Rorate Caeli

Interreligious dialogue 101: Ad flip-flopem

Post-Temple Judaism: Recalling the order of worship in the Temple, in the solemn prayers in the synagogue the faithful, together with the different ministers and led by them, worship all together facing East, turned to the "Ark" where the Word of God is held.


Islam: In thousands of mosques around the world, the most solemn prayers take place on Friday, as, in the noon prayers, and following the major and minor sermons, the faithful and congregation leaders bow down and pray all together in the same direction facing the mihrab wall that indicates the qibla, the direction of what they consider the holiest of places on earth: the Kaaba, in Mecca.


Post-1970 Catholicism: "Without shedding of blood there is no remission," says the Epistle to the Hebrews, and millions of Catholics assemble in their churches to witness the unbloody re-presentation of the central event in the history of the Universe, the redemptive sacrifice of the King of Time and Space, really and actually present - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - in the Eucharistic species. In the religion that is incarnational in every sense, where each spatial detail makes every difference, the faithful pray all together in the same direction facing the holiest thing on earth:

Father and the band.


  1. Francis3:57 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. OKC Catholic4:26 PM

    But here are the REAL "heretics"...

  3. What is most frustrating is not the liberal Catholic priests offering the novus ordo service facing the people. Rather, it is the so-called conservative Catholic priests who STILL offer the novus ordo facing the people while talking-the-talk about how they agree that Mass should be offered facing God.

    Until these so-called conservative priests start choosing to offer the novus ordo facing God instead of facing the back door, we will still be here in another ten years talking about the same, old subject. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Just do it. (Then offer the TLM after fully maturing.)

  4. Gratias5:32 PM

    I know, we could have the table in the center and circular pews, so everyone gets a good view of the priest! And we could have tambourines too!

  5. NIANTIC5:58 PM

    On the one hand it is getting rather tiresome. We see and read about the idiocy going on in the Conciliar Church ad nauseam. We all here have the same reaction, one of scorn, disgust, anger, frustration etc.,also ad nauseam.

    Yet on the other hand one hopes and prays that perhaps a bishop or a priest reads these comments and a spark is enkindled in their minds and hearts. And perhaps there will be shown some understanding of what a priest is really all about. And then perhaps courage to act as a real priest and offer the most holy Sacrifice in the way the Church used to for so many centuries.

    We can hope and pray that soon all our priests and bishops will be REAL MEN. Just like the Apostles, Fathers, Doctors and Martyrs and all the other Saints.

  6. Andrew6:21 PM

    Mass facing God? Which direction is God exactly?

  7. croixmom6:31 PM

    I wonder how many people are privileged enough to assist at even a Novus Ordo Mass, where the priest LEADS the faithful in offering the Sacrifice to God? (i.e. ad orientem).

    I am very blessed to be able to attend an FSSP apostolate. I have begged my N.O. friends to encourage their priests to offer Mass ad orientem. (sadly, I don't think any of them have.)

    I thought that celebrating the N.O. facing the peeps was an indult that was granted, then like most indults, abused to the point of becoming the "norm". Am I incorrect about that? Do the rubrics for the N.O. say which direction or encourage the orientation of the priest?

    Just wondering.

  8. Jason C.6:47 PM

    Look, y'all, there's only one way for everyone to be satisfied in this debate: Rotating stage.

  9. Norvus Ordu people think religion is primarily about the people, whereas in traditional Catholicism religion is primarily about God. While his statement was not false, it was imprudent for JPII to commend "the will of God, who wills that man should be, in a certain sense, an end unto himself." Everything now appears aimed at pleasing men, and making religion fit with what we find pleasing and reasonable. The other religions still have a stronger sense of revealed truth, whereas modern Christianity, in commending God become man, stresses only the human aspect. "God wants us to find him accessible, not shrouded in light!" The priest, like modern Presidents, leads a talk show, not anything ceremonial.

  10. James I. McAuley7:00 PM

    Lets get some points straight:

    First, many Churches created new altars or began mass facing the people following the release of Inter Oecumenici -
    Instruction on implementing liturgical norms
    Consilium (of Sacred Congregation of Rites) dated September 26, 1964,

    Now, see: Chapter V. Designing Churches and Altars to Facilitate Active Participation of the Faithful
    91. The main altar should preferably be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people. Its location in the place of worship should be truly central so that the attention of the whole congregation naturally focuses there.

    That is the original and repeated authority in the liturgical revolution. I see nothing in it requiring or mandating ad populum masses.

    I can assure the readers that many parishes through out the Unites States switched their altars, or put up the new table Altars in late 1964 into early 1965.

    Many priest know that to say mass ad orientam is allowed. Why will they not do it?

    1.) Shock and outrage from Baby boomers will often lead tot he Bishop telling the priest to go back to the ad populum position.
    2.) Even if the switch to ad orientam is positively received by the parish, all it take is is for the Bishop to be hostile and he can make that priests life hellish

    But, there are also priests who have been trained (Essentially lied to) who have been told you must face the people.

    In any event, New Catholic is right, there is a certain irony in the ecumenism department. HMMM. May be the SSPX, the FSSP, and other are the real defenders of Vatican II!

  11. Mr. McAuley,

    Yes, as is well known, it started way before the 1970 Mass - it is enough to recall the experiments made by priests such as Fr. Guardini in Berlin between the wars. That being said, it is today (thankfully), and since the advent of the new missal, a practice limited to the 1970 Mass. Ad orientem Paul VI masses exist, of course, and are celebrated daily, but it is easier (and better) to simply find Traditional Masses. Since this is not a historical post, but a descriptive one (describing usual and prevailing, though not exclusive, customs), you seem to have gone too far back.

  12. Kathleen7:12 PM

    QUOTE Andrew

    Mass facing God? Which direction is God exactly?


    The state of Catholic formation is a tragedy.

    You have my deepest sympathy.

    Please Google the following terms:

    1. Real Presence
    2. Tabernacle
    3. Eucharist

    That should help clarify the discussion for you.

  13. With regard to the NO service represented here is a restatement of the infallible declaration of trent

    "If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, accustomed to be used in the administration of the sacraments, may be despised or omitted by the ministers without sin and at their pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches to other new ones, let him be anathema." [The Ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563)Canons on the Sacraments in General, Session 7, Canon 13 (March 3, 1547)]

  14. Anonymous9:10 PM

    @ Kathleen

    But, But, But, our tabernacle is in a side room closet. That would be awkwerd!

  15. Andrew,

    From the Orient on High I have begotten you.

  16. A Mom9:51 PM

    Andrew said...
    "Mass facing God? Which direction is God exactly?"

    The Tabernacle for know, the holy place that the NO priests have been instructed to turn their backs to.

  17. One of the images had to be modified.

  18. Vatican II = failure

  19. @Kenneth J. Wolfe wrote "so-called conservative priests start choosing to offer the novus ordo facing God instead of facing the back door"

    I think the greatest reason for this is fear of standing out or fear of a bad reaction. This latter fear should be diminished by the recent study that showed the new Roman Missal was well received, but knowing human frailty, I doubt that it would be enough.

    That being said, the Pope could get rid of this fear by simply mandating that on solemnities (at minimum), masses must be ad orientem for at least the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This should be an easy sell since most NO parishes tend to be more traditional around solemnities (e.g. it may be the only time of the year Latin or Gregorian Chant is heard) and solemnities make up less than 5% of the masses.

    However, that 5% will be enough to easy the fear and discomfort of many priests about ad orientem to use it all year round.

  20. At the church where I attend the tlm at, they also offer the novus ordo ad orietem. You won't find any tables there. It's just the matter of the priests leading.


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