I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: as though in the liturgy it did not matter any more whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to us. ~Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

The problem is twofold: first, at the macro level, there are many in leadership positions who are in denial over the ‘ecclesial crisis’, and second, getting down to specifics, it is a minority that believes there is in fact a liturgical crisis to begin with.

The greatest achievements of  liturgical ‘reformers’ like Archbishop Bugnini are, one, to have manufactured an alternative narrative when it comes to what is acceptable liturgy and, two, to make that narrative the new gold standard. Most Catholics are convinced that this novel narrative is the only option, thereby alienating those in favor of tradition as Catholic kooks outside the acceptable mainstream. The near total collapse in catechesis, i.e., what is liturgy to begin with, contributed to this perfect storm.

And this is where we find ourselves today. One of the many gifts of Pope Benedict’s papacy is that his vision for liturgy provided ecclesial cover for a segment of faithful Catholics who were (and still are) often called ‘angry’, ‘divisive’, ‘extreme’, ‘pre-conciliar’, ‘old-fashioned’, ‘out of touch,’ etc. Now, are there some traditional Catholics who fit those labels? Of course. But caricatures don’t define an entire movement, and furthermore, with Benedict’s voluminous writings on the subject of liturgy, those charges are far less effective.