Can priest only celebrate ad orientem?

I was wondering if a priest, in replacement of the novus ordo facing the people, could ONLY celebrate Ad Orientem in place of an altar facing the people? Just not in Latin, but in English/Vernacular.

I read that the Ad Orientem was imagined by the Second Vatican council, but some liturgist said that this new way was the way to go… and then no one argued against it because it was new and therefore it became the norm… but according to the documents, Ad Orientem is the norm.

Can a priest celebrate this mass in replacement of the mass facing the people… and could he do this without the permission of the bishop, nor be reprimanded


I’m not clear what you are asking.

Are you asking if the priest can decide without permission to celebrate an EF Mass instead of the OF Mass or are you asking if the priest while celebrating the OF Mass can face the altar instead of the people?

Nothing about the EF Tridentine Mass… though I do plan on celebrating them in my priestly future. :slight_smile:

I was asking if, while celebrating EVERY OF Mass (Excluding concelebrations), if I can celebrate Ad Orientem everytime, without permission from the bishops and without being reprimanded… So in other words, I would never face the people during a Sunday, Weekday, etc. mass… It would always be facing the tabernacle. But of course in English and following the OF Rubrics…Unless concelebrating at another Parish. :slight_smile:

The rubrics themselves explicitly state in a number of places that the priest is facing the people. So, it would not be possible to celebrate the ordinary form of the Mass following the rubrics of the GIRM while not facing the people at all.

Even in the Extraordinary Form/Traditional Latin Mass, the priest faces the people during parts of the Mass.

You guys are over thinking it and not answering my question… I know the Rubrics call for me to turn to the people at certain times… but may I celebrate an Ad Orientem all the time… And yes, including the parts I turn around.

And for the love of Mary, don’t respond “Well you’re not a priest, so no.”


Yes. You can celebrate Mass ad orientem in the OF. I can’t tell if the other posters in this thread genuinely don’t understand the question are are just being puckish.

Versus populum is not new. Facing the people is not new.

Monasitc communities have gathered around free standing table type altars for at least 1000 years.

The Cistercian monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia built such an altar in their Abbey Church in 1946 and celebrated the Cistercian Mass facing the community on it until the order switched to the Ordinary Form in the early 70’s.


My pastor tried the ad orientem once. Just once. He received so much criticism from the attendees there after one Christmas Midnight Mass, he asked himself, “What’s the point?” and replaced the Mass with the EF.

According to one FSSP priest, many have found it easier apparently to go with the EF rather than instill Latin, ad orientem, Gregorian chant, etc into the OF.

Is it allowed? Yes,

Will you be able to do it? Depends. Chances are, you won’t be the Pastor at your first parish. So it will depend on what the pastor thinks. And I am sure, it will depend on what the bishop thinks.

While it might be prudent to list to the pastor and the bishop, neither have the authority to prohibit a priest from doing so. It is provided for by the Universal law of the Church.

They don’t have to prevent him. Just make his life miserable.

This is fact.

A sad one, none the less. A priest, or (most especially, a bishop) should not be in the business of antagonizing fellow clergy for making legitimate decisions that are fully supported by liturgical law.

Let’s also remember that Ad Orientem does not mean “facing the altar” it means “to the East”. I have been in not a few churches where the orientation of the altar is such that Ad Orientem and Versus Populum are one and the same. In such a case, the people should actually turn around and face away frm the priest to be Ad Orientem.

Sooo… it’s not so cut and dried.

Yes you could, as a priest doesn’t need permission to celebrate any Mass ad orientum. [edited]

But the pastor and the bishop are the ones that have to deal with the parish. If, as it was in ProVobis’s parish, that every one complains, then the pastor and the bishop have a legitimate problem.

You would be correct, there would be a problem, and that problem would be poor catechisis on the part of the faithful.

Then it is incumbent on the bishop to remind the faithful that the liturgical laws allow for certain options and it is not within the power of the bishop to change those.

And to remind the faithful that they too benefit from these liturgical options. I imagine that they would not like an associate pastor telling them that they can no longer receive Holy Communion in the hand or receive while standing.

The bishop can they point out that it would be hypocritical for the faithful to hold on to the options that they are granted by liturgical law, but begrudge others the options to which they are entitled?

As I don’t know the answer I have been following the thread and one thing is confusing me.
Many times in other threads when we debate the postures and movements of the priest and the faithful at Mass people have said if these are stated in the GIRM then they must be followed and nobody (priest or faithful) can deviate from that.

The GIRM contains instructions (not suggestions). Are we now saying that we (priest and/or faithful) do not have to follow the GIRM instructions at Mass.

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