Ad orientem in the New York Post

From the New York Post, of all places, comes a piece by Chad Pecknold of Catholic University of America entitled Behind Ted McCarrick's fall: the wrong kind of 'openess'". Overall, it’s quite good, with a brief explanation of what “laicization” means:

“…In Catholic teaching, ordination to the priesthood “confers a gift of the Holy Spirit” that changes a man and his personal status. A man ordained to the priesthood has the right and duty to exercise a sacred power “which can only come from Christ himself through his church.” This imprint of God’s power can never be erased — but the church can remove an ordained man’s right to exercise the power of that imprint…”

But I was struck by this paragraph (my emphasis):

“… McCarrick is only the most ­extreme representative of such forgetfulness. Elsewhere, openness to the world has meant ­removing the crosses from Catholic classrooms or turning altars around to the face the people rather than the dying Jesus on the cross. Such openness has shifted not only the direction the priest faces during the Mass — but which way he faces in his heart…

This last is true for the people as well as the priest. And, I think people can understand this if it’s explained coherently rather than trivialized, dismissed and denigrated, as is generally the case when the issue comes up, especially in Catholic circles. How we do the Mass is central to how we live our lives as Catholics. It’s not perfect, ad orientem and/or the TLM won’t magically fix everything wrong in the Church – after all, what is the Church’s 2000 year history if not “troubled”. But it would be a good start.

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