Slow down. Let’s not get carried away here. While there is nothing wrong with celebrating the mass ad orientem, that’s not exactly what’s going on here. We need to avoid spreading rumors. Even the title of the article is disrespectful, “Francis turns to God.” Where was he before?
Anyone who has been to Bl. John Paul’s new burial site will tell you that the Holy Father is buried under the altar. The altar is built into the wall. Between the altar and the congregation, there is a railing to prevent people from going up to the altar and touching the niche where Bl. John Paul’s remains are buried.
The distance between the altar and the rail is less than five feet. I’ve been there. There is no room to place a makeshift altar to allow the celebrant to face his congregation, nor is there a need to do so. Everyone who celebrates mass at one of the side altars in any of the great basilicas around the world celebrates ad orientem, because most of these altars are built into the wall and there is no space for a congregation and a makeshift altar, nor is there a need to improvise.
If anyone want’s proof, just Google the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Every altar is against the wall and every side chapel is tiny.
Does this mean that every priest who celebrates mass at any of these chapels around the world is turning Traditionalist? No. It means that he’s adjusting to the way that the particular chapel and altar are built.
Let’s not start spinning the fact or we’ll end up with cotton candy.
As the praying the Eucharistic Prayer facing the people, it is allowed by the GIRM. The GIRM is the highest liturgical law on paper. Over the GIRM is only the Holy See. We don’t go by who wanted what and when they wanted it. We go by what the Church allows today. We can do what she allows.