At the same time, I am saddened by abuses in the celebration of the liturgy on all sides. In common with Benedict XVI, I deplore the fact that “in many places the prescriptions of the new Missal are not observed in celebration, but indeed come to be interpreted as an authorization for or even a requirement of creativity, which leads to almost unbearable distortions”.*
That liturgical abuses continue is not in doubt. That they continue to the degree they did in the first decade after Vatican II is in serious doubt. The root of most lie in the problem of clericalism, that priests take liberties to do as they wish. As with many priests, they persist in them for one of three reasons: a mentor’s example, seminary training, or an early pattern in their liturgical career.
I also suspect that liturgical deviations are more common outside of North America. The problem in diagnosis is that the evidence is almost wholly subjective. Nobody surveys abuses, and most amateur sleuths lack the background to discern errors, real options, and true deviation.
All that said, the real problems of the modern Roman Rite are preaching and music–their lack of quality.
Pope Francis turns to the serious abuse on the 1962 side:
But I am nonetheless saddened that the instrumental use of Missale Romanum of 1962 is often characterized by a rejection not only of the liturgical reform, but of the Vatican Council II itself, claiming, with unfounded and unsustainable assertions, that it betrayed the Tradition and the “true Church”.
The key word here is “often.” Is this true? When one researches online, it can seem that “most often” is the reality. Church teaching is crystal clear on tradition, its past, and its future:
The path of the Church must be seen within the dynamic of Tradition “which originates from the Apostles and progresses in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit” (Dei Verbum 8). A recent stage of this dynamic was constituted by Vatican Council II where the Catholic episcopate came together to listen and to discern the path for the Church indicated by the Holy Spirit. To doubt the Council is to doubt the intentions of those very Fathers who exercised their collegial power in a solemn manner cum Petro et sub Petro in an ecumenical council, [Cfr.Lumen Gentium 23] and, in the final analysis, to doubt the Holy Spirit himself who guides the Church.
Often, Catholics are found to be in opposition to their bishops–their own or the larger collectives or prelates. There is often a whiff of pelagianism, that misbehaving bishops somehow sully their position as teachers and overseers in the Church. It’s a difficult time for all. Modern culture has, since WWII at least, endured a deep skepticism in leadership. Antagonism to leaders in government and culture has not spared antagonism to clergy, bishops, and even the pope.
* Benedict XVI, Letter to the Bishops on the occasion of the publication of the Apostolic Letter “Motu proprio data” Summorum Pontificum on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the reform of 1970, 7 july 2007: AAS 99 (2007) 796.
Here are the important links: