Card. Sarah’s words to priests and bishops about “turning toward the Lord”

Francis_Ad_OrientemCard. Sarah’s appeal to priests and bishops on 5 July in London:

[…]

I want to make an appeal to all priests. You may have read my article in L’Osservatore Romano one year ago (12 June 2015) or my interview with the journal Famille Chrétienne in May of this year. On both occasions I said that I believe that 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, in those parts of the liturgical rites when we are addressing God. This practice is permitted by current liturgical legislation. It is perfectly legitimate in the modern rite. Indeed, I think it is a very important step in ensuring that in our celebrations the Lord is truly at the centre.

And so, dear Fathers, I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible, with prudence and with the necessary catechesis, certainly, but also with a pastor’s 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’ (see: Introit, Mass of Wednesday of the first week of Advent) may be a very good time to do this. Dear Fathers, we should listen again to the lament of God proclaimed by the prophet Jeremiah: “they have turned their back to me” (2:27). Let us turn again towards the Lord!

I would like to appeal also to my brother bishops: please lead your priests and people towards the Lord in this way, particularly at large celebrations in your dioceses and in your cathedral. Please form your seminarians in the reality that we are not called to the priesthood to be at the centre of liturgical worship ourselves, but to lead Christ’s faithful to him as fellow worshippers. Please facilitate this simple but profound reform in your dioceses, your cathedrals, your parishes and your seminaries.

[…]

He also made an appeal to use more Latin and Gregorian chant.  He asked for more silence and kneeling.  He pointed to the work of Joseph Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy (UK HERE).  Card. Sarah said: “Pope Francis has asked me to continue the liturgical work Pope Benedict began (see: Message to Sacra Liturgia USA2015, New York City).”

Sunday, July 3, 2016 at St. Mary of Pine Bluff – Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (Fr. Z) offers the Novus Ordo Mass facing east (ad orientem) – From Fr. Heilman – HERE

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31 Responses to Card. Sarah’s words to priests and bishops about “turning toward the Lord”

  1. Father K says:

    Unless something official comes out addressed to the bishop, this will never come to fruition

  2. lawoski says:

    Father K-

    Instead of waiting for Cardinal Sarah to send something official, print out this blog post (or an article about the speech from a Catholic news source) and send it to your bishop with a request to implement Cardinal Sarah’s suggestion. If you fear reprisal, send it anonymously or pseudonymously via snail-mail from the next parish or two over from yours or from outside the diocese. What’s the worst the bishop can say? No? Instead of waiting for someone else to do something, we all need to get busy!

  3. St. Rafael says:

    Bravo, Cardinal Sarah! I had urged him in the past to do more, and this couldn’t be any more clearer and magnificent. Bishops and priests have no excuse now. The Catholic faithful should be sending Cardinal Sarah’s speech and words to all their diocene bishops and pastors, not only here in the USA, but also around the world.

    Fr. K,
    As Cardinal Sarah pointed out, Ad Orientem is already approved by the Church. Pastors and priests do not need to the consent of their bishop. So even if bishops do not do it in their cathedrals, priests can still celebrate Ad Orientem in their parishes, even if the bishop doesn’t follow suit. Let the priests carry out this mission and witness to the bishops of the Catholic Church.

  4. EeJay says:

    I agree with Father K – however I am pleased Cardinal Sarah is being more direct with his words, although they are just words for now maybe this is preparing the faithful for something more formal and binding. Notice how Cardinal Sarah indicated that this was the will of Pope Francis.

  5. Father K says:

    I hope it is just that, let’s look forward to something more formal and binding!

  6. frjim4321 says:

    Sadly this will just exacerbate the intergenerational fracturing of presbyterates throughout the world, particularly in the United States. [If it does, its the fault of liberal aging ecclesiastically sterile hippies.] As was the case with LA and SP this is another self-inflicted wound designed to hasten Catholic attrition to evangelical mega-churches, not to mention the church of the “Nones.”

    [Myopic and erroneous.]

  7. Augustine says:

    I heard of priests who celebrate the liturgy facing East every now and then that they’d get in trouble with their bishops should they do this in a Sunday liturgy. What freedom does a priest have to follow the GIRM?

