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Florida bishop forbids the celebration of ad orientem masses

Citing the motu proprio Traditionis custodes, Bishop Frank Dewane of Florida banned the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice facing the tabernacle.


“On Tuesday, in a letter to priests, Bishop Frank Dewane wrote that the Holy Mass cannot be said ad orientem – facing east or facing a tabernacle or apse – without his consent. The move is in line with a similar policy announced last month by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, ”reads the LifeSiteNews article.

The celebration of the Holy Sacrifice ad orientem was promoted by Pope Benedict XVI, stressing that the Church had never limited this form. Nevertheless, the letter of Bishop Dewane, in which he repeatedly misspelled “ad orientum” (sic!), Suggested that priests did not have the right to worship in this way without the personal consent of their superior.

“At the beginning of this liturgical year, the diocese learned that some priests celebrate the Roman Rite according to the current Roman Missal ad orientum (sic), at least from time to time,” wrote the bishop. “It is known that some groups promote this practice and claim that the ‘right’ of a priest is to choose this form of celebration,” he added.

The Hierarchy cited excerpts from the General Introduction to the Roman Missal (GMC), including Paragraph 299, which says that “the altar should be built away from the wall so that it can be easily walked around and celebrated towards the people. It should be put wherever possible.” From this passage, Bishop Dewane made an astonishing interpretation.

“The obvious meaning of these norms is that when celebrating Mass in accordance with the current Roman Missal, the priest’s orientation is expected to be towards the people,” he argued. “Any other interpretation of the standards is wrong,” he concluded.

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