22 responses to “Bishop Morlino at it Again!”

  1. andy
    Nice post Ben. I hope it gets picked up by Fr. Z’s blog (wdtprs.com) like last time.
  2. Michael Schumacher
    What’s with the black mozzetta on one of the servers? Looks kind of like the choir dress of a Regular Canon.

    “And I’m sure that the day will come when we will turn toward the Lord together, in even a more full way when we all face east, when we all turn toward the Lord in the same direction.”

    Yes, that day will come again. Sounds like His Excellency might be planning on ad Orientem worship in the Cathedral Parish in the near future??? If so, that would be awe-inspiring. We know His Excellency wants to….
  3. A US Bishop pushes “ad orientem” worship. | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?
    [...] If you want to listen to the sermon, go HERE. [...]
  4. andy
    Aaha! Looks like Fr.Z did as I hoped. Wish he had posted some of your photos, too.
  5. Thursday, December 13, 2012 « New Marian Republic
    [...] Bishop Morlino Is At It Again! [...]
  6. Tina
    Why does Bishop Morlino only face East in friendly churches? Is he afraid if he does this everywhere it will push people too fast and hard into the change? This inconsistency leaves me confused as to what my parish priest should be doing. Is our mass illegitimate or lesser because my priest faces us? If the good bishop wants this, why is he only doing it in some places and not everywhere? (Please don’t get me wrong. I really like and support Bishop Morlino. I just don’t understand.)
    1. Ben Dunlap
      In “Spirit of the Liturgy”, then-Cardinal Ratzinger proposed the prominent crucifix on the altar (which Bp. Morlino refers to in his homily) as a solution for situations “where a direct common turning towards the east is not possible”.

      I suspect that when he says “not possible” he’s talking about more than just situations where the physical layout of the sanctuary literally makes ad-orientem worship impossible (St. Joseph’s Cathedral in San Jose, Calif. comes to mind).

      He probably has in mind “moral impossibility” — he is keen to avoid “rearranging everything all over again”, because “nothing is more harmful to the liturgy than a constant activism, even if it seems to be for the sake of genuine renewal”.

      Bishop Morlino seems to have taken this to heart. Obviously some communities or parishes are ready to go all the way on this. But many more are certainly not, and a good pastor will be able to judge the difference.
      1. Michael Schumacher
        It also is true that the layout of the sanctuary at St Patrick’s, where Bp Morlino usually says his Stational Masses in absentia cathedralis, is not conducive to ad Orientem worship. It would not be impossible, but it would be clumsy. The rector of the Cathedral Parish, however, has been talking about forthcoming “beautification” of this sanctuary in the bulletins for some time now, so we will see what all that entails.

        “Is our mass illegitimate or lesser because my priest faces us?”

        Absolutely not. When celebrating at the high altar at St Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father MUST face towards the congregation, simply because of how the altar was set up, in such a way that the Pope is standing directly over the tomb of St Peter. Obviously these Papal Masses are neither less worthy nor illegitimate. Ad Orientem has an important symbolic purpose, but it is not part of the necessary Sacramental Form of consecrating the Holy Eucharist. In the same sense, while it is preferable that Mass be said in a consecrated Church, a battlefield Mass on the hood of a Jeep obtains the exact same Graces as one said in a cathedral.
        1. Matthew Roth
          Well, evidently the Pope did not face the people when Mass was said from 1570 until the 1960s.
          Also, in St Peter’s, the people could do what they did in ancient times-turn to face east with the priest during the Canon of the Mass.
          1. Michael Schumacher
            My understanding is that at the Altar of Confession the Pope must celebrate versus populum on account of the confessio (the tomb of St Peter) being too close to the front of the altar. From the FIUV position paper on liturgical orientation:

            “Again, the example of St Peter’s in Rome is clearly at work in the way many other
            churches were designed, but the design of St Peter’s was itself determined, at each
            stage of its development, by the relationship between the altar and the Confessio, the
            tomb of St Peter. This very particular design problem was solved by the orientation of
            the basilica with the doors to the East, and celebration towards the nave.”
          2. Michael Schumacher
            Here is an image that shows why the Pope cannot celebrate facing the Apse. If he did say Mass facing the nave, he would fall down into the tomb!
  7. Debra Yates
    Okay Ben:

    I’ve had a rather rough week, (can’t explain on here) but let’s just say I’ve had my focus somewhere in the past. So, speed forward to the present, and I am trying to piece this thread together, and maybe it’s me just not full comprehending what I am reading, remember, I’ve had a rough week. But what are you saying about “facing east”?

    Is the Priest going to now face the alter more, with his back turned to the congregation? Is he only going to face us during the homily?

    Why all these changes? I’m still getting use to say, “And with your spirit”, opposed to, “And also with you.” I think I have “mild autism”, I am not very good at changes.

