First RCIA Class!

Well, I attended my first RCIA class at Our Lady of Sorrows. This first class was essentially about getting to know each other and a very basic overview of the course. People asked questions and the instructors (called "facilitators") and Fr. Terry answered them.

There are about 10 people in this year's class. They handed out a book written by Michael Pennock called This Is Our Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults. Next week, according to the schedule, they'll be issuing bibles.

One question I had dealt with the difference between the Latin Mass and the so-called "Novus Ordo" Mass. Specifically, the fact that in the Latin Mass, the celebrant doesn't face the parishioners, while in the newer Mass he does. Well, Fr. Terry brought up a point I'm ashamed to say I hadn't thought of: during the last supper, Jesus faced His apostles.


japhy said...

The priest can face with (not "away from") the faithful in the newer liturgy of the Mass as well. In fact, the Roman Missal and its General Instruction assume that posture.

Mick said...

I remember The Baltimore Catechism from many, many years ago...

Alexander said...

Fr. Terry seems to forget that at the Last Supper Jesus gave them authority and power to offer Mass; "take this all of you and" etc. Therefore the argument of orientation is due to them being priests essentially and facing towards Christ (we are assuming that they did indeed face Christ even though we have no 100% proof).

Hence at a Traditional Mass the priest and the entire congregation face Christ in the same direction which would mimic the Apostles orientation as being representatives of Christ directing us towards Him.

Also it would strange to have the priest saying “take this all of you etc.” out loud and facing us because he is essentially saying that we should take the Eucharist and offer sacrifice. The Mass facing the people therefore screws up the theology and deeper meaning of the words of the last supper by diminishing their meaning. I cannot offer sacrifice because I am not a priest, therefore the priest should not face me and say these words – it makes no sense.

“But he's just praying, not actually saying you should do that”

Right, but some people don't know this and can read into it, it helps to blur the line between lay and cleric and as a result hurts Catholic doctrine.

The second flaw is that the Mass is principally the sacrifice of Calvary (Calvary first). Therefore, attention should be placed on the act of the Sacrifice itself, not on the priest's face. Man's nature will automatically become more susceptible to distraction if the priest is facing you (and praying in vernacular to boot). The traditional orientation (Ad Orientem) directs the focus on Christ; the priest faces Christ symbolized through the altar and in reality in the Eucharist, the priest therefore acts in a way to direct the laity to focus their attention towards the same thing he is while minimizing distraction. And orenitation where the priest faces you and prays in vernaucler can lead to man-centered liturigies. In the name of humlility the priest and people should face the same direction for adoration of God and offering the Sacririfice.

“But the priest represents Christ”

Yes, but at Holy Mass you don't worship the priest and the priest offers the sacrifice of the Cross, he is not the sacrifice itself (because only the God-man can become the sacrifice Himself).

Next is the fact that Ad Orientem reflects Catholic doctrine better, especially the sacrificial nature of Mass being a Real and Substantial Sacrifice.

Fourth, the Church since ancient times as always used this orientation of facing the Risen Lord, East, or liturgical East. It is only with the protestant “reforms” that the orientation faced the people and this was because they denied the sacrificial aspect of the Mass.

In essence one is saying that nearly 2,000 years of Church practice is inferior to our new “enlightened” position of facing the people. Never mind all those Popes, mystics, saints and doctors who used these practices and never complained about them. What do they know right?

Also, I don't recommend the Monroe parish, go to Holy Name in Trenton at least.