21 April 2018

S Paul VI? A Jigsaw.

I hope readers will have seen the article in the Settimo Cielo Blog, concerning new information about what Blessed Paul VI really thought concerning the liturgical 'reforms' which Hannibal Bugnini deceived him into approving. Paolo VI. Una storia minima, by Mgr Leonardo Sapienza, clearly contains reliable archival information about Papa Montini and the years in which he uneasily used the Liturgy he had himself authorised. Sapienza publishes diaries in which Virgilio Noe, then the Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, noted the daily remarks of the Pontiff. This looks to me like another piece of a jigsaw which has been forming in my mind for some time.

This source sits very comfortably beside the account given by Montini's friend Louis Bouyer.

It renders more believable the well-known story about Pope Paul's surprise that he had abolished the Pentecost Octave.

It also fits neatly into the account given by Dom Cassian Folsom a few years ago in Adoremus; in which he meticulously demonstrated that the disastrous events (such as the authorisation of alternative 'Eucharistic Prayers') by which the Roman Rite was so horribly corrupted, were the result of the Pontiff being persuaded that the liturgical chaos throughout the liberal West (at that time, more than 200 rogue EPs were circulating unauthorised, for example) could only be brought under any sort of control by a very limited number of alternative Eucharistic Prayers, under the careful direction of Rome, being permitted.

Another important piece of the jigsaw is contained in the fine biography of Archbishop Lefebvre by His Excellency Bishop Tissier de Mallerais. This demonstrates that Pope Paul's mind could only be poisoned against the Archbishop by the gross and palpable lies which his enemies put into the pope's ears. They assured Paul that, in the SSPX, the Old Mass was promoted simply as a banner of anti-papal rebellion; that Lefebvre made his seminarians swear an oath against the pope. In other words, those evil and mendacious men realised that affection for the Mass of Ages would, of itself, be insufficient to corrupt Montini's view of the Great Archbishop. God forgive them for what they did.

Indeed, Papa Montini was, in the words of his predecessor, un po' amletico. He is not one of my heroes. All the same ... and I know some readers will disagree with me ... my personal judgement is that he was not an evil man, and I am willing to accept the Church's judgement about his current location. So, as we draw closer to his canonisation, I feel it is good and timely to begin to come to a more balanced picture on the man whose weak capitulations to devious men did undoubtedly lead to the greatest calamity in Latin Christianity since the Reformation. As he himself perceived (another piece of jigsaw here), the smoke was indeed of Satan; and Montini's failures arose mainly from his poor judgements upon those competing for his ear.

When Pope Paul learned the truth, he lost little time in heaving Bugnini, mitre, zucchetto, (?)apron and all, out of Rome, and over the hills and far away. That I regard as the final piece of the jigsaw.

It is clear that in some circles, this canonisation is being promoted as a political move to fasten down upon the Church a particular understanding of Vatican II, indeed, a hermeneutic Magisterially condemned by Benedict XVI. In God's providence, it may be that a fuller understanding of the real Paul VI will frustrate that knavish trick. 

Does anybody seriously think that the author of Humanae vitae would have favoured a regime bent upon promoting the acceptability of habitual Adultery?

I shall not enable comments on B Paul VI which seem to me to be merely abusive.


Et Expecto said...

Pope Paul VI was willing to grant the English indult, which survived for 13 years until a more general one was granted. I suspect that all the restrictions in the English indult were not the work of Paul VI, but of Vatican officials led by Bugnini, that Pope Paul VI was unable to resist.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,

Your points in defense of Blessed Pope Paul VI are well taken. One additional piece of the jigsaw that will also be helpful and instructive is this: What particular points demonstrate his sanctity? Normally canonizations are accompanied by piles of hagiographical anecdotes. And by evidence of public devotion. Can you recommend some popular books detailing the heroic virtues of Pope Paul?

Randolph Crane said...

Paul is a tragic figure, and one of the beati/Sancti I am struggling to accept. He has caused so much damage to the Church, whether willingly or unwillingly, that I cannot think of him as being a beatus. In ye olden times, it was enough to cause a little bit of skandalon for a bishop to be excommunicated; Popes were condemned because they didn't fight against heresy valiantly enough. And Paul, who might be the single destructor of the Latin Church and the Roman Rite, should be a beatus?

Declaring him a Saint would be a political move, especially considering Humanae vitae. But one doesn't need to canonize a Pope in order to give his words gravitas; he is/was the Pope, after all. He doesn't need later approval by the means of a canonization. He was not a great man. Being examplary in virtues, is a condition for beatification/canonization. You yourself, Father, say he wasn't your hero. Is he anyone's hero?

Who could deny the heroic virtues of a Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Saint Roberto Bellarmino, a Saint Pius X?

