|| Liturgical Time Bombs
in Vatican II: Excerpts
The Destruction of Catholic Faith
Through Changes in Catholic Worship
by Michael Davies
Published on the Web with Permission of the Author.
The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall of Annibale Bugnini
Before discussing the time bombs in the Council texts, more specifically those in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which would lead to the destruction of the Roman Rite, it is necessary to examine the role of Annibale Bugnini, the individual most responsible for placing them there and detonating them after the Constitution had won the approval of the Council Fathers.
Annibale Bugnini was born in Civitella de Lego [Italy] in 1912. He began his theological studies in the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians) in 1928 and was ordained in this Order in 1936. For ten years he did parish work in a Roman suburb, and then, from 1947 to 1957, was involved in writing and editing the missionary publications of his Order. In 1947, he also began his active involvement in the field of specialized liturgical studies when he began a twenty-year period as the director of Ephemerides liturgicae, one of Italy's best-known liturgical publications. He contributed to numerous scholarly publications, wrote articles on the liturgy for various encyclopaedias and dictionaries, and had a number of books published on both the scholarly and popular level.
Father Bugnini was appointed Secretary to Pope Pius XII's Commission for Liturgical Reform in 1948. In 1949 he was made a Professor of Liturgy in the Pontifical Propaganda Fide (Propagation of the Faith) University; in 1955 he received a similar appointment in the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music; he was appointed a Consultor to the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1956; and in 1957 he was appointed Professor of Sacred Liturgy in the Lateran University. In 1960, Father Bugnini was placed in a position which enabled him to exert an important, if not decisive, influence upon the history of the Church: he was appointed Secretary to the Preparatory Commission on the Liturgy for the Second Vatican Council. [Biographical details are provided in Notitiae, No. 70, February 1972, pp. 33-34.] He was the moving spirit behind the drafting of the preparatory schema (plural schemata), the draft document which was to be placed before the Council Fathers for discussion. Carlo Falconi, an "ex-priest" who has left the Church but keeps in close contact with his friends in the Vatican, refers to the preparatory schema as "the Bugnini draft." [Carlo Falconi, Pope John and His Council (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1964), p. 244.] It is of the greatest possible importance to bear in mind the fact that, as was stressed in 1972 in Father Bugnini's own journal, Notitiae (official journal of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship), the Liturgy Constitution that the Council Fathers eventually passed was substantially identical to the draft schema which he had steered through the Preparatory Commission. [Notitiae, No. 70, February 1972, pp. 33-34.]
According to Father P. M. Gy, O.P., a French liturgist who was a consultor to the pre-conciliar Commission on the Liturgy, Father Bugnini "was a happy choice as secretary":
The Bugnini schema had been saved-----and only just in time. Then, with the approval of Pope John XXIII, Father Bugnini was dismissed from his chair at the Lateran University and from the secretaryship of the Conciliar Liturgical Commission which was to oversee the schema during the conciliar debates. The reasons which prompted Pope John to take this step have not been divulged, but they must have been of a most serious nature to cause this tolerant Pontiff to act in so public and drastic a manner against a priest who had held such an influential position in the preparation for the Council. In his book The Reform of the Liturgy, which to a large extent is an apologia for himself and a denunciation of his critics, Bugnini blames Cardinal Arcadio Larraona for his downfall. He writes of himself in the third person:
Seventy-five preparatory schemata had been prepared for the Council Fathers, the fruits of the most painstaking and meticulous preparation for a Council in the history of the Church. [Wiltgen, p. 22.] The number was eventually reduced to twenty, and seven were selected for discussion at the first session of the Council. [Ibid.] The Bugnini schema was the fifth of these, and it was presumed by most bishops that the schemata would be debated in their numerical sequence. [Ibid.] But the other schemata were so orthodox that the liberals could not accept them-----even as a basis for discussion. At the instigation of Father Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., a Belgian-born Professor of Dogmatics at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, the schemata were rejected with one exception-----the Bugnini schema. This, he said, was "an admirable piece of work." [Ibid., p. 23.] It was announced at the second general congregation of the Council on October 16, 1962, that the sacred liturgy was the first item on the agenda for examination by the Fathers. [Bugnini, p. 29.] Notitiae looked back on this with considerable satisfaction in 1972, remarking that the Bugnini preparatory schema was the only one that was eventually passed without substantial alteration. [Notitiae, No. 70, p. 34.] Father Wiltgen comments:
