Much is being made of rumors that the Vatican will soon issue a decree mandating that the priest celebrate the Mass ad orientem (“toward the East” and, presumably, with his back to the people). I would like to support that, but only if we take the spirit of the proposal seriously and follow through completely with what the supporting arguments actually require.
There are two basic arguments in support of the priest praying ad orientem. The first is historical: there...
The remainder of this article is only available to paid subscribers.
Print subscribers to Commonweal are entitled to free access to all premium online content. Click here to purchase a print subscription, or if you’re already a print subscriber, register now for premium access.
Online-only subscriptions provide access to all premium online articles for just $34/year or $2.95/month. Click here to subscribe.
Richard R. Gaillardetz is the Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College. His books include: Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II (co-authored with Catherine Clifford, Liturgical Press, 2012), When the Magisterium Intervenes (editor, Liturgical Press, 2012), Ecclesiology for a Global Church: A People Called and Sent (Orbis, 2008) and The Church in the Making (Paulist, 2006).