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    frjim4321: The most liberal young priest I know, a guy who talks in his homilies about how he is not going to talk about voting Democratic, made sure that the new chapel altar was oriented to the East and found a way to say Mass ad orientem. And he was following the plans of the previous priest, a middle-aged guy who was also liberal and also designed the orientation of the altar to be eastward.

    Now, I am no big fan of sticking the altar in the middle of church and saying it ad orientem from there. But the point is that any responsible priest, who understands Christian doctrine and history, knows that the wave of the future is the same as the wave of the past. We pray towards the Resurrected Lord, because we are Christians who await His coming. We did it in the First Century, and we will do it on the day of the Second Coming. Not doing it is what’s weird, the kind of historical anomaly that other times will find bizarre and funny.

    There is no lack of smarts in the world’s Catholic presbyterate. The question is one of will, of belief, and of caring about worshipping the Lord with our bodies. It isn’t even a conservative thing; it is a worship of Jesus Christ thing.

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Suburbanbanshee,

    Thanks for the experiential evidence re., as you express it, “We did it in the First Century, and we will do it on the day of the Second Coming. Not doing it is what’s weird, the kind of historical anomaly that other times will find bizarre and funny.”

    If I may, I’d like to cross reference your comment at another recent post: “In a church where the altar does not face east, the priest faces ‘liturgical east,’ which is determined by the altar.”

    Historically, in Churches where the apse was not in the east, the Celebrant simply faced east indeed, even if that meant being ‘pone altare versus populum ad orientem’ (if that’s Latin as well as ‘my Latin’).

    I am hoping to order and read the liturgical studies Fr. Z has happily reminded us of, here and elsewhere lately. Meanwhile, do you happen to know about the history of the rise of the idea of ‘liturgical apsidal east’? Did it ever clash with and prevail over actual ‘pone altare versus populum ad orientem’? It seems only really to make sense where building conditions necessitate that the nave axis ends up something other than true east-west.

    It seems curious that contemporary ‘versus populum’ where it is not also actually ‘ad orientem’ is a sort of imitation (conscious or not) of that – is in fact another kind of ‘liturgical east orientation’ but then in imitation of places like St. Peter’s Basilica. More curious is this apparent bizarre hostility on the part of some to any other kind of ‘ad orientem’.

  10. Giuseppe says:

    Padre,
    I love the picture of your celebrating Mass facing the high altar.
    Gorgeous photo, and a beautiful church.
    The NO is a beautiful liturgy when said right, and on this really dispiriting day, Padre, there is something about this photo which really touched my heart.
    Keep up the good work, Padre,
    Giuseppe

  11. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    Sadly this will just exacerbate the intergenerational fracturing of presbyterates throughout the world, particularly in the United States. As was the case with LA and SP this is another self-inflicted wound designed to hasten Catholic attrition to evangelical mega-churches, not to mention the church of the “Nones.”

    It’s a consequence of vernacular liturgy. Use of the vernacular is liturgical fracking.

  12. Giuseppe says:

    Frjim4321,

    I don’t think I am smart enough to understand this your posting.

    Is your argument that younger priests will celebrate Mass ad orientem and older priests versus populum? Is that the “intergenerational fracturing of presbyterates” you are talking about?

    Or are you talking about who attends the masses? Is your hypothesis that younger parishioners will not go to ad orientem masses, but instead go to versus populum masses or to mega-churches?

    Your second statement is even more concerning.

    Do you think Pope Francis is aiming “to hasten Catholic attrition to evangelical mega-churches” by writing LA? Same with Pope Benedict XVI hoping to thin out Catholic ranks via SP?

    Or did you mean to say that these might be unintended consequences of these documents, and that they weren’t “designed to hasten Catholic attrition” but rather might have the unintended effect of doing it?

    (I don’t agree that they will hasten an exodus, but I want to understand your argument, as it is an accusation against the current pope and the pope emeritus that I had not heard before, and it is a serious charge to make against the two popes.)

    Giuseppe

  13. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    robtbrown,

    There must be more to it than that, or things would not have gone so well for Ninth- and Tenth-century Slavs and their descendants (until…?).

    Sti Cyrilli et Methodii, ora pro nobis!

  14. Father G says:

    I agree with Father K. Even though it is not necessary, an official declaration from the CDWDS encouraging more Masses facing east would be a big help for some priests. I speak about this from personal experience.

