Skimming through these old periodicals never ceases to give me new insight into old problems. Why didn't I start doing this months ago!?
In his address to the Assisi congress of pastoral liturgy on September 22, 1956, our Holy Father [Pius XII] declared: "To separate the tabernacle and the altar is to separate two things which should remain united by their origin and their nature. The question of how the tabernacle could be placed on the altar without interfering with celebration facing the people admits of several different solutions. On these the experts will give their opinion."
The Holy Father's remarks were generally understood to mean that he took both the liturgical and pastoral legitimacy of the altar versus populum for granted, that he accepted as certain the possibility of reconciling a worthy tabernacle with such an altar, and was encouraging the specialists (liturgists, artists and architects) to work on the problem and to come up with suitable solutions. The problem has now, however, eight months later, officially been declared insoluble.