Friday, October 30, 2009

Fr. Aidan Nichols on Orientation

There are a few articles of interest in today's online edition of The Catholic Herald, but in particular I would highlight the continuation of letters between authors Moyra Doorly and Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P.

Here is an excerpt where Fr. Nichols speaks about the "re-sacrificalizing" aspect of recovering our tradition of ad orientem:

... I would agree with you that we need to 're-sacrificialise', in your invented but useful word, our common or garden usage of the rite of Paul VI - if not, in some respects, the rite itself. But to my mind the single greatest contribution we can make to that end is to press - judiciously and with respect - for the celebration of the Mass versus orientem, the Liturgy 'turned towards the Lord'. The celebrant stands ministerially in the place of Christ the High Priest. Appropriately, since our Great High Priest is Mediator between God and men, the Church's priest, during the Liturgy of the Sacrifice - after, that is, the litany-like moment of the Bidding Prayers - turns at key moments to the body of the faithful, engaging their response ('active' participation means engaged participation, not jumping up and down) to the sacred action of which he is protagonist. Essentially, however, in the celebration of the Sacrifice the ministerial priest is turned - always in spiritual attitude if, in our current practice, seldom in empirical fact - not to face the people but, with the beloved Son, to face the Father, to whom the Oblation of praise and thanksgiving, propitiation and supplication is addressed. Your desire for a clearer indication of the change in level as we move from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Sacrifice would be well met by the change of direction whereby the priest at that shift in gear turns from facing the people to facing the Father. A strengthening of the Offertory rite would appropriately accompany that change.

To read the entire correspondence, see here.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: