, unless I am mistaken, that the Liturgy of Hours very beneficially incorporated patristic readings from the Breviary of John XXIII. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Liturgy of the Hours very beneficially retained some of the patristic readings from the Breviary of John XXIII, which, as an aside, I do not find “woefully impoverished” but, as always, YMMV.

  47. un-ionized says:

    I can’t imagine this being implemented in a diocese where the bishop has chosen to act as if Summorum Pontificum doesn’t exist. But we will see. Meanwhile I put on my “Songlasses” and face East.

  48. Montenegro says:

    Father Z: If you were unable to attend the Sacra Liturgia Conference in London, suggest you try to attend the Sacra Liturgia Summer School in the south of France in August. I attended it over the course of several days last year, and was honored to meet and spend time talking with Bishop Dominique Rey (in whose diocese the SLSS takes place, and who of course sponsors the SL Conference), and Bishop Athanasius Schneider. It was an awesome experience – highly recommended!

  49. Random Friar says:

    My thanks and gratitude for the two suggestions — I think we’re on to something good here!

  50. JKnott says:

    The magnificent altar at our Basilica in Wtby just got hacked apart, at some considerable cost, so that the “celebrant” could stand behind it facing the people. The majestic tabernacle got shoved further back and put on a stand behind the altar much lower and hard to view. The tabernacle pretty much disappears until the light is put on for Mass and even then when the priest says Mass he blots out the view altogether. So all in all, I guess there won’t be any ad orientem in our archdiocese.
    I cannot believe for a minute that this blessed request will be implemented in most places. And in addition the vast number of sheep will riot.
    What worries me even more is that wonderful Cardinal Sarah may soon be going the way of Cardinal Burke.

  51. Absit invidia says:

    In a sane world the whole church would be implementing the ideas of the Prefect, but alas we have bishops in staunch opposition to any such action. I notice two things from the Prefect: 1) the cardinal addresses PRIESTS not bishops and 2) he uses the word SHOULD not “shall.” While many priests may agree and be both eager and willing to implement the idea, they won’t dare oppose their aging bishops, formed in 1970’s theology, and scowling down the bridge of their noses, hands in their hips, and shooting darts from their eyes that read ” don’t you dare.”

  52. Widukind says:

    What are the chances that P. Francis will at the last minute
    throw Cardinal Sarah under the bus?
    Can a bishop prohibit ad orientem in his diocese?
    And, if he does can one have recourse to a higher authority?

  53. SanSan says:

    Amen! Until then its 1 hour and back for the TLM Mass!

  54. SanSan says:

    Oh, and did I get to mention that on Easter Sunday I got to greet and to kiss Cdl. Sarah’s ring? He is most humble and kind.

  55. un-ionized says:

    Widukind, Judging by my experience, a bishop can do whatever he wants in his diocese and it depends on who is the higher authority. I have a situation which would require the intervention of the papal nuncio but there is no way I am going to put myself through that pain. We are learning to pray. I just got a book recently by Anthony Bloom called Learning to Pray which is helpful to me.

  56. robtbrown says:

    This might be a good time to employ the liberal MO:

    Whoever disagrees with Cardinal Sarah is a racist.

  57. Gabriel Syme says:

    This is a worthwhile initiative from Cardinal Sarah, however I would bet that it will simply be ignored in most places.

    Sadly, I think its a long time since anything a Pope or Senior Cardinal said could be expected to be automatically implemented in many Dioceses. The chances are even lower if it involves any great effort on the behalf of Bishops or Clergy, or is anything which might not be pleasing to Protestantism (Summorum Pontificum being a great example of this, as well as all of what JP2 taught about communion-in-the-hand).

    The exception, of course, is anything which is liberal or undermines Catholicism, which is always quickly seized upon by certain types of clergy.

    Any priest who takes up this idea may receive complaints about “creating an unwelcoming atmosphere” or similar.

    That said, I do know one fine priest in our Archdiocese who already does this when saying the Novus Ordo mass (I only attend his TLMs however). I do know that he has at times had to deal with very aggressive lay people for having the audacity to say the traditional mass, or for doing anything even half-way Catholic.

    A few petulant people left his parish, but they have been replaced by others eager for an authentic Catholic experience. I think he is slowly but surely building something special in his parish, so more power to him!

  58. juergensen says:

    Widukind says: “What are the chances that P. Francis will at the last minute
    throw Cardinal Sarah under the bus?”

    Ask Cardinal Burke.

  59. robtbrown says:

     Father K says:

    ‘The cardinal said the study would seek “to enrich the two forms of the Roman rite”. [Hmmmm.]’ Well I don’t know about a hmmmm. Many of the ‘new’ prefaces could be incorporated in the EF Missal as could many of Masses ‘at the back end’ of the OF Missal. Readers may also have their own ideas. Of course, this does not stop with the Missal. The Breviary of John XXIII is woefully impoverished, the patristic readings in the Liturgy of the Hours could be very beneficially incorporated.

    More than once, I’ve asked myself: How could have priests persevered in their vocations without the benefit of readings in the Divine Office from Gaudium et Spes and other VatII documents? How could they have survived reading only the likes of St Augustine, St Gregory and St Leo the Greats, St Ambrose, and Origen?

  60. acardnal says:

    One favorable aside to this suggestion, I hope, is relocating the so called “presidential/presider’s” chair from the center of the sanctuary to the side.

