Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Memoirs of Annibale Bugnini and the Novus Ordo Mass (Part I)

 Memoirs of Annibale Bugnini and the Novus Ordo Mass (Part I)



If you are at all familiar with the reforms of liturgy which came after the Second Vatican Council, you will most surely know the name of Annibale Bugnini. Although others were involved in the creation of the Novus Ordo Mass, he was most certainly the most influential architect involved in the operation. I just received my copy of his memoirs on the liturgical reform titled, 'The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975.' As far as I know it is no longer in print, but a used copy can be found on the web, though they can be quite expensive. I found one at a reasonable price on Amazon. I wanted to post up a couple of passages from this book to give you an idea of how he viewed the Second Vatican Council and the liturgical changes which followed. I also wanted to tie in some thoughts from Pope Pius XII on regarding the liturgy to contrast the two views. It is no secret that Bugnini possessed many bad ideas concerning the reform of the Mass. He wanted to remove anything from the Mass that may have offended non-Catholics. He wanted to make it more Protestant friendly. His distorted view of active participation and involvement in the Mass were influential on how the Novus Ordo Mass was put together and how it was implemented. We can say that Bugnini's DNA is found in the forming and implementation of the New Mass. Before I go further, this does not mean that I think that the New Mass is invalid or that God gave us a liturgy that is not capable of effecting the Eucharist. I can however argue that the New Mass does not convey the Catholic faith as clearly in its prayers and its celebration that the previous Latin Mass. So that is where I am coming from on this matter. If you cannot stomach debate and the critical analysis of the liturgical crisis we have today, then perhaps this post is not for your eyes. Let us now turn to the matter of Bugnini and the New Mass.

Starting on the very first page of his memoir he writes, "The reform that the Second Vatican Council inaugurated is differentiated from all others in the history of the liturgy by its pastoral emphasis." This is no small proclamation. Indeed nothing like this liturgical overhaul which followed in the wake of the Council had ever happened before. Liturgical changes in all Rites of the Church happened very slowly and organically over long periods of time. They were made for very specific reasons, and they never sought to undermine the liturgical bloodline that they arose from. The arguments for the liturgical reform have largely come from Bugnini's thought. For example, on page 6 of the book he cites Pope Pius XII's encyclical 'Mediator Dei' as a seal of approval for the liturgical changes that would be implemented later by his recommendation. Yet, if you are to read Pius XII's encyclical 'Mediator Dei' in its full context, you will see much of what eventually happened with the liturgy was explicitly condemned. Although Pope Pius XII allowed for some changes to occur with the Mass, it is quite clear that he had no intention of implementing what came after VCII.

For example we read how the Psalms were newly translated for the liturgical purposes, yet he cautions the Church not to go overboard on changes to the Mass. "You are surely well aware that this Apostolic See has always made careful provision for the schooling of the people committed to its charge in the correct spirit and practice of the liturgy...Only a short while previously, with the design of rendering the prayers of the liturgy more correctly understood and their truth and unction more easy to perceive, We arranged to have the Book of Psalms, which forms such an important part of these prayers in the Catholic Church, translated again into Latin from their original text. But while We derive no little satisfaction from the wholesome results of the movement just described, duty obliges Us to give serious attention to this "revival" as it is advocated in some quarters, and to take proper steps to preserve it at the outset from excess or outright perversion." What did the Holy Father consider to be excess or perversion?

One of the first things he mentions about the liturgies of the Catholic faith is that they are to clearly present the faith in a way the makes them distinct from the worship of heretics. "They serve to foster piety, to kindle the flame of charity, to increase our faith and deepen our devotion. They provide instruction for simple folk, decoration for divine worship, continuity of religious practice. They make it possible to tell genuine Christians from their false or heretical counterparts." So those like Bugnini who sought to make the Mass more palatable to Protestants, they were clearly not echoing the voice of Blessed Pius XII.


