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.