In July the Vatican’s divine worship executive made a strong pitch for ad orientem masses (priest facing same direction as people) in a speech in England, was promptly countermanded by a higher-than-he at the Pope’s behest and was called in by the Pope himself.
What was that all about, including the prelate’s being summoned to the papal carpet before being shot down? Well the prelate, Cardinal Robert Sarah, had “touched an ecclesial third rail,” Christian Browne wrote at the time in Crisis Magazine:
It seems that churchmen at the highest levels do not wish anyone to notice that certain practices associated with the Novus Ordo—Mass facing the people, Communion in the hand while standing, the use of laymen to distribute Holy Communion—have no grounding in the Missal of Paul VI, let alone in the mandate for liturgical reform set forth at the Second Vatican Council.
Rather, these practices sprouted up throughout the 1970s as a result of devastating anti-traditional fads that even the radical post-Council crafters of the 1969 Missal never envisioned.
Done with many a wink, many a nod. For the best of reasons, to be sure.