In an email exchange I had, and a conversation with a priest friend, a couple ideas came up.
Context: Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, made a plea to priests to begin offering Holy Mass ad orientem versus. He made this bid during a liturgy conference. He wasn’t speaking officially, in his capacity as Prefect. He was speaking as a man of prayer, who has a broad perspective and a privileged vantage point to regard what is going on in the Church.
So, Card. Sarah (pronounced Sah-RAH), made his bid and liberals reacted swiftly and sharply. There were denials that the rubrics were changing, despite the fact that Sarah said nothing about that. Then the now-retired papal spokesman leapt in and added comments that “reform of the reform” is not useful or acceptable or desirable or accurate… or something. Apparently, that phrase is a cause of “misunderstandings”. Card. Sarah has been quiet since that talk and after an audience with Pope Francis.
This brings me to me to the ideas.
First, if the powers-that-be don’t like the phrase “reform of the reform” (which I wasn’t really wedded to anyway), how about something like “correction of the deform”? Perhaps that won’t give the wrong impression?
Second, I know priests who have and who are turning their worship ad orientem versus. I have a suggestion for them.
I suggest, reverend and dear Fathers, that you write Cardinal Sarah a letter, telling him about your experience in the parish or chapel of ongoing ad orientem worship or your move towards it.
You might write something like,
I am pastor of St. Fidelia in Tall Tree Circle in the Diocese of Black Duck. Two years ago, after a catechetical series of several weeks, we began to have all celebrations of Holy Mass ad orientem versus.
While a few parishioners resisted this reorientation, most everyone accepted it well cum serena pace. To my knowledge no on died from fright or became seriously ill because they had to see the decorative back panel of my chasuble. Similarly no one was rendered incapable of following the liturgy due to lack of sight of my face. I don’t not think that anybody lost her faith, had a case of the vapors, or spontaneously combusted.
A small group has begun to attend Mass at a neighboring parish, but several times more people have begun coming to St. Fidelia.
I have received numerous letters and comments that indicate an increased appreciation for the reverent atmosphere and greater sense of prayer. I enclose a few examples, in copy.
Also, attached to the present letter, please find copies of my “Pastor’s Page” series about ad orientem worship.
Thanking Your Eminence for your generous service to the Church and with every good wish I am sincerely in Christ….
While some of above is clearly facetious – mostly to keep you reading to the end – your notes to Card. Sarah could be a) useful, b) interesting and c) consoling.
Another type of note could explain to the Cardinal how you plan on making the change to ad orientem worship.
Or a combination of the above!
You do not necessarily have to write to Card. Sarah in his capacity as Prefect of the Congregation, lest someone get the idea that you were asking for official intervention.
You could write to him in his capacity as Cardinal-Deacon of San Giovanni Bosco in via Tuscolana. After all, that’s what he is!
Here is His Eminence’s address.
Be sure to let him know that you remember him regularly in your prayers. Also, if you have read his book, let him know.
Robert Card. Sarah
of San Giovanni Bosco in via Tuscolana
00120 VATICAN CITY
Just a thought or two.
The moderation queue is ON.