Many people are shocked when attending their first Traditional Latin Mass. “Why does the priest turn his back on us?” many ask. Well the answer to this is simple, he doesn’t. The liturgical direction of the priest facing with the people towards to the tabernacle and crucifix, is referred to as Ad Orientem or Ad Deum, meaning To the East or To God, respectively.
This tradition of saying the Liturgy is an Apostolic Tradition. Since churches began to be built, they were always built with the altar facing East, as Christ said he will come again from the East and the rising sun. This can be seen in many large cathedrals and basilicas where the original high altar faces East. It is not a compass point East that is important however, it is directing our attention to God the Son physically present in the tabernacle, and the image of Christ crucified behind the altar.
The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are a mandatory set of preparatory prayers for the Sacred Ministers in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. One may see their removal in the Missal of Paul VI as minor, but this is incorrect.
The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar begin with the recitation of Psalm 42, Judica me Deus. Said in recitation between the Priest and other Sacred Ministers, the Psalm begins with the Antiphon, "Introibo ad altare Dei. Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam: I will go unto the altar of God. To God who giveth joy upon my youth." This Antiphon, along with the entirety of the Psalm, is said to prepare the mind and soul to give praise to the Lord at His altar. The Psalm closes with the recitation of the Gloria Patri and the repetition of the Antiphon. The removal of this Psalm alone can be seen as detrimental. With this, priests no longer have a mandatory prayer of preparation before ascending to the altar, which has allowed room for priests to be unprepared for mass, ad-libbing at the altar before the opening prayers of the Mass.
Karl I of Austria.
Many people have absolutely no idea who this blessed man was. Blessed Karl (Charles) I was the last Emperor of Austria, the last King of Hungary, and the last King of Bohemia. This is just a small fraction of the full title of the Apostolic King and Emperor of the former Empire of Austria-Hungary, established by Francis I in 1745 as an extension of the Holy Roman Empire. Following the start of the First World War, Blessed Karl became heir to the throne after the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and assumed the throne after the death of Emperor Franz Joseph.
Many people in the modern age scoff at the idea of Monarchy as tyrannical and refuse to believe in a Catholic Monarchy. This is merely a misconception of Monarchy as a whole, and Bl. Karl did just that. He was a purely Catholic King.
Today is the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. For many of us, today is seen as the end of the “12 days of Christmas,” bringing to a close the outward celebration of Christmas. In fact, many, including my current Pastor, advise families to keep their Christmas decorations up until the Feast of the Epiphany. This is good, but there is so much more to the feast than just the end of Christmas.
In fact, the Feast of the Epiphany, or Theophany as it is celebrated in the East, predates the celebration of Christmas on December 25th. In the early church, specifically the East, the Baptism of our Lord, Nativity, Visitation of the Magi, and the Wedding at Cana as one feast, the Theophany. In the year 567 at the Council of Tours, the Eastern Church defined the Nativity and Theophany as two seperate feasts, December 25th and January 6th as they are today. The Council also stated the 12 days between the feasts as the Christmas Season. The Western Church later also defined these two seperate feasts on the same days, but the traditions of the East and West vary greatly.
Many Catholics today have no idea what Ember Days are, while some older Catholics may still even remember them from their childhood. Many of us in traditional communities still observe and celebrate the Ember Days throughout the year. These are weeks where Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are days of fasting and abstinence required by Holy Mother Church. In 1969, the USCCB decided the United States didn’t need fasting and prayer, and not only removed the obligation to fast, but fully removed Ember Days from the church calendar.
The Ember Days are placed in very specific times throughout the year, four weeks to be exact. They fall in the weeks following the Feast of St. Lucy (December 13), Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Whether seeing groups of seminarians home on academic breaks or greeting newly ordained priests, you are almost guaranteed to see one thing. Many of the young men will be wearing cassocks, and some may even have birettas on. The reasons behind this can be grouped into 3 categories: Practicality, Symbolism, and Tradition.
Firstly, the practicality of the cassock, is a huge reason that even many older priests are beginning to wear the cassock again.
There's one thing that can be confusing or even off-putting to newcomers to the traditional rites and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. Why is everything in Latin? It's a reasonable question,why would you make all your prayers in a language that very few people understand?
One of the first and foremost reasons we should still be using Latin in our liturgies is that it is the language of our fathers and our father’s fathers. As a language, Latin has not changed or developed in meaning at all since the time of the early church and the Roman Empire, where Latin was the common language of the people. Since this time, when St. Pope Damasus commissioned the Bible to be translated from Greek to Latin by St. Jerome, Latin has been the official language of the church. Since it has not changed, every word spoken means exactly what it did at the time of St. Jerome. If this original translation of the Bible were to be done in English, the texts of the scripture would read as something completely different today then in those days. We can even see this on a much smaller level when many people have a hard time understanding the Douay-Rheims translation, which is only written in English of the year 1610 while the Latin of the Vulgate is from the year 382 and still holds the exact same meaning.