In my email today I had more than one note about pastors shifting their sanctuaries to ad orientem worship.
One note said:
Starting this week, our Table altar is going into storage and all Masses at our parish will be ad orientem (OF).
I really want to publish the names and places, but I am worried that these priests will be persecuted if their decisions are widely known.
Support your good priests in their sound decisions, especially if they are contemplating shifting to ad orientem worship.
Card. Sarah was surely right in his talk in London last year. Priests should teach and teach and teach some more, and then – where possible – move to ad orientem worship. And where it isn’t possible, because the layout of the sanctuary, there’s nothing wrong with consulting an architect to see what might be done.
Just I have have received notes about parishes going ad orientem, I’ve also noticed more discussions of our “post-fact” or “post-truth” world.
Can ad orientem worship help to combat the “post-fact”, “post-truth” craze in the Church and, therefore, wider society? Yes, I think so. This is why libs hate ad orientem so much, and why the fear it and the Extraordinary Form.
The other day I saw at one of my favorite blogs, A Clerk of Oxford, a great post citing “Chaucer’s brilliant, dizzying, disturbing poem The House of Fame, and its vision of what we have recently started calling a ‘post-truth’ world – in which stories spread and circulate regardless of whether they are true or not.” Under that post, the writer mentions Piers Plowman:
In the opening scenes of Piers Plowman, when the dreamer falls asleep on the Malvern Hills, the very first thing he sees in his dream is a tower on a hill, standing in the east against the sun. It soars high above the ‘fair field of folk’ which is this world, where all classes of people are busily engaged in ‘working and wandering’. That tower, [in the East] the dreamer later learns, is the dwelling-place of Truth. The figure of Holy Church explains to him that Truth is nothing less than God: father, creator, provider of all good things in the world. The more human beings are like Truth, upright and honest in all their dealings, the more they are like God and his most trustworthy of treasures:
‘Whan alle tresors arn tried,’ quod she, ‘Treuthe is the beste.
I do it on Deus caritas to deme the sothe;
It is as dereworthe a drury as deere God hymselven.
Who is trewe of his tonge and telleth noon oother,
And dooth the werkes therwith and wilneth no man ille,
He is a god by the Gospel, agrounde and olofte,
And ylik to Oure Lord, by Seint Lukes wordes.’
‘When all treasures are tried,’ said she, ‘Truth is the best.
I appeal to [the text] ‘God is Love’ to prove the truth;
It is as precious a love-gift as dear God himself.
Whoever is true of his tongue and says nothing else,
And acts accordingly and wishes no man ill,
He is god-like, says the Gospel, on earth and in heaven,
And the image of Our Lord, by St Luke’s words.’
Christians have long believe that when Christ comes, He will come from the East. We need a clear liturgical East in our places of worship as we raise our prayers and petitions to the Lord.
Here are a couple of good resources.