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Priest Facing the People

  /   Saturday January 21, 2006  

I am glad to see that Ignatius Insight has published
the essay that is Chapter 3 of The Spirit of the Liturgy
online. This is what convinced me that turning the priest around to face the people during Mass is not the best practice. He actually calls this practice a form of clericalism that makes the priest seem more important than he really is. What really needs to take place is for everyone to look together before God.

I really like this gem that I’ve posted below that can, in my opinion, can also be applied to the semicircular church design that is prevalent in modern churches. I have heard from more than one person that we need to face each other during Mass so that we can see Christ in each other. I just don’t buy it any more than I’d replace Eucharistic adoration with individual parishoners taking turns sitting on the altar. Here it is:

Another objection is that we do not need to look towards the East, towards the crucifix that, when priest and faithful look at one another, they are looking at the image of God in man, and so facing one another is the right direction for prayer. I find it hard to believe that the famous critic thought this was a serious argument. For we do not see the image of God in man in such a simplistic way. The “image of God” in man is not, of course, something that we can photograph or see with a merely photographic kind of perception. We can indeed see it, but only with the new seeing of faith.

This book, by the way, is what showed me that then-Cardinal Ratzinger is a formidable thinker. I have bought many other books of his and hope to begin reading them someday. I’m way behind on my reading.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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