Today the Holy Father, Pope Francis, again celebrated Mass ad orientem, that is, facing Christ, or facing in the same direction as the people. He celebrated on the historic high altar in the Sistine Chapel, during the annual Mass at which the Pope also baptizes a number of children.
This is the second time that Pope Francis has shown that this is a legitimate form of celebration, reinforcing what liturgical law already clearly says – to say nothing of immemorial practice.
I have previously written about this subject here (on the topic of celebrating “facing Christ“) and here (when Pope Francis previously celebrated this way). Also, I would point out this post that Archbishop Gullickson posted on his blog today.
A lot of people have a lot of “baggage” about this topic; if their parish priest started celebrating this way, they would have a conniption fit. Yet Pope Francis shows us, just as Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II, et al. did, that this is a legitimate form of celebration. In fact, it is the way that Mass was celebrated for centuries. There is a very meaningful and beautiful theology behind it, and we should accept it as part of the legitimate diversity that exists in the Church.