Thursday, December 18
In Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger famously writes that the "versus populum" orientation (Mass with priest facing the people) makes the priest more important than he is. That makes sense to me, personally. Plus, "ad orientem" (Mass with priest facing the same direction as the people) is cool: it orients the whole assembly into a posture of encountering God together.
Recently someone defended "versus populum" precisely on the grounds that it does make the priest important, emphasizing his uniqueness in persona Christi, and so "versus populum" better reflects a Catholic theology of ordination, while "ad orientem" reflects a more Protestant theology of ordination.
That was a new position for me, so I'm interested in hearing some thoughts.