Westward, ho!

Among the many traditionalist shibboleths is the supremacy of worship ad orientem, “toward the east.” For those of you, who don’t know, that means the priest faces away from the people when he offers Mass.

“What?! No! It means that the priest and people both face eastward, which is the traditional posture of Christian prayer going back to the Apostolic era. Christ is our ‘east,’ the rising sun of justice. The idea that the priest is ‘facing away from the people’ is a modern misunderstanding! Don’t you know that in the Roman basilicas the priest faces the people so he can face east, due to the alignment of the churches? And in the early centuries, the congregation faced east, *away* from priest, at certain times during the Mass?”

Why, thank you for that trad smackdown. I’m sure it was very cathartic for you . . . Ennnnyyy-hooo, let me get back to my point about why ad orientem worship in practice means that the priest has his back to the people. Continue reading

St. Joseph the Worker

As a traditionalist-leaning (post-trad?) Catholic, I admit I “have issues” with¬†today’s* Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. You can consult other blogs to see reasons why, which are reducible to three:

1.) It’s an imposition on the calendar, having evicted the Apostles Philip and James the Lesser from their traditional feast day. This ad hoc feast was whipped up from scratch in the 1950s.

2.) It smacks of political pandering. The Communists celebrated May 1 as May Day, so the Church in the most transparent manner possible tried to “baptize” this modern celebration. Also, it seems untraditional to cast a saint in such modern, Marxist terms; Joseph the Worker as opposed to carpenter, etc. When else has the Church ever celebrated a saint as patron of an entire social class, the modern undifferentiated proletariat?**

3.) I’ve read that the Latin texts for the feast are inferior. I really don’t know.

So, there’s that. Like I said, you can find any number of trad cranks and critics (the two categories don’t necessarily overlap, but they often do . . .)¬†pointing this out. And I allow that there’s a lot to their arguments.

But in God’s Providence, such things as the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker do arise, and God can use them to His purposes. I know this from personal experience. Here’s my story: Continue reading