    When I was newly ordained, I wanted to begin celebrating Mass ad orientem at the parish where I was assigned, but my pastor prevented me from doing so. Although he was in favor of celebrating Mass facing east, he wanted to wait until an official statement came out from the CDWDS. He was concerned that celebrating Mass ad orientem could cause division with the other priests of the diocese.

    After he was transferred to another parish, I was able to celebrate Mass ad orientem at the parish and continue to do so. In fact, when a pastor from a sister parish in the diocese learned that I was celebrating Mass ad orientem, he introduced it at his parish.

  15. iamlucky13 says:

    ” As was the case with LA and SP this is another self-inflicted wound designed to hasten Catholic attrition to evangelical mega-churches, not to mention the church of the ‘Nones.'”

    That’s, first of all, a dubious claim. Care to back it up?

    I have encountered people who end up at a TLM unintentionally and disliked it, but never heard from anybody who ever made a claim such as, “the existence of Latin Mass, despite the fact that I have never attended it or even really know what it is like, made up my mind that the fullness of Truth is not in the Catholic Church.” I have, in contrast, heard from some who cited symbolism and reverence of the Catholic liturgy as a factor in their conversion *to* Catholicism.

    That’s secondly, a distinctly accusatory claim. “Designed?” You honestly believe that Pope Benedict’s intent was to drive people away from the Church?

    ” Even though it is not necessary, an official declaration from the CDWDS encouraging more Masses facing east would be a big help for some priests. “

    This makes sense. It not only clarifies to priests they have the option (and perhaps encourages some to study the history and meaning of both the Ad Orientem and Versus Populem directions), but pre-empts any mistaken notions bishops might hold that they should or even can forbid their priests from following the options legitimately provided by the GIRM.

  16. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Fr. G says:

    “After he was transferred to another parish, I was able to celebrate Mass ad orientem at the parish and continue to do so. In fact, when a pastor from a sister parish in the diocese learned that I was celebrating Mass ad orientem, he introduced it at his parish.”

    As Fr Z says, brick-by-brick!

    MSM

  17. St. Rafael says:

    I hope it is just that, let’s look forward to something more formal and binding!

    Even though it is not necessary, an official declaration from the CDWDS encouraging more Masses facing east would be a big help for some priests

    Fr. K and Fr. G,
    There does not need to be any formal decree from the CDW. The Missal of Paul VI presupposes Ad Oreintem worship. This is clear in the Missal of Paul VI, where it instructs priests to turn round and face the people at certain parts. Ad Orientem is the norm as envisioned in the Novus Ordo Mass and 1969 Missal.

    Cardinal Sarah’s words, encouragement, and pleading are more than enough. If priests are still waiting after reading his speech, they are hopeless. Good for nothing. One wonders if they will ever find their manhood.

  18. edm says:

    Funny.
    In our town, my Anglo-catholic (Episcopal) parish has the high altar, the Lady Chapel altar and the altar at the Chapel of Christ the King all facing “liturgical east”. The local Lutheran parish (very “low church”) also has an eastward altar arrangement. When we have hosted the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service, a couple of the Roman Catholic priests have stated to some of their people that the reason we have altars against the wall and they have them “facing the people” is because we do not have a high regard for the Mass or the Blessed Sacrament. Imagine that…

  19. Elizium23 says:

    Oh, sorry, this is divisive? This will hasten an exodus? This is a wedge issue? My heart bleeds for you.

    I am not sorry anymore about separating the sheep from the goats. There is already a mass apostasy and widespread dissent. The hand writing on the wall is clear that schism is coming sooner or later. Let it be sooner. Let’s rip the bandage off. Too many priests and bishops seem unwilling to do so, in an effort to keep up dialogue, or keep people in the tent in hopes of conversion. Well it’s high time that we put our foot down.

    Liberals are unwilling to leave the Church because that’s where all the money and power is. Saul Alinsky’s infiltration of Catholicism was extensive and has far-reaching consequences. And as much as we need a new Pentecost to renew the Church, we need a new Inquisition to purify her. Pope Benedict XVI envisioned the Church as smaller and more faithful. Let it come, Lord, do not delay our deliverance.

  20. MikeR says:

    They just won’t do this in Australia, unless dragged kicking & screaming by the Pope himself.

    That wonderful Cardinal Sarah called for more silence, hear, hear, Australian Catholic churches are treated like the parish hall, before & after Mass the congregation just stand about talking, why they don’t just go outside is beyond me.

