The following comes from a July 6 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.
Cardinal Robert Sarah on Tuesday appealed to priests throughout the world to begin saying Mass facing the same direction as the faithful, suggesting that the season of Advent would be an opportune time to do so.
“I believe that it is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – Eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes, in those parts of the liturgical rites when we are addressing God,” the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship said July 5 during his opening address at the Sacra Liturgia conference being held in London.
“Dear Fathers, I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible, with prudence and with the necessary catechesis, certainly, but also with a pastor’s confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people. Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend ‘the Lord who will come’ and ‘who will not delay’ may be a very good time to do this.”
Cardinal Sarah’s encouragement to priests to say Mass ad orientem was part of an address on how the Second Vatican Council’s document on the liturgy can be more faithfully implemented.
He began by recalling that “God, not man is at the centre of Catholic liturgy,” and that “we must be utterly clear about the nature of Catholic worship” to be able to read correctly and implement faithfullySacrosanctum Concilium.