Just for the record, really, the Holy Father has celebrated Mass ad orientem in the Patriarchal Basilica of St Peter. This will be some reassurance for parish clergy who celebrate Mass ad orientem in their parishes. Telegraph blogger Tim Stanley (who is always worth reading, by the way) has written about this today. In the article, he says:
The likeliest interpretation of this isn't that Francis is a liturgical conservative but rather that he just doesn't care about the protocol sensitivities of either trads or liberals. We have a Pope who, for better and worse, isn't that bothered about liturgy and is far more focused on evangelism and charity. That's bad in the sense that it means traditionalists have lost a champion in the Vatican (Benedict was a fairly reliable friend) but good in the sense that the liturgy is likely to become de-politicised. Face the people, don't face the people – all that matters is doctrinal orthodoxy and conducting the Mass in the right spirit.I wouldn't go along with him 100% on the question of whether liturgical orientation matters - I think it is a significant help in fostering the reform of the liturgy - but he may well be right in his speculation on the motivation of Pope Francis (which, of course, we cannot know for sure.) And the liturgy wars do seem to be calming down a bit, with people more willing to tolerate different practices that are legitimate according to the Church's law.