Tuesday, May 26, 2015


John Nolan quotes Archbishop Annibale Bugnini as saying:

'We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'

But Former Father PI states that John Nolan's version of the translation is prejudiced. In reality, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini said the following:

"And yet it is the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty, that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices."

I suspect that Former PI is giving us the literal translation of what Archbishop Bugnini wrote. Therefore if this is true we should all despise it as those who despise the new and glorious literal translation of the English Roman Missal.

I suspect too, that what John Nolan presents is an equivalent translation of the Italian original. If so we should all love it as equivalency is so touted by those who hate literal translations.

I am grateful to form PI for pointing out the obvious and that we should all love the equivalent version.

I saw this comment at another internet site that captures very well the essence or equivalent of what I am saying:

Hehe. So Archbishop Bugnini's defenders are objecting to the fact that the quote attributed to him all these years appears to have been translated into English by someone from the 70's era of the ICEL.

And they're mad as heck that the translation isn't remotely precise. Oh the irony!

Ironic too that his critics used a sloppy dynamic equivalence for all these years. You can't make this stuff up!


Vox Cantoris said...

A friend of mine was at his grave recently. He suitable venerated it.

Angry Augustinian said...

So, either way it amounts to the same thing…pandering to protestant affinities.

Angry Augustinian said...

"Remove every stone that could possibly be an object of difficulty…" Let's see that would be the Real Presence, Mary, Confession, the Pope, statues in the Church, Saints, rosaries, Misssals, scapulars, monstrances, Holy water, infant baptism, Confirmation, Priestly orders, Last Rites, Holy Matrimony, the Apocrypha, the Catholic doctrines of the Imago Dei, free will, election, atonement, sanctification (pretty much wrecking Christology and soteriology), a whole slew of Holy Days, nuns (pretty much gone already), most vestments, prohibitions on birth control, abortion, divorce, gay marriage, bestiality, transgender, the idea of the Priesthood in general…better get busy all you lib Catholics. But, the Church could do all of thgis in one fell swoop by just turning everyone out to Methodism. Problem solved.

rcg said...

I wonder if these are the same statement or clarifications? In any case, there were a lot of people itching to make huge changes that have not been challenged even though translations of Vatican II apparently show different objectives. If the rehabilitated translations of Vatican II are true, why is there not a bull market in Altar Rails?

John Nolan said...

The quotation and its provenance are from the late Michael Davies, whose research on the genesis of the Novus Ordo was very thorough. We would need both the original Italian and the official English version. Can Fr K provide sources for his version which seems to say the same thing albeit more obliquely? It might well be that Bugnini returned to this theme later and was more explicit. In any case the result was the same. Those Protestants whom the Consilium consulted (and they are named) believed their input was important and expressed satisfaction with the final product. In fact, had Bugnini's original preamble been allowed to stand it would probably have invalidated the Novus Ordo since it appeared to define the Mass in a way that contradicted both Trent and Vatican II.

I haven't got a copy of Bugnini's Memoirs (they are out of print) but I have ordered those of Louis Bouyer which were published last year in French and shed a bit more light on a murky period in the Church's recent history. Cardinal Burke's Solemn Latin OF at the Oxford Oratory this evening, with many elements of the older Ceremonial now happily restored, was very fine, but I don't think it was what Bugnini had in mind!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The source is L'Osservatore Romano on the date indicated.

Unknown said...

John Nolan,

I've been meaning to ask you (but it will derail any conversation, and since this is the only format in which I can ask a question... well, I'll get over it)

What's your opinion on the few times the Sarum Rite has been celebrated?

(Really, Fr M, I don't mean to just throw this out there, but I've been curious, since I assume he has an opinion about it. There's just no proper time to ask it. Feel free to approve or deny as you feel necessary)

Anonymous said...

Many Catholic theologians at the time objected to the changes to the Mass, the objections were set out in the letter from Cardinal Ottaviani to the Pope as many will be familiar with as the Ottaviani Intervention, which stated in summary:

"The new form of Mass was substantially rejected by the Episcopal Synod, was never submitted to the collegial judgment of the Episcopal Conferences and was never asked for by the people. It has every possibility of satisfying the most modernist of Protestants."

A copy with the full serious objections - many still not satisfied by subsequent reforms - can be found on EWTN:

I wonder what kind of spin PI could [would like to] put on that document?


Anonymous said...

Jolly Jansenist - here is a link to a video that will surely make Bugnini spin in his grave and may even perhaps cause some frothing at the mouth for PI, if he likes what Bugnini did that is. This video is the antithesis of Bugnini's work and is a panacea for all those other wretched pentecostal-type hand-holding, liturgical dance videos we often see:


Servimus Unum Deum said...

What cheeses me off about the translations is that there is not one unifying English translation for all the English use dioceses in the world.
UK Wales uses New Jerusalem, USA and other places NABRE and for a weird reason Canada uses NSRV-CE. Can't we just have one translation? That way the best books for missals for laity aren't squandered on the NAB? Ugh. I want the high quality missals so badly, but they are NAB.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - I don't think an correct translation is "spin."

Fr. Michael J.Kavanaugh said...

The article from which the Bugnini "quote" is taken is "Le "Variationes" ad Alcuni Testi della Settimana Santa (The "Variations" of Some Texts of Holy Week).

