The church in my territorial parish was built 1989 replacing the school gymn as place for the Holy Masses. By my best knowledge this was the first in this area of the modern churches. The sanctuary is somewhat round, West side is the free standing tablem, the altar, East side in a little alcove the Tabernacle. During the Mass people turn their back to the tabernacle.
Question: according the principles of the New Mass, it is important that the priest does not turn his back to the people, they worth more that that. How this principle can be reconciled turning back to the King of King, our Lord, present in tabernacle?
Firsly, according to the principals of the New Mass, the Roman Missal notes 6 times where the Priest turns to face the people. At the other times he obviously has his ‘back to the people.’
When the Priest has his so called back to the people he is joining them in what Pope Benedict calls a unity of direction of Priest and people oriented to the Lord.
Tradtionally (and no contrary tradition exists) the Priest would pray Mass facing the east (or a liturgical east - tabernacle/crucifix). Christ ascended to the east and will come again with glory from the east.
The Priest is allowed (though I don’t think it’s in the Missal) to face the people when praying Mass as an option, but this is not the tradition east or west.
As for the tabernacle, Sacramentum Caritatis states…
The location of the tabernacle
In considering the importance of eucharistic reservation and adoration, and reverence for the sacrament of Christ’s sacrifice, the Synod of Bishops also discussed the question of the proper placement of the tabernacle in our churches. (196) **The correct positioning **of the tabernacle contributes to the recognition of Christ’s real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, the place where the eucharistic species are reserved, marked by a sanctuary lamp, should be readily visible to everyone entering the church. It is therefore necessary to take into account the building’s architecture: **in churches which do not have a Blessed Sacrament chapel, **and where the high altar with its tabernacle is still in place, it is appropriate to continue to use this structure for the reservation and adoration of the Eucharist, taking care not to place the celebrant’s chair in front of it. In new churches, it is good to position the Blessed Sacrament chapel close to the sanctuary; where this is not possible, it is preferable to locate the tabernacle in the sanctuary, in a sufficiently elevated place, at the centre of the apse area, or in another place where it will be equally conspicuous. Attention to these considerations **will lend **dignity to the tabernacle, which must always be cared for, also from an artistic standpoint. Obviously it is necessary to follow the provisions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in this regard. (197) In any event, final judgment on these matters belongs to the Diocesan Bishop.
Hope you don’t take the first part as a rant and that Sacramentum Caritas helps. God Bless.
Please bear with my limited English. I use the world principle as the form for the majority.
When I left Hungary in 1981, in many Chruches the priest faced the altar Since I am in the US I attended Mass at least in hundred Churches, and in all except the one, when I attend Masses now, the priest faced the people.
Am I wrong about the situation, and in the US less than the absolute majority if the people facing Mass?
What is the proper English word, for the idea ruling the overwhelming majority, if not principle?
And the real question is: what is your opinion about the architecture, where people turn their back to the tabernacle? This is against the rubrics as it is quoted by someone. What would you do, if this is the architecture of the church is your parish?
First let me apologize, I wasn’t aware that English wasn’t your first language and you wouldn’t realize that ‘principle’ in this case would mean something very specific.
It’s true that most Masses in North America are celebrated with the priest facing the people rather than facing the liturgical East. There is no rule, however, that says that that is how it must be done. It’s a choice that was made back in the 60s and most parishes have never looked back.
As long as the tabernacle is not in a separate adoration chapel, someone, at some point during Mass, will have his back to the tabernacle. It’s unavoidable even if the rubrics are followed to the letter. But I get your point. Having the tabernacle in the sanctuary avoids having the congregation with their backs to the Blessed Sacrament for long periods.