The whole arrangement of the sanctuary in the current, common usage suggests a stage, but we could change all that pretty easily. If the faithful were more used to ad orientem worship, the focus would be changed, and the sanctuary could be seen as it is meant to be seen: as a space for the altar of God, where we offer our worship to Him, led by a priest who really acts like a priest, rather than a talk-show host. If the altar were treated more in keeping with its nature as well – as an altar of sacrifice; as an altar where the Real Presence of Jesus is brought at each Mass by the actions and prayers of the priest; an altar which retains its sacred nature even when Mass is not being said – then the idea of seating musicians around it, even if the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the tabernacle, would seem irreverent and disrespectful.
The restructuring is in accord with a Sept. 2011 apostolic letter issued by Pope Benedict XVI, where he noted that the changes will help the congregation in “giving a fresh impetus to promoting the sacred liturgy in the Church.”
This will be achieved mainly through a new office dedicated to sacred music and liturgical art – including architecture – which will become operational next year.
Its charges will include issuing guidelines on liturgical music and the structure of new churches so that they reflect the mysterious encounter with the divine, as well as follow the dictates and instructions of the new English translation of the Roman Missal.
In his letter, the Pope wrote that these all must be in accord with the Second Vatican Council's “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.” Overlooking that 1963 document has allowed for the post-conciliar trend of building unedifying churches and filling them pop-influenced music.