The Second Rise
The Rhine Group [Note 1] pressed for the establishment of post-conciliar commissions with the authority to interpret the CSL. It "feared that the progressive measures adopted by the Council might be blocked by conservative forces near the Pope once the Council Fathers had returned home." [Wiltgen, pp. 287-288.] Cardinal Heenan, of Westminster, England, had warned of the danger if the Council periti were given the power to interpret the Council to the world. "God forbid that this should happen!" he told the others. [Ibid., p. 210.] This was just what did happen. The members of these commissions were "chosen with the Pope's approval, for the most part, from the ranks of the Council periti. The task of the commissions is to put into effect the Council decrees . . . and, when necessary, to interpret the Council institutions, decrees, and declarations." [The Tablet (London), January 22, 1966, p. 114.] On March 5, 1964, l'Osservatore Romano announced the establishment of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, which became known as the Consilium. The initial membership consisted mainly of members of the Commission that had drafted the Constitution. Father Bugnini was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Consilium on February 29, 1964. What prompted Pope Paul VI to appoint Bugnini to this crucially important position after he had been prevented by Pope John XXIII from becoming Secretary of the Conciliar Commission is probably something that we shall never know.
In theory, the Consilium was an advisory body, and the reforms it devised had to be implemented by either the Sacred Congregation for Rites or the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments. These congregations had been established as part of Pope Paul's reform of the Roman Curia, promulgated on August 15, 1967. Father Bugnini's influence as Secretary of the Consilium was increased when he was appointed Under-Secretary to the Sacred Congregation for Rites. [Notitiae, No. 70, February 1972, p. 34.] On May 8, 1969, Pope Paul promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Sacra Rituum Congregatio, which ended the existence of the Consilium as a separate body; it was incorporated into the newly established Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship as a special commission which would retain its members and consultors and remain until the reform of the liturgy had been completed. Notitiae, official journal of the Consilium, became the journal of the new Congregation. Father Annibale Bugnini was appointed Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and became more powerful than ever. It is certainly no exaggeration to claim that what in fact had happened was that the Consilium, in other words Father Bugnini, had taken over the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. The April-June 1969 issue of Notitiae announced Father Bugnini's appointment, stating:
Will: "The Lord willed that from those early years a whole series of providential circumstances should thrust me fully, and indeed in a privileged way, in medias res, and that I should remain there in charge of the secretariat." [Bugnini, p. xxiii.] His services would be rewarded by his being consecrated a bishop and then being elevated to the rank of Titular Archbishop of Dioclentiana, as announced on January 7, 1972.
The Imposition of the New Rite of Mass
What the experts were planning had already been made clear on October 24, 1967 in the Sistine Chapel, when what was described as the Missa Normativa was celebrated before the Synod of Bishops by Father Annibale Bugnini himself, its chief architect. Since he had been appointed secretary of the post-Vatican II Liturgy Commission, he had the power to orchestrate the composition of the New Rite of Mass which he had envisaged in the schema that he had prepared before his dismissal by John XXIII-----the schema which had been passed virtually unchanged by the Council Fathers. As already remarked, why Pope Paul VI appointed to this key position a man who had been dismissed by his predecessor is a mystery which will probably never be answered.
Fewer than half the bishops present voted in
favor of the Missa
Normativa, but the far-from-satisfied majority was ignored with the
arrogance which was to become the most evident characteristic of the
establishment, to which the Council Fathers had been naive enough to
the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The Missa
Normativa would be imposed on CatholIcs of the Roman Rite by Pope
VI in 1969, with a few changes, as the Novus Ordo Missae: the
In 1974 Archbishop Bugnini explained that his reform had been divided into four stages-----firstly, the transition from Latin to the vernacular; secondly, the reform of the liturgical books; thirdly, the translation of the liturgical books; and fourthly, the adaptation or "incarnation" of the Roman form of the liturgy into the usages and mentality of each individual Church. [Notitiae, No. 92, April 1974, p. 126.] This process (which would mean the complete elimination of any remaining vestiges of the Roman Rite) had already begun, he claimed, and would be "pursued with ever increasing care and preparation." [Ibid.]
