OK, I’ve just got to say it. While I am very pleased by the election of Pope Francis and generally like the liturgical style he has shown thus far (the no-singing thing is disappointing, but it is almost made up for by the vanishingly small prospect of seeing the ridiculous fanon during this papacy), I am somewhat disturbed by the tone of some comments I’ve seen, which amounts to, “take that, you fans of Pope Benedict, with your cappae magnae and your pro multis.”
My thoughts are basically three:
- Even if the election of Francis represents a decisive victory for the forces of liturgical progress, Schadenfreude is not only distasteful, but unchristian.
- I would be shocked if the Papacy of Francis sees a radical change in the English translation of the Mass (as inadequate as our current translation of the Mass is). Pope Francis simply doesn’t seem that interested in the liturgy wars. So expectations that we will see a reversion to “and also with you” or “for you and for all” or “one in being with the Father” seem, to me at least, to be exercises in fantasy.
- Pope Francis will inevitably disappoint many who want radical changes in Church doctrine or practice. There is no real evidence that his theology is anything but thoroughly traditional, albeit more “pastorally” inflected than the more academic approach of Benedict.
Maybe I’ll be proved wrong. Maybe Francis will move to allow married men to be ordained to the presbyterate or women to the diaconate or any number of other progressive desiderata. But as far as I’m concerned, the band has not yet struck up the tune for a progressive victory dance. And even if it does, both good taste and Christian charity should move us to sit that one out.