Mine liturgiske studier i vinter har bekreftet det jeg allerede visste, og alle liturgihistorikere nå vet, at Kirken i tidligere tider ikke feiret messen med presten vendt mot folket. Noen teologer begynte likevel å agitere for dette ca 1930, og på midten av 60-tallet ble dette plutselig det normale i Den katolske kirke. Jeg syns det er svært unaturlig at presten ser på folket når han ber til Gud (i andre deler av messen er det derimot naturlig at prest og menighet ser på hverandre), og jeg finner det derfor lindrende at et stort krusifiks på alteret mildner denne kontakten, som pave Benedikt foreslo som en nødløsning – for i alle fall på kort sikt vil det nok ikke tillates at jeg «snur alteret». Fr Ray Blake skriver likevel på sin blogg at denne nødløsningen ikke er så veldig god:
… we had used the so called ‘Benedictine arrangement’, which really is odd, with a small altar especially, people criticised it as «the priest hidden behind bars [candlesticks]», it seems odd to me to have a crucifix for the priest in front of him, with the corpus facing him and one behind him facing the people …
At the same time there was a study group in the parish who read Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy and Michael Lang’s Turning towards the Lord, about the same time I attended a conference of about a hundred priests, at which Archbishop Di Noia spoke and the consensus was that the liturgy and consequently the life of the whole Church would benefit by a return of ad orientem worship.
When eventually we restored the church and there was a sanctuary floor the altar was designed for Mass to be celebrate both ways, initially I celebrated all the Masses, except in the Old Rite facing the people but it was they, certainly the servers, and those involved in the liturgy who urged facing east. I left it up to them and the sacristy staff to decide, I would celebrate Mass in either direction but found that generally it was arranged ad orientem.
There was no serious outcry, for most people it just seemed natural, even now visitors might tell me my preaching is shocking, or complain about the absence of guitars or rhythmic beat in our music but rarely, if ever, about the orientation of our worship. Our bishop at the time expressed some concern in one his friendly letters but when I cited a letter from the CDW, with its protocol number, which pointed out that the choice of orientation was entirely up to the priest I heard no more about it. …
Fr Blake viser også til at kardinal Sarah, prefekt for liturgikongregasjonen, skrev om dette 12. juni 2015 i L’Osservatore Romano, bl.a.:
Contrary to what has sometimes been maintained, it is in full conformity with the conciliar Constitution—indeed, it is entirely fitting—for everyone, priest and congregation, to turn together to the East during the penitential rite, the singing of the Gloria, the orations, and the Eucharistic prayer, in order to express the desire to participate in the work of worship and redemption accomplished by Christ. This practice could well be established in cathedrals, where liturgical life must be exemplary.