Peace is too
Singin’ and shoutin’
From every pew.
Altar’s turned round
Priest is too
A brief search of the Web will yield thousands of words quite incorrectly blaming versus populum celebration on Paul VI's Novus Ordo Missae and the Second Vatican Council. In the current climate of revisionism (some might decide that 'revisionism' is rather too much of a euphemism and simply call it lying) of course it is de rigeur to equate the 1970-2002 missal with versus populum and quietly ignore the fact that celebration versus populum was a popular post Second World War fashion, its modern origins being several decades earlier.
Perusing my copy of Peter Anson's 'Fashions in Church Furnishings' (1960) I came across his writings and a drawing about VP.
Anson had great skill with the pen and a picture does, as has been said, paint a thousand words. I do like the way he has captured the ladies' hats and the flow of the servers' albs. I was particularly struck by this passage:
"Every young priest who was caught up in the movement popularizing the liturgy, wasted no time in erecting at least a temporary altar in the middle of the church, where the Sunday Masses were celebrated, usually facing the people. Elsewhere the original high altar in the chancel was pulled down. Sometimes a simple stone holy table was subsituted, but not always."
Two pages later (p 364) another paragraph describes the liturgical scene on the Continent post-war:
But of course everything was hunky-dory, tickety-boo and 'organic' development until the wicked Council and Paul VI?