Fr. Peter Stravinskas, editor and publisher at Newman House Press, writes in the preface to Liturgical Reflections of a Papal Master of Ceremonies that
from time immemorial, the way the Bishop of Rome has celebrated the Sacred Liturgy has been normative for the Roman Rite. Although the Pope can surely legislate on liturgical matters, he likewise serves as a liturgical “pace-setter,” offering a standard by which all can judge their own liturgies. What the Pope does in the sacred rites has taken on even greater importance in the present age of easy communication and travel, making papal ceremonies even more accessible and thus, potentially, even more exemplary.
Msgr. Guido Marini, appointed Master of Ceremonies in 2007, speaks in the same book of the “authoritative liturgical orientation” of the Pope and says that this
does not pertain to the realm of “personal taste,” … but rather to a true and proper Magisterium.
But more recently, Fr. Alcuin Reid OSB states:
It can and needs to be said clearly that the liturgical style or preferences of a given pope are not law and that it is possible that a pope can make errors of judgment in this area, which errors, because of his position and the instantaneous dissemination of anything he does, can give confusing or even misleading messages to the Church and the wider world.
Papal preference is not the arbiter of the Church’s liturgy: sound liturgical and theological principles are. The Bishop of Rome exercises his authority rightly when, in liturgical matters, he bases his judgments on these principles. If he ignores them in his judgments or personal practice he risks causing confusion, scandal and disunity.
Stravinskas and Marini wrote when Benedict XVI was pope. Reid writes as Francis is pope.
It appears that we have a new principle of liturgical renewal: our theology of the importance of the pope depends on whether or not we like the pope in office.