Let’s continue our examination of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s June 2015 essay for L’Osservatore Romano. The translation, is here, from Michael J. Miller at Catholic World Report.
Contrary to what has sometimes been maintained, and quite in keeping with the conciliar Constitution, it is altogether appropriate, during the penitential rite, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and the Eucharistic prayer, that everyone, priest and faithful, turn together toward the East, so as to express their intention to participate in the work of worship and redemption accomplished by Christ. This way of celebrating could possibly be implemented in cathedrals, where the liturgical life must be exemplary (cf. no. 41).
The only appeal for me connects with the notion of pilgrims on the move, facing their direction of travel. On the other hand, neither sacrifice or banquet are conducted “on the road.” This consideration makes the argument for facing East often tiresome. Tradition for tradition’s sake, in other words.
Even when the clergy are turned around, the worshipping community faces a common direction: the center, where Christ is present. There is no less an impetus to participate in the action of Christ in a radial format where attention is directed from all sides, rather than just from the West.
Note: I Wasn’t able to find the original essay on the L’Osservatore Romano site. Reader comments, however, are most welcome.