As we know, the appeal to antiquity was a huge argument towards the implementation of the new Mass. Yet, Pius XII urged that this rationalization not be used in changing the Mass, "The same reasoning holds in the case of some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately. The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity." Yet we often hear of how the early Church did not use Latin, and how the early Church had the "presider" facing the people, or how the early Church received the Blessed Sacrament in their hands, or how the early Church did not repeat the prayers of the Mass over and over again with useless repetition, and the list goes on and on. But even more telling are the specifics of what Pius XII considered to be grave and sinful errors concerning changes to the liturgy. All of which have come true since the wake of the Council.

Paragraph 63 of this encyclical is very telling. In fact, everything that was clearly condemned by Pius XII in this particular paragraph came true after Vatican II, and are still in place right now in the Church. There is no way to argue against this fact, that would be denying reality. Here is the clear commendation, "Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See."

Can there be anything more clear? The wonderful trait of an encyclical written before 1960 was that the intention of the pope was pretty clear. Their adherence to Thomistic thought did not allow for much ambiguity. Where are the altars now in the Novus Ordo? Many of those beautiful altars were chiseled out with jackhammers and thrown in dumpsters like cheap rubble. They are mostly replaced by the tables now, and that was clearly condemned by the Holy Father. Where are the black liturgical vestments now? When was the last time you saw one of those? Aside from the few that have been preserved by the SSPX, the FSSP and the like, I assume they have all long rotted in a trash dump someplace, or are rotted in the heat of the attic of the church. That was clearly condemned. Where are all of the sacred images in our Catholic parishes today? Again, many of them were dumped, and the new parishes never had them to begin with. Again, this was clearly condemned. How many parishes have you been to where they have a flying Jesus coming off of the cross rather the crucifix? These flying Jesus' are all over with no crucifix to be found! Again, clearly and unequivocally condemned! As far as the music in the average Novus Ordo parish today goes, I am positive that our dear Pius XII would be flabbergasted by what passes for liturgical music today.

Let us move to paragraph 95 and 96, and look at the sacrificial character of the Mass which is now downplayed by the con-celebration in the Novus Ordo. Some may see this as inconsequential, but Pius XII states, "Some in fact disapprove altogether of those Masses which are offered privately and without any congregation, on the ground that they are a departure from the ancient way of offering the sacrifice; moreover, there are some who assert that priests cannot offer Mass at different altars at the same time, because, by doing so, they separate the community of the faithful and imperil its unity; while some go so far as to hold that the people must confirm and ratify the sacrifice if it is to have its proper force and value. They are mistaken in appealing in this matter to the social character of the eucharistic sacrifice, for as often as a priest repeats what the divine Redeemer did at the Last Supper, the sacrifice is really completed." Do you know how many priests refuse to celebrate the Mass in private now? I had one priest tell me that it was useless to him to celebrate the Mass privately by himself. He was teaching this ramshackle theology in a diocesan school that forms future deacons and catechists. Do we need wonder why this is the attitude that is fostered in the average Novus Ordo parish? Yet, did Pius XII not clearly say that this mentality was wrong? It is clear that he did condemn this incorrect view of the social character of the Mass, which is at least implicitly taught today by almost all of the bishops in the Church today.

He further drives his point home by referencing back to Trent in paragraphs 113 and 114. "We wish in this matter to repeat the remarks which Our predecessor Benedict XIV makes with regard to the definitions of the Council of Trent: "First We must state that none of the faithful can hold that private Masses, in which the priest alone receives holy communion, are therefore unlawful and do not fulfill the idea of the true, perfect and complete unbloody sacrifice instituted by Christ our Lord. For the faithful know quite well, or at least can easily be taught, that the Council of Trent, supported by the doctrine which the uninterrupted tradition of the Church has preserved, condemned the new and false opinion of Luther as opposed to this tradition. "If anyone shall say that Masses in which the priest only receives communion, are unlawful, and therefore should be abolished, let him be anathema. They, therefore, err from the path of truth who do not want to have Masses celebrated unless the faithful communicate; and those are still more in error who, in holding that it is altogether necessary for the faithful to receive holy communion as well as the priest, put forward the captious argument that here there is question not of a sacrifice merely, but of a sacrifice and a supper of brotherly union, and consider the general communion of all present as the culminating point of the whole celebration."It is clear that this understanding of the Mass has almost been lost by Catholics today, and the prevailing theology of the Novus Ordo falls into this condemned mentality.

