Pope Francis prepares one day to celebrate or preside at the EF Mass?
Those of us prepared for the priesthood in the 1970's know that the so-called "hermeneutic of discontinuity" was a powerful forced in our preparation for the priesthood. Progressive faculty at our seminaries had a complete disdain for the pre-Vatican II Church, especially her liturgy and the culture from which she emerged. To challenge their thinking and prejudice in this would mean one would have a difficult time in that seminary, be marginalized or even asked to live as being a "rigid" pre-Vatican II Catholic. I've said it before and I'll say it again, being labeled as pre-Vatican II in those days was like using the "n" word and quite an insulting use of the word.
So much of what was happening in the Church of this period was far from what Vatican II taught even by using the term "spirit of Vatican II" since the spirit that was used to justify so much that was truly damaging to the Church called into question what the documents of Vatican II actually taught. What was being promoted in the seminary at that time, in terms of liturgy, theology and devotion was the beginning of the progressivist agenda that would undermine the Council itself.
Today, though, there are those who think that Pope Benedict is the culprit in undermining Vatican II simply by being pastorally inclined toward those who desire the Mass of that period. To them Vatican II is a breach with what preceded it and they disdain this talk about the hermeneutic of continuity.
They believe Pope Francis is on their side. But is he really? They think he is on their side because of Pope Francis simplicity. After all he is the first pope in quite some time to be a Religious vowed to poverty. Most religious orders take a vow of poverty which secular or diocesan priests and bishops do not.
Yet, Pope Francis, despite his simplicity and calls for poverty and disdain for the papal court and the accroutrements that bishops wear that make them look like rich princes (at least in his mind, but certainly a sentiment shared by many, even very conservative minded Catholics) he continues to do the following:
1. Demand obedience to the Pope and the Magisterium of the Church in the areas of Faith and Morals through fidelity to the DEPOSIT OF FAITH
2. Promotes the sound theology of the femininity of the Church as Holy Mother and Bride of Christ and referring to her with feminine pronouns (this is anathema to real progressives who want gender neutral terms of God and Church as the feminine and masculine pronouns and images calls into question their promotion of heterodox theologies that allow for female ordination and same sex marriage.)
3. Promotes in a way not seen since before Vatican II a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Mass and in popular devotions
4. Makes clear that the devil and his evil spirits are real and influence us negatively to our detriment
5. Continues the pre-Vatican II altar arrangement for all his Vatican Masses and has celebrated Mass in the true ad orientem way in two different venues
Where Pope Francis is different from Pope Benedict is that he is:
1. Of South American upbringing but very much imbued with his Italian ancestry and ethos of his parents and grandparents. There is no escaping this dual influence in his Catholic life.
2. He is not an academic theologian and has a antipathy toward academics in the Church because they sometimes complicate the message of the Church with their academics that goes over the heads of too many Catholics
3. He is pastorally progressive or liberal--he cares for people and understands the messes that their lives are; he has not lived in the ivory tower of the academic world and in some sense sees what is happening in Catholic academia and one of the culprits that have damaged the Church and her children in the post-VAtican II period.
My final comments: Because Pope Francis is so pastorally minded, he will find ways to bring people back to Holy Mother Church, especially those in irregular situations. But he will not be unfaithful to the Magisterium of the Church and the Deposit of Faith in doing so.
He will allow for a variety of liturgical expressions if these bring people closer to God and keep them in the fold of Holy Mother Church.
And now for my BOMBSHELL clairvoyant prediction: This is based upon Pope Francis pastoral concern for people and keeping them close to the Church. He will eventually seek to heal the schism in the Church between the so-called and perhaps inaccurately classified (neo) Pelegians and Gnostics!
He will actually go to an FSSP parish which ministers to the existential periphery by serving the needs of the poor and celebrate an EF Mass either personally or simply by presiding and in choir dress!