As G.K. Chesterton put it, it's useless to say you can't put back the clock, that's literally the function of the clock, to be able to put it back.. that is. So who is Pope Francis to say that liturgical reform (which millions of well meaning, highly educated Catholics are rightly skeptical of) are unable to reverse liturgical reforms?


When all the present Novus Ordo backers die off, leaving a vague Protestant Catholic Church and the recognizable Catholic Church favoring Liturgical Tradition over Liturgical Innovation, won't the Vox Populii take over and the liturgy will automatically "unreform" itself?

1 Answer 1


Why is liturgical form "irreversible"?

It is not! Pope Francis would like to believe that is so when it comes to restoring the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

It is as simply a pointing it out the obvious.

Pope Francis wants the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to disappear. And he will not take steps to favour it’s return. He is constantly taking new measures to make sure it remains “irreversible”, however Divine Providence may have other thoughts on this issue.

Just because one Supreme Pontiff says he believes that something is irreversible liturgically speaking, does not mean that a future pope can not undo his decisions and reverse them. Some people like to tread on thin ice, but I will try to avoid it.

Pope Francis is quite free to believe that this issue is irreversible, but time may prove it otherwise.

The Holy Father invokes magisterial authority to say the path of liturgical reform cannot be turned back. He also says more work needs to be done in implementing the reforms, and a change of mentality is needed.

Pope Francis today invoked his “magisterial authority” to say the liturgical reform since the Second Vatican Council is “irreversible” and that more work needs to be done to implement it, including ensuring that the “mentality of the people” is reformed.

In a significant address to participants of the 68th Italian National Liturgical Week at the Vatican, the Pope stressed that the liturgical reform did not “flourish suddenly” but was the result of a long preparation.

He recalled how Pope St. Pius X first made changes that included ordering a reorganization of sacred music and the establishment of a commission to make general reforms of the liturgy.

That project, he continued, was then taken up by Pope Pius XII with his encyclical Mediator Dei that resulted in, among other reforms, the attenuation of the Eucharistic fast, the use of contemporary language, and major changes to the Easter Vigil and Holy Week liturgies.

“In truth, we know, the liturgical education of pastors and faithful is a challenge to be confronted again and again,” he said.

The Pope further noted that more work still needs to be done, “in particular rediscovering the reasons for decisions made by the liturgical reform, surpassing unfounded and superficial readings, partial receptions, and practices that disfigure it.”

He said this is not a question of “rethinking the reform by reviewing its choices, but better knowing the underlying reasons, also through historical documentation, so to internalize its inspirational principles and observe the discipline that governs it.”

The Pope then insisted that following on from this magisterium of liturgical reform and its “long journey,” it is possible to say “with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”

In March this year, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, decried what has transpired since the Council.

“Certainly, some fine initiatives were taken” to promote “greater active participation” and to bring about “progress day by day in the Christian life of the faithful,” he said in a speech given in Germany.

But he added that we “cannot close our eyes to the disaster, the devastation and the schism that the modern promoters of a living liturgy caused by remodeling the Church’s liturgy according to their ideas.

“They forgot that the liturgical act is not just a prayer, but also and above all a mystery in which something is accomplished for us that we cannot fully understand but that we must accept and receive in faith, love, obedience and adoring silence,” he said.

The cardinal called for a recognition of “the serious and profound crisis” which, since the Council, has affected the liturgy by placing man and not God at the center of worship.

Last year, Cardinal Sarah asked all priests to return “as soon as possible” to celebrating Mass ad orientem, facing east rather than towards the congregation, as Mass was celebrated before the Council reforms.

He said such a reversion would be more faithful to Sacrosanctum Concilium and achieve what the Council desired.

Pope Francis: Liturgical Reform is ‘Irreversible’

Pope Francis would do better to heal the divisions caused by liturgical abuse than to seek to abolish the Tridentine Rite.

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