Ad Orientem: Restoring a Sense of the Sacred to the Mass

“If an angel allowed me one suggestion as to what more than anything else would most quickly restore the sense of the sacred to the Mass, it would be this: to do away with Mass facing the people. I am convinced that the position of the priest at the altar is the single most important liturgical external symbol, the one that carries the most doctrinal baggage. To put the priest back on our side of the altar, facing with us towards God, would at one stroke restore the Mass from an exercise in interpersonal relationship to the universal prayer of the Church to God our Father. With the priest facing God once more as leader of the people, the importance of the microphone will diminish, and the priest can stop making faces at us. He and we can go back to thinking only about what is happening in the Mystery.”

[Anne Roche Muggeridge, The Desolate City: Revolution in the Catholic Church, rev. ed. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990, pp. 176-77.]

An earlier version of this post was published on November 17, 2016.

Photo credit: Patrick Craig

Posted on October 5, 2021, in liturgy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It has occurred to me that priests facing away from the congregation are “leading” us to Christ… seems that when they face the congregation they are “blocking” the way to Christ.

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