Friday, February 09, 2007

Liturgeists vs. Liturgy: Weigel on Orientation

It would be largely accurate to characterize Liturgeists as "disoriented," and it starts with their completely un-informed insistence on having Father 'face the people' during the celebration of the Mass.

In a review of a new book on the topic, George Weigel makes the case for "ad orientem" (towards the East, for Liturgeists.) Some excerpts:

The question at issue is not so much the celebration of Mass facing the people as the orientation of liturgical prayer. Thus attempts to derail this discussion by dismissing it as a project of anti-Vatican II reactionaries eager for the priest to turn his back to the people should be resisted. As Father Lang writes, "this cheesy sound-bite is a classic example of confounding theology and topography, for the crucial point is that the Mass is a common act of worship where priest and people together, representing the pilgrim church, reach out for the transcendent God."

This, in fact, is one of the primary purposes of the eucharistic liturgy: it is meant to point Christian existence toward Christ coming in glory. (That is, it is "other-directed, or "outward-directed," not a closed circle.)

This common orientation of priest and people toward Christ, returning in glory, is deeply rooted in the origins of Christianity. Then, it was a matter of course for Christians to turn in prayer toward the rising sun

Thus, the priest facing the same direction as the faithful when he stands at the altar, leads the people of God in a common movement toward the Lord, who is the rising sun of history (Christ)

Not hard to understand, eh?

HT: Christus Vincit

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