Thoughts About ‘ad orientem’ Worship and Priests Being Bullied

The rubrics of the Novus Ordo Missale Romanum and the tradition of many centuries have the priest at the altar facing liturgical East. That is to say, as he celebrates Holy Mass with a congregation present, there are moments when the priest is instructed to turn to the people and then to turn back to the altar. Hence, the congregation and the priest, when he is at the altar, together face liturgical East.

This arrangement reveals that the priest is the “head” of the congregation, “body. He stands at the head of the physical church as the people are in that church’s body. All of this reflects the invisible reality that Christ is the Head of the Body the Church.


This is wonderful and brings people to the meaning of the mass. The priests should be able to do this as he wishes in his parish. The problem would be if the priest was knocking the Novus Ordo as a false mass or not a valid mass, and only saying his mass is valid.

Priests shouldnt get bullied as if traditional was wrong and removed for wanting to show reverence.

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From the link,

From Church’s earliest days, and in keeping with the prayer practices of the Jews, our forebears thought Christ would return in glory from the East. Moreover, if I remember correctly, after her apparitions at Fatima, Our Lady disappeared into the East.

My thoughts are that with God, there is no East, nor West, nor South, nor North. We are His temple, He dwells within.

I don’t understand how it would be that “our forebears thought Christ would return in glory from the East” since that conclusion might presume something beyond what Jesus said:

Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

I think what is most important, is that priests defer to the guidance of their bishop in ministering to the flock.


It is to also pray to God and to face the tabernacle you are directly talking to God

You quote Mathew 24:36, which comes fairly shortly after Mathew 24:27, which answers your question as to why early Christians all expected Christ to return from the East.

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I see how that might be understood literally, as though from a specific direction. :wink:

Even understood symbolically, it is easy to see how that symbolism was reflected in the liturgy, after all it was Jesus’s own symbolism. And we should remember that this use of Christ’s symbolism was nearly universal, for a very, very long time.

It is, imo, the most unfortunate of changes in the modern liturgy. We all accept it as normal, for 50 years it is all we have seen. But historically, from East to West, it is a huge departure from the previous norm.


Symbolism is extremely important to the liturgy as well–in fact, to all of Christianity. Symbols make incarnate those greater spiritual truths.


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