I recently observed the most blatant example of why priests really should face ad orientem.
I was Mass at St. X, where I haven't gone in years, and I observed the priest during the Eucharistic Prayer, doing his absolute best to make the prayer relevant and interesting and applicable and perhaps even entertaining? for all of those present. However, his tactics seemed rather ridiculous when I thought about the context...
He was up there, praying, with his arms outstreched for the entire prayer, and looking around at the congregation, just, I don't know how to describe it in words, I wish I could give a demonstration to you all! but, basically just looking around at everyone and grinning! I mean, in a nice way, but because he was up there at the altar, feeling like he was on display and knowing that everyone was looking at him, he felt so completely obligated to draw them all into it, which seeems nice and maybe not so bad, until I thought about how he was addressing his prayer to God, and here he was looking at all of us and grinning!
I wonder if anyone else noticed how that seems kind of silly. I mean, I know that this priest is very well-intentioned, and has a good heart, and it might not be his fault that he feels he has to face the people, and as a result of that he feels like he has to draw them in somehow, but if he just turned around, and faced the same direction as them, he wouldn't even have to worry about that-he could just pray with them!