    While I’m at it how about genuflections when entering & leaving a pew, passing in front of the tabernacle!

  21. Geoffrey says:

    I know of a few priests who would be more than happy to do this, but not without the blessing of their ordinary. Whether he would give it or not would probably depend on the reaction of the congregation. Catechesis is really needed here, and the negative phrase “his back to the people” needs to be banished under penalty of excommunication!

  22. Father K says:

    ‘[If it does, its the fault of liberal aging ecclesiastically sterile hippies.]’ Unfortunately there are some in the ‘higher echelons of the Church’. Fr G is correct and speaks from experience. ‘When I was newly ordained, I wanted to begin celebrating Mass ad orientem at the parish where I was assigned, but my pastor prevented me from doing so.’ Boy did he get of lightly! MikeR very correctly says, ‘They just won’t do this in Australia, unless dragged kicking & screaming by the Pope himself.’ This is the reality of the situation. All the rest is wishful thinking.

  23. stuart reiss says:

    I went to my local church after many years. They have the Salasian rite well established now. ( you ve not heard Of it its New )

  24. jhayes says:

    EcJay wrote Notice how Cardinal Sarah indicated that this was the will of Pope Francis.

    The reference to Pope Francis doesn’t say that he expressed an opinion on this week’s recommendation by Cardinal Sarah. It refers to what Cardinal Sarah reported a year ago as his charge from Pope Francis when he was appointed as Prefect of CDW:

    3. When the Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked me to accept the ministry of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, I asked: “Your Holiness, how do you want me to exercise this ministry? What do you want me to do as Prefect of this Congregation?” The Holy Father’s reply was clear. “I want you to continue to implement the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council,” he said, “and I want you to continue the good work in the liturgy begun by Pope Benedict XVI.

    HERE

  25. Philomena Mary says:

    I’m lucky I’m in an Australian parish where the Mass is done ad orientem – admittedly that’s because it’s a traditional Mass only parish. (I was very excited to see that Fr Tattersall, our pastor, was the assistant priest at Archbishop Cordileone’s Mass at the Sacra Liturgia conference! The photos were phenomenal.)

    I’ve only ever once been to a versus populum Mass and that was at a funeral. The whole experience (OF, versus populum, vernacular, no silence) was really jarring to me because I’m a convert and have always gone to a traditional Mass.

  26. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Giuseppe,

    Given the context, I think Fr. Jim is referring to St. John Paul’s instruction on translating the liturgy (Liturgiam Authenticam, if I recall), not Amoris Laetitia (which would be AL, not LA).

    Fr. Jim,

    Is it necessarily a generational problem, given the ages of Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Mueller, Cardinal Sarah, and others, or is it — more likely — a matter of prevenient attitude?

  27. robtbrown says:

    Venerator Sti Lot says:

    robtbrown,

    There must be more to it than that, or things would not have gone so well for Ninth- and Tenth-century Slavs and their descendants (until…?).

    Sti Cyrilli et Methodii, ora pro nobis!

    I won’t use the Obama excuse and say I only just saw your comment. I saw it last night, then promptly went to bed.

    The alphabet of Cyril and Methodius standardized Slavonic and became the source of architectonic lingual unity when various Slavonic languages emerged. That notwithstanding, it did not represent any common authority other than Scriptural, and so Orthodoxy is little else than a loose collection of autocephalous Churches.

  28. robtbrown says:

    Anyone who says they lament the divisiveness caused by SP and LA should take note of the mass exodus from the Church (incl religious orders) when the liturgy was vernacularized.

  29. acardnal says:

    I concur with robtbrown’s statement above. I lived through it.

  30. robtbrown says:

    I forgot to add that the mass exodus followed the promise that vernacularizing the liturgy would produce a flood of conversions and vocations. Then what happened should have surprised no one: The snake oil salesmen who made the promises blamed everyone else for the pigsty that they had created.

  31. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    robtbrown,

    I just saw your reply (for which, thanks): I was thinking as much of the couple centuries before 1054 – and of such Eastern Catholic Churches as the Ruthenians, the Bulgarian Catholics, (some of) the Ukrainians, the Russian Greek Catholics, and the Slovak Greek Catholics, though obviously Church Slavonic is no longer ‘vernacular’ to them as it was in the Ninth (etc.) centuries.

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