(Til lesere som absolutt ikke ønsker å høre mer om alterets plassering, om å snu alteret etc: vennligst ikke les det som følger her.)
Jeg skrev nylig HER om Fr. Longelecker som har snudd alteret i noen messer i sin egen menighet. Han har fått reaksjoner på dette, noen positive og noen negative. Han har svart de negative med et nytt innlegg, som jeg tar med en del av (NB nokså direkte språk):
… This shift in emphasis away from viewing Mass as a sacrifice and instead viewing it as a re-enactment of the Last Supper, and therefore as a kind of ceremonial, family meal is the heart of our liturgical wars. Other elements of this are evident in the question put in the combox. Notice that the person asking the question says, “When Jesus gave thanks to his Father and broke the bread.” It may be that the person asking the question therefore perceives the Mass essentially as a family meal in which Jesus ‘gives thanks to the Father and breaks bread.” While this is one element of the Mass, it is worrying if this is seen as the sole or primary focus of the Mass, for the Mass is more than a memorial of Jesus “giving thanks to the Father and breaking the bread.”
The Holy Mass is a sacrifice–an unbloody re-presentation of the one, full, final sacrifice of Christ on the cross. At the consecration the priest does more than stand as a symbol of Jesus giving thanks to the Father and breaking bread. This fourfold action of ‘taking the bread, blessing it, giving thanks and giving it to the people’ is the act of consecration through which the bread is bread no more, but is now the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ–Son of God and Son of Mary. The priest is not simply standing in as an icon of Jesus at the Last Supper, but he is a sacrificing priest, offering the sacrifice of Christ to the Father with us and for us.
If this is so, then celebrating Mass as if is merely the re-enactment of a ceremonial meal is hardly Catholic at all. Certainly this is a part of the fullness of the Mass, but should the Mass be reduced to this it is a denial of the true meaning of the Mass, and has more in common with the lowest of Protestant understandings of the Eucharist. However, it is obvious from the way Mass is celebrated in the vast majority of American Catholic parishes, that this is exactly what people now think of the Mass. The church is round and carpeted. The seats are arranged in a fan shape or circle around the altar. The family of God are gathered around the family table. All is decorated in a homely, sitting room, comfortable kind of style and they share together as the Father takes bread, gives thanks to the Father and breaks the bread and shares it. They share in a ‘ceremonial fellowship meal.’ No more.
Not only is this not fully Catholic, but it is also not what was celebrated by the early church. One of the fallacies of the modern liturgical movement is that this minimalist, down to earth, folksy, family meal was really the sort of Eucharist held by the early church. While the New Testament does say that the Apostles met for ‘the breaking of the bread’ and that the early church met in people’s houses, it is clear from all the scholarly studies on liturgy that liturgical forms and ceremonial rites developed very early. Indeed, the early Christian eucharist was undoubtedly based on already existing Jewish models of fellowship meals which were highly ceremonial and liturgical in their language and actions. …