Didn't His Holiness jokingly say he was only waiting for B16 and himself to be canonized, because being a Pope nowadays is enough for requirements?

Ben of the Bayou said...

Father H.,

It may indeed be that B Paul VI was a man of poor judgment and poor judge of character, lessening (perhaps) his moral responsibility for this current disaster of the last 60 yrs. It is also, undoubtedly to my mind, the case that this canonisation is being made so quickly to set a seal upon some rather questionable assertions of some Council documents. That cheapens and baldly politicises the cult of the Saint (unworthy at best, sacrilegious more likely). Still, all that being as it may be, is it not that a man must have demonstrated consistent heroic virtue? Obviously I haven't access to the position, but these are not in evidence to me (though granting unreservedly the one, stellar example of HV).

Are you aware of other examples?

OreamnosAmericanus said...

I was a seminarian in Rome while Paul VI was pope. I remember vividly a line from one of his sermons I attended, either at the Lateran Basilica or Santa Sabina. He was lamenting all the problems that had arisen in the wake of the Council, all the competitions and conflicts, and at one point cried out, "Cosa posso fare? Non solo che un vecchio uomo!" "What can I do? I am just an old man!"

It was shocking then. And still is.

Anita Moore said...

I too have a hard time with this canonization, which seems to me purely political. I hope indeed that Paul VI did attain salvation after all, but raising him to the altar strikes me as grossly premature at best. I wish we’d reinstate the rule about requiring a certain number of decades to pass before a cause can even be opened.

There are those who argue that Humanae vitae alone merits sainthood for Paul VI; yet, in this age when most of the hierarchy seems devoid of faith, it does not seem to me that that is the reasoning behind canonizing him. Besides, to my way of thinking, his defense of the Church’s doctrine on contraceptives in the face of massive opposition has more to do with the Holy Spirit’s protection of the Church than the pope’s heroic virtue. I actually think Humanae vitae is a striking example of the charism of infallibility in action, one that ranks with the refusal of Pope Clement VII, another vacillating pope, to grant Henry VIII his annulment in the face of all the conventional “wisdom” of his day concerning papal authority. God created a system where it is possible for the wrong man to do the right thing; He uses weak and broken instruments to accomplish His will, precisely to show that the accomplishment is due to Him and not to the instruments.

Allen Maynard said...

This whole question is indeed an interesting one, I have myself long wondered how to reconcile the pope of Humanae Vitae with the pope of Novus Ordo Missae... Given the innately conservative nature of the Church in general - and specifically the papacy - one theory I’ve considered is that the utter disaster of the post-Conciliar liturgical revolution was indeed a loud and jarring wake-up call to Paul VI. As such the “po’ amletico” - wavering between the opinions of the “experts” (and, perhaps his own inclinations) vs. the perennial teaching of the Church, but finally “defaulting” to Tradition - probably has some truth to it.

Viewed from this perspective, one could suppose that he felt that that the promulgation of the New Mass was essentially a “conservative” act, intended to codify the remains of the liturgy in some recognizable form... As Michael Davies would say: "Well, it's a point of view!"

But even so the question of canonization troubles me deeply. There are plenty of saints who aren’t canonized, and as much as raising Paul VI would be “canonizing the Council” it would also be canonizing the disconnection between bad pope-ing and bad results. Even stipulating as to his good intentions and personal sanctity, is "he meant well" really sufficient unto the canonization of a pope? (and if so, there is no excuse whatsoever for further delay on the cause for Pius XII!)

Lenti said...

Ive read before that Paul VI was deeply conscientious man, who struggled for months to appoint bishops to even the most minor sees. I think this is a piece of the puzzle that explains why some people were able to manipulate him. Morever, he seems to have been willing to defend the faith when it was under direct attack -- HV, Mysterium Fidei (which always get forgotten), and other interventions during the Council. However, he seems to have largely bought the myth of the 60s that revising the liturgy would bring young people flooding in, even if he personally did not like the changes.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

It may be all well and good that because the Pope only reluctantly approved the destruction of The Roman Rite his culpability in its destruction is minimised but there can be no excuse for his praxis which resulted universally in the idea that use of the real Roman Missal was proscribed.

For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. How can one trust her present if things are that way? I must say, quite openly, that I don’t understand why so many of my episcopal brethren have to a great extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliations within the Church. (Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald, Ignatius Press, 2002, p. 416).”

Sacrosanctum Concilium with its Sound Tradition may be retained but...Latin is to be preserved but...Clerics are to retain the Latin language in the Divine Office but.. puissant progressive possibilities reminds ABS of sitting in his car outside of a Golden Corral and watching the long line of fat women departing the all-you-can-eat buffet tables and waddling towards their vans;

Both Sacrosanctum Concilium and the women exiting the Golden Corral represent long lines of ugly buts.