  61. acardnal says:

    Random Friar wrote, “Is there a good pamphlet we can use to help promote Ad Orientem at our own parish, to help people prepare? . . . . Any suggestions out there?”

    iPadre has a pamphlet available HERE

  62. Maynardus says:

    Two thoughts/comments:

    1.) Re: “What are the chances that P. Francis will at the last minute throw Cardinal Sarah under the bus?” (and similar concerns), I am wondering whether the sitting prefect of the CDW would – for the second time in two months – publicly express such sentiments without at least tacit approval of the Holy Father… especially in light of the reported comment that “Pope Francis had asked him to begin a study of ‘the reform of the reform’ “… I’m fairly certain that the conversation was more substantial than “Bob, can you look over this ‘RotR’ thing and give me a one-pager and a few bullet points on it?”

    2.) A friend who has been in the “traddie trenches” for at least as long as I have (+20y) made the point to me last night that one of the geniuses of Summorum Pontificum was the manner in which Pope Benedict expressed the liceity of the TLM: not by “granting” a right but by asserting – or “revealing”, if that is not too much of a stretch – a “truth”, i.e. that the 1962 Missal had never been abrogated, making it much more difficult (in theory and in law although perhaps not ultimately in fact) for any future pope who sought to restrict its use. There is not an exact parallel here, butit does seem as though the good Cardinal is proceeding in an equally astute fashion: he has had six weeks or so to gauge the response to his interview in which he bruited a return to Ad orientem somewhat publicly… one has to believe that he has calibrated the tenor of his most recent remarks at Sacra Liturgia based upon the feedback he has received; not excluding – as I postulated above – that of the Holy Father. And as others have noted, like B16 in SP he is primarily addressing himself to his brother priests. This will undoubtedly give “cover” to a greater-than-zero number of courageous priests… like with SP, the trick is getting thing to the point where the “genii” cannot easily be put back into the bottle!

    Of course this is all speculation on my part, and I am not in any way minimizing the difficulties – nor does Cardinal Sarah – but I cannot help being cautiously-optimistic over this… Apologies for the rather lengthy post ;-)

  63. seattle_cdn says:

    This might be a good time to plug that Noon Mass at Blessed Sacrament in Seattle will be Ad Orientem

  64. ACM says:

    Father K says: “More than once, I’ve asked myself: How could have priests persevered in their vocations without the benefit of readings in the Divine Office from Gaudium et Spes and other VatII documents? How could they have survived reading only the likes of St Augustine, St Gregory and St Leo the Greats, St Ambrose, and Origen?”

    Dear Father, I must be missing something here. The documents of Vatican II were published during the time period 1963-65. The current edition of the Liturgy of the Hours, which includes some readings from some of the documents of Vatican II, was published in 1975 and 1976. But priests did not have to wait ten years or more after the publication of the documents of Vatican II to read and contemplate them. Surely priests had a responsibility to already have been including these documents in their own spiritual reading and ongoing formation and studies — a responsibility that continues throughout their lives. For religious orders, both male and female, formation is ongoing until death. Likewise many lay people I have known over the years have assumed a similar responsibility and diligently tend to their ongoing formation on a regular basis. It is wonderful indeed that the revised Liturgy of the Hours includes some readings from Vatican II, but these readings are only a glimpse of an enormous treasure. Limiting one’s exposure to the documents of Vatican II through the Liturgy of Hours instead of reading, studying and contemplating them at length is like settling for an appetizer instead of eating the entire 10-course meal!

  65. Uxixu says:

    I thought that was sarcasm. The 1962 Breviary was neutered… it needs the readings, at least, from the 2nd and 3rd Nocturns of Sunday Matins restored, at least as optional but so much great reading there…. At the very least an addendum.

    The 1960 ranking system was badly needed, but the blanket lowering of every simplex feast to commemorations was horrible, to put the Feria above the Feasts of so many ancient martyrs (who had their ranking set when there were only three grades, codified under St. Pius V). The 1955 Holy Week was only in force for barely a decade before the Novus Ordo… it should be made optional with the previous Holy Week made the norm for the EF along with restoration of at least a few more octaves (Sacred Heart and Corpus Christi are obvious… perhaps the Assumption, as well.

  66. Michael_Thoma says:

    Anthony Bloom, also better known as, Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and Ireland

  67. Father K says:

    ‘Dear Father, I must be missing something here.’ You sure are. I didn’t say that. Go back and read MY comment, not a comment on a comment.


  68. Father K says:

    Better idea, why don’t we all decide for ourselves and have our own little liturgies according to our personal preference. We are talking about the CATHOLIC Church. You have a lot of ‘should’ ideas, well apparently for the last 60 odd years the Popes have thought otherwise.

  69. un-ionized says:

    also known as the late Anthony Bloom. That book is a spiritual classic.

  70. robtbrown says:


    In the Breviarum Roman the readings were coordinated with the daily Gospel. And the Gospel was read–or at least the first few lines–at the end of Matins. Before the priest read it, he put on a stole.

    Although the argument can be made that the increase in texts from the Gospel enriches the experience of Scripture, it can also be said that the concept of the theme of the celebration of saints has been lost. Certain texts were previously used for martyrs, abbots, doctors, et al. Now, even when the Lectiones Alterae are good (e.g., Jean de Brebeuf), they are not intended to be coordinated with a specific Gospel. ‘

    During the Christmas Octave, however, the wonderful texts from Leo the Great were retained.

    I also must say that I find the inclusion of the Christological Hymns in the new Breviary to be a welcome addition, especially since they are considered to have been very early texts even though of High Christology.

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