The idea of continuity for some ill-informed people is against the demands that arise from the reform of Vatican II. According to these people, the Council was a rupture, a sort of new beginning. You can find many scholars saying that Vatican II was this new beginning, the most important Council in the history of the Church. Now, about the latter, we may say that is not completely wrong: it was really that important, but often not for the good reasons they may think. Indeed for many, Vatican II was the reason to open certain doors that should not be opened, without risking too much.
Nevertheless, between the Vatican II in the mind of the scholars above and the real Council there is certainly a big difference. Indeed Sacrosanctum Concilium 23, talking about liturgy, was very clear about the method to be adopted: “That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised.
This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing”. This idea expressed in the last sentence, the “organic development” should have been a key for the right development of the liturgy, but it wasn’t. Indeed all Popes have insisted on this, especially Benedict XVI who was the most prominent in proposing the hermeneutic of continuity: “It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church’s decisions on contingent matters – for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible – should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within. On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change. Basic decisions, therefore, continue to be well-grounded, whereas the way they are applied to new contexts can change. Thus, for example, if religious freedom were to be considered an expression of the human inability to discover the truth and thus become a canonization of relativism, then this social and historical necessity is raised inappropriately to the metaphysical level and thus stripped of its true meaning. Consequently, it cannot be accepted by those who believe that the human person is capable of knowing the truth about God and, on the basis of the inner dignity of the truth, is bound to this knowledge. It is quite different, on the other hand, to perceive religious freedom as a need that derives from human coexistence, or indeed, as an intrinsic consequence of the truth that cannot be externally imposed but that the person must adopt only through the process of conviction”. This kind of mindset is the one also that guide the studies, among others, of Archbishop Agostino Marchetto that Pope Francis himself has declared to be the most authentic interpreter of Vatican II.
This fundamental misunderstanding is also the reason of the disruption of the liturgy and of liturgical music. And it is a misunderstanding that has created a huge break between now and before in the life of the Church, a tragic break whose nefarious consequences we are living and we will probably still live for very very long.