    1. oldcanon2257
      Regarding “Facing east”, in most Catholic churches built in the traditional manner, the end of the church where the altar is would be the direction known as the “liturgical east”. It is a symbolic east and the proper direction of the focus of our worship; it’s not always the same as the direction of geographical east.

      The Mass is God-centric. Instead of thinking of the Mass as man-centric (about us the congregation, e.g. “the priest with his back turned to the congregation”), try to think of it as the priest and the faithful (us) together orienting towards the altar in the act of worshipping God together. When we think of “the priest turning his back on the people”, we have reduced the Mass to something man-centric, something that resembling religious entertainment and diminishing the sacrificial nature of the Mass.

      Think of the church as the bus, the priest being the driver, and the faithful being the passengers. The driver (priest) and the passengers (faithful) have different roles (each role has different dignity), but both are actively participating in the same action (the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) together, moving forward in the same direction together (towards the altar – towards God).

      On a lighter note, when you’re on the bus, would you rather see the driver sitting in the driver seat facing the direction where the bus is heading, or would you rather have the driver turned around facing the passengers while driving? :)

      Also, remember the Mass prayers are vertical (it is God we are offering our prayers to, we’re certainly not praying to one another) and the Mass is the ultimate prayer of the Church. For example, the “Pater Noster” starts with, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” When we are speaking to our earthly parents, we respectfully face them while addressing them, do we not? When we are praying to God, shouldn’t all of us together be facing God (ad orientem versus Deum) reverently?

      In other words, we shouldn’t care about the priest’s back or face (after all, the priest is not meant to be an entertainer.) We Catholics believe in the Real Presence. The true emphasis of the Mass is the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

      As for your question “Why all these changes”, it all sums up to “Lex orandi, lex credendi” (the law of prayer is the law of faith) which refers to the relationship between how we pray and how we believe. These changes are to correct many liturgical abuses and the theologically flawed/incorrect English translation in the past 50 years (which affected the faith of many, many Catholics have not been properly catechized and don’t know the basics of the Catholic Faith, or don’t know them well and cannot defend the Faith when called upon to do so). These changes in how we pray will help us move forward to a correct interpretation and implementation of the documents of the Second Vatican Council as the Council Fathers actually intended.

      I refer you to the official Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) # 1124:


      Eventually you will get used to the changes of the new translation. You asked, “Why all these changes?” Now you know how the faithful were feeling in the mid-to-late 1960′s when they asked the same thing and said, “I’m still trying to get used to saying, ‘And also with you’, as opposed to saying ‘Et cum spiritu tuo’

      I know you’ve asked Ben specifically, but I hope the above information help answer some of your questions.
  8. andy
    Thanks for adding more photos of the Mass. They look great.
  9. Debra Yates
    Okay, according to the picture, is the Priest saying….“Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb,” while he is facing the alter? Is that what he is doing? If that is indeed so, I don’t get it. Why not face the congregation instead? I suppose either way the congregation can still see it, but by doing it this way, it looks as if he is presenting it to the tabernacle and not the congregation. oops, I am “questing” am I allowed to do that? Not trying to make waves here, I walk a very fine line here.


    1. Michael Schumacher
      The “Behold the Lamb of God” is indeed said facing the congregation. Every part of the Mass where the priest is speaking directly to the Faithful, the rubrics tell him to turn towards them (“The Lord be with you”, “Pray, brethren…” “Behold the Lamb of God”, “The Mass is ended, go in peace”, “May the Lord bless you…” etc). When the priest is praying to God, he turns towards Christ Who is in the Tabernacle.
    2. oldcanon2257
      The main pictures Ben posted above were not when the priest said, “Behold the Lamb of God…”

      The main pictures above are right after the moment the priest said the Words of Consecration “Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body,
      which will be given up for you.”

      Just like Michael Schumacher said above, when the priest said the “Behold the Lamb of God…”, he turned around facing the people according to the rubrics (the red text in the Roman Missal which instructed the priest what to do).

      There are pictures of that moment too, so that you could clear see that he had turned around. If you would like to see those pictures, visit the link Ben provided above where it said “Photos from the whole Mass can be found here” or just go here:


      then look at Pictures # 164, # 165, # 166, # 167. Those are pictures of “Behold the Lamb of God…”

      I don’t have a copy of the full Missale Romanum (Roman Missale) here with me right now, so I can’t quote the red text directly for you, but Michael Schumacher sums it up nicely above in a simple explanation.
  10. Debra Yates
    Michael and Oldcanon: Thanks for the explainations. I only came back to the church about a year and a half ago, before that I had been away 19 years. I am glad to be back, and fortunately there are some awesome Priests in the Madison Diocese. I like driving home from Mass and thinking over the entire Mass. What was the homily? Did I learn anything from the days message that I can take with me into my day? How did I feel after I received the eucharist? These are things that are “very important” not just for me, but for all congregats.

    Thanks also to Ben for having such an awesome website!

  11. (Bp.) Morlino Memes - From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary
    […] This could be a great starting point for a couple… […]

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