The Ottaviani Intervention

Some of you will have heard of a critique of the New Mass written by a group of Roman theologians and forwarded to the Pope with a covering letter by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci. At least a dozen cardinals had intended signing this letter, but it was leaked and published prematurely. All the cardinals but the two I have mentioned "chickened out." Please bear in mind that Cardinal Ottaviani was, at that time, Prefect of the Holy Office, charged with maintaining the purity of the faith. His verdict on the New Mass is thus of particular significance. Here is the conclusion which he and Cardinal Bacci sent to the Pope:

The Novus Ordo Missae-----considering the new elements, susceptible of widely differing evaluations, which appear to be implied or taken for granted-----represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent, which, by fixing definitively the "canons" of the rite, erected an insuperable barrier against any heresy which might attack the integrity of the Mystery.

These are very strong words, but please don't accuse me of disloyalty to the Church for citing them. If you feel you must accuse someone, then accuse the Cardinals.

Exit Archbishop Bugnini

As for Archbishop Bugnini, in 1975 he fell suddenly and dramatically from power. Pope Paul VI dismissed him without any reason being given, just as Pope John had done, and he was banished to Iran as Pro Nuncio. His admirers throughout the world were outraged, and feared that the entire future of the liturgical revolution was in danger. Their fears were groundless. In the year before his downfall he had been able to announce with pride and satisfaction that the liturgical reform was "a major conquest of the Catholic Church" which had its "ecumenical dimensions." 8 I wouldn't want to quarrel with that judgment. There are grounds for believing that Archbishop Bugnini was dismissed by Pope Paul VI after the Pope had been given evidence proving that he was a Freemason. I have published the evidence for this allegation in my book, Pope Paul's New Mass. Archbishop Bugnini termed me "a calumniator" for doing so, and denied the accusation.

In some ways I am sorry that the issue was ever raised as it makes the important question appear to be whether the Archbishop was a Mason or not. The important question is whether or not he destroyed the liturgy of the Roman Rite rather than his motive for doing so. Even if he was motivated by a sincere desire to serve the Church it does not alter the fact that, as Professor Berger expressed it, "a thoroughly malicious sociologist, bent on injuring the Catholic community as much as possible . . . could hardly have done a better job."

Protestant Parallels

 I could go into very great detail to prove that most of the changes which have received official approval tend in a Protestant direction. If challenged I would be happy to do so. For the moment just let me say that almost every prayer which the Protestant Reformers removed from the traditional Mass has been removed during the liturgical revolution. [Emphasis added by the Web Master, here and below.] The one notable exception is the Roman Canon, which the Consilium wished to remove, but which was retained on the personal insistence of Pope Paul VI himself. I would like to make it clear that I have never alleged that the New Mass is Protestant. What I have claimed is that there are parallels between the changes the Protestant Reformers made in the traditional Mass and those made by Archbishop Bugnini and his Protestant advisers, or admitted as options at a later date.

Let me give just three examples. One of the first steps taken by all the Protestant Reformers was to abolish the traditional Offertory prayers, because, as Luther expressed it in his usual charming way, "they stank of sacrifice." They have been abolished in the New Mass. Communion in the hand is now permitted as an official option. It was a widespread practice in the early Church but lapsed as reverence for and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament increased. It was revived by the Protestant Reformers to signify two things: firstly, that the bread received in Communion is ordinary bread, secondly, that the minister who distributes it is an ordinary man who possesses no powers which are not possessed by his congregation. If he alone has the authority to touch the Sacrament, then it could give the impression that he alone has the power to consecrate. The fact that the priest alone does have the power to consecrate was one of the reasons given by St. Thomas Aquinas in his explanation of why the priest alone should touch the Host. The teaching of St. Thomas was echoed recently by Pope John Paul II who has made it clear that he gives his personal endorsement to the traditional practice, even if he feels that it would be futile to attempt to re-impose it during the present climate. 9

7) Pope Paul's New Mass, Chapter XXIII.
8) Pope Paul's New Mass, page 81.
9) See The Angelus Press pamphlet A Privilege of the Ordained.
Still available as a booklet set HERE, from Neumann Press.


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