Michael Ortiz said...

I was born in the early 60s and it is hard indeed to look upon the man who signed into oblivion things that might have helped me growing up, though thanks be to God I reverted in my 20s. How many souls didn’t have such a chance? Still, I will accept the canonization out of obedience.

Michael Leahy said...

If the canonisation of Pope Paul VI strengthens the authority of Humanae Vitae, it will be worthwhile.

Alexander Verbum said...

Canonization is more than about one's location in heaven. The canonization process is in as much as a crisis as the rest of the Church because it reflects the opinions and feelings of those who are now in doctrinal, liturgical, and moral confusion. It needs reformed.

In the meantime, let us refrain from calling these men "saints" and "blessed" as that would further spread confusion.

Barona said...

Blessed Pope Paul was a great man who suffered for his fidelity. How can we not rejoice in his Credo? A Credo that was and remains an incredible manifestation of the Catholic Faith. Tobthosexwhocatecslsndeting him, May they repent.

Tee Pee Gee Eff said...

Mother Teresa (who was an expert on holiness) said, on the death of Paul VI: “He was holy, he was a loving father. He had a great love for children and the poor and a special love for the Missionaries of Charity. He has gone home to God and now we can pray to him.”

How do we know? Because in 1993 she chose to repeat this statement. It was not just something said over enthusiastically at a moment of emotion but something voluntarily repeated 15 years later.

Fr. VF said...

A canonization is NOT a declaration by the Church that a person was flawless, or not a sinner. It is a declaration that a person is in Heaven. That's all.

I believe Montini was a very sinful man, and was at the time he was Pope, the worst Pope of all time. He is now the second worst Pope of all time.

For these reasons, I think he should not be canonized.

But he died with the Sacraments, and if the Church officially says he is in Heaven, then he is.

Anyone who says the upcoming canonization is in ERROR, is claiming to have CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE that Montini is in Hell. That is absolutely unknowable.

Victor said...

How many saints are there whose memory is officially kept by the church but nobody really cares about them? Let him be canonised and let's see whether a proper cultus develops around him. I doubt we will see many "St Paul VI" churches, oratories or chapels being erected.
In other words, keep cool and carry on!

Michael Leahy said...

Father VF, while I accept what the Church says, saying that Pope Paul is not in Heaven is surely not the same as claiming he is in Hell. I make no claims, but we must not forget about Purgatory.

ccc said...

I believe the 1971 unduly has never been abrogated.

GOR said...

While I have been critical of the ‘routine’ canonizations of recent Popes, were Pope Paul VI’s canonization to be attributable primarily to his defense of traditional Church teaching with Humanae Vitae, I would be more supportive.

Sadly, I suspect that is far from the case. On the contrary, does it not seem contradictory that his canonization is enthusiastically advanced, while efforts to water down or even reject Humanae Vitae appear to be on the increase?

John F. Kennedy said...

"I have myself long wondered how to reconcile the pope of Humanae Vitae with the pope of Novus Ordo Missae..."

Simple. He didn't write either but allowed them to be issued under his name. From what I understand, he didn't like the blow back on HV from the progressives/hetrodox and therefore never enforced it or dealt with those who publicly and loudly rejected it.

MAJC said...

Pope Paul VI celebrated a Mass (largely) in the vernacular (Italian), versus populum, on a temporary "table altar" placed outside the sanctuary (where the main altar and tabernacle had been screened), and gave Holy Communion to parishioners who were standing [Ognissanti parish church, Rome] on 7 March 1965, little over a year after Sacrosanctum Concilium.


Regarding the various anecdotes about Pope Paul VI weeping at the abolishment of the octave of Pentecost etc. - either these are not true or he was crying crocodile tears. Pope Paul VI was the central architect of the Novus Ordo Mass. Period.

john said...

Couldn't resist? He was the pope, he had final authority over everything.

john said...

Wrong, it is not saying he is in Hell, it's saying he did not live as an extraordinary example of saintly virtue. Any upcoming canonization of Montini would be erroneous.

Banshee said...

Pope Paul VI would hardly be the first saint canonized by way of a generous interpretation of "heroic virtue." Heck, I would ignore a lot of outright Renaissance-style dalliance and carousing if one of those bad old popes had given us a Humanae Vitae. Since it was Paul VI who gave it to us, and since he actually stuck by it in a heroic manner -- more heroic since he was usually easy to lead, and since it was the Sixties -- I will certainly overlook his failings in other areas.

