When Pope Benedict offered Mass facing the same direction as the people with, as his Master of Ceremonies said, "his gaze toward the Cross" I knew that it might raise some eyebrows, and it certainly has. Media both within and outside of the Church have been commenting on it in various ways.
One of the phrases that seemes to be repeated is that "this is the first time this has happened since the Second Vatican Council," and honestly, I thought this was the case. Then Fr. Z provided a photo of Pope John Paul II offering Mass, facing the same direction as the people, at the very same altar. Here it is: