Something struck me while I was offering Mass this morning, which, I'm surprised to say, I had never noticed. Like many of the churches and chapels where I say Mass these days, a free-standing altar is set up in front of a tabernacle set centrally in the sanctuary. Thus, in order to offer the Mass versus populum, the priest must place himself in between the altar and the tabernacle. All of a sudden, even though I have offered Mass this way hundreds of times, from the Mass of my priestly ordination on Our Lady's birthday in 2007 down to today, I felt uncomfortable to find myself with my back to the Blessed Sacrament.
It's funny; the common objection to the liturgy celebrated ad orientem liturgicum is that the priest has his 'back to the people.' But isn't it more troubling for the priest to turn his back on the Presence of Christ in the tabernacle?
So now I'm going to throw out an alarming suggestion and see what happens. If you are going to have the tabernacle centrally placed in the sanctuary, and there are any number of reasons and intuitions to support this, then the Mass ought to be offered ad orientem. If instead the Mass is offered versus populum, then our immediate ancestors were right in their decision that the Blessed Sacrament ought to be reserved somewhere else or in Its own chapel.