I grew up reading Fr. Greeley's novels. His grasp of actual doctrine was good, but his illusions about the future Church were weird. He did good stuff on Catholic identity in the US, but he hated about half of JPII, and all of then-Cardinal Ratzinger. (Although he agreed inadvertently in aesthetics and symbolism.) They are a corned beef hash of good sense and horrible praxis, sometimes even heresy. Great stuff for understanding Catholics of a certain age.

But more than anything, he hated Pope Paul VI because of "Humanae Vitae." Again and again in his historical novels, that document is portrayed as a disaster of Biblical proportions, a crime against humanity.

And so, I learned to love Pope Paul VI as a great prophet. And I do think we should venerate him, as an intercessor for those who have been misled.

Rubricarius said...

Paul VI, as Mgr. Montini, was regularly celebrating Mass versus populum at least two decades before March 1965. However, that does not make him the principle architect of the 1969 Ordo Missae. If one person was to be defined as its architect then Jungmann is a far more worthy recipient of that appellation.

Quite detailed plans for the reformed Mass had been laid out at the major liturgical congresses in the 1950s. Indeed if people care to look they will see one of Jungmann's first papers at Maria-Laach was on 'problems' with the anaphora.

Paul VI modified the reform somewhat. Without him there would almost certainly have been no vestments until the Offertory (c.f. the 1956 Good Friday rite) and the Roman Canon thrown out completely.

Josh Hood said...

I can accept the judgment that Pope Paul is in heaven, but how does one square canonizing him with such things as Pope Honorius being anathematized for, according to Pope Leo II, failing "to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic tradition, but by profane treachery permitt[ing] its purity to be polluted"? Humanae Vitae was not the only thing that happened in his reign. The liturgy was destroyed (by his authority, his misgivings notwithstanding), chaos reigned, and not another encyclical emerged from his pen in the following ten years, after writing 7 such letters from 1964-1968.

Ignatius, Cornwall said...

If one wants to see the results of what Pope Paul VI engineered, had promulgated or just allowed to happen, during his pontificate look around yourself within the Western Church.
Decimation would be an extreme understatement!
These last fifty years, the onslaughts of the world's changing societal attitudes have been allowed to enter the Church and have, through a tacit process, by a form of creeping, and creepy, Gradualism, become accepted as part of the Catholic Faith by the average Catholic still in the pews—or probably not as they can't believe in this deficient Christianity, this watered-down Catholicism.
With the modern dangers to the Church being apparent one would have thought the Second Vatican Council would have girded the Church's loins for a valiant campaign of defence of Holy Tradition.
But NO! The idea was: JOIN THE OPPOSITION!
Ecumenism—the order of the day. Even the great Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was to become adulterated by the evil fruits and forms of the Protestant rebellion—and against its very sacrificial nature.
Since then, the beliefs of all-to-many Catholics have been distorted by liturgical abuses designed to reduce the whole thing to symbolism.
Our Lord's Most Holy Communion of His Body and Blood has been, by evil design I fear and suspect, devalued in the very concept and awareness of all-to-many Catholics, in what it actually IS by this less sacral manner of receiving Communion standing at Novus Ordo Masses and instead of kneeling in reverence and awe. The practice of Our Lord's Body and Blood being passed, whilst standing in a queue from un-priestly hands to unconsecrated hands, between laymen and women, often wearing jeans, who themselves are dignified by the appellation Eucharistic Ministers.
Individual opinion has been promoted and has become a Personal Magisterium to just about everyone—even in the Church. Artificial contraception by Catholics is the norm—look around you and see how few couples have more than a coupla kids! Sex before marriage is “normal” and common sense, after all!—and so on.
We have a Pope—we must pray for his conversion—who, amongst his, admittedly, often good thoughts and words, has at the very least, suggested, allows and still allows to be taught, immorality, sacrilege, and other heterodox teachings and practices. These are sad facts. He has, directly and tacitly supported and still supports:
1. Cardinals who actively support heresy and gay “rights”—and their knock-on results of--
2. Bishops who, by either their own blind stupidity, Modernist and heretical opinions, or just rank wickedness, have nurtured—and, sadly, still nurture—heresy, homosexuality and child abuse amongst their priests.
3. Priests of a similar ilk to their superiors—and who campaign for homosexuality, some, clandestinely, others, blatantly.

Kevin Myers said...

Rev. Fr. Josef Bisig, FSSP is going to speaking in Virgina for a conference. As you may know, Fr. Bisig is the Rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary and First Superior General of the the Fraternity of St. Peter. The conference is over the TLM from 1970-1990. This would be interesting to ask of what went on with Paul VI and how false information was spread about Abp. Lefebvre that he got scared enough to process with the consecration of the 4 Bishops. If Paul VI hated the changes so much but let Bugnini do it anyways, how come he did not listen To Cardinal Ottavani when he did his intervention against the Novus Ordo.