Some of you may have not yet read Mr. Vennari's piece entitled The Oath Against Modernism vs. The "Hermeneutic of Continuity." Since this piece quite succinctly illustrates the key distinction in Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate from a Traditionalist's views, it is well worth the read. Emphasis below in bold.
The term “Hermeneutic of Continuity” came into vogue with the ascension of Pope Benedict XVI.
On December 22, 2005 in his speech to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI laid out what would be the program of his pontificate. Usually a Pope will do this in his first encyclical, but informed commentators at the time observed that Pope Benedict appeared to lay out the program for his pontificate in this December 22 address, and not his first encyclical.
In this speech, it is clear that the pivotal principle that would be the program for his pontificate is the Second Vatican Council.
However, says the Pope, there has been a problem with the Council. Too many in the Church, he laments, approach the Council through a “hermeneutic of rupture”; and a “hermeneutic of discontinuity” with the past. (“Hermeneutic” basically means, “interpretation”. Thus, Pope Benedict says, many Catholics have approached the Council with an interpretation of rupture with the past.)
The proper way to approach the Council, he insists, is through a “hermeneutic of continuity”. His basic claim — and this has always been his claim as Cardinal Ratzinger — is that Vatican II did not constitute a rupture with Tradition, but a legitimate development of it. We can find this legitimate development if we approach the Council through a hermeneutic — an interpretation — of continuity.
This gives the impression to many that Pope Benedict XVI plans a restoration of Tradition in the Church.
But this is not the case. Yes, Pope Benedict issued the Motu Proprio freeing the Tridentine Mass. This was a matter of justice for which he deserves credit, and it is something we could have guessed he would do, even based on his statements as Cardinal Ratzinger.
But the hermeneutic of continuity does not signal a return to Tradition. Rather, it is another attempt, first and foremost, I believe, to save Vatican II.
Vatican II is still his pivotal principle. The so-called “hermeneutic of continuity” approach will give us nothing more than a new synthesis between Tradition and Vatican II — a synthesis between Tradition and Modernism — which is not a legitimate synthesis.