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Henrik wrote:

Hi, guys —

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

  • Why does the Church celebrate Mass Ad Populum?
  • What is the reason?
  • Is it because Jesus was crucified Ad Populum?
  • He did, in fact, face the people or do we have other reasons?


  { Why does the Church celebrate Mass Ad Populum; is it because Jesus was crucified Ad Populum? }

Bob replied:


There was a reorienting of the celebrant for the Novus Ordo, but the traditional Latin Mass still utilizes Ad Orientum, which is facing away or East, as churches in the West were designed (toward the Holy City, Jerusalem and therefore Calvary where the sacrifice of Christ was/is made present). There is an argument among those that advocated for the Novus Ordo that the communal meal should be emphasized, the Early Church should be emulated which, as a de-facto corollary, de-emphasizes the sacrificial aspect of the Mass.

The debate rages on as to whether the reorienting of the celebrant along with other significant changes was a huge detrimental move.

  • Those who say yes, cite the fact that Catholic life and culture has diminished sharply since Vatican II and its innovations.
  • Those who argue for the change, say we were losing touch with the current generation and needed to bring the Gospel afresh in a way that engaged the congregation in a wholly substantial way.

Sadly, the statistics argue in favor of the former.

I like the Novus Ordo in parts, especially as a musician who draws on many sources, but can see the beauty of the Latin Mass and its resilience against the contemporary abuses that often corrupt the Novus Ordo.

Today, Catholics need to rely on a fervent zeal for the faith to overcome many of the less than perfect leaders and choices they have made for us. I personally hope we can sort it out and at least make our liturgies holy and reverent for all, until such a time as we can agree on the best way to move forward.


Bob Kirby

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