If we read on pages 35 of the Bugnini book we can see all of the changing in the wording of the schema on the liturgy that took place as it was being composed. As I have pointed out before, many of the VCII documents are ambiguous in wording, and they can and have been interpreted to allow for changes in the liturgy to take place beyond the text. This indeed did occur and it was intended for these documents to work in the favor of those who wanted these further changes. Bugnini's view of the Mass of which he sees realized in the Novus Ordo is viewed by him as a change in theology. For instance his view concerning the altar and the laity on page 40 is flawed, "The liturgy is the sign that offers the truest and fullest image of the Church: a worshiping community gathered around a single altar, under the presidency of its lawful pastors." Notice the idea of a "gathering around." This may seem insignificant to some in today's average parish, but it has significant meaning when it comes to implementing a new Mass. Hence Bugnini tells the tale on page 42, "The path opened up by the Council will surely bring a radical change in the very appearance of traditional liturgical assemblies,..."

I have noticed that many in the Catholics today use the excuse that if the Novus Ordo was celebrated reverently, it would be the same as the previous Latin Mass. The fact is however, that the Novus Ordo was not built by the committees to be celebrated in uniformity, which is why it has never been celebrated in any kind of coherent uniformity since its inception. Bugnini tells us this clearly on page 42, "This principle represents a momentous departure from past practice. For centuries the Church willed that all worship in the Roman Rite should everywhere show perfect uniformity. The two liturgical reforms which history has recorded - that of the eighth century and that promoted by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century- had precisely that aim... Social, religious, cultic and cultural considerations, and indeed the entire psychological climate, have changed radically in our day."  Bugnini goes on to say that now the centralization for governing the liturgy has been done away with and that the Council fathers did not want uniformity. This is of course the reality we have today in the practice of the Novus Ordo. He says there are now three legislating branches which deal with liturgical celebration. "The complete centralization effected by the Council of Trent now makes way, in matters liturgical, to three levels of authority: the Holy See, episcopal conferences, and diocesan bishops." There is no wonder then that we have the huge problem today of non-uniformity and liturgical abuse today with the Novus Ordo. When the liturgical creation of the Novus Ordo came about is had this decentralized non-uniformity ingrained into its DNA so to speak.

I could go on and on with this article, but I must stop, thus I run the risk of bogging down the reader. It is easy to get carried away on this subject. I will however try to make this an ongoing series of posts concerning the Bugnini memoirs.



11 comments:

Jae said...

I have just a simple question to you Matt since you always appeal to "we must RESTORE things to original", so why not go back to the very original liturgy itself? The Apostolic, Early Christian and Patristic Fathers' liturgy of the first 400 years? There can be NO more original than that, NO more authentic, practiced and heard from the Apostles and their disciples themselves, so we can avoid this dispute?

You quoted Pope XII, "The same reasoning holds in the case of some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately. The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must ****not be esteemed more suitable and proper either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity."****

Substitute the word TLM to the words ***ancient***, in reference to the 21st century, what do you think? Can we just dismiss it or can it be applied to the TLM too? If you do dismiss it, then what parameters do you employ to justify it and on what solid grounds should we dismiss the Early liturgical rite in favor of TLM?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we dismiss the TLM today which I also loved, just want to know your thoughts.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Hi Jae, if we are to take Pope Pius XII's writing in context, it is clear that he was talking about those who wanted to change the existing liturgy, which was the Latin Mass, or the Mass of Pius V. So, I fail to see how that applies to the Novus Ordo, since it did not exist at the time Pius XII wrote his encyclical. I am not appealing to antiquity for the sake of antiquity as those who did so to completely invent a new liturgy by committee, which had never happened before in the history of the Church. I think that when you read a papal encyclical you really need to read it in context. So I fail to see how it applies to the Novus Ordo, since obviously it did not exist, and those who want the TLM restored, which it has been by Pope B XVI, are not doing so as an appeal to antiquity, which is clearly what Pius XII was referring to in his writing.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Also Jae, I am not one of those people who thinks that the liturgy of the first 4 centuries of the Church was the best. I never appealed that we must restore the original. Do you really think they had a developed liturgy in their time when they were worried about being used as human torches in the Colosseum? It was probably a bare bones liturgy in their time, no? So again, read the document in context. I am applying git in the manner in which it was written. You can clearly see that in the specific condemnations that he made which I also quoted. Did you read that part?

