The Pope’s Message

If you’d like to know more about the document that Pope Francis published today on the New Evangelization, but don’t have time to read all 51,000 words (!), here is an excellent 2.5 minute summary from Catholic News Service:

Great work!

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4 Responses to The Pope’s Message

  1. Patrick L. says:

    Whoever shot the footage from which the thumbnail for this video was chosen was lucky: he got to have the Mass celebrated ad orientum.

    I looked up the words on the wall in the background: I believe they’re from Mt 16:19. Fitting.

    • Incidentally, Mass has always been celebrated in this direction (which really is East) in St. Peter’s, as well as in other papal basilicas, although for a significant part of history there was apparently the custom of the people’s turning away from the altar, i.e. turning East as well. Anyway, I also appreciate the visual impact of having the priest face in the same direction instead of celebrating contra populum.

      The words around the frieze of St. Peter’s are from Matthew 16 and the other prophecies of Christ concerning Peter and his ministry. Part is in Latin and part in Greek, representing the two major language traditions of the Church.

      • Patrick L. says:

        I had to do some outside reading before I understood what you were saying. I had read in the past what you had said: that, historically, there was a custom of people turning away from the altar – and the priest – toward the east when this was appropriate. I believe I read this in Ratzinger’s ‘The Spirit of the Liturgy.’ However, this confuses me somewhat, since in the context of discussions on ad orientem, it seemed implicit that ad orientem in general implies that the priest faces away from the people. I am thinking of the contrast between the priest leading the people toward God in the ad orientem versus the circle enclosed in on itself in the versus populum. But what I just read about St. Peter’s doesn’t work with this approach to the matter. I just came across an image of Ven. Pope Pius XII celebrating the Usus Antiquior while facing the people.

        I guess when the ad orientem (in the literal sense of “east”) has the priest facing the people, there is still a sense of facing God if we are thinking of the rising sun as emblematic of Christ. This is a different way of thinking than I am used to, since I am accustomed to having the tabernacle in front of the priest and the people as the (literal) location of Christ and hence the place of focus. In the case of the main altar at St. Peter’s, perhaps we have a different situation, since I think there is no tabernacle in the immediate vicinity (on the west side) of the altar. At any rate, if this literal facing toward the east by both the priest and the people (with the priest behind the people) is the view we’re taking, I guess the line of the thinking that the ad orientem has the priest leading the people toward God doesn’t work – at least within the context of discussions on the Papal Basilicas.

      • There has been some evolution of thought on this point through the centuries, from physical east to liturgical east. The definitive modern work on the subject is the book Turning Towards the Lord by Uwe Michael Lang (Ignatius Press).

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