As one who is exhilarated by our Holy Father's resolute promotion of the Hermeneutic of Continuity, there are few people I deplore more than those sad folk who believe that Vatican II was a sort of SuperCouncil which drew a line under every other magisterial decision of the previous two millennia and started the Church off again with a blank tabula rasa. But there is emerging another sort of Hermeneutic of Rupture, this time on the allegedly 'Traditionalist' side, which is just as dangerous as that 'liberal' Hermeneutic of Rupture which the Sovereign Potiff, despite opposition from the established liturgical and theological hippies of the last two decades, is so courageously facing down. It consists of 'traditionalists' who are fairly ignorant of the actual state of 'Tradition' in the centuries before Vatican II and who seem to me to love 'the old liturgy' a little less for itself than for the fact that in can be used as a big stick with which to belabour the 'liberals'. Example:
(1) The phrase "the Mass of the Ages" is a good one but not if it implies that every tiniest detail of the Books issued by Pius V is sacrosanct and the only possible rite for a real Catholic. Medieval rites such as those of Sarum and Paris and the Dominican Order differed very considerably from the Rite of the Roman Curia (which is what became the 'Tridentine Rite) in three areas: the Preparation at the foot of the Altar (including the text of the confiteor); the priest's Offertory prayers; and the priest's Prayers before Communion. When I was an undergraduate I used to attend Dominican High Masses in Oxford; Pius V explicitly allowed for the continuance of such variants of the Roman Rite provided that their sponsors desired to perpetuate them; and the Dominicans did just that. Yet there are folk around for whom such details as "how many confiteors?" are apparently crucial, and who write as if every syllable of the Roman Missal is almost Apostolic in antiquity.
(2) There are those who rubbish the concept of concelebration because of their horror at some modern goings-on, and their laudable desire that every priest should offer the Adorable Sacrifice, as we Anglicans call it, every day. And they even deny that the concelebration of new priests in the Mass of their ordination really is a real concelebration - contrary to the explicit teaching of the Church for centuries. I dealt with this last October, and I don't want to repeat it all now.
(3) There are those who are so horrified by the 'ecumenical' pranks of liberals that they deny, lock, stock and barrel, the ecumenical precedents set by Ecumenical Councils and Roman Pontiffs during the last six centuries - whereby entire segments of the Christian East were reconciled to the See of Peter on the understanding that, although wounded by their separation, they were still true Churches. When Joseph Ratzinger restated this position with complete (and totally 'traditional') lucidity in Communionis notio and Dominus Jesus, he was not inventing some new, flabby, and liberal heresy, but reaffirming the praxis over many centuries of the Holy See. Such documents do not stand on the Magisterium merely of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but of some fifty Roman Pontiffs.
Benedict XVI is one of the most erudite theologians to sit on the Chair of S Peter since (at least) his homonymous predecessor Benedict XIV. I think it is a shame that there are some in the 'traditionalist' community who have no confidence that he will get things right. I believe he is also one of the most loveable of popes; and I suggest that his personal holiness is guaranteed by the venom with the forces of evil are gunning for him. That's what always happens to Holiness. We should pray for him; and trust him. Those who snipe at him 'from the right': what will they say to themselves if his critics drive him to another heart attack and a premature death?