Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Ad Orientem and Latin. Sorry, but I am more and more convinced.

Here is a wonderful homily on the "traditional" Latin Mass (Extraordinary Rite as it is now called). Some of the things mentioned seem to me to be very important. I will not go on at length about recent mistakes of the past. Many people now accept that the Roman Liturgy suffered from a kind of  "iconoclasm" since some of the symbolism (much of it obviously scriptural) was simply removed, being judged unnecessary (might as well link that with the Archduke's criticism of Mozart - "two many notes").

More and more through celebrating the "old" Rite and also celebrating now and then the Ordinary Rite in Latin and Ad orientem, I am coming to believe that this is the preferred way. I am conscious of the wider use of the vernacular, encouraged by Vatican 11, but we also need to remember that Latin was recognised as the primary language of worship. I have no problem with the principle of vernacular liturgy (and the Missal we have now is a definite improvement although not as good as it might have been, in my opinion). I have no problem with celebrating Mass in English, but it should never have become the prominent way of celebrating the liturgy, and I am now of the strong opinion that the priest should either turn to the East (symbolically at least since many churches are not built that way) or that, as The Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger argued and suggested, a large crucifix should be placed on the altar with the corpus facing the priest. I know some will disagree with all this, and I would have done, and did some years ago. Listen to the homily at the link if you can and allow for the possibility that just maybe we made some mistakes in the recent past. I wonder if we will ever be able to put things right.


  1. Maybe we won't, but Our Lord will! There's been a sifting over the last fifty years, and the leaner, meaner Catholic Church is now ready to move forward. As the Holy Father said last Thursday: 'It seems to me that, 50 years after the Council, we see that this virtual Council [the false 'Council of the media'] is broken, is lost, and there now appears the true Council with all its spiritual force. And it is our task, especially in this Year of Faith, on the basis of this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council, with its power of the Holy Spirit, be accomplished and the Church be truly renewed.'

  2. Fr Abberton,
    Right to the point once again.
    When the priest faces the east (or at least when facing away from the people) he would also have normally faced the tabernacle as well as ‘the rising sun’, but in many churches the tabernacle is not where it was in the past: it is not a central feature of some churches and can be hidden away in a side altar etc.
    In some cases the crucifix is not even displayed in a prominent position in the Church never mind on the altar, which should remind everyone of the essential sacrifice of Christ so that too may not be the central feature in our places of worship.
    Christ has effectively been sidelined.
    Silence is also important as mentioned in the homily but it is frightening for many people because their lives elsewhere are filled with noise and activity.
    So we too, at Mass, have to fill the ‘empty’ spaces with hymns or what passes for hymns in many parishes.
    Before and after Mass, the noise from the congregation ‘chatting’ with one another also destroys silence and is deeply irreverent as we are in God’s presence and we do not recognise this or HIM.
    Some of the text in the new translation of the Mass, which was to reflect more faithfully the original Latin, is also neglected and ignored in some parishes for whatever reason.

    Unfortunately, these issues and others are not understood by the congregation and this requires some substantial input from the clergy to enable this awareness to develop and make sense.

    Thank you once again for your insights.