there is an ongoing debate on the liturgical orientation, especially since it was never mandated by Vatican II nor was the orientation implied by the reformed Missal of Paul VI. The liturgical orientation is perhaps the most important issue of the whole liturgical debate toady, because the theology behind the current situation is often far form the mind of the Church.
But since generations have now grown up and lived with this arrangement it would be uncharitable and counterporductive to turn back all altars overnight and do to today's faithful what was done to yesterday's: a committee of "experts" shoving down the throat of the universal Church their own protestantized vision of liturgy.
The best source to begin a study of this issue is J. Ratzinger's The Spirit of the Liturgy
and then Klaus Gamber's The Reform of the Roman Liturgy
and antyhting by Fr. Uwe-Michel Lang, especially his Turning Towards the Lord
Here's chapter three of J. Ratzinger's The Spirit of the Liturgy
: The Altar and the Direction of Liturgical Prayer
se also his foreword to Lang's Turning Towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer
here: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features ... _may05.asp
For Ratzinger on liturgy in general see our Library viewtopic.php?f=201&t=54288
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FabrizioParty like it's 1773
No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist (Pius XI)