Saturday, January 9, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI has been systematically reforming the liturgy and emphasizing sacrality. His Master of Ceremonies for Papal Liturgies, Msgr. Guido Marini gave a preview of what could be coming to a Mass near you. In a January 6th address to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy he spoke about the traditional ad orientem posture, where the priest and people face the same direction, to the East.

Msgr. Marini called the posture a tradition which goes back to the origins of Christianity"and a characteristic expression of the authentic spirit of the liturgy.

While "facing the people" is acceptable due to the placement of some altars, Marini said, "such an expression would be categorically unacceptable the moment it comes to express a theological proposition. Theologically speaking, the holy Mass, as a matter of fact, is always addressed to God through Christ our Lord, and it would be a grievous error to imagine that the principal orientation of the sacrificial action is the community."

Catholic World News reports that Marini insisted that "every aspect of the liturgy should be designed to encourage adoration. He pointed out that Pope Benedict has begun the practice of having the faithful, at papal liturgies, receive Communion kneeling, on the tongue, as a way to render visible the proper attitude of adoration before the greatness of the mystery of the Eucharistic presence of our Lord.

Marini (and one would assume the Pope) is reminding the faithful that Mass is not about them, but about adoring Christ. Changing the posture of the priest during the sacrifice of the Mass would only underscore this fact. And considering the "look at me" antics that still plague some Masses, a reminder is in order.

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