The Chiron biography of Bugnini records that, during the pre-Conciliar drafting of the decree Sacrosanctum Concilium, "at no time, it seems, did any participant (member or consultor) ever propose - at least publicly - the addition of other canons to the sole Roman Canon then in use. Some, however, were proposing that changes ought to be introduced into it."
Ha!, I hear you cry. So the rats were already nibbling away ...
True. But how deep were these rodents biting? One of them was a man called Vagaggini, later to be a great advocate of the proliferation of Eucharistic Prayers. What, in 1961, was his daringly radical , earth-shaking, proposal?
"Granting the faculty of introducing one or two local saints among those named in the Canon".
Some bold Austrian Jesuit called Hofinger said there ought to be no prohibition against changing something in the Canon. This led to an immediate retort from the most distinguished and learned historian of the Canon, J A Jungmann. His magisterial two-volume History of the Roman Rite is still normative. He was a colleague and former teacher of the Bold Jesuit.
"But those changes ought to occur only for the gravest reasons," he said.
We need to remember (1) how rapidly the entire landscape was to change. Less than a decade after these comparatively restrained scholarly debates, the Roman Canon had to all intents and purposes ceased to be used and some two or three hundred home-made "Eucharistic Prayers" were, to S Paul VI's great consternation, in circulation. And (2), that in 1961, neither the avant-garde, the Hofingers, not the rear-gard, the Lefebvres, had the faintest, remotest, tiniest idea of where we know now it would all lead.
Chiron's biography of Bugnini enables you to go back in time and to be a fly on the wall as the 'experts' ... if you will allow me to mix my metaphors ... edged blindly forward into the quicksands and through the mist.
I shall, from time to time, make more use of Chiron.