Sunday, January 13, 2008

This makes me so happy

As readers may have read elsewhere today the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the Sistine chapel this morning but this time the temporary altar for celebrating facing the people was removed and the original altar of the chapel was used instead. Here is a picture courtesy of the NLM blog. It is very encouraging to see the Mass celebrated like this after there has been much written recently, not least by Cardinal Ratzinger himself, about the need to restore this orientation in the Mass. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the issues involved a good introduction can be found here.
I fervently hope that we will see the Pope celebrate Mass like this more often as it will encourage others (myself included) to follow his lead. So far we have read the books and a few brave souls have taken on this practice but with these pictures there is much more encouragement.
In Summorum Pontificum there is mention of the extraordinary form influencing the ordinary and vice versa. Although this orientation has never actually been forbidden for the Paul VI missal (and the rubrics in a few places seem to expect it, as in the priest turns to face the people and says `Behold the Lamb of God`) many churches have been `re-ordered` with varying degrees of iconoclasm on the supposition that this was required by Vatican II. However as the EF is celebrated with this orientation most of the time and the OF is normally celebrated `facing the people` this would be one example of the EF influencing the OF. Maybe we can start an experimental OF like this once a week in the Forest after appropriate catechesis.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good idea to me!

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

An excellent idea, Father !

I can see the need for appropriate catechesis beforehand.

Otherwise, people will be whispering "What's 'e doing ?"
R. "Don't know, dear. Turning 'is back on us, I think," etc.

But Pope Benedict, by celebrating the novus ordo in traditional style, i.e. at the high altar, facing liturgical east, has just sent a powerful signal :

It doesn't need to be like that !

The priest doesn't need to face the people across a table altar.
He can use the high altar, as in the "old" Mass.

But not everyone has been to Brompton Oratory.

And not everyone has read the rubrics in the Missale Romanum.

Therefore, a picture like this is worth a thousand words.

The Pope is leading by example.

Others will follow.

Of course, there is the problem of sanctuaries which have been disastrously re-ordered.

The only answer appear to be : Put it all back the way it was (and certain churches in various countries have done precisely that. With photographs of Before and After).

Catholic Church Conservation had an interesting post on this.

So, good luck with your E.O.F.A.A.C. (Experimental Ordinary Form After Appropriate Catechesis).

May the Lord smile on your efforts.

roydosan said...

Now you won't hear this very often... In Today's (Monday) Guardian Newspaper there is a splendid double page colour photograph of Pope Benedict celebrating Mass ad orientem in the Sistine Chapel.

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...


Sorry about the reference to Cath. Con. blog in my comment.

The photos which caught my attention were posted by Fr. John Trigilio on his blog "The Black Biretta" on Wed. 2 January 08.

Perhaps you've aleady seen them ?
It just shows what can be done.

Mea culpa.

Anonymous said...

100% agreement with the above!

Anonymous said...

And me!

Anonymous said...

I very much look forward to this happening at the Forest.

gemoftheocean said...

Can I please have an overhead cam shot? That or if you fellows are going to insist on having your body between us and the Eucharist on the altar, please get see through bodies so we can also see too.


Fr Michael Brown said...

Karen, do I take it then that you are unconvinced by the Pope`s views on the importance of a versus Deum celebration? Why is it so important to see every bit of what is going on. This orientation and the canon/eucharistic prayer said inaudibly are what I regard as the absolute essentials for serious liturgy.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Dr Wright, I know those pictures of transformations. They featured on this blog some time last year. Truly amazing and inspiring.