WHY WE DO NOT OFFER THE MASS FACING THE PEOPLE
Bishop Brian J. Kennedy
Would a General leading his troop into battle face the troops?
When approaching a ruler, would you face the people or the Ruler? The
Priest and the people together form the Church Militant and the Priest
is leading the ‘troops’ as it were. Those in Heaven are the Church
Triumphant and the souls in the process of being made perfect are the
I know many Catholic leaders insist that in facing the people they are
returning to the practice of the early church but that is a bold faced
lie and they know it. If you have to resort to a lie to make things
seem right then there is something radically wrong.
The church has always faced the East, when possible, for the Mass. Some
buildings won’t allow for that but that is the ideal and the goal.
The Priest stands with the people in worshiping God, facing East.
The Priest is not the Presider of a meeting or over a group of people
that he should face the people. It was necessary to start calling the
Priest the Presider because he was facing the people and the Liturgy
became the man centered instead of God centered.
The definition of the Mass had to be changed from a “Divine Sacrifice”
to a “community meal” to allow for a “Presider”.
The presence of Christ in the Tabernacle was replaced with the presence
of Christ in the people gathered together. This changing theology meant
the Tabernacle had to be hidden off in another room or at the side of
the Altar. Now it was the people that are the all in all and not the
Eucharist in the Tabernacle.
In Holy Rosary Cathedral in Toledo you have to hunt up the Tabernacle
hidden away in a different room far from the main Altar of
Sacrifice. Speaking of the main Altar of Sacrifice, the Altar may still
be there against the wall but they don’t use it other than to hold a few
The main Altar of Sacrifice is gone totally in many churches and in all
parishes has been replaced with a “table” or sometimes called the altar
The Priest faces the people and together they have a “communal meal”.
If you want a happy meal go to McDonald’s.
The modern Liturgy is man centered, not God centered. For some the Mass
has become a happy meal but it is actually the continuation of the
Sacrifice at Calvary in an un-bloody manner. It is not a new Sacrifice
and it is not a repeating of the Sacrifice of Calvary; it is a
continuation of the one Sacrifice offered once for all.
The Priest acts in the person of Christ at the Altar (in persona
Christi). The Priest offers the Sacrifice and the people join in the
offering made by the Priest.
For this reason the Priest at one point turns to the people and prays
“May my Sacrifice and yours be acceptable……..” (Orate Fratres)
The Priest is the offerant and the people join in that offering.
The Priest is NOT a “Presider”, he is the “Offerant of the Liturgy”.
HOW THE WESTERN RITE ORTHODOX MASS
DIFFERS FROM THE ROMAN CATHOLIC MASS