Regarding the Bugnini "quote" in question: In the Italian original - L'Osservatore Romano 19 March 1965 - the word "catolicam" appears once. In the English translation proffered by McDonald/Nolan, the word "Catholic" appears twice.

In the Italian, the word "catolicam" appears only where the author lists three marks of the Church. "Come non rimpiangere per esempio 'ad sanctam matrem Ecclesiam catolicam atque apostolicam revocare dignetur' della settima orazione?"

In the "quote" cited by McDonald/Nolan, "Catholic" appears not in a list of three of the marks of the Church, but as an adjective modifying "prayers" and "liturgy."

One is left wondering about the source of the McDonald/Nolan "quote" and how it is so very, very different from the original Italian.

Lefebvrian said...

The translation of Bugnini's quote is of little importance when considered in the grand scheme of damage he caused to the Church. It is clear from his actions that he was Protestantizing the liturgy even if he never uttered one peep admitting to it.

But, in this instance, the short version of the quote is just the long version with all the modernist veneer removed.

Anonymous said...

PI, I did a Google translate of the words highlighted and, as far as I am concerned, there is no difference between your quote and that of John Nolan - the intention is the same to make the Mass palatable to the separated brethren by removing any stone that may cause them to stumble - in other words "remove the stumbling block". What else could you read into these words but that it was the removal of a stumbling block to separated brethren?

"And yet the love of souls, and a desire to help in any way the way the union of the separated brethren, removing every stone that can even remotely constitute a stumbling or cause for unease, have to the Church also painful sacrifices."

Cardinal Ottivani and other thelogians at the time warned what the removal of these stumbling blocks meant to the Church:

Brief Summary

I: History of the Change.

The new form of Mass was substantially rejected by the Episcopal Synod, was never submitted to the collegial judgment of the Episcopal Conferences and was never asked for by the people. It has every possibility of satisfying the most modernist of Protestants.

II: Definition of the Mass.

By a series of equivocations the emphasis is obsessively placed upon the 'supper' and the 'memorial' instead of on the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary.

III: Presentation of the Ends.

The three ends of the Mass are altered-: no distinction is allowed to remain between Divine and human sacrifice; bread and wine are only "spiritually" (not substantially) changed.

IV:—and of the essence.

The Real Presence of Christ is never alluded to and belief in it is implicitly repudiated.

V:—and of the four elements of the sacrifice

The position of both priest and people is falsified and the Celebrant appears as nothing more than a Protestant minister, while the true nature of the Church is intolerably misrepresented.

VI: The destruction of unity.

The abandonment of Latin sweeps away for good and all unity of worship. This may have its effect on unity of belief and the New Order has no intention of standing for the Faith as taught by the Council of Trent to which the Catholic conscience is bound.

VII: The alienation of the Orthodox.

While pleasing various dissenting groups, the New Order will alienate the East.

VIII: The abandonment of defenses.

The New Order teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the purity of the Catholic religion and dismantles all defenses of the deposit of Faith.

Good old Bugnini - he got what he wanted by removing the stumbling blocks: the wholesale emptying of the churches, the loss of the Faith - hence the recent decision in Ireland and now the great possibility of a schism with the forthcoming Synod on the Family.

I think we're well past the stage of arguing what Bugnini said or didn't say - it's the fruits of what he did that we are living with now ...


John Nolan said...


I have never attended a Mass according to the Sarum Use. Since it was of over 200 years provenance in 1570 it is licit according to Quo Primum; however the protestant 'reformation' in England supplanted it in 1549 with the first Prayer Book of Cranmer. There were other Uses in England (York, Durham, Bangor etc.) but these had already been suppressed by Henry VIII. Rites and Uses may fall into desuetude because of particular circumstances but they are never abrogated by the Church as long as they are orthodox - this is why we still have the Roman Rite although it sits alongside a rite so radically different (the Novus Ordo) as to not qualify as a Use of the Roman Rite.

The now famous 1998 celebration of the Sarum Use in Merton College chapel, Oxford, was a Catholic Mass. Anglican reconstructions of the rite have historical interest only. One on YouTube (from Canada) even has female servers!

After the restoration of the English and Welsh hierarchy in 1851 there was talk of reinstating the Sarum Use but nothing came of it. However, a good example of a pre-Tridentine rite still in everyday use is the Dominican; when it was put together in the 13th century it drew on northern European models, including Sarum. The Sarum Use, apart from being more elaborate than the Roman, has no genuflexions.

Those who approve of the post-V2 liturgical reform often maintain that Pius V imposed a rigid liturgical uniformity which saw the Mass set in aspic for nearly 400 years. In fact local variations persisted into the 20th century. Only three years ago I attended Mass on the Feast of the Assumption in Paris. The 'Propres de Paris (1962)' were used, which included a Sequence. The Dominican Rite also has Sequences which were dropped by Pius V (including 'Laetabundus' which should be universally reinstated).

To recover a true diachronic sense of the liturgy we need to look back further than 1962. In the Novus Ordo we were sold a pup. One small example - Eucharistic Prayer IV, we were told, is the anaphora of St Basil the Great. I don't read Greek but the translation I have read of this magnificent prayer is nothing like the anodyne and bowdlerized version foisted on the Latin Church by 1960s liturgists.