Jae said...

The point I'm driving at is of what probably were in the mind of the Church at the Council of VII about the suitability of TLM with the 21st century and barrowing the words of Pius XII, "*not be esteemed more suitable and proper either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity." Thus the Church felt the calling of the Holy Ghost to "update" herself by convening an Ecumenical Council that resulted of the New Roman missal in response to the rapidly changing world.

Pius XII did not condemn the practice of the Apostolic early Christian liturgy, what he said was it is not wise to apply it in present era. Anyways, he wrote to give it the upmost devotion and reverence because he knew that there is no purer that was tested real time by the very blood of the Apostles and early martyrs.

The liturgy practiced by the Early Saints from the first 500 years that have been "changed" to the TLM today is the DEVELOPMENT process of both liturgy and doctrines of the Church through the ages yet they are **ESSENTIALLY THE SAME**as described by St. Justin Martyr of the mass in 200 A.D. The only things that have changed was the practice and disciplinary aspects of the liturgy but the CORE is the same, same value, same efficacy of grace, same Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, so why not give the same courtesy and good faith towards the Ordinary Form which is in its infancy or rather still in the "fetus" stage compared with the legacy of TLM which had undergone some changes and reforms too before arriving at the perfected stage it has today.

Jae said...

Matt, do you think that TLM is "superior" than the Apostolic early Christian liturgy?

If it's good enough for Jesus Christ and practiced by His Apostles and early Saints and martyrs is more than good enough for me because for the mind of the Church there is no such thing as one is being "superior" than others. This is dangerous that might lead to superior mentality complex or otherwise known as pride. It is unheard of in her history and this is just a novel idea similar to the Protestant's claim that their forensic Justification by Faith Alone/Imputation is "superior" in Biblical exegesis than that of Catholic's Justification/ Infusion of grace doctrines

Jae said...

I apologize for some of my grammatical errors because English is just my second language, my first is Mathematics. Pax et Bonum.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Yes, as the liturgy grows organically it takes on more of the Church's DNA so to speak. So, I do not find the very first liturgy to be more "pure" than the liturgy as it is able to take on more of the theology that actually happens during the Liturgy. This whole notion that everything about the apostolic Church was somehow more pure is a false position to hold. Are you a Protestant convert or something? I never stated that Pius XII condemned the early liturgy. Where did you get that? He merely stated that antiquity for antiquities sake was not the avenue to start tinkering with the Mass. Yet, that is what Bugnini and friends did.

Again, read the encyclical in context. It does not apply to the Novus Ordo Mass as such. It was invented at a committee. The previous Mass was not. Did you read the specific changes that Pius XII condemned as being grave errors? You come over here and accuse me and others of "cherry picking" from Church documents, and then you have not the courage to address what has happened in the wake of this document, which comes with the authority of the Pope behind it. What about the statement below by Pius XII that I quoted? Why do you avoid what it says? What can you not acknowledge the fact that much of what has taken place in the Mass that we have now, was clearly condemned by Pope Pius XII?

Finally, take a look at this video, and then comment on what Fr. Goodwin has to say about all of this. I am trying to explain things to you and you seem to want to hold to some sort of fantasy that everything we have now is somehow perfect, and that the Church do nothing to change the crisis it finds itself in at this time.


Watch and learn.

http://catholicchampion.blogspot.com/2012/05/fr-goodwin-fssp-latin-mass-video.html


Then comment on this statement by Pius XII.

"Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See."

Jae said...

Fortunately I'm born Catholic and comes from a long catholic ancestry, secondly I'm not having a fantasy that there exist no crisis in the Church, where did you get that? Are you a Protestant convert or something?

