One of the most obvious differences between the Old Rite of Mass and the Novus Ordo is the direction in which the priest faces.

Worship 'ad orientem', or facing East, is an ancient practice going back to the earliest centuries of the Church. Criticised by advocates of the New Mass as 'the priest turning his back to the people', it is nothing of the sort. Quite the reverse, in fact, it unites priest and people in a deep and spiritual way unheard of in most Novus Ordo celebrations.

Here Dr Joseph Shaw explains the ancient roots of Mass facing East, its theological and spiritual symbolism, and why arguments claiming that Mass facing the people was the practice in the early Church are totally spurious.

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