I hope this answers your question. It also serves as a corrective to the canard frequently hurled at those who think as I do by progressives like Pater Ignotus - that we believe that there was a 'Mass of all Ages' and the liturgy was uniform and unchanging.

Lefebvrian said...

John, with regard to the phrase "Mass of All Time," what do you think of it? I will regularly use this phrase more as a differentiator than as a descriptor of a literal Mass of All Time. It seems like the detractors aren't appreciating the term as a term of art rather than a term of description. What do you think? It seems like a legitimate term to me, despite the fact that everyone agrees the Mass has had many uses and variations over time.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - I think there is a world of difference between the two versions of the quote.

"We must strip from our Catholic prayers..." is meant to sound destructive.

"...removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty..." is meant to sound constructive.

"We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy ..." is mean to sound like an attack on Catholicism itself.

" help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty..." is meant to sound, well, helpful to the union which we are called to seek and to work for.

"...that is for the Protestants." is meant to sound as if the changes are being done to placate Protestants, at the behest of Protestants, or even at the command of the Protestants. That was not Bugnini's or the Church's intention.

"...that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices." is a recognition that what we do for unity is not always easy or simply or comfortable. Making sacrifices for a greater good is a good thing.

You say, "Good old Bugnini - he got what he wanted by removing the stumbling blocks: the wholesale emptying of the churches, the loss of the Faith - hence the recent decision in Ireland and now the great possibility of a schism with the forthcoming Synod on the Family." DO you have any evidence that connects the changes in the mass with "...the wholesale emptying of the churches, the loss of the Faith,...the recent decision in Ireland and now the great possibility of a schism with the forthcoming Synod on the Family."?

No you don't. This is nothing but emotional gibberish masquerading as substantial argument.

The McDonald/Nolan version is far, far from an accurate representation of what Bugnini actually wrote. It is, I think, a highly ideological caricature. That it has been quoted time and again by reputable scholars doesn't make it accurate.

Lefebvrian said...

People tend to get emotional when they are forced to argue the rights of the Catholic faith with heretics and apostates masquerading as priests. For some of us laity, we cannot understand why the priests are so cowardly or obtuse or blind to reality or all of the above. It can be disconcerting to be left to fight not only the culture but our own clergy.

My advice to Jan would be this: stop paying attention to what Novus Ordo priests have to say. If they were serious about the faith, the wouldn't be in the Novus Ordo (or they'd be fighting it from the inside). At any rate, one thing is clear, it makes no sense to be bothered by the incorrect opinions of those against whom we are fighting. The best response to just to keep fighting them.

John Nolan said...

I am grateful to Fr Kavanaugh for accurately reporting what Bugnini wrote in L'Osservatore Romano (19/3/65). I was relying on Michael Davies's attribution of what is an oft-repeated quotation. That was careless of me; having now gone back to the primary source I have to conclude that:

1. If Bugnini said what Davies and others have attributed to him, he did not do so in that article. It's not a 'dynamic equivalence' translation, it's a misquotation.

2. Worse, it's taken out of context. Bugnini was referring specifically to one of the Good Friday Intercessions - that referring to heretics and schismatics. (It was duly changed to the prayer for Christian unity which is used in the OF.) He was not making a general statement of principle for the liturgical reform of which he was the chief architect.

Of course there is plenty of evidence to construct an a posteriori argument that the new Mass was designed in part to appeal to Protestants. But unless the offending quotation can be definitively attributed, it is inadmissible as evidence, whatever one thinks of Bugnini and his designer liturgy. Historical accuracy comes first.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I very much appreciate your 5:44 post. There is little doubt that there is an ecumenical perspective to Bugnini's work. And that is as it should be. There were ecumenical and interreligious goals in the minds of those who did the actual work of editing the texts of the mass.

We cannot assume that 1) all changes leading to organic unity in the Body of Christ are going to have to be made in the other Christian denominations and that we are going to make none; and 2) that changes are necessarily a "giving up of" or a "rejection of" something that is essential to the Catholic faith.

In Ut Unum Sint Pope Saint John Paul II wrote regarding the function of the papacy, "I am convinced that I have a particular responsibility in this regard, above all in acknowledging the ecumenical aspirations of the majority of the Christian Communities and in heeding the request made of me to find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation." (95)

The exercise of the papacy is "open to a new situation."

He went on to write in UUS, "This is an immense task, which we cannot refuse and which I cannot carry out by myself. Could not the real but imperfect communion existing between us persuade Church leaders and their theologians to engage with me in a patient and fraternal dialogue on this subject, a dialogue in which, leaving useless controversies behind, we could listen to one another, keeping before us only the will of Christ for his Church and allowing ourselves to be deeply moved by his plea "that they may all be one ... so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (Jn 17:21)?" (96)

Asking for fraternal dialogue with leaders and theologians from other Christian denominations is certainly an expression of the "new situation" of which he wrote in the previous section.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan and PI - I have got a copy of the actual article which is referring to the whole of the Easter ceremonies - not to just one prayer of Good Friday. Bugnini is explaining the changes to the whole of the Easter ceremonies. Here is a translation of a part of it immediately prior to the quote in question. I have done this with Google translate so of course the English is not great in parts:

"The ancient Communion of the Apostles preached depended on the Gospel (Mark 6, 7-13) disappears with the replacement of the Gospel passage.

