Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fr. Rutler on Ad Orientem

Fr. George Rutler has a commentary concerning liturgical reform in First Things, brought to us courtesy of the New Liturgical Movement (and others).  Among his many points, he writes:
While I am glad for the new and more accurate translation of the Mass, which is not perfection but closer to it than one deserves in an imperfect world, a far more important reform would be the return of the ad orientem position of the celebrant as normative. It is the antidote to the tendency of clerisy to impose itself on the people. When a celebrant at Mass stops and says, “This is not about me,” you may be sure he thinks it may be about him. It would be harder for him to harbor that suspicion were he leading the people humbly to the east and the dawn of salvation.
My thoughts exactly.  Ad orientem, which refers to the posture of both the congregation and the celebrant facing East during the celebration of the Eucharist, was largely done away with in most parishes after the Second Vatican Council.  However, the council never called for this, and there is a growing awareness that doing away with it was a grave mistake.  It should once again be made normative, with, of course, proper catechesis so that the people understand what it means and why it is important.

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