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From the Diocese of Gallup in New Mexico, here’s part of a letter from Bishop James S. Wall:
Let me say at the outset: I know this can be a contentious topic. To make changes to the way we pray can be difficult, especially when it comes to liturgical prayer. By explaining and advocating for this, I am in no way trying to disrupt the way the people of this Diocese pray. Rather, I am trying to open the treasury of the Church’s patrimony, so that, together, we can all experience one of the most ancient ways that the Church has always prayed, starting with Jesus and reaching even to our own day, and thereby learn from the “ever ancient, ever new” wisdom of the Church.
Mind - Note - Mass - Ad - Orientem
With that in mind, let me start with just a brief historical note. Essentially, we can say that celebrating Mass ad orientem is one of the most ancient and most consistent practices in the life of the Church—it is part of how the Church has always understood the proper worship of God. Uwe Michael Lang has published a book showing just this, entitled Turning Towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer and published by Ignatius Press. His extensive and thorough research shows this very fact: that, in the words of Cardinal Ratzinger, “Despite all the variations in practice that have taken place far into the second millennium, one thing has remained clear for the whole of Christendom: praying toward the east is a tradition that goes back to the beginning” (The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 75). This means that celebration of Mass ad orientem is not a form of antiquarianism, i.e. choosing to do something because it is old, but rather choosing to do something that has always been. This also means, in turn, that...
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