Friday, September 6, 2019

“Ad orientem” Worship: Help Against Clericalism

A problem with the liturgical reform of Vatican II is that great emphasis is placed upon the priest, referred to as the "presider," and upon his personality. It encourages some of our priests to be performers and entertainers. The focus, however, should be on the Lord. From Fr. Z's Blog:
[A] common turning to the east during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of something accidental, but of what is essential. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue but of common worship, of setting off toward the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle but the common movement forward, expressed in a common direction for prayer. Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Ratzinger  US HERE – UK HERE
Ad orientem worship has nothing to do with nostalgia, or with archeologizing, or a diminution of the role of laity, the importance of their presence, at the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass.
We have to “learn a new kind of seeing”, as Ratzinger said in Spirit of the Liturgy, seeking a new kind of seeing.  But in so seeking, we must avoid the disaster of sudden imposition, which was part (not all) of the problem of the errant reforms after the Council.
I am reminded Richard of St. Victor in his work on contemplation: “Love is the eye and to love is to see”, or more precisely “where your is love is, there is your eye” – Ubi amor ibi oculus – Benjamin minor 13 – sometimes cites as “Amor oculus est, et amare videre est.”
These days there is a massive effort of indirection to distract the Catholic lay faithful, who increasingly see what their power is, from recognizing the problem of active homosexuals in the priesthood. Instead, shaking their bunch of keys with one hand and pointing in the other while shouting, “Look! A squirrel!”, they are trying to impose “clericalism” as the ultra-problem.
For a moment let’s consider the negative sort of clericalism that is part of the The Present Crisis. There is a good kind of clericalism, in a healthy clerical identity. Let’s admit there is a negative clericalism. Surely it rose, in its present form, with constant focus on the priest who is forced by versus populum celebration to become the center of attention. The older form of Holy Mass kept the priest under tight control and made sure that he, as a person, wasn’t the focus.
Versus populum turning of Mass creates an expectation for the priest to perform and to become the reference point, who hectors (with the help of amplification) into a “self-enclosed circle” as Joseph Ratzinger describes, but with the priest at the center, not so much as alter Christus but as “Just Call Me Bob”, who just happens to dress up in robes and sit facing the people in a finer chair than Caesar ever had. (Read more.)

Note: Mass facing the people is not even mentioned in the Vatican II documents, but was gradually introduced by liturgists after the Council. Share

No comments: