Facing the people in the Traditional Mass

This thread was started so as not to drag the other one off topic.

Over on the TLM Question thread, someone happened to say

the priest celebrates facing the altar and not the people,

which prompted a reply from Thursday1

Someone better tell this guy he’s facing the wrong way. . .
http://www.execulink.com/~dtribe/blog/PapalMass2.jpg

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the EF, i.e it has to be said ad orentium. Much like people thinking the Latin Mass= 1962 missal, it is a commonly held belief, but wrong.

To which stmaria responded

What is the date of your photo? The priest facing the people was allowed under Pope Pius XII but only during Holy Week. Removing the Tabernacle as it appears to have happened in this Photo was a concern of Pius XII.
Pope Pius in 1948 established a liturgical commission where he allowed minor changes to the Mass but only during Holy Week where the priest would occasionally face the people.
In his book, Reform of the Liturgy, Father Annibale Bugnini. who helped writhe the new liturgy recounts these early days of the reform.

REFORM OF THE liturgy PG 8-9 “ On May 28, 1948 a commission for liturgical reform was appointed…Father Annibale Bugnini…was appointed secretary…In the twelve years of its existence the commission held eighty-two meetings and worked in absolute secrecy…the commission enjoyed the full confidence of the Pope { Pius XII}, who was kept abreast of its work by Monsignor Montini {Pope Paul VI }

Pg 10 the first fruit of the commissions work was the restoration of the Easter Vigil [1951] Holy Week [1955],

Pope Pius XII made it clear in 1956 in a speech that the Tabernacle would remain on the altar.

The Liturgical Movement
An Address of Pope Pius XII to the
International Congress on Pastoral Liturgy
(September 22, 1956)

The priest could face the people but only during Holy Week.

All Papal Masses were celebrated ad populum since that is ad orientum before and after the 1950’s. Was done then, is done now with the difference that the corpus of the cross faces the other way and the cross is not in the center. The same applied to Masses coram Summo Pontifice

Moreover this legislation is enshrined in the rubrics of the missal of 1962, and all previous missals upto 1570. The rubrics of the 1962 are unchanged in this respect and say the same thing every missal has said. General Rubrics V, 3 and XII,2. I think the sanctamissa.org site has them

The Address to the Assisi delegates has nothing to do with the versus populum being allowed during Holy Week. By which I mean that the rubrics governing versus populum werre already in place long before, the versus populum was already being done at prior liturgical congresses, and was increasingly being done by the priests at all Masses. AFAIK, there is nothing against versus populum, or saying that it could or could not be done during the Holy Week.

Pius XII was merely speaking of the general custom because of his concern that the tabernacle remains on the altar, and there is nothing in the whole speech that links that to the Holy Week or any special permission given to celebrate Mass versus populum.

The versus populum that did concern the Holy Week was not during the celebration of the Mass of rather during the various blessings and such e.g. the blessings of the palms and the holy water, whereas previously they were not done so.(e.g. the palms were blessed at the altar rather than a table)

The altar is without the tabernacle because it is the Papal altar of St. Peter’s basilica

All Papal Masses were celebrated ad populum since that is ad orientum before and after the 1950’s. Was done then, is done now with the difference that the corpus of the cross faces the other way and the cross is not in the center. The same applied to Masses coram Summo Pontifice

Moreover this legislation is enshrined in the rubrics of the missal of 1962, and all previous missals upto 1570. The rubrics of the 1962 are unchanged in this respect and say the same thing every missal has said. General Rubrics V, 3 and XII,2. I think the sanctamissa.org site has them

The Address to the Assisi delegates has nothing to do with the versus populum being allowed during Holy Week. By which I mean that the rubrics governing versus populum werre already in place long before, the versus populum was already being done at prior liturgical congresses, and was increasingly being done by the priests at all Masses. AFAIK, there is nothing against versus populum, or saying that it could or could not be done during the Holy Week.

Pius XII was merely speaking of the general custom because of his concern that the tabernacle remains on the altar, and there is nothing in the whole speech that links that to the Holy Week or any special permission given to celebrate Mass versus populum.

The versus populum that did concern the Holy Week was not during the celebration of the Mass of rather during the various blessings and such e.g. the blessings of the palms and the holy water, whereas previously they were not done so.(e.g. the palms were blessed at the altar rather than a table)

The altar is without the tabernacle because it is the Papal altar of St. Peter’s basilica

I will concede your point for now. Please tell me why in the Novus Ordo the Tabernacle has been removed but it remains in the TLMI? Pius XII said that it should remain in 1956 then why is it now gone? In some cases it cannot even be seen.

Oh, I’m not disputing Pius XII words over the tabernacle.

Only the statement that versus populum is connected with the Holy Week

Is there an actual requirement that a tabernacle be on the altar on which the Mass is celebrated? Seems odd if there is since the main focus is on the consecration not the tabernacle. Also, people have posted photos here that show the freestanding altar being used for an EF while the tabernacle remains on the high altar.

