Latin Mass

In the Old Latin Mass why was the priest facing away from the people?

The priest was facing in the same direction as the people, everyone faced in the same direction.

[quote=starrs0]In the Old Latin Mass why was the priest facing away from the people?

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The priest faces East, in anticipation of the returning Christ.

That makes sense so why the switch?

[quote=Scotty PGH]The priest faces East, in anticipation of the returning Christ.
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. . . even if (as in St. Peter’s in Rome) the alter faces west, it is still considered “east” – liturgical “east.”

[quote=starrs0]That makes sense so why the switch?
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Because of the Modern world we live in. Everyone seems to expect the one publicly preaching or speaking to face the people. The back facing the people, makes somepeople feel uncomfortable and people think that the priest is arrogant in thinking that he is somewhat better. It would be better if they reintroduce facing the same direction and just explain to everyone why that is and clear out the misconceptions. This would also help ending the abuses of putting the tabernacle way too off to the side. The tabernacle would be better in the middle of the sanctuary and completely visible to all.

The priest faced away from the people because he was the spiritual “leader” of the congregation. Leaders lead; they’re always up in front, leading. The priest was symbolically “leading” the people “towards” Christ in Jerusalem.

Same reason churches used to be built long and high; you entered at the back and walked a long ways towards the front; again, symbolically representing the Christian’s journey through life towards God (Christ, in the tabernacle at the front of the church). They were constructed high, with artwork at the top, so that you were encouraged to look up (towards God) to see the artwork; symbolic of man seeking upwards towards God.

Nowadays, of course, the emphasis is all on us, instead of God; so churches are built low, to emphasize our earthly existance, and round, so we can sit there and worship each other (the “body of Christ”) as we look across at our neighbors. God (Christ in the tabernacle) is off in a broom closet somewhere, so He won’t offend anybody, and the priest is in the middle of the circle or horseshoe, doing his stage act instead of leading the people.

As for why the priest is facing the people instead of away from them, this is another one of those “spirit of Vatican II” things that Vatican II never stipulated; somebody dreamed it up after the council and said that Vatican II called for it, when Vatican II never said any such thing. (Search the documents of the council. You will not find one word about turning the priest around.) Just like not giving Gregorian chant pride of place in parish worship, and not retaining Latin as the primary liturgical language (both of which have been merrily abandoned), the priest facing towards the people instead of away from the congregation is a post-conciliar novelty that the council never envisioned.

And remember, as always: If you ever happen to meet the “Spirit of Vatican II”, do us all a favor and drive a wooden stake through its heart. :wink:

[quote=Wolseley]The priest faced away from the people because he was the spiritual “leader” of the congregation. Leaders lead; they’re always up in front, leading. The priest was symbolically “leading” the people “towards” Christ in Jerusalem.

Same reason churches used to be built long and high; you entered at the back and walked a long ways towards the front; again, symbolically representing the Christian’s journey through life towards God (Christ, in the tabernacle at the front of the church). They were constructed high, with artwork at the top, so that you were encouraged to look up (towards God) to see the artwork; symbolic of man seeking upwards towards God.

Nowadays, of course, the emphasis is all on us, instead of God; so churches are built low, to emphasize our earthly existance, and round, so we can sit there and worship each other (the “body of Christ”) as we look across at our neighbors. God (Christ in the tabernacle) is off in a broom closet somewhere, so He won’t offend anybody, and the priest is in the middle of the circle or horseshoe, doing his stage act instead of leading the people.
As for why the priest is facing the people instead of away from them, this is another one of those “spirit of Vatican II” things that Vatican II never stipulated; somebody dreamed it up after the council and said that Vatican II called for it, when Vatican II never said any such thing. (Search the documents of the council. You will not find one word about turning the priest around.) Just like not giving Gregorian chant pride of place in parish worship, and not retaining Latin as the primary liturgical language (both of which have been merrily abandoned), the priest facing towards the people instead of away from the congregation is a post-conciliar novelty that the council never envisioned.

And remember, as always: If you ever happen to meet the “Spirit of Vatican II”, do us all a favor and drive a wooden stake through its heart. :wink:
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My preference is for the TLM. There is also no reason why the Novus Ordo Missae cannot be celebrated ad orientem. But I would not refer to the Mass in any rite as a “stage show,” as that suggests either disrespect or invalidity.

Surely you do not intend to suggest either, do you?

[quote=starrs0]In the Old Latin Mass why was the priest facing away from the people?

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I think he was facing God. :hmmm:

Now there is a table instead of an altar. :tsktsk: I have heard. The Tridentine Latin Masses that I attend have the same configuration that existed before 1962. :clapping:

Kathie :bowdown:

[quote=severinus]My preference is for the TLM. There is also no reason why the Novus Ordo Missae cannot be celebrated ad orientem. But I would not refer to the Mass in any rite as a “stage show,” as that suggests either disrespect or invalidity.

