19 January 2010

Beggers can be bloggers

A little while ago, somebody commented that I would not be like other, proper, bloggers until I started asking for gifts. I think this may have been unjust towards the blogger he mentioned, but in any case I have decided to even things out by beginning a long and sustained campaign of insistent mendicancy. All currencies and any amounts accepted except the ones on offer from the wealthy widows in certain African countries who only need me to email them my full bank details before they can send me windfalls of several million. (Hello, girls.)

If you are pound/euro/dollar-poor, but rich in those old discarded ORDOs which are so useless after the year has passed, send me any which are preconciliar (or have an out-of-the-way interest. So thank you, Father, for the ones you sent me, and which arrived safely (and for your kind remarks about my humble blog). But especially for the 1957 ORDO - beautifully bound - of the Province of San Antonio (my guess is that that is in America Septentrionalis). Not least because that ORDO has a number of Roman documents printed at the beginning of it revealing that 1957 is a most significant year. It comes just after the first major footmarks were printed upon the Roman Rite by that towering Punic figure, Hannibal 'Non-sum-delendus' Bugnini. The new Holy Week Order had emerged not long before and was to be observed in accordance with a decree of the SCR of 15 March 1956. This 'reform' was in fact more radical than the reforms that followed Vatican II; however, the producers of that Holy Week book got away with it because the vast bulk of God's People had for centuries not attended the liturgical Rites of Holy Week; in many places only a lay and clerical elite had done so. And what happens only once a year may anyway not be quite as deeply inscribed within you as what marks your Christian life weekly or daily.

Less well known is the Decree Cum nostra of the SCR (March 23 1955) simplifying the rubrics of the Missal and Breviary. Tucked away in the Decree is a bit of methodology that was to prove the weapon of first choice among the radical liturgists of the mid-twentieth century: these changes were imposed by, but not confected by, the mandarins of the SCR; they were actually devised by a special (peculiaris) Commissio of experts (periti) - which included Annibale nostro.

This was when a scythe cut through all but seven vigils and all but three octaves. Commemorations were not to exceed three. First Vespers were abolished except in the case of first and second class feasts and Sundays. What we now call an 'optional memoria' was invented. Variable Last Gospels were, except at Christmas, abolished. Of course my list does not include a myriad of details which, so much has our liturgical culture changed, would now require a great deal of exegesis for many readers.

The Bugninis of this world are always best at the broad brush (the last decade in the Church of England has been chaotic in terms of Calendar because the details of Common Worship were so badly worked out). Because periti had devised these 'reforms' (and not the hands-on pedants of SCR whose entire lives had been spent spotting in advance how a minute twitch upon the Calendar here would have a consequence there), there were innumerable unforeseen knock-on effects. Dubia streamed into the offices of the SCR and Responsa had to be issued less than three months later. There are signs that the mandarins had rightly become suspicious of the slipshod workmanship of the Commissio; this time they asked the views of the Commissio but then carefully themselves went through the matters that had been raised. But that did not prevent a new crop of dubia being thrown up when the attempt was made to put the Decree into effect for a complete liturgical year (Advent 1956-Advent 1957). Perhaps by now the SCR was getting embarrassed at having to cart admissions of shoddy drafting down to the editorial offices of Acta Apostolicae Sedis; the next crop of Responsa was published only in Ephemerides Liturgicae, and the Cardinal Prefect of the SCR apparently didn't bother to sign it or have it sealed.

The period from 1955 until 1967 is a single, coherent, period of slashing and ripping which became ever wilder and ever less respectful of the liturgical inheritance of the Latin Church. People say that it is the first act of embezzlement or adultery that can be difficult; then one soon gets comfortably into the culture of it. Something very similar is true of liturgical 'reform'. The 1955 Decree already includes those sinister words generalis instauratio liturgica. That Decree, and the Missal of 1962, and the Conciliar document Sacrosanctum Concilium, and the Novus Ordo, are all simply episodes in a roller-coaster ride that very quickly got completely out of control and probably would have done so if no Council had ever been summoned. Even Mgr Lefebvre failed to recognise this until he was already almost in the water at the bottom of the big slope. Pius XII was the (albeit unconscious) begetter of the Novus Ordo.

Was the Bugnini a Freemason? Someone must know.


ex_fide said...


I've often wondered how the people of Seville have, over the centuries, found so much time to stagger through the city streets during holy week, possible drunk, very often eating, pressing against the gilded palanquins of La Dolorosa, performing "saetas" from balconies as the Nazarenos march past......

I suppose it's true that during Holy Week they just wouldn't have bothered going to Church.

(I know that wasn't quite the point of your post, Fr, but it got me thinking)

Anonymous said...

Didn't Paul VI exile maestro Bugnini to Timbuktu or somewheres there-a-bout following the revelation that Herr Hanni-bael was a 33 degreer? Conspiriacy theory(?). Was Bugger-nini also a you know what?

