31 January 2019

"Annibale Bugnini Reformer of the Liturgy" (1)

Thus, the title of a book by Yves Chiron; published by Angelico Press, 2018.
                      411-3  (Paperback)
                      412-0  (Cloth)
                      413-7  (ebook)
It is a translation of Annibale Bugnini (1912-1982): Reformateur de la Liturgie. (2016). The translator has made a few very useful explanations and additions.


We all know that Bugnini was a crook ... do we? ... but was he a scheming figure of diabolical and Masonic evil?

I think, having read this book, that he was a crook, but not exactly in the way we have, perhaps, in the past assumed. We have, perhaps, tended to to project what actually happened, liturgically, in the post-Concilar decades back onto Bugnini, and seen him as the villain of the piece. This careful book, well written and well translated, has the great merit of enabling one to see how things were at any given point in that period without the corruption of hindsight. As you turn the pages, you visit a world as it was at the time when it was.

The general theme of the book could be summed up as this: Bugnini was immensely hard-working and a skilled networker, and in large bureaucracies these are the people who leave their marks upon events.

Sometimes people draw our attention to the fact that only four of the Fathers voted against the Conciliar decree Sacrosanctum Concilium. Which is indeed an objective historical fact. But the leap is sometimes made of implying that everything which has happened since was directly and formally mandated by the Council, so that anybody who expresses a criticism is 'anti-Conciliar'. This is a very profound error.

Archbishop Lefebvre signed the Decree. He spent much of his distinguished life resisting the neo-Modernism of the post-Conciliar decades, but in 1965 these were the views he expressed:

"There was something to reform and to rediscover. Clearly, the first part of the Mass, which is intended to instruct the faithful and for them to expresss their faith, needed to reach these ends in a clearer and so to speak more intelligible manner. In my humble opinion,  two such reforms seemed useful: first [the reform of?] the rites of that first part and also a few translations into the vernacular.

"The priest coming nearer to the faithful; communicating with them; praying and singing with them and therefore standing in the pulpit; saying the Collect, the Epistle, and the Gospel in their language; the priest singing in the divine traditional melodies the Kyrie, the Gloria, the creed with the faithful: these are so many good reforms that give back to that part of the Mass its true finality."

I will conclude this piece tomorrow.


ccc said...

And, I believe Lefebvre actually offered the 1965 and the 1967 Tres Abhinc Annos directions until 1970, or so, when he felt it went too far and reverted back to the 1962.

Prayerful said...

Who offers the ebook? Amazon offer a Kindle version for the French original, but not the English version. I have far too many hardback and paper books.

Todd said...

I also read this book recently and agree with your summary of its general theme. It also left me with the impression that although Bugnini manipulated Pope Paul (and the consilium subcommissions) to some degree, Pope Paul was of two minds about the reform and, in a sense, could be viewed by Bugnini as open to being "pushed". I did think it odd the author didn't quote Father Bouyer's infamous anecdote revealing Bugnini's triangulation strategy, although the preface by Alcuin Reid filled that lacuna.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Well, even wise and saintly prelates like ++Lefebvre csn get things wrong. We go go mass to worship, not for a didactic experience. This episode just goes to show how deeply the "rationalist" garbage of the "enlightenment" penetrated


Fr John Hunwicke said...

CCC: 1974, I believe.

Unknown said...

Father, could you please provide a citation for the quote you excerpt from Archbishop Lefebvre? My own thoughts on the matter echo what he said, so I'd be curious to read the full quote and learn more about the context.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

op.cit. p94 and see ref.