A new element of no small importance and the number of simple melodies, proposals for the Introit at will, the Gradual, and the Communion, the psalms are those of the previous or selected text in a functional sense; antiphons (refrains), are taken from Psalms. The Gregorian melodies are simple and easily teachable. In this way the whole meeting can take part in the canio, interspersing the antiphon to the verses of the psalm, performed by singers.

We said that the Chrism Mass should become a party priestly here an element that will facilitate the implementation. The proposed texts are all a plot on the priesthood of Christ, the ministers of God, the faithful, the people who lahve chose for his inheritance.

Finally, said the Postcommunion, back in procession to the sacristy singing some verses of the hymn o Redemptor or performing a folk song.

In the ecumenical climate of Vatican II it was detected by most parties that some expressions of prayers soltermnes of Good Friday today sound pretty bad. It was therefore insistently asked if it was possible at least mitigate some sentences.

He regrets ever having to get your hands on the venerable texts, which have for centuries fed, and so effectively, the Christian piety, and still have the scent of the spiritual heroic age of early church; especially touch and difficult literary masterpieces of form and concettuosita insurmountable. Nonetheless, it was felt compelled to tackle the job, because in the prayer of the church no reason to feel uncomfortable in ritual.

The finishing touches were ilmitati to the essential. 1 in prayer for the Holy Church and suppressed the phrase "subjecting all principalities and powers" that while not excluding the inspiration for St Paul about angelic power still could be a misunderstanding about the temporal role of the church, right in the past, anachronistic today."

From just this rough translation we find that Bugnini said the prayers of Good Friday sounded "pretty bad". That, despite the fact that the "venerable texts, which have for centuries fed, and so effectively, the Christian piety" nonetheless he replaced these because he said "in the prayer of the church no reason to feel uncomfortable in ritual". He suppressed the words "subjecting all principalities and powers" because he said they were "anachronistic today". He said he replaced the gospel, Mark 6, 7-1. The he says that this effectively was "removing every stone that can even remotely constitute a stumbling".

So I take the phrase quoted by Michael Davis as a summation of this entire article - not just the one sentence - that appeared in l'osservatore romano. He is correct in saying that all the changes in the Holy Week ceremonies - not just prayer 7 - were done for ecumenical reasons - to appease Protestants and others.

I think the Michael Davies quote sums up the situation - here we have the blueprint for the novelties - the folk Masses etc, the simple melodies, the removal of the position of authority that the Church once held. Rather than being the "spirit of Vatican II" this is the liberal spirit of Bugnini and others who were hell bent on stripping all the prayers of the Church to suit any other religion - to strip us of our Catholic identity and patrimony.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

CORRECTION to my 7:42 post: 2) that changes are NOT necessarily a giving up...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - The problem is that Davies did NOT quote Bugnini. He, and many others, picked up a misquotation that has, as many erroneous "quotes" do, taken on a life of its own.

The concern Bugnini seems to have expressed - I say "seems" because the Google translation is far from accurate - regarding "subjecting all principalities and powers" makes perfect sense. The temporal power of the Church was long gone, and rightly so, by the early 1960's. To pray for the temporal subjection of principalities and powers to the authority of the Holy See was untenable.

And I, for one, have always found my consettuositta to be insurmountable.

John Nolan said...

The trouble is, and I concur with Fr Kavanaugh on this, one cannot argue from the particular to the general. There are many areas where I might take issue with him, but this is not one of them. Those who stood for tradition in the 1970s and 1980s were on the back foot (if I may excused a cricketing metaphor) since the pace of change had been sudden and unprecedented. Nowadays more balanced arguments prevail. It should also not be forgotten that the proponents of the liturgical reform had all the big guns on their side and still felt the need to embark on a campaign of disinformation.

The debate continues and Fr Kavanaugh makes a significant contribution to it. I rather uncharitably referred to him as a 'buffoon' and would like to retract that epithet.

Anonymous said...

John the article written by Bugnini sets out what was changed in the prayers and liturgy for the Easter ceremonies and to quote merely the following does not give the flavour of the article at all.

"di agevolare in ogni modo il cammino dell'unione ai fratelli separati, rimovendo ogni pietra che possa constituire pur lontanamente un inciampo o motivo di disagio"

"to facilitate in every way the union of the separated brethren , removing every stone that can even remotely constituire a stumbling or cause for discomfort"

Michael Davies' quote is:

“We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Prostestants.”

If he has erred then the error is in putting it in quotes but the way it is worded certainly sums up the bits of the article that I have been able to translate on Google.

As someone has pointed out, it's strange that this page from L'Osservatore Romano has only recently come to light in recent years and no one has picked up the error in the quote before. Why wasn't it raised when Michael Davies was alive and could clarify it because it must have been easily accessible in those days? One would have to see the original to see if it is even legit. It if it not an attempt to white-wash Bugnini it is being used to say that the intention was not to protestantise the Mass when in fact all the evidence in the article points to the fact that it was.

It is also being promoted on the net as an erroneous quote that relates only to one change to prayer 7 on Good Friday, when in fact all the prayers were changed and of course more over all the days of the Easter ceremonies.


