Facing East During the Liturgy: Fact and Fiction

I don’t want to over do it on articles on this topic but this one gives some very good background on the issue…..reyanna

By John F Baldovin                  July 21, 2016                                   American Magazine on-line


In a recent liturgical conference in London, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, argued that priests should consider turning toward the East for the celebration of the eucharistic portion of the Mass.

Turning toward the East, or ad orientem, is technical liturgical language for the priest and people facing in the same direction. The suggestion is nothing new. The decision to allow Mass facing the people has had its opponents since it was allowed shortly after the end of the Second Vatican Council. And more recently it has been championed by none less than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his many writings on the liturgy.

Shortly after Cardinal Sarah gave his speech, the Vatican Press Office issued a statement “clarifying” his remarks. In it they made clear that the provisions for Mass facing the people remain in place. We shall see if that ends the matter.

Cardinal Sarah’s speech is likely to cause some conversation in the coming months, as surely some clergy and laity will want to follow his advice. I would like to sort out fact from fiction in the debate over which way the priest should face at the liturgy.

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