I USA har Biskop Edward Slattery, i Tulsa, Oklahoma, har nå begynt å feire messen på sin domkirkes høyalter, ad orentem, og sin i bispedømmets tidsskrift forklarer han hvorfor han har gjort dette . (LES alt han skriver her – pdf.)
Han argumenterer tydelig (og overraskende sterkt, syns jeg) for at det er viktig og riktig å «snu tilbake» retningen presten vender seg til alteret. Han skriver at det nok kan være positivt på noen måter at presten vender seg mot menigheten, men:
Unfortunately this change had a number of unforeseen and largely negative effects. First of all, it was a serious rupture with the Church’s ancient tradition. Secondly, it can give the appearance that the priest and the people were engaged in a conversation about God, rather than the worship of God. Thirdly, it places an inordinate importance on the personality of the celebrant by placing him on a kind of liturgical stage.
Because the Mass is so necessary and fundamental to our Catholic experience, the liturgy is a constant topic in our conversation. That is why when we get together, we so often reflect upon the prayers and readings, discuss the homily, and – likely as not – argue about the music. The critical element in these conversations is an understanding that we Catholics worship the way we do because of what the Mass is: Christ’s sacrifice, offered under the sacramental signs of bread and wine.
If our conversation about the Mass is going to “make any sense,” then we have to grasp this essential truth: At Mass, Christ joins us to Himself as He offers Himself in sacrifice to the Father for the world’s redemption. We can offer ourselves like this in Him because we have become members of His Body by Baptism.
We also want to remember that all of the faithful offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice as members of Christ’s body. It’s incorrect to think that only the priest offers Mass. All the faithful share in the offering, even though the priest has a unique role. He stands “in the person of Christ,” the historic Head of the Mystical Body, so that, at Mass, it is the whole body of Christ – Head and members together that make the offering.