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Thursday, 20 August 2009

Bishop Slattery turns to the East

Along with many others, Fr Z has posted on the article by Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma in Eastern Oklahoma Catholic, explaining why he has returned to the practice of celebrating the Eucharistic liturgy ad orientem in his cathedral. Bishop Slattery gives a concise and readable justification of his decision. I especially liked the closing two paragraphs:
This change ought not to be misconstrued as the Bishop “turning his back on the faithful,” as if I am being inconsiderate or hostile. Such an interpretation misses the point that, by facing in the same direction, the posture of the celebrant and the congregation make explicit the fact that we journey together to God. Priest and people are on this pilgrimage together.

It would also be a mistaken notion to look at the recovery of this ancient tradition as a mere “turning back of the clock.” Pope Benedict has spoken repeatedly of the importance of celebrating Mass ad orientem, but his intention is not to encourage celebrants to become “liturgical antiquarians.” Rather, His Holiness wants us to discover what underlies this ancient tradition and made it viable for so many centuries, namely, the Church’s understanding that the worship of the Mass is primarily and essentially the worship which Christ offers to His Father.
There is a good follow-up article on Ignatius Insight today.
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