Better men than I will have to sort out the mess of the "decade of rupture." I'm just going to keep using my 1950 as my antedate antidote for the whole flipping mess.

ADALBERT said...

The web is full of the accusation Bunigni being a mason.

His nomination as Nunzio in Teheran prompted many suspicions, but had Paul VI been convinced by the evidences shown to him, he would have excommuniated him, not given him an honorable retirement !

Beware of calomny, Father...

Christian said...

I have done quite a bit of research into this Freemasonry accusation. This much is clear: a document purporting to be minutes from a meeting of the Italian Lodge of the Grand Orient was found in Bugnini's briefcase leading to his sudden dismissal. A Greek Rite Abbot who had worked on the new liturgy (who's name escapes me) said that he spoke to Bugnini just after he was sacked and he looked very shaken and was repeating over and over again that he did not understand what was happening. In this abbot's opinion Bugnini was a man who strongly believed in the need to adjust to the needs of "modern man" and that "modern man" wanted reason and simplicity but he was *not* a Freemason. Rather, the document was a fake made by traditionalists within the curia as a mechanism for getting rid of him. Given that the abbot said that he was deeply unhappy with the New Mass, he is not as biased towards Bugnini as one might think. Furthermore, an old friend of mine who has spent many years in Rome told me that a good friend of his had actually seen the document in question. In his opinion the document was a fake as its contence were too stereotypical of what Catholic conspiracy theorists would expect to see in Freemasonic minutes. I am inclined to believe this.

Rubricarius said...

Two people I have known (one still alive and the other sadly departed this life) knew AB and both described him as a very pleasant and pastoral man.

Why blame a minion, whose views were always known for their radical nature e.g. his essay in Ephemerides Liturgicae in 1947 calling for radical reform of the liturgy, when the blame surely lies with the man who appointed him, who made him a Domestic Prelate when the SRC started to get concerned, and who promulgated the reforms that were presented to him?

Is Pius Teflon coated?

James Dominic James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pathib said...

Honourable retirement? I don't think so.
Being sent to Tehran is certainly not a sign of approval, to say the least, especially for a curial monsignor with a 30-year career. Pope Paul VI could not excommunicate Bugnini because the dossier that was put on his table implicating the iconoclast-in-chief would not constitute irrefutable proof and because Paul VI had to salvage his disastrous liturgical reform.

Was he a mason? Given the liturgical havoc for which this man is responsible and the dossier, it's a possibility. We will never know this side of heaven.

There's one thing of which I am convinced. The Novus Ordo of 1969 is such a scandalous rupture that the Holy Week reform under Pius XII seem very tame in comparison.

Kiran said...

I think one could make the argument that the whole business was begun by St. Pius X, in his attack on the breviary. Ven. Pius XII didn't help either, from around the mid-1940s.

James Dominic James said...

Christian writes:

In his opinion the document was a fake as its contence were too stereotypical of what Catholic conspiracy theorists would expect to see in Freemasonic minutes. I am inclined to believe this.

Amen, brother. Once upon a time, as an eager convert, I plowed through some of the conspiracy literature popular in particular traditionalist settings. The stuff had me laughing out loud at times, and most of all when authors shared recovered documents. I think my all-time personal favorite was an alleged interrogation transcript from WWII that added a Marian apparition to the mix. Why not? In these recovered documents the conspirators would say not only how wicked their own plans were[!], but also (a) how smart and good their enemies were or (b) how stupid their enemies were because they didn't believe in conspiracy theories.

Hello! Is this not transparent flattery? Is this not straight out of a melodrama or other entertainment? Is this not enough for people to spurn it as bogus?

Apparently not.

And what a waste of time. Worse, how many people have been dis-evangelized by the subculture produced by these crappy victimhood narratives? What about the children being raised inside this madness?

Daughter: Daddy, I try to be good. Do you think I have what it takes to persevere in my resistance to the alchemical processing of the kabbalists, the schemes of the Masons, and the One World Religion of New Church?

Father: As long as you wear your tent dress! And always remember ...

Daughter: Oh I know, Daddy. A wholesome woman is what I'll be/Satan and college are not for me!


ADALBERT said...

@Pathib :
I know a lot of Monsignori with a 30-years career in Rome who would gladly become nuncio. In the Holy See it is an important function - although one might discuss about Teheran being the most important nunciatura of all... By the way a nunciatura goes with an archdiocese (in partibus), which is an other honour, isn't it ? You wouldn't ordain a mason to episcopate ; and there are plenty of monasteries to hide disgraced clerics - or US golf courses for Marcinkus.

David said...

I can't see the post that I submitted on this thread yesterday. Did I hit a wrong key or something?

Surely mine isn't the comment that was deleted was it? I always thought it was the fulminations of sick or at least mischievous minds that got deleted. My mind isn't sick although it may be getting a bit tattered around the edges as I get older. Getting the word verification right is getting to be tense affair.

I really hate hitting the wrong key!