Anonymous said...

Another Michael Davies references Bugnini:

" The thoroughness with which Archbishop Bugnini's Consilium expunged every specific expression of Our Lord's Social Kingship from the liturgy can hardly be denied. Its members did not even miss a reference to Our Lord's Social Kingship in the Good Friday liturgy. The first of the Solemn Collects, the one for the Church, read:

Let us pray, dearly beloved, for the holy Church of God: that our God and Lord may be pleased to give it peace, keep its unity and preserve it throughout the world: subjecting to it principalities and powers, and may He grant us, while we live in peace and tranquillity, grace to glorify God the Father almighty. {my emphasis]

This prayer has been replaced by the following:

Let us pray, dear friends, for the holy Church of God throughout the World,
that God, the almighty Father guide it, and gather it together so that we may worship him in peace and tranquillity.

Lest anyone should imagine that an undue significance has been placed upon changes in the Breviary and Missal relating to the doctrine of Christ the King, a comment by Archbishop A. Bugnini, Great Architect of the Liturgical Revolution, should prove very illuminating.

'In the ecumenical climate of Vatican II, some expressions in the Orationes sollemnes of the Good Friday service had a bad ring to them. There were urgent requests to tone down some of the wording. It is always unpleasant to have to alter venerable texts that for centuries have effectively nourished Christian devotion and have about them the spiritual fragrance of the heroic age of the Church's beginnings. Above all, it is difficult to revise literary masterpieces that are unsurpassed for their pithy form. It was nevertheless thought necessary to face up to the task, lest anyone find reason for spiritual discomfort in the prayer of the Church. The revisions, limited to what was absolutely necessary, were prepared by study group l8 bis. In Intercession 1: "For the Church," the phrase subiciens ei principatus et potestates ("subjecting principalities and powers to it [the Church]") was omitted: even though this was inspired by what St. Paul says about the "angelic powers" (Col. 2:15), it could be misinterpreted as referring to a temporal role which the Church did indeed have in other periods of history but which is anachronistic today.[7]'

So there we have it. The social kingship of Christ is an anachronism."

[7] A. Bugnini, La riforma liturgica , 1948-1975 (Edizioni Liturgiche - 00192 Roma, 1983), p. 127.

This is also quoted in the L'Osservatore Romano article. So it would be interesting to see whether the quote from Michael Davies is also contained in A. Bugnini, La riforma liturgica and whether it differs from what is currently doing the rounds.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - The web article I have been quoting from, which includes a photocopy of the 19 March 1965 L'Osservatore Romano,is dated December 16,2011. It's here:

At present I can trace the erroneous quote, "We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants" to a 1992 translation of a 1982 talk reportedly given by Archbishop Lefebrve to the SSPX in Montreal.

Here's the context, reportedly from Lefebvre's talk: "As for myself [Lefebvre speaking], I do not want people to make me say that the New Mass is good, but that it is simply less good than the Traditional Mass. I cannot say that. I cannot say that these modern sacraments are good. They were made by Protestants. They were made by Bugnini. And Bugnini himself said on March 19, 1965, as can still be read in the “Osservatore Romano" and in “Documentation Catholique," which magazines published a translation of Bugnini's discourse: “We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants."


Now, I don't know several things. Is this actually a talk by Lefebvre? Is the 1992 translator accurate in representing in English what I assume Lefebvre said in French? Did Lefebvre intentionally misrepresent what Bugnini said? Did Lefebvre get this erroneous quote from another source? As I say, I don't know.

Here's what we do know. The article in the 19 March 1965 L'Osservatore Romano does not say what many have quoted it as saying. "We must strip from our Catholic prayers..." is not even close to what the Italian says.

We know that the 19 March 1965 article refers to, as the title indicates, "The Variations of Some texts of Holy Week"

From your perspective the motivation for the changes is a desire to "Protestantize" the mass, to make it "less Catholic," and to deprive us of our "Catholic identity and patrimony."

From mine, they are an effort to, as Bugnini actually said, "it is the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty, that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices."

We know that he quote "We must strip..." has been repeated by "well respected authors" and cited many, many times. And as we all know that erroneous, or even completely false, quotes get repeated and get accepted as fact by many people.

But when you have the original document you can't reasonably keep clinging to a misquote, claiming over and over and over that it REALLY represents what Bugnini said when, it fact, you HAVE what Bugnini said.

John - Thanks for the retraction.

Anonymous said...

Fr Kavanaugh, we do not have the original of the article - only a photocopy and moreover the way it is construed on Queen of Martyrs Press is to convey the idea that Bugnini was only referring to one prayer when in fact the article is referring to the wholesale changes in the Easter Ceremonies. That is only one of two articles on Queen of Martyrs Press which then goes out of existence ub 2011 hmmm ....

It also seems strange to me that both Archbishop Lefebrve and Michael Davies would make such a quote and say it was still available to be read in Osservatore Romano if they were in fact embellishing the quote. I am sure that many who hate the SSPX would have loved to trip them up then and there - why wait some 30-plus years until 2011 in fact in a blog that goes out of existence after that article, which of course has been circulated quite widely? Sorry, having now looked into this further I would have to see the original page to make sure it was not doctored in any way as to what is shown on the net is a photocopy which can easily be doctored.