I don't acknowledge and I don't agree with you of what is happening and taking place in the Mass we have now falls under the condemnation of Pius XII. I have attended and been to a lot of Novus Ordo that have black liturgical vestments, there are sacred statues in every single concrete block inundating the interior of the Church, there are crucifixes with the mortal suffering Christ in almost every corner and altars, and there is solemn polyphonic music around....So your generalization and doom and gloom scenario of the present Church and Mass is so unwarranted, misguided that is based on "superiority complex" afflicting many 'traditionalists' and just confirms my hunch with you and the way you interact with people (including the people from Beggars all) who don't agree with your interpretation you become very contentious.

Do you have a problem of anger management?

Oh by the way I didn't say your a Sedevacantist in the other thread and can you quote me on that please?why do you keep putting words in my mouth?

You always say "it is backed up by the authority of the pope" that suits your interpretation, well how about the Ordinary Mass that is backed up by the General Council of the Church? Does it matter? Are you also aware that there is a Canon law that says that the previous statements and laws can be repealed with conditions determined by and only the present Magisterial authority of the Church?

You keep on parroting PiusXII encyclical to outright undermine the New Mass and as if there is whole Church wide abuses going on, well relax, breath, take care of your heart it's been on a stress too much because you are just having a fantasy (barrowing your words, how does it feels like?).

Anyways, PIUS XII encyclical IS NOT A DOGMA of the Church, the things he mentioned as "unwise" in his time falls under the PRACTICES and DISCIPLINES of the Church that the present Church has the Authority to change. Even the 3rd Commandment in the Decalogue written by the fingers of God to observe Saturday as the Lord's Day to Sunday, has been changed by the very Authority of the Church what more are these practices?

For Pete's sake if we are just going to paraphrase the Teachings of the past tradition backing to certain point in history, we would end up with no traditions at all.

Jae said...

Oh by the way Matt don't accused me of no courage, I'm a veteran of foreign war and comes from a traditional catholic minded family of soldiers since WW2, so I think I know what courage is and deserve some respect, but don't take my absence of response as weakness, I'm just being nice to you. God bless.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Jae, you are the one who keeps bringing up the Sedevecantists, which has no bearing on anything we are talking about. Second, the document by Pius XII has everything to do with what was implemented after Vatican II, say what you will. I have been to many, many Novus Ordo churches and Masses, and the majority are in the state of disrepair which I have mentioned. As far as anger goes, I have no clue as to what you talking about? I have given you the facts, and you refuse to acknowledge them. Did you watch the video I posted? Did you agree or disagre with what was said?

Archie Green said...

Matt has made his point clear while Jae did not correct his own mistake. If Jae was a born Catholic who came from a strong Catholic ancestry he would not have written an argument seemingly to negate what Matt believed to be the true mass as a true Catholic in the True Church. We should all be reminded that as Roman Catholics we have Codes to follow. Based on the old tradition which church modernists reject, it is illicit to assist at or participate in a non-catholic function(Code of Canon Law 1917, Canon 1258. Now where does that leave Jae on this side of earth? He attended a Novus 0rdo mass which he is not supposed to do. Also,if he would follow Pope Pius V's Quo Primum he would certainly have made a second thought before making his comments. Sure, nothing is perfect or no one is superior than the other in the eyes of God in this world. But what is more perfect than a Traditional Tridentine Latin Mass instituted by Jesus Christ in comparison to a Novus Ordo made by mere human beings? Well, anyone can use everybody's name for his own self-fulfillment. Much like what the NO church is doing by using sacred statues, etc. in the Church in order to appear Catholic in the eyes of the innocent world. I appeal to Jae to read the following: Third Secret of Fatima and the Post-Conciliar Debacle, Parts 1 to 5; The Deception of the Century; Freemasonry and the New Mass; Church Revolution in Pictures; The Ecumenical Corruption of the "Chair of Unity" 0ctave; Dr. Franco Adessa's "Who is Fr. Luigi Villa"?; What happened to the Catholic Church?. Sir, there's more than meets the eye.