Cardinal Ratzinger had some interesting opinions on this subject.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - The Spirit of the Liturgy
The Altar and the Direction of Liturgical Prayer
…Despite all the variations in practice that have taken place far into the second millennium, one thing has remained clear for the whole of Christendom: praying toward the East is a tradition that goes back to the beginning. Moreover, it is a fundamental expression of the Christian synthesis of cosmos and history, of being rooted in the once-for-all events of salvation history while going out to meet the Lord who is to come again. …The liturgical renewal in our own century took up this alleged model and developed from it a new idea for the form of the Liturgy. The Eucharist, so it was said, had to be celebrated versus populum (towards the people). The altar – as can be seen in the normative model of Saint Peter’s – had to be positioned in such a way that priest and people looked at each other and formed together the circle of the celebrating community. This alone, so it was said, was compatible with the meaning of the Christian Liturgy, with the requirement of active participation. This alone conformed to the primordial model of the Last Supper.

These arguments seemed in the end so persuasive that after the Council (which says nothing about “turning to the people”) new altars were set up everywhere, and today celebration versus populum really does look like the characteristic fruit of Vatican II’s liturgical renewal. In fact it is the most conspicuous consequence of a re-ordering that not only signifies a new external arrangement of the places dedicated to the Liturgy, but also brings with it a new idea of the essence of the Liturgy – the Liturgy as a communal meal…This is, of course, a misunderstanding of the significance of the Roman basilica and of the positioning of its altar, and the representation of the Last Supper is also, to say the least, inaccurate…Once again let me quote Bouyer:
“Never and nowhere before (that is, before the sixteenth century) is there any indication of the slightest importance being attached, or even attention given, to the question of whether the priest should celebrate with the people behind him or in front of him. Professor Cyril Vogel has proved that, "if anything was stressed, it was that the priest should recite the Eucharistic Prayer, like all other prayers, turned towards the East Even when the orientation of the church allowed the priest to pray facing the people, we must not forget that it was not just the priest who turned to the East, but the whole congregation with him"
As one of the fathers of Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy, J.A. Jungmann, put it, it was much more a question of priest and people facing in the same direction, knowing that together they were in a procession toward the Lord.]
On the other hand, a common turning to the East during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of accidentals, but of essentials. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue, but of common worship, of setting off towards the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle, but the common movement forward expressed in a common direction for prayer…
adoremus.org/0500-Ratzinger.html

It seems to me after reading from the Spirit of the Liturgy that the photo of a priest facing the people is misleading. Accordingto Cardinal Ratzinger the priest is not facing the people he is facing east**. It just happens that the altar at St Peter’s is above the tomb of St Peter and to** face east **he must turn toward the people. In the Novus Ordo the priest faces the people to promote “active participation of the people” Two different reasons.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - The Spirit of the LiturgyThe Altar and the Direction of Liturgical Prayer

…However, in Saint Peter’s, during the pontificate of Saint Gregory the Great (590-604), the altar was moved nearer to the bishop’s chair, probably for the simple reason that he was supposed to stand as much as possible above the tomb of Saint Peter. This was an outward and visible expression of the truth that we celebrate the Sacrifice of the Lord in the Communion of Saints, a communion spanning all the times and ages… The custom of erecting an altar above the tombs of the martyrs probably goes back a long way and is an outcome of the same motivation… Because of topographical circumstances, it turned out that Saint Peter’s faced west. Thus, if the celebrating priest wanted – **as the Christian tradition of prayer demands **-- to face east, he had to stand behind the people and look – this is the logical conclusion – toward the people.
The liturgical renewal in our own century took up **this alleged **model and developed from it a new idea for the form of the Liturgy. The Eucharist, so it was said, had to be celebrated versus populum (towards the people). The altar – as can be seen in the normative model of Saint Peter’s – had to be positioned in such a way that priest and people looked at each other and formed together the circle of the celebrating community… This is, of course, a misunderstanding of the significance of the Roman basilica and of the positioning of its altar, and the representation of the Last Supper is also, to say the least, inaccurate

adoremus.org/0500-Ratzinger.html

It seems to me after reading from the Spirit of the Liturgy that the photo of a priest facing the people is misleading. Accordingto Cardinal Ratzinger the priest is not facing the people he is facing east**. It just happens that the altar at St Peter’s is above the tomb of St Peter and to** face east **he must turn toward the people.

Um, that’s what I noted in the first line?:wink: :smiley:

All Papal Masses were celebrated ad populum since that is ad orientum

Thank you for posting that. I knew I remembered reading that before. Using St. Peter’s as an argument in favor of ad populum is misleading and, as the Holy Father said, a misunderstanding on the part of the person making the claim. Thank you for correcting him/her.

Isn’t the celebrant was facing ad orientem and not ad populum because the Basilica’s high altar faces west, so on this picture the celebrant faced the east eventhough he faces the people. It is only the matter of the church’s structure bur it is not really a big deal. Lucky during that time the church was still the church of Christ compared today…

Pax
Laudater Jesus Christus
Instaurare omnia in Christo

Forgive me, but I thought only the Pope was allowed to face the people during an EF Mass.

