Tuesday, January 13, 2004
"Get the priest out of my face!" My friend John B returns with a substantial set of comments in the thread on liturgical changes. (For the record, if anyone wants to bother writing a multi-part manifesto in the comment boxes, knock yourself out, but only if you have something real to say.) John speaks of the priest-as-performer mindset and I find myself in agreement with him in principle. Homily: ideally, this is an exposition of the word of God, not a performance by a preacher as much as an attempt to lens the Scriptures for the particular spiritual needs of the parish. While I don't expect John Chrysostom every Sunday, I think substantial preparation is needful. (See my homily formula in the November archives.) I reject either ad orientam or talk-show host presider as an absolute. A spiritually mature parish would do well with antiphonal seating, minimizing the staging of musicians, priest, or others, subjecting them to a central focus of Christ along a church axis (courtyard, doors, font, ambo, altar, perhaps reservation chapel cutting straight through the assembly). A variation of antiphonal seating might put the whole nave in the round, which is another laudable set-up. In either of these formats, the direction the priest faces is irrelevant. People focus on Christ at the center of the church, as it should be. Individuals are transparent in ministry, or they "get out of our faces."