As someone suggested in the comments, it might be better from a moral point of view to have the priest and the people facing the same way.
I think that main problem with having the priest face the people is that it feeds narcissism to be aware that all eyes are on you, and too many priests (and other clergy) are narcissists.
When the pope suggested that it might be a good idea to have the priest and people face the same way, the screams in America could be heard all the way to Rome. This indicated to me that it was not a disagreement about what might be pastorally better, but a question of denying priest the pleasure of being aware he was the cynosure everyone’s eyes.
In response to the query for a reference for Benedict’s comments, see http://www.adoremus.org/0500-Ratzinger.html or just google Ratzinger and Ad Orientem