Liturgical focus- Pope Benedict leads the way

Those of you who have a mind for liturgical matters would be interested to know that this morning the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the Sistine Chapel ad orientem. In the past a portable table would be set up for Masses in the chapel, but Pope Benedict has decided that there is no reason to do so when the chapel already has a perfectly suitable Altar beneath Michelangelo’s fresco of the Last Judgement.

Some things to notice- the Altar has the seventh candle in it’s place behind the Crucifix and a throne is in use again.

Now if we want to be picky, then I would have to admit that the Crucifix looks rather large and out of place (a smaller one that goes with the candlesticks would have been preferable), and the laity should not be seated in the choir- they should be behind the transenna looking through. Also, I dont care for the vestments.

Apparently the movements of the servers were not as well choreographed as they could have been, though I expect they are not used to this. Things tend to flow more smoothly in the Traditional Rite then in the Novus Ordo.

But in any case this is a major stepforward from the liturgical modernism of the last 40 years. His Holiness has written before on the importance of ad orientem worship, especially in the Mass, and he is backing up his words with action in a public Mass (it is already known that he celebrates his daily private Mass ad orientem).

There is no reason why the average parish priest cannot scrap the Cranmer-table and move back to the old High Altar so that the focus of the liturgy can shift back towards the Sacrifice of the Cross. His Holiness is leading the way here.


Speaking of the Cranmer table, I am not sure how you could retrofit newer 70’s 80’s style churches with a high altar, but it would be a big improvement if we could replace the tables we call altars. Both altars in my parish look like actual tables. Thankfully we do have a large stained glass window of the risen Christ that is between the Adoration chapel and santuary so you can see the tabernacle through it, but it would be nicer if it was plainly visible. Same with the Ad orientam. What is so hard with just facing east like everyone else during key parts of the mass. Even with a Freestanding altar it can be done.

Wow, what a beautiful chapel.:slight_smile:

Unless, of course, one’s church’s altar is at the west end of the church. Then I suppose the NO mass is ad orientam.

Liturgical east.

Nice pictures! Beating the liberals back step by grueling step. May this trend continue!

Cool :slight_smile:


“Liturgical East?” Really?


we are actually facing “East” to face the Heavenly Jerusalem, where all will see Christ in his second coming so we are looking for him there

Indeed! At your leisure:


Are those Crucifix’s on the candle holders or just ornate crosses ?
I can’t tell for sure by the photo.

If you have EWTN the replay of the mass is on now

Thanks !

I think my point was that you’re not “actually” facing east. Perhaps figuratively, although I would not consider the liturgy to be merely figurative. If directions are that important, we should take a page from the Muslims. They know where Mecca is.

Yes, while the Holy Eucharist is not figurative, the liturgy is filled with symbolism. Further, when the New Mass is celebrated versus populum, it’s not to make sure the priest faces the actual East, but so that the Priest will face the people. The crucial distinction is not only facing liturgical East (and nothing wrong with building churches so that liturgical and actual East are the same) but the Priest and people facing God together and not each other.

Here you go:

Really Cool Patience and Love. And I thought my church was modern. That church was really modern. At least we have a tabernacle in the area of the altar. How did we go from romanesq, rennaisance, boroque, gothic, rococo to modernism and postmodernism. EWW:(

Potentially, in order to clean up things as much as they could possibly be cleaned up at this point, couldn’t the Holy Father make it mandatory that the priest face East only during the Eucharistic Prayer or other specified parts of the liturgy? I don’t understand why he has not already done this. Just this slight adjustment would not be that much of a shocking change for the majority of the faithful attending Novus Ordo Masses.

Apparently it doesn’t matter that much. If “East” is anywhere that the liturgy says it is, why can’t the celebrant and the people both be facing liturgical east, even when they’re facing each other?

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