Sunday, 28 January 2007
Conversi ad Dominum
Fr Ray Blake has a rather encouraging post about the celebration of the Novus Ordo Missae ad orientem (facing the East). Catholics often assume (wrongly) that the Novus Ordo (New rite) can only be celebrated versus populum (facing the people). To explain this, I can offer no better answer than to look at a short pamphlet on the subject by Michael Davies. There are extracts from his book The Catholic Sanctuary and Vatican II on the Latin Mass Society website. More recently, an excellent book was written by Fr Uwe Michael Lang, entitled Turning towards the Lord. In this book, Fr Lang explains that the celebration of the Novus Ordo ad orientem is not forbidden, and that the celebration of the Mass in this orientation was in fact the norm for the early Church. In some Catholic churches, the celebration of the Novus Ordo ad orientem (for instance, the Brompton Oratory) is not unknown, but still remains an unusual practice in most Roman rite churches. Yet signs that this practice is growing appeared last year, when Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith (the secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments) gave a very favourable address at the presentation of the Italian translation of the book. What is particularly encouraging however, is that a parish priest has taken the favourable decision to celebrate Mass ad orientem in his own church. Let us pray that more parish priests will be willing to do so.