In an audience with bishops and priests of Sicily on 9 June 2022, Pope Francis told the clerics to stop wearing their “grandmother’s lace”, saying he had “seen the photos”.
Living in Palermo I must say that the charge seems a bit overwrought. Yes, bishops and priests still wear lace, but no more than in the Vatican or elsewhere. For Francis, Vatican II seems to have a ‘style’. An assertion I have previously argued against on these pages, and in Studia Liturgica.
The more interesting part of the address comes when Pope Francis asks the Bishops of Sicily if the celebration of the liturgy on the island has actually been reformed. This is a more pertinent issue. Having visited Italy since 1996, and living here since 2012, my answer would be, no. Parochial liturgy in Italy can be a painfully mundane experience. Little institutional energy seems to have been dedicated to music, preaching, and conscious participation the last decades. Just go to your neighborhood parish and try join in singing – if there is music. You would have had to memorize the song during catechism classes in the 1970s. Newly built churches (of which there are numerous) generally remain uninspired halls with interminable banks of pews aligned to a stage. The liturgical churches of North America and Northern Europe have much to be proud of on this front.