Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship Cardinal Robert Sarah's strong defense of ad orientem worship is no surprise. However, Cardinal Sarah suggestion at the Sacra Liturgia Conference in London to push to re-orient Vatican II Catholics posture away from versus populum positioning during the Liturgy of the Eucharist by the beginning of Advent 2016 was shocking. The announcement was greeted by prolonged applause at the Conference, indicating that the mostly clerical audience was behind the move.
It took over a decade for ICEL and the USCCB to implement the Third Translation of the Roman Missal (which supplanted a dynamic translation of the Mass with a fixed translation), but this major change was accompanied with a year's worth of educating the People of God. While the symbolism of reorienting most Novus Ordo Masses to the traditional ad orientem orientation may be praiseworthy, this may be a hard teaching, particularly for more progressive parishes that have taught that the Mass is a celebration of a sacred family meal.
If Cardinal Sarah's modest proposal does come into fruition, it may challenge many casual "spirit of Vatican II" Catholics approach to Divine Worship. It would be ironic that such contemporary Catholics, who have reveled in this progressive tact of Pope Francis' reign, may feel desolation with what may be considered a traditionalist retrenchment by Pope Francis' choice for Prefect of the CDW.
Before an Ad Orientem rubric is implemented, it is crucial for Catholics to understand why this has been the traditional posture of Divine Worship and to disabuse the faithful of any misconceptions about the change in optional practice of versus populum worship.
Post Scriptus 07/11/16:
It seems that CDW Prefect Cardinal Sarah's "Modest Proposal" on Mass orientation has been countermanded by the Vatican