EWTN Catholic Q&A
Facing East
Question from Michael Kit on 11-08-2004:

In his book Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger recommends the return to the practice of facing the East during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. With this in mind in addition to Sacrosanctum Concillium having no mention of facing the congregation during the Liturgy, why does Adoremus and EWTN never promote the practice of facing the east especially during the televised daily mass? In addition the rubrics of the present missal during the ORATE FRATRES presumes that the priest face the east since it says “The priest kisses the Altar, and turning to the people says the first two words audibly, then turns back to the Altar to finish the prayer.” In article 107 in the 4th edition of the general instruction of the Roman Missal it states “The priest returns to the center and, facing the people and extending the joining his hands, pronounces the invitation: Pray, brothers and sisters. After the people's response, he says the prayer over the gifts with hands outstretched. At the end the people make the acclamation: Amen.”

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 11-12-2004:

The missal is written in view of either posture, versus populum and ad orientem. For pastoral reasons, many bishops, including our own, prefer that Mass be routinely celebrated facing the people. The diocese of Birmingham has a norm for televised Masses to that effect. We are complying with that norm.