Do you remember years and years ago all the paper, in the form of books and manuals, which came packed with a new computer or other electronic device? I can remember discovering too that for the most part it could all be thrown away as such items were authored by geeks who had flunked English Comp 101. If you didn't have their mindset, you could not figure it out. It was better to punt, or play the thing by ear. The greatest progress in this field has to be awarded to all who have minimized and rationalized product packaging. If all else fails in our day and time, minus the paper, you can pose your question or problem to an online forum, know that others suffer like you, and wait until you can justify purchasing something new and improved.
In all fairness, however, I must concede that one word was always used correctly with regard to computers and that is/was the word "restore". If your computer was fouled up, blocked or otherwise misbehaving, you could arbitrarily fix a "restore point" which took you back before your problem and enabled you to sort things out. This is what we mean by a "restoration". When we talk about the restoration and organic development of the liturgy, there is not a computer geek in the world who doesn't get the point, because he or she knows what a "restore point" is.
Sadly, the word "reform" does not seem to have any tech apps. This may or may not explain a certain amount of equivocation concerning its meaning and application. For the sake of clarity, I think it would be better to say that there has probably never been a time when the word, REFORM, has had a different definition than the one you find today in Merriam-Webster:transitive verb
1 a : to put or change into an improved form or condition; b : to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses. 2 : to put an end to (an evil) by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action.
Reforming is not restoring; it is changing or improving, not renewing but making something different and therefore new. That is why we don't restore an alcoholic, we reform him or her; we give that person skills and options for living and interacting with others that are new in his or her life. At this point, then, would begin the debate about whether "reforming the reformed liturgy" can ever heal something diagnosed as a rupture, a damaging break with the tradition, seen as the life-giving patrimony of past experience. On the other side, one might ask if it is at all possible to restore a living thing. The danger would seem to be in the temptation or inclination to resorting to paradigms drawn from movies like Jurassic Park. Even short of science fiction, we cannot argue about liturgy as if to say "What would our world be without Giant Pandas?"
To my way of thinking, Laslo Dobszay makes the best case for restoration over reform of the reform, and Pope Benedict XVI has spoken with wisdom and authority by favoring the mutual enrichment of the two forms of the one Roman Rite. My wish or my prayer would be to live to see the day when the enrichment process would generally inspire the Church to urge the Supreme Legislator to fix that "restore point" and empower us to life and liturgy in continuity.
I was intrigued by a video from Scotland which took a very different stance from my understanding of Dobszay on the issue of whether chant is universally doable. This man, at least, is convinced that you don't need a professional schola in every parish to be able to sustain chant in its simplest forms.
Mutual enrichment rises and falls upon the doable. Our patrimony is beautiful; restoration requires do-ability. As a child I always found our chant beautiful and never quite understood why older folk were draw to hymnody. We see life and development today, in terms of the restoration of chant as an integral part of liturgy, wherever it is chosen and wherever ears are attuned to rejecting the shrill or dull in favor of the ancient patrimony.
In my previous piece I noted on a very different level that reform involves the hard work of repentance. If there were reason to privilege the reform of the reformed liturgy, then it would be in the sense of recovering our patrimony, of seeking earnestly for that "restore point" which will enable us to set things forth as ought.