From a reader:
A local retired priest wishes to begin offering the EF of the Mass, but he wishes to offer it versus populum. He honestly believes he has that option. Is there a specific Church document forbidding this? If I can present this good priest with a Church document, I am certain he will comply. Thank you.
Unfortunately, nothing prevents a priest from being silly.
There are rubrical provisions in the older form the Roman Rite for when the altar is so arranged that the celebrant is “facing the people”. For example, I know a number of Roman basilicas which are so arranged. I can think of some parishes where the mensa/altar, having been detached from the main altar, is so situated that there is now almost a cliff where the priest would have to stand to say Mass ad orientem.
Alas, I can’t right now think of any document that would absolutely prevent a priest from making this weird decision, which would almost certainly annoy nearly everyone attached to the older form.
It would also be interesting to know his thinking. For example, does he think this is a good way to introduce regular versus populum Novus Ordo goers to the older form? Does he think that by celebrating the Usus Antiquior “facing the people” that that would soften the blow? Be a transition?
For what it’s worth, I think this would be a bad choice.