To the great dismay and frustration of Traditionalists, who rightly see the Mass as the heart of the Body of Christ, Francis appears indifferent to the most pressing need of the Church—liturgical renewal.
[Be careful what you wish for! – Ed.]
by Christian Browne, Crisis magazine, February 2016.
The third anniversary of the election of Pope Francis seems an apt time to take stock of the state of the Traditionalist movement within the Church. While the term may encompass various goals for the Church, I focus here on its essential aim, namely the restoration and promotion of the Tridentine liturgy.
The reign of Benedict XVI was seen as a springtime for Traditionalism. Benedict had an evident affinity for a traditional-style celebration of the Mass. His solicitude for the traditional Mass was concretely expressed by his promulgation in July 2007 of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (SP). With SP as the foundation, many Traditionalists were confident that Benedict would re-introduce traditional practices on a broader scale as his pontificate progressed, and perhaps even revise the Missal of Paul VI.
Alas, it was not to be. With Benedict’s resignation and the election of Francis, the papacy’s gaze has turned from things liturgical to a myriad of other matters. Pope Francis has said, written, and done much in his short reign; but, as far as I know, he has never directly addressed the state of liturgical affairs. To the great dismay and frustration of Traditionalists, who rightly see the Mass as the heart of the Body of Christ, Francis appears indifferent to the most pressing need of the Church—liturgical renewal.