….Further, most priests will say that, once they have offered Holy Mass Ad Orientem, they too find it far easier to celebrate. Mass facing the people facilitates clericalism as the priest becomes the center of attention, leading some priests to take on the role of a ring-master for their liturgical circus. After all, does it make any sense to pray, “To you, therefore, most merciful Father,” staring at an assembly of onlookers? The only complaints I have ever encountered have come from octogenarian left-over hippies; they are the real ones who ought to heed Papa Bergoglio’s assault on “backwardism” in their desire to return to the nuttiness of the 1960s. No, Adelante, as he often presses. Move forward, leave behind the 60s!

Can a bishop mandate which of the three forms of the Penitential Act a priest must use? Which Eucharistic Prayer? That he offer the Sign of Peace? Of course not. Nor does he have the authority to mandate versus populum celebrations.1 As one venerable Jesuit mantra would have it: “I have no obligation to obey what you have no right to command.” Which gets to the heart of the matter….

The sad – and relatively unspoken – part of the whole saga is that episcopal overreach is worsening priestly morale, which is already at a very low ebb. Bishops need to take seriously the wise counsel of Sirach: “Fathers, do not provoke your sons to anger” (6:4). The seemingly endless onslaught on traditional ways of living and doing are driving many clergy and laity into extremist positions. Faithful whom I have known for decades as centrist Catholics have moved very far to the right, thanks to the lunacy promoted at times over the past ten years. And many others have been driven into the waiting and welcoming arms of the Lefebvrists or even sede vacantists….

Full story by Father Peter Stravinskas at Catholic World Report.