There was a presser for the meeting of the French bishops in plenary session at Lourdes and Jean-Pierre Card. Ricard of Bordeaux, President of the Conference and a member of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" made a statement to the gathered journalists about the "Tridentine Mass" (my translation, emphasis and comments).
"This has taken on unreal proportions" (une dimension fantasmatique), the Cardinal remarked: "principally because Latin never disappeared, [Oh yah? On my planet it has.] and on the other hand because the Mass of Paul VI is sometimes said in Latin, notably in certain monasteries, [So if you want Latin and you are not a Benedictine monk, you’re pretty much hosed.] and finally because there is no question of imposing the Tridentine Mass on all of the faithful! [You mean like the way the Novus Ordo was imposed?] Briefly, we are not dealing with a regression. The question is to know if it is right to expand the conditions under which the Mass with the 1962 Missal may be celebrated," he continued, [I remember JP2 saying something back in 1988 about "wide and generous" and "by my apostolic authority".] before recalling his meeting on 26 October with Pope Benedict XVI.
"His desire is to do all in his power to put an end to the Lefevbrite schism. He knows that the more years that pass, the more the relations will draw farther apart and positions will harden. [Sooooo….. should we do something about that fairly soon?] The Pope desires to what is possible to reach a hand out and that a welcoming attitude be shown, at least to those who are of good will and who manifest a deep desire for communion." A wish which does not call back into question attachment to the Second Vatican Council. "No, the Church does not change course.. Contrary to the intentions of certain people claim to him, Pope Benedict XVI does not intend reverse the cours of that Second Vatican Council gave to the Church. He is seriously committed to it."
Cardinal Ricard insisted on the Pope’s desire not to short circuit consultation. "The Motu Proprio project will be the object of various consultations. As of now, we can communicate our fears and hopes." [Mostly fears that traditionalists might actually obtain a voice in the Church and hopes that they don’t?]
Many years ago the Pope wrote that “[n]ot every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis many of them have been just a waste of time”. Furthermore, “the last word about the historical value of Vatican Council II has yet to be spoken.” (in Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology, tr. Sister Mary Frances McCarthy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press 1987), p. 378; originally Theologische Prinzipienlehre (Erich Wewel Verlag, Munich 1982).)
By quoting Ratzinger on the value of the Council, I am in no way saying that I think the Second Vatican Council was a "waste of time".
However, do you get the feeling that there is a kind funnel vision, narrower even than tunnel vision about the Second Vatican Council, as if that meeting were the be all and end all of everything ever possible for the Church?
There were Councils and Catholic life before Vatican II. The idea that Vatican II didn’t result in everything good and happy for the Church terrifies some people, right down to their toes. The suggestion that we may need to recover something of what we lost is the nightmare that wakes them screaming in the night.
Have their lives been wasted on a chimera? Many good things can be gleaned from the Council, but not all possible good things. It is okay to refer to the past in a positive way. It’ll be okay.
We desperately need, as the Holy Father has said a "hermeneutic of continuity" rather than one of "rupture".
The effort of Pope Benedict in regard to the "Tridentine" Mass aims in two directions. First, a future direction of the healing of a still fairly recent schism. Card. Ricard mentioned that. Also, avoiding as much as possible a future series of mini-schisms which will surely arise. Second, reintegrating the present liturigical practices of the Church with a healthy attachment to the past, such that a fruitful future liturgical life of the Church will develop in a nature way.