12 May 2022, The Tablet

Listening to the spirit

Liturgical reform


Opposition to the papacy of Francis inside the Church may be noisier in the United States than elsewhere, but it raises questions of universal significance. Thus Pope Francis’ latest strictures against the “liturgical formalism” and “closed mindset” of traditionalist Catholics, particularly in their support for the pre-Vatican II liturgy, do have lessons for those outside that American camp. And if dialogue – which involves listening as well as speaking – is the preferred communication model in the contemporary Church, then the question also arises: what does the traditionalist position have to say to the mainstream? Is it enough simply to say that resistance to liturgical reform is a key element in a fundamental rejection of the Second Vatican Council, rather than just an aesthetic preference for the Missal of 1962?

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