Much ado is being made of the Pope's Mass this morning in the Sistine Chapel. Fr Z. has posted an article that actually calls this "a break from tradition!" The ignorance of some in the press! Perhaps this could be called a break from recent (very) custom, but not from tradition.
By the grace of God we will all be able to reintroduce the common direction of prayer. There are so many theological reasons for common orientation and really non against. The idea of celebrating Mass versus populum is really based upon a misinterpretation of active participation of the faithful. So, by "gaining" being able to see what the Priest is doing, the faithful lose the image of being led by their shepherd into the Kingdom of Heaven. Ironically, they also lose the image of the Priest as one taken from among men -- one of their community who has been called forward and consecrated for this purpose. Instead, he stands on the other side of the altar and talks at them (when speaking to God!). It becomes hightened clericalism, because it exaggerates the image of the Priest as standing in persona Christi Capitis (again, ironically). All this while attempting to downplay the sacrificial character of the Mass.