In any event, we have the clear quote of Bugnini from his own book and from the l'OR article:

"It is always unpleasant to have to alter venerable texts that for centuries have effectively nourished Christian devotion and have about them the spiritual fragrance of the heroic age of the Church's beginnings. Above all, it is difficult to revise literary masterpieces that are unsurpassed for their pithy form. It was nevertheless thought necessary to face up to the task, lest anyone find reason for spiritual discomfort in the prayer of the Church".

He admits that what he changed was "unsurpassed" and instead he gave us, as Benedict XVI said: "in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries, and replaced it--as in a manufacturing process--with a fabrication, a banal on- the-spot product." (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)"

At best we can then say Bugnini had a pea brain and had little foresight as to what his stripping of the prayers of the Church would do. At worst we can say that Bugnini manufactuered the "banal on-the-spot product" which was protestantised to the extent warned of by theologians of the time, in particular, Cardinal Ottivani which has led to the wholesale loss of the Faith.


John Nolan said...


The fact is that we can surmise the reasons for the 1960s liturgical revolution but cannot, in the interests of historical accuracy, use a deliberate misquotation taken out of context as a basis for our arguments. I have had to apologize because to my shame (as an historian) I accepted a now dubious quotation which I thought was accurate without researching it further. It doesn't diminish my argument, since it is based on many other factors.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Well, who has a copy of the 19 March 1965 L'Osservatore Romano in the storage cupboard?

"It is always unpleasant to have to alter venerable texts that for centuries have effectively nourished Christian devotion and have about them the spiritual fragrance of the heroic age of the Church's beginnings."

Yes, it is unpleasant, but we do it across the board because culture and society develop and evolve, making the changes necessary. We simply don't talk today as we did in the 1570's or 1870's. One can argue that we should not adjust our manner of expression as language and understanding changes, but I don't buy that argument.

"It was nevertheless thought necessary to face up to the task, lest anyone find reason for spiritual discomfort in the prayer of the Church".

This is not some kind of pandering to those who might find "discomfort" in hearing the prayers. It was, as Bugnini stated, "...the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union..." that underpinned the alterations. I can invite others to share in the fullness of God's revelation in the Catholic Church without calling them "perfidious," or "the vomit of hell" or "damnable Protestants" or some other choice epithet.

We do it because relationships evolve and change. In the 1570 edition of the Missal we prayed "Oremus et pro perfidis Iudaeis" - "Let us pray also for the perfidious(unbelieving or faithless)Jews." In 1959 John XXIII excised "perfidious" in this prayer and eliminated from the Baptism ritual the phrase for Jewish catechumens, "Dread Jewish unbelief, spurn Hebrew superstition!"

Our relationship with the Jews has changed. Our understanding of how we are "grafted on" to Judaism (Romans 11) has replaced the notion that the old root is simply dead and that Christianity is entirely new with no dependence on our Hebrew roots. As a result, the manner of expression we use regarding the Jews has changed.

Again, your assumption that the "manufactured" liturgy is the cause of the "wholesale loss of faith" is just that, an unsubstantiated assumption. And I think there are other, more far-reaching reasons for the wholesale loss of faith than the editing of our prayers.

Anonymous said...

John, I understand what you are saying but my point is that, on the strength of a photocopied page that purports to be the original article, from an unnamed source that disappears immediately after publishing this photocopy online which cannot be verified, the whole thing is questionable. As a historian, should you back down and accept this from an unnamed source that is discrediting two well-known men: Archbishop Lefebvre and Michael Davies who are now dead and cannot defend themselves? The quote from Michael Davies "It is always unpleasant to have to alter venerable texts ..." is accurate, quoted from Bugnini's book but also in the article. The source of Michael Davies' quote may well be from that book as well. To me this smacks of nothing more than an attempted whitewash of Bugnini and, like Thomas, until I see the original paper or read Bugnini's book, Michael Davies' quote stands for me as it is, as more reliable than that of an unnamed source with a photocopy and access to cut and paste which has been done before.


Anonymous said...

Fr Kavanaugh, exactly my point, who has a copy of the 19 March 1965 L'Osservatore Romano in the storage cupboard? The unnamed source Queen of Martyrs Press in 2011 purported to have a copy and so I find the whole thing dubious.

The wholesale stripping of the prayers of the Mass, to the point where you could go in to the Anglican Church and attend their Protestant service and then attend Mass in a Catholic Church and not know the difference is the point. There are far more changes than you are prepared to admit to. To me, the downturn in Mass attendance immediately following the introduction of the New Mass speaks for itself.

I attend both forms of the Mass. When I attend the Extrodinary Form of the Mass I can see the outline of the New Mass in the old Mass, but the New Mass is but a shadow of what it formerly was thanks to Bugnini. There are also books available now where it is told about writing Eucharistic Prayer II in a Roman bar the night before publication, simply because Bugnini's version was so bad and on top of that Bugnini even wanted to remove the Sanctus.

The spiral downwards in Mass attendance since the introduction of the new Mass is evidence enough for me and others but of course, Father Kavanaugh, you can always provide your own reasons for the massive downturn in Mass attendance if you have it. Maybe the pews aren't emptying in your parish. Maybe parishes aren't closing down in your diocese as they are in mine?


