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The Innsbruck liturgist Josef Andreas Jungmann, one of the architects of the Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, was from the, very beginning resolutely opposed to the polemical catchphrase that previously the priest celebrated 'with his back to the people'; he emphasised that what was at issue was not the priest turning away from the people, but, on the contrary, his facing the same direction as the people.
The Liturgy of the Word has the character of proclamation and dialogue, to which address and response can rightly belong.
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But in the Liturgy of the Eucharist the priest leads the people in prayer and is turned, together with the people, towards the Lord. For this reason, Jungmann argued, the common direction of priest and people is intrinsically fitting and proper to the liturgical action.
Louis Bouyer like Jungmann, one of the Council's leading liturgists and Klaus Gamber have each in his own way taken up the same question. Despite their great reputations, they were unable to make their voices heard at first, so strong was the tendency to stress the communality of the liturgical celebration and to regard therefore the face-to-face position of priest and people as absolutely necessary.
More recently the atmosphere has become more relaxed so that it is possible to raise the kind of questions asked by Jungmann, Bouyer, and Gamber without at once being suspected of anti-conciliar sentiments.
Historical research has made the controversy less partisan, and among the faithful there is an increasing sense of the problems inherent in an arrangement that hardly shows the liturgy to be open to the things that are above and to the world to come. In this situation, Lang's delightfully objective and wholly unpolemical book is a valuable guide.
Without claiming to offer major new insights, he carefully presents the results of recent research and provides the material necessary for making an informed judgment. The book is especially valuable in showing the contribution made by the Church of England to this question and in giving, also, due consideration to the part played by the Oxford Movement in the nineteenth century in which the conversion of John Henry Newman matured.
Turning Towards the Lord
I wish the book a wide and attentive readership. Thomas Crean, O. Joseph Fessio, S. Clark, Ph.
James V. Over the years on this blog I have offered some commentary on Pope Francis and his bizarre, scandalous and increasingly diabolical pontificate. Of late, I have tried to keep it light, trying to offer some comic relief on the papacy arranged meticulously in a conference room in Hell. Later still, I stopped blogging, mostly due to time constraints, domestic and work commitments.
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Before I stopped blogging, I was confident enough in my own limited knowledge of the Church to offer some insights into what I thought had gone wrong in the time since 13 March Reasons for the catastrophe I offered over the time were varied, from the election of a 'mad Pope' to the election of an apostate Bishop to the Papacy, to someone who was elected Pope but who resisted the Truth and simply taught his own beliefs instead. Who hasn't thought, 'Oh, he's a Jesuit, what could anyone expect?
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