The fair-minded nearly ubiquitous former Rome correspondent for the ultra-lefty NCR, Mr. John L Allen, Jr., has led his weekly blurb with a clear and correct statement:
Without a doubt, the push for robust assertion of traditional Catholic identity is the most consequential mega-trend in the life of the church today, and it is also the core of Benedict XVI’s agenda as pope. Emboldened by the election of John Paul II in 1978, the identity wave hit the arena of liturgy first, then went on to engulf Catholic education, Catholic media, priestly identity and formation, religious orders, and virtually every other sphere of ecclesiastical life.
As I have been saying until you readers are no doubt hearing it repeated in your heads at night, Pope Benedict has a plan, a "Marshall Plan" for the Church, focusing especially on reinvigorating Catholic identity. The liturgy is the tip of the spear.
Change the liturgy, you change everything else.
Note also that Allen brings in the point of priestly identity. Clearly this is what Summorum Pontificum is aiming at. The Motu Proprio is about priestly identity as much as it is about anything else.
If Catholics do not recover and strengthen a clear Catholic identity, one that is coherent in teaching and practice and in continuity with our past, then the Church cannot make the contribution the Lord commands her to give to the world.
In the ever secularizing, relativizing world, solid clear Catholics are being marginalized, while the squishy amorphous sort are being allowed to stick around as tokens in public discourse.
We need renewal of our identity so that we can understand well who we are and live our lives in keeping with that identity (this is the ad intra dimension). Only in this way can we have something vital and effective to contribute to the world at large (this is the ad extra dimension).
Allen got it exactly right.