We posted before on the key changes desired by Sancrosanctum Concilium, namely:
- a wider range of readings
- restoration of prayers of the faithful
- greater importance of the homily
- simplification of the rites
- more opportunities to use the vernacular (but emphasising the importance of Latin)
- Potential for concelebration
- Potential for Communion under both kinds.
All of these aspects have been achieved, although I think that it has failed on the rites being simplified as these have been supplanted by a muktiplicity of prayer options. To go from one Eucharistic Prayer to 12 in my view is a simplification. Possibly the symbolism of concelebration and Communion under both kinds has been overplayed.
Other aspects that are the bane of many commentators such as removal of Communion rails, Communion standing, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and female Altar servers simply were not contemplated by the Council fathers and came in much later, and spasmodically.
On reading the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, and comparing it to the Tridentine Missae Rubricae, and the Anglican Book of Commoin Prayer, there is one large difference: the reorientation of the priest from one who leads the church's prayer (as seen in both the documents of the reformers of bother the Protestant and Catholic Reformations) to the idea of the priest "presiding over the community" and acting as some sort of chairman or MC. This is the fundamental flaw in the Novus Ordo Missae. It is from this aspect that we have problems with the liturgy serving the priest's ego, and the discussion on proper or improper orientation of Altars, and other aspects whihc have been liturgical problems over the years.
Where did this come from? The origins come from a "restoration" based upon achaeology in the 1960's whihc has since been debunked (ie. Mass "facing the people"), and an attempt to remove the differences between a Pontifical Solemn Mass from the Throne and other types of Mass. This was done by emphasising the idea that the priest is deputising for the bishop and therefore needs his own "throne".
The best way of course to remove this is to have the priests chair not face the people, and be restored to its more natural place on the Epistle side of the Altar facing North. This is made more effective by having an eastward oriented Altar.
Facing each other in a closed circle to talk to each other is not the essential thing that makes participation by the faithful effective. This simple reorientation is probably more effective than having a crucifix on the Altar or what is beginning to be fashionable in some cirlces of loading the Altar with heaps of candles in the attempt of reorientation.