Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Search the Remnant Newspaper
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Return of Ad Orientem: A Cardinal Burke Interview Featured

Rate this item
(28 votes)
The Return of Ad Orientem: A Cardinal Burke Interview

On December 12, 2016, Raymond Cardinal Burke announced that all official Masses at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, would be celebrated "ad orientem" -- that is, with the priest facing liturgical east and Our Lord in the tabernacle, rather than the congregation. 

We have obtained a copy of the official Press Release from the Shrine (see below).

In addition, during my recent interview with Cardinal Burke, I asked him directly about his decision to make this change.  Here is the pertinent portion of that interview:



And now the Statement from the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe:


His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, has announced that the Holy Mass at the Shrine will now regularly be offered with the priest facing the East or ad orientem. While individual priests, on pilgrimage to the Shrine, wishing to offer the Holy Mass facing the congregation or versus populum, may certainly do so, in accord with current Church discipline, the regular celebrations of the Holy Mass at the Shrine will be ad orientem.

In his homilies for both the Third Sunday of Advent and the Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cardinal Burke offered a catechesis regarding the orientation of the priest and people during the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass. He explained that the priest at the head of the congregation will, with the congregation, turn toward the Lord during the prayers and, above all, during the Eucharistic Prayer, in order to render more visible our recognition that it is Our Lord Himself Who inspires our prayer and Who acts during the Eucharistic Prayer to make sacramentally present His Sacrifice on Calvary for our eternal salvation. We all turn to Him; we all look to Him.

He further explained that the practice of the priest facing the congregation, which developed during the years after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, was not in fact a discipline ordered by the Council. He observed that, while it may have seemed helpful at the time, it now seems fitting and indeed important to return to the ancient practice by which the union of the priest who offers the Sacrifice of the Mass, in the person of Christ, and the congregation is visible to us all and inspires in us a more ready recognition of Christ in our midst, as He is most fully and perfectly present in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Quoting Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, he explained that the teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on the Sacred Liturgy does not speak of a change in the ancient discipline according to which “during the Rite of Penance, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and the Eucharistic Prayer, all, priests and faithful, should turn together towards the East, to express their desire to participate in the work of worship and of redemption accomplished by Christ.”

He explained that, returning to the ancient practice of the Church, we all face the East, we all face the Lord, during Sacred Worship. It is not a question of the priest turning his back to the faithful but rather directing himself, with the faithful, to Christ Who makes sacramentally present His Sacrifice for our eternal salvation. He expressed the hope that, purifying and enriching the liturgical practice at the Shrine, we will be one with Our Lady of Guadalupe in giving witness to the all-merciful love of God present, in a most extraordinary manner, in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

He also explained that facing our Lord in Sacred Worship gives form to our daily living. In everything that we think and say and do, we are to turn to the Lord. Each day, we devote ourselves anew to the conversion of our lives to Christ. We live, intently engaged in the life of the world, but always with our eyes fixed on heaven, on our true destiny and the final destiny of the world. We are called to worship and serve God. We are called to make Christ, not ourselves, the center of our lives, so that we truly serve God, directing our minds and hearts more and more toward Him with fidelity, generosity and obedience.

It goes without saying that we at The Remnant offer our unconditional support of the Cardinal's decision to take this step, always mindful of the fact that just as the liturgical revolution unfolded in stages, so too the liturgical restoration will take time and must start somewhere.

Would we prefer that every Mass at the Shrine from now on would be -- by order of Cardinal Burke -- the Traditional Latin Mass?  Of course! But in the meantime, and as my father of used to say: "When the liturgical restoration does, in God's good time, become a happy reality, I would not have my fellow Catholics subjected to what we traditionalists went through in 1969 -- a traumatic transformation of the liturgy that did violence to the faith of so many. The restoration will not happen overnight and it must include careful instruction on the fundamental purpose of the Mass so that the people will understand and will be able to overcome what amounts to, essentially, a mass brainwashing  operation on the part of liturgical revolutionaries." 

Well, it seems to me that this is precisely what Cardinal Burke is initiating both in La Crosse and throughout the world, with his well-documented willingness to offer high-profile Traditional Latin Masses—a signal of support for sacred Tradition that takes great courage on his part and could not possibly be more irksome to many inside the Vatican.  What may seem to some traditionalists as mere "token baby steps" are, in fact, sending a message to Modernists everywhere that the foundations of their revolution are far from secure.  

In this case, Cardinal Robert Sarah has called for the restoration of the liturgical tradition of ad orientem, the attack on which was the Revolution's first order of business in the process of reorienting the entire point and purpose of the Mass from God-centered to Man-centered.  And though the endgame for us is the full and complete restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass, we are more than happy to do our part to encourage priests everywhere to follow Cardinal Burke's lead and to adapt themselves to the recommendations of the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments without delay.

There is no longer any reason why any priest should be prohibited from announcing next Sunday that, from now on, all Masses will be offered ad orientem in accord with the dictates of holy Tradition and the wishes of Cardinal Sarah. 

God bless Cardinal Burke for setting the much-needed example. Now let's spread the word. It's time for all priests to return to ad orientem without delay.



[Comment Guidelines - Click to view]
Last modified on Thursday, December 29, 2016
Michael J. Matt | Editor

Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000.  Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.