Father John Sasse

  • Dear Parishioners,

    As the members of the liturgical movement of the late 19th century studied the oldest churches and
    documents in Christendom, they made some very interesting discoveries. They realized that the four oldest extant churches of the Roman Rite are the four great basilicas of Rome, and that none of them have been significantly altered or renovated since they were built; except for St. Peter’s which was completely rebuilt in the 16th century, but the inside and the arrangement of the liturgical furnishings was faithfully copied from the “Old St. Peter’s” of the 4th century. All four of the ancient basilicas have various things in common which were out of sync with nearly every other church in the Roman Rite. They had free-standing altars that could be walked all the way around with cupolas over them. The doors of all 4 of the Basilicas are on the eastern side of the buildings and they could see from the ancient texts of the Mass that the priest/Bishop faced east (ad orientem) when he offered the Mass. That would mean that he stood behind the altar which in all of the Basilicas is located about 3/4 of the way back towards the west. All of this is true and has since been verified; however, they made a crucial mistake. They assumed that the faithful faced west toward the altar during Mass. This has been proven wrong by Fr. Klaus Gamber, a German Liturgist and Professor who was a mentor of Pope Benedict XVI. Fr. Gamber proved, by his research, in the middle of the 20th Century that the faithful of the Ancient Church also faced east and the priest actually offered the sacrifice of the altar behind them as they looked to the east. Fr. Gamber’s research was suppressed and only began to come to light when Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) wrote his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” in 2000 and quoted Fr. Gamber in it. The misguided reformers of the Liturgy after the Second Vatican Council (Rt. Rev. Annibale Bugnini et. al.), insisted on the Mass being celebrated with the Priest behind the altar and the people facing him, believing that they were returning to a more pristine form of the Mass as it was done in the Ancient Church, they were very mistaken, and actually invented and imposed the “Missa ad populum” (Mass offered facing the people) that had no history, tradition, nor apostolic roots, and of course was not mandated by the Council nor even suggested in it. The Second Vatican Council so beautifully states that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the “Source and Summit of our faith.” So when we get such a major part of the Mass wrong, then it is no wonder that the faith is in such crisis. More than 70% of baptized Catholics no longer attend Mass on a regular basis, a large percentage of children born to “Catholic” parents aren’t even baptized, the number of seminaries, convents, Catholic Schools, and even parishes that have closed in the last 50 years is staggering even though the Catholic population, at least in the number of the baptized, has more than doubled. (to be continued)