Boring or interesting:
Whether Pope Francis intended it or not, he has undermined those blogs that focus on the liturgy. Pope Benedict made the Liturgy and thus liturgical blogs interesting, fun to read and make comments. Pope Francis though has made the liturgy boring, uniteresting and thus liturgical bloggers are flumoxed trying to make their blogs interesting. I think particularly of Praytell and the comments in particular always derailed by the EF and OF controversies and the latest thing from the "reform of the reform" to which they are/were always reacting.
Yet the more progressive of liturgists really can't claim any sort of excitement from Pope Francis, because well, he's made liturgy boring. He celebrates the Mass by the book, does not improvise, does so in the most serious way possible, and at the Vatican there is still the pre-Vatican II altar arrangement, the chanting of the official antiphons of the Mass, a great deal of Latin, and the liturgy is still very well organized and choreographed. Msgr. or should I say, Father Guido Marini (Don Marini) is still the papal Master of Ceremonies and there seems to be real affection between the two!
With Pope Benedict, the more progressive blogs, as well as traditional ones, always were highlighting Roman Vestments' return, lace, fannons and other pre-Vatican II elements of the liturgy returning to the papal Masses, but apart from liturgical wardrobe and his willingness to chant, Pope Benedict's style of celebrating the Mass is almost identical to Pope Francis. Pope Benedict was understated, held his hands in the folded manner, not straight out, often failed to make a "Full sign of the Cross" at the beginning of Mass and spoke softly.
And when Pope Benedict visited other parishes in Rome and around the world, the music went from wonderful to quite pedestrian and guitar groups were in abundance. One can also remember his pastoral visit to Germany where the opening hymn was perhaps the most horrible of his pontificate. But everyone felt sorry for Pope Benedict when he encountered local churches and the music was horrible. When Pope Francis experiences the same thing, they think Pope Francis endorses it as the wave of the future.
So just as traditional Catholics looked to see what other traditional elements Pope Benedict would incorporate into the liturgy, progressive Catholics continue to look to see what traditional elements Pope Francis will removed.
I am not criticizing Pope Francis for making the liturgy boring again. For I have always written that there can be a sort of liturgical idolatry when one becomes preoccupied by liturgical issues to the neglect of the Catholic life lived well.
As well, there is a tendency to make the liturgy to academic, especially in the progressive sense that does not take into account the piety and devotional needs of Catholics. Progressive liturgy can be very rigid and sterile and can stretch their theology to give reasons for certain novelties incorporated into the OF Mass.
One red herring is the Holy Communion procession which has turned receiving Holy Communion into a line where Catholics are forced to "eat and drink" on the run, never really stopping until they get back to their pews, where liturgical purists in the modern sense tell them to remain standing and singing, even with mouth full, until all have received. And what is truly important to them is the kind of bread they are eating (physically not doctrinally) and the way they drink the "wine" the Precious Blood of Christ. The focus isn't on Christ, but on the eating and drinking and the kinds of bread and wine they are eating and drinking and on the run, as in a chow line.
Compare this to the EF's manner (actually during pre-Vatican II times) of receiving Holy Communion at the altar railing. There usually was no organized line and people just simply went to the railing, knelt waiting for the priest to come to them and then paused after they received prior to returning to the pew to give thanks to God kneeling and in the most personal and faithful-filled, individual way possible. Although their was quite a collective individualism, not an isolated type.
What was important wasn't the look, taste, smell or texture of the bread and wine, but Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and Gloriously reigning in heaven and on earth through the Church!
So, with Pope Francis, it appears that the "reform of the reform" is on hold. His papacy may give us time to reflect on what Pope Benedict proposed in terms of an acutal "reform of the reform."
Or something else may be afoot. Maybe Pope Francis doesn't want to model that which isn't the liturgical norm in the world. Let us see how the Congregation for Divine Worship will function when the new head is in place as well as members. Who is named as head, and we can presume it will be a moderate, not an ultra traditionalist, will tell us a great deal. Let us see who else will be on the congregation's committees and who is removed. If Cardinal Burke stays, that will tell us something, if he is removed and no one like him, that will tell us something too, but not too much! (BTW, I'm a moderate, not an ultra traditionalist! I'm a liturgical liberal (within parameters) in that I appreciate all the forms of the Mass in the Catholic Church, within reason of course).
Pope Benedict called people to live well their Catholic life just as Pope Francis. In terms of the public life of Catholics, the two popes are on the same page. Pope Francis just seems to make it more interesting as Pope Benedict made the liturgy more interesting and both interesting elements have to do with style, not substance.