Saturday 2 June 2012

Novus Ordo and the Versus Apsidem: a Core Need

I was honoured to attend Fr Grieves’ First Mass on Friday. It was beautifully arranged; said with reverence and dignity, served attentively, and superbly accompanied by a splendid choir who sang Spatzenmesse in C (Sparrow Mass) by Mozart. And yet I found myself increasingly aware that no matter how reverently the Novus Ordo is celebrated and with what great music, the lack of a High Altar or at least of the versus apsidem orientation, is a significant absence. The experience has deepened my conviction that the celebration of Mass ad orientem is a core loss to be recovered in Catholic liturgy. That said, it didn’t help that the Sanctuary is only one step up from the Nave, as though we weren’t to see God as being too far above us…



  1. Yes, I have seen the Novus Ordo done with Latin, altar-facing, and it does have more of the 'continuity' the Pope is looking for and which good liturgy requires.

  2. Welcome Fr Gary & Andrew. Fr Brown told us of the ordination Mass for Fr Grieves. Whilst much preferring the EF I concur that OF celebrated in Latin & ad orientem would greatly enhance the present OF Masses. Of course some priests do celebrate the OF very well but it is a source of concern & shame that often one has to be selective when deciding which OF Mass to attend. Does the priest 'say the black & do the red' or mix & match to his own preference

  3. Having just got back from the traditional Chartres Pilgrimage, I have to say that the Eastward facing, EF Masses celebrated in Notre Dame de Paris, the altar in a field on Pentecost, and Notre Dame de Chartres, were magnificent. AMDG. In our past is our future.


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