When Pope Benedict XVI reigned, every little “restoration” of traditional elements to the papal liturgy was often trumpeted as yet another momentous step in the restoration of the liturgy for the whole Church. It strikes us as absurd and inconsistent that now that another Pope reigns, “papal example” in the liturgy is suddenly treated in some “conservative” quarters as “irrelevant” and as being of little or no concern, something best ignored and needing no comment. Unfortunately, the restoration of the sacred liturgy can never be built on wishful thinking, or on denial, or on coming up with strange and improbable excuses (sometimes in the name of charity!) to explain away the obvious.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that the restorationist ideas presented consistently by traditionalists are fundamentally opposed to the new liturgy and to Vatican II. Along these lines, “every little ‘restoration’” introduced by Benedict XVI has been interpreted as an act of creeping traditionalism. As rightly pointed out above, such actions have been “trumpeted,” not by the pope, but by the counter-revolutionaries in the interests of their cause. Accordingly, for those who think in this fashion, every liturgical choice of a pope must be assumed to be backed by an agenda, and, therefore, must be exploited for its sign value. What the pope actually intended or did not intend is not important. It is what we can make out of it that counts.
So instead of making an attempt to discern actually what Pope Francis intended or did not intend by his choice, the traditionalists isolate the “offending” action in freeze-frame and use it to sustain the paranoia that is necessary to drive the crusade.
In general I agree with you Father. However, I find that Pope Francis sends many mixed signs. Also, his homilies are very unclear. For example he intimated that a group of traditional Catholics were like Pelagians because they sent him a spiritual bouquet. Or recently he said that a life of meditation, study and penance was Pelagian. Or his “gay lobby” comment. He says and does things without explanation and leaves everyone to figure out what he means. As a former army officer, I can say this is bad leadership. The troops need clear and consistent direction and example. Benedict was always clear in both his words and example.
Pope Francis on Pelagians, Gnostics and the CDF
Michael Sean Winters | Jun. 12, 2013
This is the last paragraph of his essay….
…”The new pope continues to astound. His simplicity allows his rock solid faith to shine through in ways that are at once attractive and challenging. He is certainly not an “anything goes” theologian, but he is also so obviously disinclined to wave a finger, or bemoan the Church’s circumstance, or whine about anything: Have a problem? Remember the Incarnation by going out amongst the poor. It is a simple message from a man of simple tastes who is, himself, no simpleton but a man schooled in the life of the spirit, the theology of the ages, and, as my friend says, an astute sense of people and situations. You can sense the contagion in people’s voices, but you can bet there are grumblings among some in the hierarchy who can feel the sand shifting beneath their feet. Let them grumble. (And let’s make sure Francis has a food taster!) But, my hope is that people will stop grumbling and follow the pope’s advice: Go meet Christ amidst the poor and follow Him, whevere He leads. It is a simple message. It is an apostolic message. It brings to mind the words of the Gospel of Matthew, 7:28-29: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching. For he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.”