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.