A while back, perhaps over a year, New Liturgical Movement published a video of a 1962-Missal solemn Mass sung at St. Louis Abbey in St. Louis, Missouri. The celebrant was Fr. Edward Bunn, S.J., then-president of Georgetown University. The church of the abbey, a hideous house of heteropraxis, is entirely round inside and positions its altar at the center nave. Every Mass therefore would be versus populum, but the low candle sticks and thin, insipid crucifix dissuade one from entertaining the possibility that this is also meant to be ad orientem, in imitation of the ancient Roman basilicas. The tabernacle is directly behind the main—and the Rad Trad thinks, only—altar in the church. This novelty presented a difficulty for the servers and ministers, who at times seemed unsure as to whether they ought to genuflect before the altar or just bow, and whether or not they ought to genuflect before the tabernacle when passing it.
|Things being done the rite way at St. Mary and the Martyrs (aka the Pantheon)|
in Rome, c. 2008
In some ways they did the 1962 Mass differently from today. Note that the missal is transferred to the Gospel (really to the Offertory) position after the celebrant reads the gradual but before the ministers sit down. Today the book is moved when the celebrant rises to give the deacon the blessing for the Gospel reading. It would really be easier to return to the older practice of the celebrant remaining at the altar and reading along himself, but that can be a moot point in 1962-ville outside of some parishes, such as one where the Rad Trad once worshipped, that were doing the Latin Mass before the canonization of 1962 under Summorum Pontificum.
|Archbishop Edwin O'Hara celebrating Mass at the consecration|
of Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri in 1954.
Construction on the parish, and its forward altar, began
in 1952, presumably with episcopal approbation.
From this we can see that the Liturgical Movement had a very powerful presence in the Church before vernacular and versus populum were explicitly expected by Rome or by national episcopal conferences. St. Louis Abbey was founded in 1955 by monks from Ampleforth Abbey in England. In nearby Kansas City Archbishop O'Hara had already celebrated pontifical Mass versus populum. The Jesuits entertained the Liturgical Movement long before it ever came to America, but the Society of Jesus must have felt very confident in the direction of things to have put the president of a major university on television to celebrate Mass facing the people. Although 51 years later we often tell ourselves it was a better time, this era's practices were directed toward the type of liturgy and ars celebrandi we have today. The use of Latin bound the celebrant to the text, but did not bind the architects of the church of the masters of liturgical ceremonies. Without any further delay, the Mass (starts around 18:00):