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - You have no idea what I am prepared to admit. I have seen many webpages that give examples of the changes that have been made in the mass - I don't deny any of them.

No, the downturn that followed the changes in the mass does not speak for itself. That is, until shown to be related, simply a coincidence. "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" - "After this therefore because of this" is a logical fallacy, and you have fallen into it.

If the downturn in mass attendance had been solely a Catholic phenomenon, you might have the beginnings of an argument. In fact, many groups, religious and non-religions, across our culture have had significant, even severe, downturns in participation since the 60's and 70's. Did the mass changes cause the drop in the number of Rotarians or Jaycees? Did it cause the stupendous decline in the Episcopal Church, USA or the ELCA or the Southern Baptist Conference? Of course it didn't.

Books about mass composition in a bar have about as much weight as a "quote" from Bugnini cited by many well-respected authors.

No, parishes in my diocese are not closing and this parish I now serve has experienced only a 3% decline in attendance in the last 10 years. We have, in this parish, an attendance of close to 60% of registered individuals, not the 11% or the 20% referred to regularly on this blog.

Anonymous said...

A huge coincidence Fr Kavanagh and the Catholic decline relatively is much higher than Protestants over that time Cara figures:

Priests: 1945 = 38,451 1950 = 42,970 1955 = 46,970 1960 = 53,796 1965 = 58,000

Priests: 2013 = 38,800 Diocesan Priests = 26,500 and Religious = 12,300

Ordinations to the Priesthood: 1965 = 994

Ordinations: 2013 = 511

Seminarians: 1965 = 49,000 Graduate level: = 8325

Graduate level Seminarians: 2013 = 3694

Religious Sisters in the whole world 1973 = 1 million. In 2013 = 721,935.

Parishes: 1965 = 17,637

Parishes: 2013 = 17,413

Mass Attendance in 1965: 65 % of Catholics attended Sunday Mass

2013, Only 24 % of Catholics attend Sunday Mass.

Graph from CARA Georgetown U.

You can see by this graph, that since Vatican II, 50 % more Catholics have stopped attending Sunday Mass.

Students in 1965 at 8414 elementary schools = 2.6 million.

Students in 2013 at 5636 elementary schools = 1.5 million.

Marriages in the Catholic Church have gone down to very few too.

Reported in the Catholic Herald in England:

"According to the figures, gathered by the Latin Mass Society, the high point for Catholicism was the 1960s, with high numbers of baptisms, ordinations and marriages in 1964, 1965 and 1968 respectively, before a dramatic fall-off in each case. Receptions into the Church peaked in 1959; in recent years they have been just a third of that level.

The number of baptisms today is less than half those in 1964, and the number of Catholic marriages is less than a quarter of those in 1968. But it is ordinations of new priests that have shown the most alarming fall, to only a tenth of the 1965 figure.
Most of the figures in the study go back as far as 1913, giving a remarkable picture of the state of the Catholic Church in England and Wales over a century.

Dr Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society, who led the research, said the figures “show unambiguously that something went seriously wrong in the Church in England and Wales in the 1960s and 1970s. Catholics ceased quite suddenly to see the value of getting married, having large families, and having their children baptised. Non-Catholics no longer perceived the Church as the ark of salvation, and ceased to seek admission. Young men no longer offered themselves for the priesthood in the same numbers as before.”

Dr Shaw suggests a connection to “the wrenching changes in the Church at that time introduced by the Second Vatican Council”.
The number of priests in England and Wales rose steadily from 3,838 in 1912 to a peak of 7,887 in 1965, before beginning to tail off. It recovered for a while in the mid-1990s, but fell to 5,264 in 2011. “In this respect we are still living on our capital, and this capital is about to run out,” he said."

Sorry, Father, but there is much evidence you can find on the net to show that the decline in Catholic Mass attendance overall since 1965 is much shaper than the Protestant decline. Holland is reportedly closing two thirds of its parishes. Where I live our parishes are being halved. The Faith that was built up over many generations has been decimated since Vatican II.


Lefebvrian said...

It seems to me that the parishes are emptying because people no longer believe the Catholic faith?

What do you think about that hypothesis, Fr. Kavanaugh?

Anonymous said...

Fr Kavanaugh, Louis Bouyer's memoirs make interesting reading on the composition of Eucharistic Prayer II and as the book is in circulation now easily refuted if untrue:

"You will have some idea of the deplorable conditions in which this hasty reform was expedited when I recount how the Second Eucharistic Prayer was cobbled together. Between the indiscriminately archeologizing fanatics who wanted to banish the Sanctus and the intercessions from the Eucharistic Prayer by taking Hippolytus's Eucharist as is, and those who could not have cared less about the alleged 'Apostolic Tradition'and wanted a slapdash Mass, Dom Botte and I were commissioned to patch up its text with a view to inserting these elements, which are certainly quite ancient--BY THE NEXT MORNING! Luckily I discovered, if not in a text of Hippolytus himself, certainly in one in his style, a felicitous formula on the Holy Spirit that could provide a transition of the 'Vere sanctus' type to the short epiclesis. For his part Botte produced an intercession rather worthy of Paul Reboux's [a pastiche writer] 'In the manner of...' than of his actual scholarship. Still, I cannot re-read the improbably composition without recalling the Trastevere café terrace where we had to put the finishing touches to our assignment in order to show up with it at the Bronze Gate by the time our schoolmasters had set!"

