In an address last week on the liturgy, Pope Francis drew attention when he asserted “with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” Reaction focused almost entirely on this one sentence to the neglect of the rest of the address, much of which contained important comments on liturgical renewal.
Almost every time Pope Francis has done something well or written something good, His Holiness becomes his own worst enemy by saying something off-the-cuff or putting negative commentary towards others or adding something controversial that hijacks the main thesis of his teachings.
Even when His Holiness has triumphant pilgrimages, His Holiness changes the conversation and thwarts the good that was accomplished by shifting the focus to off-the-cuff remarks that are controversial given at high altitudes that may have compromised His Holiness thinking.
Amoris Laetia is a great document about love and marriage except for that "damn" footnote that consumes everyone's attention and threatens the entirety of Catholic morality from Scripture to natural law and even opens the door for the Catholic Church to become as liberalized as liberal Protestantism and the Anglican Communion. No one is talking about the 99.9% of this papal teaching at all!
Then the Holy Father who never talks about the liturgy in any significant way gives a talk to a group of Italian liturgists (this term a bit of an oxymoron) and declares in a somewhat authoritarian and semi-magisterial way that the reforms of Vatican are irreversible.
Did His Holiness need to be some dogmatic about the reforms the liturgy and so vague about how poorly these reforms have been implemented? And did Pope Francis have to neglect to say anything about the Liturgy that Pope Benedict eloquently taught for decades? It came across and another bit of this pope's way of breaking the continuity of papal teachings with novel ideas and appears to be anything but humble.
Thus America Magazine tries to put lipstick on a pig but in doing so makes clear the mistakes the Holy Father makes in his communication style and how he is his own worst enemy in changing the conversation to things that are peripheral.
Gregory Hillis August 28, 2017/America Magazine
Pope Francis argued that the process of reform takes time and that it is necessary to address more fully the “liturgical education” of all the faithful. By this he means that all the faithful need to understand what the liturgical movement endeavored to accomplish, why it advocated for renewal and how Vatican II sought to address the movement’s concerns.
Underlying Francis’ reminder that the reform continues and his call for liturgical education is, it seems to me, a recognition of the shortcomings of the renewal movement. That is, even while reminding them that the process of liturgical reform is irreversible given the deep discontent that was the impetus for this reform, Pope Francis seems to take seriously the liturgical dissatisfaction of those like my students and others.
Few can read “Sacrosanctum Concilium” and fail to see the disjunction between the renewal as sought by the council fathers and the shape that renewal took in the decades after Vatican II. Not only are questions raised about the aesthetic impoverishment of the liturgy, but many wonder whether the reform truly led to the full and active participation desired by the council. And it is more than just traditionalists who raise such questions.
Read the entire article here.