Surely you do not intend to suggest either, do you?
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I can’t speak for the poster above, but Mass facing the people does take the focus off God and puts it square on the priest. So everyone is focused on Father’s face, his peculiar facial quirks, did he shave this morning or not, how loudly he chews the host, etc. You can tell some priests eat up that attention and “perform” accordingly. It’s very much a “show” for some of these guys. Not all, thank God, but some.

Ad orientem, on the other hand, places the emphasis right where it belongs, on Jesus Christ. “I must decrease and He must increase” a wise man once said. :wink:

In my Church, which was built after Vatican II but is very conservative and beautiful…the priest facing the people IS facing east. Because like in St. Peter’s, the altar now faces west.

[quote=Dr. Bombay]I can’t speak for the poster above, but Mass facing the people does take the focus off God and puts it square on the priest. So everyone is focused on Father’s face, his peculiar facial quirks, did he shave this morning or not, how loudly he chews the host, etc. You can tell some priests eat up that attention and “perform” accordingly. It’s very much a “show” for some of these guys. Not all, thank God, but some.

Ad orientem, on the other hand, places the emphasis right where it belongs, on Jesus Christ. “I must decrease and He must increase” a wise man once said. :wink:
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Agreed on all points, Doctor. Neither the priest’s quirks or his personality ought to be the focus of the Mass. *Ad orientem * removes those issues. My only issue with the poster was that he seemed to be using the term “stage act” in an inappropriate way.

Eastern Rite priests also face the same way as the laity.

Am I correct in thinking that the leaders of other religions’ worship also face the same way as the people?

If so, that would make the Novus Ordo (and also Protestant) orientation (or should that be “occidentation”) unusual!

Triumpha.

[quote=harinkj]I think he was facing God. :hmmm:

Now there is a table instead of an altar. :tsktsk: I have heard. The Tridentine Latin Masses that I attend have the same configuration that existed before 1962. :clapping:

Kathie :bowdown:
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Many years ago I was preparing notes on colonial church architecture in Australia and sent a chapter I had written off to the Dean of Sydney’s Anglican cathedral. He wrote back a nice letter saying it was all in order ecept that the word altar should not be used as it was the Lord’s Table - altar smacked too much of sacrifice. I find it intriguing that (the slippery slope again) there are now priests who refer to the “table” and not the “altar” … but of course we were never going to slip were we?

On the orientation - the priest presented the offerings of the people to God (acting for the congregation) and then brought the Sacrament to the people (acting for Christ) which seems to me to be a reasonable definition of the priest’s function. Today he seems more to preside over a gathering (hence the preference for the Presider in some modern churches … another slippery slope) and is thus, however unwittingly the focus of our attention.

As was pointed out by Wolsley, the whole structure of the mass and of the church was to focus our attention on God. By altering this structure, developed over hundreds of years in response to the Church’s lived experience and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the focus was also changed, no matter what we were reassured about the inner meaning. It is high time that the form and inner meaning were brought back into harmony.

[quote=InnocentIII]By altering this structure, developed over hundreds of years in response to the Church’s lived experience and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the focus was also changed, no matter what we were reassured about the inner meaning. It is high time that the form and inner meaning were brought back into harmony.
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PLEASE, GOD!!!

Do you think that in the future we’ll see the Novous Ordo given a make over to cut down on abuse and irreverance I can never tell which Mystery of Faith will be proclaimed after the Consecration since there seems to be at least 3 or 4 types to chose from :confused:

[quote=starrs0]In the Old Latin Mass why was the priest facing away from the people?

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No time to read all this, and I hope I’m not repeating what others have said, but you can just read Cardinal Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy. It’s fun to surmise and discuss, but if you really want the answer, go to the real expert. Why not? :thumbsup:

Anna

He was the shepherd leading the sheep and he faced east to were Jesus lived, died and will return. Or so they told me in 1st grade.

[quote=severinus]My preference is for the TLM. There is also no reason why the Novus Ordo Missae cannot be celebrated ad orientem. But I would not refer to the Mass in any rite as a “stage show,” as that suggests either disrespect or invalidity.

Surely you do not intend to suggest either, do you?
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I intend no disrespect towards, nor do I suggest the invalidity of, the Novus Ordo.

The abuses that we always seem to constantly find in the Novus Ordo, on the other hand, are a different thing entirely.

[quote=batteddy]In my Church, which was built after Vatican II but is very conservative and beautiful…the priest facing the people IS facing east. Because like in St. Peter’s, the altar now faces west.
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The concept of literally facing east (ad orientem) has, regrettably, long been lost and I doubt your church was built this way to imitate St. Peter’s. Even before Vatican II, churches and even cathedrals were built facing in every direction of the compass. What DOES count is that the priest should face the same way as the people. A leader doesn’t lead his troops with his back against the wall.

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