Catholic World News

Vatican's top liturgical official recommends ad orientem liturgy

May 26, 2016

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has encouraged priests to celebrate Mass ad orientem-- facing toward the east along with the congregation.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, in an interview with the French magazine Famille Chrétienne, noted that the Second Vatican Council did not require priests to celebrate Mass facing the people. That posture, he said, was introduced by the Council as "a possibility, but not an obligation."

During the Liturgy of the Word, Cardinal Sarah said, it is appropriate for the Scriptures to be proclaimed with the readers facing toward the congregation. "But as soon as we reach the moment when one addresses God—from the Offertory onward—it is essential that the priest and the faithful look together toward the east."

No special permission is required for priests to use the ad orientem posture, the Vatican's top liturgical official said. On the contrary, he said, it "corresponds exactly to what the Council fathers wanted."

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  • Posted by: keelergmom2722 - May. 27, 2016 9:34 PM ET USA

    Just about every Mass I pray for the gift of ad orientem. I feel encouraged by Cardinal Sarah's words and hope that many Bishops will take his words to heart. I have the feeling that we would be joined to the Angels and Saints in a deeper way. I wonder if the ordinary parish priest can choose to do this on his own.

  • Posted by: - May. 27, 2016 2:59 PM ET USA

    It would certainly arouse some curiosity among the congregation. That way the priest would be facing the cross for sure.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - May. 27, 2016 1:34 PM ET USA

    If you think that's good, read the rest of his book. I agree, Papabile, indeed.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - May. 27, 2016 1:06 AM ET USA