It was recently argued that,
This method of the so-called "Benedictine altar arrangment" is the best solution as everyone faces the same crucifix with the Corpus on it. However, the Holy Father also models "ad orientem" or facing God together, by having a crucifix placed centrally on the altar facing the priest when he faces the congregation. It is not as perfect as the above pictures, but it will due as a temporary measure in a time of great liturgical renewal and transition where everything old is made new (renewed/renewal) again!
I would argue that this "temporary mesaure" of versus populum (not ad orientem) with the Benedictine arrangement is simply lipstick on a pig.
Harsh? Probably, but true.
How many times does the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) instruct the priest to turn around and face the congregation? I'll save you the suspense. FIVE.
If we are to DO THE RED and SAY THE BLACK, why are we not "doing the red?" At what point does "the red" cease to be legal and authoritative? At what point does "the red" just become a suggestion or an ideal? And if "the red" isn't followed to the letter (where we find the spirit, btw), then how can we expect the priests to SAY THE BLACK?
One of the reasons that I argue so vociferously about the ad orientem position is that if we are to be authentic in our worship, then we should be authentic in our worship. We should not be banal and on-the-spot about what we tolerate and what we don't.
It is often said that "we can't approach reform with the same attitude of the 1960s!" I say, why not? The liberals hold the 1960s to be the dawning of a new age (Aquarius or not) and if that model of approach is so wonderful, why can't we now employ the same tactic?
The faithful won't leave. It is proven to be the case that the fastest growing segment of the Church is the traditionalist movement. If one thinks that the faithful will be offended that the priest is facing the same direction starting in Advent 2013, then he is sorely misguided. The older faithful will carp about it, but won't do anything, because they are passive agressive, oh sure some will bolt, some will stop giving money, but by and large the young people will pick up the slack and the Church will continue on.
If we are going to be serious about the "New Evangelization" and the "Reform of the Reform," this is a step. We must start by doing what the books ask of us, 100%. Not 70% or 80% or even 90%, 100%!
This is not hard. Really, it isn't. What is hard, is that the more orthodox priests of today are afraid of their liberal peers and they are afraid that their money sources will dry up. It is that same old story, that man is afraid of the tattle-tale. The orthodox priest has the proper justification on his side...Fr. McD has shown some of it.
The priests of today cannot be afraid of a little persecution. The vocation to the priesthood isn't a popularity contest, nor is it a matter of going with the status quo. Had that been the case, the priesthood would have died a long time ago.
It is my prayer that priests stand up, DO THE RED and SAY THE BLACK; in both forms. Since, however, my prayers are unlikely to be answered in a timeframe which is conducive to my spirituality, I will continue to call for a return to the TLM exclusively, because for some unknown reason "the red and the black" are treated as law, which is where we find the spirit.
Courage. That is what we need, courage.