José Benlliure y Gil (1855–1937), “Hearing Mass, Rocafort”
By Msgr. Charles Pope, EWTN News, July 23, 2019
Here’s how to better acquaint God’s people with the beauty and naturalness of the ad orientem posture at Mass
I have written many times on the orientation of the priest for the Eucharistic Prayer. I strongly prefer an eastward (ad orientem) posture, in which the priest and God’s people all face in the same direction toward the Lord as the Eucharistic Prayer is prayed. Rather than restate all the reasons for my preference here, I direct you to what I have previously written (here , here , and here).
While I would like to see the eastward orientation restored, I am aware that many, even among doctrinally strong Catholics, are uneasy about the move. Further, many bishops remain unconvinced of its merits and see the push from individual priests as hostile to liturgical unity in their diocese. That a priest is permitted by the norms to say Mass ad orientemis beyond dispute, but bishops must often field complaints and do have an interest in ensuring that liturgical practice in their diocese not become divided by numerous idiosyncrasies.
Traditionalists have legitimate concerns about a rather selective enforcement of liturgical norms. It seems that every possible abuse is permitted to flourish, but let a priest say Mass facing to the east and suddenly there is great scrutiny and pressure to conform to “norms.” I do understand their concern, even if it only about customs. ….