The Second Fall
At the very moment when his power had reached its zenith, Archbishop Bugnini was in effect dismissed-----this was his second fall-----to the dismay of liberal Catholics throughout the world. What happened was that the Archbishop's entire Congregation was dissolved and merged with the Congregation for the Sacraments under the terms of Pope Paul's Apostolic Constitution Constans Nobis, published in l'Osservatore Romano (English edition) of July 31, 1975. The new congregation was entitled the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. The name Bugnini did not appear in the list of appointments. Liberals throughout the world were dismayed. The Tablet, in England, and its extreme liberal counterpart in the United States, the National Catholic Reporter, carried an indignant report by Desmond O'Grady:
In his book The Devastated Vineyard, published in 1973, Dietrich von Hildebrand rightly observed concerning Bugnini that: "Truly, if one of the devils in C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy, he could not have done it better." [Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Devastated Vineyard (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1973), p. 71.] This is a statement based on an objective assessment of the reform itself It is beyond dispute that whether or not the Roman Rite has been destroyed deliberately, it has been destroyed. (See later herein.) If this result is simply the consequence of ill-judged decisions by well-meaning men, the objective fact remains unchanged: they could not have destroyed the Roman Rite more effectively had they done so deliberately. But the thoroughness of the destruction caused many to wonder whether it might be more than the result of ill-considered policies. It came as no great surprise when, in April of 1976, Tito Casini, Italy's leading Catholic writer, publicly accused Archbishop Bugnini of being a Freemason. [Tito Casini, Nel Furno di Satana (Florence: Carro di San Giovanni, 1976), p.150.] On October 8, 1976, Le Figaro published a report stating that Archbishop Bugnini denied ever having had any Masonic affiliation.
I have made my own investigation into the affair and can vouch for the authenticity of the following facts. A Roman priest of the very highest reputation came into possession of evidence which he considered proved Archbishop Bugnini to be a Freemason. He had this information placed into the hands of Pope Paul VI with the warning that if action were not taken at once, he would be bound in conscience to make the matter public. Archbishop Bugnini was then removed by means of the dissolution of his entire Congregation. I have verified these facts directly with the priest concerned, and the full facts can be found in Chapter XXIV of my book Pope Paul's New Mass.
An important distinction must be made here. I have not claimed that I can prove Archbishop Bugnini to have been a Mason, but that Pope Paul VI dismissed him and exiled him to Iran because he had been convinced that the Archbishop was a Mason. I made this same point in a letter published in the January 1980 Homiletic and Pastoral Review, which prompted a violent attack upon me by Archbishop Bugnini in the May 1980 issue. He denied that any of the prelates who, since Vatican II, had been accused of Masonic affiliation "ever had anything to do with Freemasonry," and he continued:
1. In the Preface to The Rhine Flows into the Tiber (p. 1), Father Wiltgen explains that the "predominant influence" during the Second Vatican Council came from Council Fathers and periti (experts) from the "countries along the Rhine river-----Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands-----and from nearby Belgium. Because this group exerted a predominant influence over the Second Vatican Council, I have titled my book The Rhine Flows into the Tiber:" This is certainly the most informative book written on what really happened at Vatican II, and it should be owned by every Catholic taking a serious interest in events since the Council. The six countries named were those in which the Liturgical Movement had been most active and in which liberal ideas were most manifest.
2. In a footnote
commenting on these
complaints made by members of the Congregation for Divine Worship,
Bugnini comments: "Human deficiencies are always possible, of course,
the accusation reflects a mentality that was periodically revived among
officials of the Congregation who out of ambition or defects of
were determined to create difficulties for the secretary." This remark
is typical of his insistence throughout the book that no criticism made
of him can ever be justified and that those who make these criticisms