How one picture makes the case for ad orientem.

The Liturgy Guy likes the ad orientem celebration of the Mass.

Thanks for sharing! Maybe some day that picture will take place in all parishes around the world.


Another, “slightly more humorous” picture, but demonstrates the principle of ad orientem worship.

It is a beautiful picture, and it does help illustrate one of the precious beauties of Ad Orientem worship.

It occurs to me that it would be similarly beautiful if the priest were turned toward the people, and would make almost all the same points, such as the Mass being a sacrifice, if his stance in that particular shot was versus populum. (Click the link and, in your mind, swap the position of the priest so that he’s facing the camera instead of the cross, and I hope you’ll see what I mean. Or click this picture, which is similar except the priest is facing the people and the camera is at a slight angle.)

I believe that I will see a large scale return to ad orientem in my lifetime. It would be such a grace for the Church.

Well, the one picture that is posted certainly makes no such case to me at all.

Frankly, this drawing is non-sensical to me. In all my decades of the priesthood, I have never lifted my head to address a carved work of art…least of all to act as though it was the Lord I was addressing. It is a piece of art.

I like that.

Never, not symbolically or metaphorically?


A beautiful picture, though it makes no case for anything except perhaps good photography. Most people aren’t that shallow.

Now Pope Benedict made a decent case in his book using, you know, words and reason. Yet at the same time, there are down sides to ad orientem, and at this time, Pope Francis does want its return, and no case is more important than a papal decision.

Just to clarify…I know from context that you meant to type “Pope Francis does not want its return…”

Personally, I would formulate it as “Pope Francis did not want any change in the current practice, which is what the Cardinal Prefect’s speech had not made clear and why urgent clarification was needed…that the Cardinal was speaking of personal preference that in no way engaged his role as Prefect.”

Pope Benedict had reasons for ultimately not making a change regarding the altar orientation during his pontificate.

Here is what I see in that photo, Jesus , working through the Priest, is holding the Eucharist up. So its really up to Jesus if He wants to hold the Eucharist up to us , His congregation, or to the Alter.

So this elevation, is it our Eucharistic Christ held up toward the Father, or is it an elevation to allow the people to venerate? It seems to me, the people are to venerate at “Behold, the Lamb…” not at this elevation, which is to God the Father… hence the confusion that versus populum ensues. One knows not to whom certain gestures and statements are directed.

Most people aren’t confused. They don’t look for things to be confused about. They see the elevated host, know it’s Jesus, and adore him. Because that is what they have been taught.
And it’s fine.

Your post Appears to say we are not supposed to venerate Jesus at this elevation. But I think I must be misunderstanding you. Do you really mean there is ever a time during the Mass when we are supposed to stop venerating Jesus? (I don’t think you Do mean that, just asking for clarification.)

Agreed. I don’t see it making the case at all.

If anything, it seems to be suggesting that we offer Christ to Himself. Totally bad theology, and apart from that, looking like idolatry in that the Host is being offered to the carved crucifix.

No. I mean the authors of the Liturgy incorporated a specific moment that the consecrated Body and Blood were to be adored by the people. Was this elevation pictured the moment that was found suitable by the creators of the Liturgy? Or was this moment for elevating the Consecrated Host/Chalice up the the Father. You may adore the Lord at any point, but we are discussing the point that was meant for all to adore as written in the given text by its authors.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit