A few weeks ago my husband and I were in Colonial Beach and attended Sunday Mass at St. Elizabeth's. The priest, Fr. Vincent Bork, said Mass ad orientem. And, yes, that means he had his back to the people. It also means he was facing Jesus in the tabernacle and acting as a leader of the people. That makes complete sense to me.
We are called the Church Militant. What military leader goes into battle facing his troops? He doesn't. He leads. Was Moses in the desert walking backwards as he led the people toward the promised land? Of course not. If you hire a guide to lead you through a dangerous country do you want him to walk backwards?
Our priests are leaders, shepherds, and guides. There is something powerful in the image of the flock following the leader. I experienced that powerful image at St. Elizabeth's thanks to Fr. Bork. Here's the view of another priest making the case for ad orientem.