As a first time reader of AD2000, I found your journal very interesting. However, I must take issue with the article by Ralph McInerny. I found it most negative. In particular the matter concerning the priest facing the people at Mass. Vatican II document, IV Altar, item 262 states, "Normally a church should have a fixed and dedicated altar, freestanding, away from any wall, so that the priest can walk all around it and can celebrate facing the people."
In spite of what Cardinal Ratzinger may say, the intention of the Council was quite clear. At the time it was introduced, I thought it very exciting and with the design of modern churches one feels much closer to and more involved in the wonderful sacrifice of the Mass. Certainly, Popes since the Council have led by example and have had no problem facing the people!