How come the priest’s got his back to us?

Often we hear the comment that during the Traditional Latin Mass, the priest ‘has his back towards the people’ usually followed by complaints about how that makes some feel left out, slighted, uninvolved, or that we can’t see what’s “happening”, etc.

Actually, the priest and the people are both facing the same way, towards the altar and tabernacle, in anticipation of the sacred Eucharist which will soon make our Lord present. The discussion of ad orientem (towards the east, facing the altar) versus versus populum (towards the people) reveals the many reasons, theological, historical, and liturgical, for the celebration ad orientem.

I’m including a short video by Fr. Joseph Fessio, editor of Ignatius Press, discussing Cardinal Ratzinger’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy,  vis-a-vis the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and ad orientem versus versus populum so-called controversy.

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