It was my thought, that since the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ, spoke with God’s authority, he faced us. The rest of the religious and the laity spoke/prayed to God, so we faced God.

Am I off base?

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger -* The Spirit of the Liturgy*
The Altar and the Direction of Liturgical Prayer
…Despite all the variations in practice that have taken place far into the second millennium, one thing has remained clear for the whole of Christendom: praying toward the East is a tradition that goes back to the beginning. Moreover, it is a fundamental expression of the Christian synthesis of cosmos and history, of being rooted in the once-for-all events of salvation history while going out to meet the Lord who is to come again. …

If my parish was to have a TLM, the priest would have to face the congregation. He faces east when he faces the congregation. If he was not facing the congregation, he would be facing west.

In the early Church, facing east was practically a necessity, however due to present day architecture “liturgical east” might be the norm. This is represented by the crucifix.

No the rubrics extend this for any priest, bishop, cardinal. In 1953 for example, Cardinal Ottaviani celebrated ad populum for a liturgical conference.

Some ad populum pictures from Fr. Ellard’s book:

http://img242.imageshack.us/img242/9308/ellard3vj6.jpg

So what do the official rubrics of the 1962 missal say about this? A good verbatim quote could resolve all thing–from a liturgical point of view; history, however, is another matter.

That said, any literature on instances of ad populum prior to the council of Trent?

See here no. 3 (Caution: I think the translation of this rubric is slightly inexact however) and here no. 2.

So when you turn and face the people, is not the priest back facing Christ or the Cross in most instances? What does anybody on this thread make of turning your back to GOD signify, other then the actual orientation in the physical sense?

Once Mass begins the focus is on the altar since that is where the Sacrifice occurs.

Is the priest facing the people or is he facing east?

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - The Spirit of the LiturgyThe Altar and the Direction of Liturgical Prayer
…Despite all the variations in practice that have taken place far into the second millennium, one thing has remained clear for the whole of Christendom: praying toward the East is a tradition that goes back to the beginning. . …The liturgical renewal in our own century took up this alleged model and developed from it a new idea for the form of the Liturgy. The Eucharist, so it was said, had to be celebrated versus populum (towards the people). The altar – as can be seen in the normative model of Saint Peter’s – had to be positioned in such a way that priest and people looked at each other and formed together the circle of the celebrating community…These arguments seemed in the end so persuasive that after the Council (which says nothing about “turning to the people”) new altars were set up everywhere, and today celebration versus populum really does look like the characteristic fruit of Vatican II’s liturgical renewal. In fact it is the most conspicuous consequence of a re-ordering that not only signifies a new external arrangement of the places dedicated to the Liturgy, but also brings with it a new idea of the essence of the Liturgy – the Liturgy as a communal meal…This is, of course, a misunderstanding of the significance of the Roman basilica and of the positioning of its altar, and the representation of the Last Supper is also, to say the least, inaccurate…Once again let me quote Bouyer:
“Never and nowhere before (that is, before the sixteenth century) is there any indication of the slightest importance being attached, or even attention given, to the question of whether the priest should celebrate with the people behind him or in front of him. Professor Cyril Vogel has proved that, "if anything was stressed, it was that the priest should recite the Eucharistic Prayer, like all other prayers, turned towards the East Even when the orientation of the church allowed the priest to pray facing the people, we must not forget that it was not just the priest who turned to the East, but the whole congregation with him"
As one of the fathers of Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy, J.A. Jungmann, put it, it was much more a question of priest and people facing in the same direction, knowing that together they were in a procession toward the Lord.
Turn to the East is essential
On the other hand, a common turning to the East during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of accidentals, but of essentials. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue, but of common worship, of setting off towards the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle, but the common movement forward expressed in a common direction for prayer…
…However, in Saint Peter’s, during the pontificate of Saint Gregory the Great (590-604), the altar was moved nearer to the bishop’s chair, probably for the simple reason that he was supposed to stand as much as possible above the tomb of Saint Peter. This was an outward and visible expression of the truth that we celebrate the Sacrifice of the Lord in the Communion of Saints, a communion spanning all the times and ages… The custom of erecting an altar above the tombs of the martyrs probably goes back a long way and is an outcome of the same motivation… Because of topographical circumstances, it turned out that Saint Peter’s faced west. Thus, if the celebrating priest wanted – as the Christian tradition of prayer demands --** to face east,** he had to stand behind the people and look – this is the logical conclusion – toward the people… The liturgical renewal in our own century took up this alleged model and developed from it a new idea for the form of the Liturgy. The Eucharist, so it was said, had to be celebrated versus populum (towards the people). The altar – as can be seen in the normative model of Saint Peter’s – had to be positioned in such a way that priest and people looked at each other and formed together the circle of the celebrating community… This is, of course, a misunderstanding of the significance of the Roman basilica and of the positioning of its altar, and the representation of the Last Supper is also, to say the least, inaccurate
adoremus.org/0500-Ratzinger.html

It says if the Altar faces the people, not necessarily geographically East.

If the priest should always face geographically east then we would have priests turnings sideways and all sorts of ways and probably would not be practical.

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