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LA CROSSE, Wis. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Raymond Burke, former head of the highest court in the Vatican, has called for all Masses offered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin to be celebrated ad orientem, or facing the East.
Cardinal Burke, who is currently one of the main clerics seeking formal clarification of Pope Francis' "Amoris Laetitia," critiqued the spirit of Vatican II in his December 12 statement and added, "in accord with current Church discipline, the regular celebrations of the Holy Mass at the Shrine will be ad orientem."
Church Militant spoke with Fr. Richard Heilman, a priest of the diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, and founder of romancatholicman.com, who said, "It is heartening to now see ad orientem begin to spread. I've been calling this a movement of 'reclaiming the surrendered ground of the sacred.'"
"My parish went ad orientem over three years ago," he continued, "and the fruits far exceeded my hopes."
Cardinal Burke cited Cdl. Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, who set off a worldwide reaction when he encouraged all dioceses to start implement ad orient worship earlier this year.
[D]uring the Rite of Penance, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and the Eucharistic Prayer, all, priest and faithful, should turn together towards the East, to express their desire to participate in the work of worship and of redemption accomplished by Christ.
While the New Rite of the Church, the Novus Ordo, can be celebrated ad orientem, it is most often celebrated versus populum, facing the people.
The shrine was founded by Cdl. Burke as then-Bishop of Lacrosse to serve the spiritual needs of those who suffer poverty in body and soul. He's been an outspoken advocate of the Traditional Latin Mass, recently correcting the Holy Father in his claims about the Usus antiquior.
In comments made earlier this year, Pope Francis said that Pope Benedict's universal indult for the Usus antiquior was a "fair and magnanimous gesture to meet a certain mentality of some groups and people who had nostalgia. ... But it is an exception."
Cardinal Burke responded afterward clarifying that the Extraordinary Form "is no exception."
On ad orientem worship, Fr. Heilman told Church Militant,
There is a profound sense of awe and wonder when the Mass is offered this way, and the people have a much greater sense that what we are doing there is truly a "big deal." Almost automatically their sense of dedication and devotion shifts into high gear. For me, this is what a "New Evangelization" should look like.
Commenting on the priest facing the liturgical East, the great liturgist Dom Prosper Gueranger adds that during the Holy Sacrifice, the priest emulates the Transfiguration of Moses and Elijah. In the regular part of the Mass, "the Priest then enters within the cloud. His voice will not be heard again, until The Great Prayer is concluded."
Cardinal Burke reiterated that the Mass is not about the feelings engendered by the faithful, but rather it's about "returning to the ancient practice of the Church, we all face the East, we all face the Lord, during Sacred Worship."
"It is not a question of the priest turning his back to the faithful but rather directing himself, with the faithful, to Christ Who makes sacramentally present His Sacrifice for our eternal salvation," he explained.
His Eminence added an exception for priests of the shrine on pilgrimage to say Masses versus populum, although regular Mass will from now on be offered ad orientem.
"We are called to worship and serve God," he said. "'We are called to make Christ, not ourselves, the center of our lives."