I may very well be wrong, but I think I sometimes detect a distinction just the very tiniest little bit like this in the Catholic Church; the distinction between those whose preoccupation is with Liturgy and, for preference, very fine Liturgy; and those for whom liturgical questions are part of a larger whole. For example: in England, the 'traditionalist' movement concentrates, for the most part, on Liturgy. Indeed, I get the impression that it is policy not to confuse Liturgy with other matters or different causes. So we emphasise that, in our strong preference for the Extraordinary Form, we are totally in unity with the pope and the hierarchy. Little mention is made of problems in Conciliar texts. Great appreciation is shown for any signs of friendship from bishops.
I do understand this strategy. It means that bishops, if they are honest and honourable, cannot make problems for EF liturgy on the grounds that it is bound up with, even perhaps a front for, other agendas. And the Liturgy, in and for itself, very definitely is a cause deserving very high priority.
But the annual Gardone Roman Forum symposia illustrate that there can be, indeed is, a different possible approach. At Gardone, the liturgy is in the Extraordinary Form, and superbly done, but nobody spends all their time talking about it. It is simply the assumed, natural, and obvious background and basis to the fortnight; there is no fascinated preoccupation with ritual adjuncts. The talk is about the conceptual questions which are at the heart of intellectual debate in European and American Catholicism, particularly at this present time. The addresses are not all given by clergy intent on deepening the liturgical spirituality of the laity; they are, for the most part, given by lay philosophers and historians and academics intent on 'discerning the times' in the light of the Gospel. They are, in fact, nothing less than a dutiful response to the Holy Father's repeated calls for lay participation and for frank openness, Parrhesia.
So perhaps there is just a minute difference of tone between the Traddidoms of Britain on the one hand; and of America and Continental Europe on the other. Moreover, it seems to me that there may also be some such cultural difference between the 'Ecclesia Dei Communities' and the SSPX, in that the former appear sometimes more liturgically preoccupied than does the latter. It is clear ... well, to me, at least ... that the contentious issues at stake at the moment in the Western Church centre around the claim that Christ is Lord; in other terms, the truth of the Social Reign of Christ the King. Or, to chase the same rabbit from the other end of the warren, the relationship between Zeitgeist and Faith. This was the truth that Archbishop Lefebvre saw with great and luminous clarity. "They have uncrowned Him."
I throw these thoughts out merely as speculation.
I thank God that the Ecclesia Dei Communities are in a canonically regular situation, and I pray for the canonical regularisation of the SSPX. 'Unity' is not just a gracious adornment, oil running down the beard, but a demand made by the ontological reality of the Christ's Body the Church. I believe the clergy of that Society need this as much as the rest of the Church needs them. At the same time, I value the persistent witness which the SSPX has relentlessly brought to the heart of the Gospel message, to the primitive kerygma "Kyrios Iesus"; "Viva Cristo Rey". (This does not mean that I in any way undervalue the fact that it was also the Society that, almost single-handed, kept a form of the authentic Roman Rite alive and well through the darkest years.)
It is not, to resort to the familiar cliche, either / or but both / and.
The Liturgy builds the Church and sustains her witness; and our witness to the Gospel is the soil in which the Liturgy bears fruit.