It is no wonder Pope Benedict said the new Mass is a "on-the-spot banal creation".


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A loss of Catholic Faith is at the root of the modern crisis for the Church and it is precisely this aspect of the crisis that is so difficult to get one's hands around. Faith is a gift, it is an act of God. People either prefer other lesser gifts to the Gift of Faith and ignore it or they actively reject it for a variety of reasons, some of which are legitimate, such as being abused by someone in Church authority or by a religious person.

The fact of the matter is that young people prefer a libertarian approach to sex and a live and let live policy in this regard. They don't want to regulate people's sex lives or to be regulated. This touches every aspect of sex that the modern LBGT community delights in promoting as well as those who are pro-choice in everything concerning sex and reproduction.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Father, but the Church was once a bulwark against the liberal society. I remember that once a year we would always get a sermon upholding purity, chastity and marriage and other moral teachings. I have only heard one such sermon now for over 30 years. Priests have been instructed not to talk of hell or purgatory for fear of upsetting children - funny that I don't remember any children being upset by such talk when I was young and we took it very seriously. It wasnn't explained in a fearful way either I might add. Most people today believe they're saved, regardless of what sort of sinful lifestyle they live in. Goodness knows what type of instruction is in Catholic schools now.

I remember a friend who was a year younger than me said he had never heard that Catholics could not marry divorcees. Yet he was educated entirely by nuns and priests, mainly after Vatican II. He now no longer attends Mass. He did have all his children baptised Catholic and tells me he prays. He did attend Mass for a while but did not like the sign of peace and other novelties that went on and he drifted away. I am sure that he would come back if he could attend a Latin Mass but that is still a long way off happening where I live.

As for young people if they had been brought up from a young age to understand the emptiness that often goes with a promiscuous lifestyle and that it cuts them off from God that would have made a difference. Many of them are good young people who just simply do not know because they have never been taught the good values of earlier generations. Some young people who have been taught, though - including many Protestants - and they are living good chaste lives. But it is difficult to know where to start with the others. They will no doubt have to learn from their mistakes because they have been let down badly by parents and educators.

And I think Lefebvrian is also correct that a lot of people no longer believe the truths of the Church. To my mind there needs to be another Council of Trent to state what the Church actually teaches because at the moment the vast majority don't know.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jan - I think all of us are familiar with the numbers. CARA figures are about the Catholic Church. Pew Research covers all religions. According to the "Religious Landscape" study released earlier this month: "Of the major subgroups within American Christianity, mainline Protestantism – a tradition that includes the United Methodist Church, the American Baptist Churches USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Episcopal Church, among others – appears to have experienced the greatest drop in absolute numbers."

[The Pew survey suggests Catholicism has lost 5 million members. CARA says the number is closer to 1 million. Pew also suggests that for every one person joining the Catholic Church, 6.5 leave.]

Did the changes in the liturgy that followed Vatican Two cause the decline in Protestant Church attendance? Certainly not. I am arguing that the decline has occurred across the board in almost all Christian denominations. So there has to be something other than changes in the Catholic liturgy that led to these declines.

Consider that the declines are not limited to religious denominations. "In his book, "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community," Robert D. Putnam said that attending club meetings, such as those held by Rotary and Kiwanis groups, has declined by 58 percent in the past 25 years." (Linda May, Journal Register Newspapers, 26 Dec 2012)

"Membership in the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce dropped from 140,000 in 1993 to fewer than 50,000, a 64 percent decline in 17 years. The Masonic Service Association of North America has about 1.5 million Masons in the United States, a drop from more than four million members a half a century." (Linda May, Journal Register Newspapers, 26 Dec 2012)

Frank Cunningham belongs to a Lions Clubs International district that covers Macomb and Oakland Counties. Lions clubs in Harrison, Chesterfield and West Bloomfield have closed. "Our district had 26,000 members and we are now down to 15,000," he said. "Getting younger members is a tough sell. Lions International says we have an average age in the mid- to late 60s." (Linda May, Journal Register Newspapers, 26 Dec 2012)

The declines in membership are not relegated to Catholicism or to Protestant denominations. They are across the board. We are seeing a trans-cultural phenomenon, not a religions one, and certainly not a Catholic one.

Jan, no one has ever instructed me not to talk of hell or purgatory because that might scare the children. No one has ever even suggested such.

Fr. McDonald - You are on to something when you say, "People either prefer other lesser gifts to the Gift of Faith..." I would not call the dominant cultural ethos "libertarian," but "libertine." More and more people behave "without moral principles or a sense of responsibility." Again, this is not found only in the Catholic Church, but across all denominations and, importantly, across Western cultures and societies. We have become dangerously and destructively individualistic and have chosen personal comfort or pleasure or security as the "other gift."

Jan - If your friend chose to stop going to church because he was discomforted by the Sign of Peace and other "novelties," then he is a prime example of the destructive individualistic thinking that is overwhelming us. HE didn't like it. HE thought it was novel. HE then decided to drift away. HE thought it was all about HIS preferences and dislikes, so when the mass did not meet HIS standards, HE stopped going.

George said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh:

Both you and Jan bring up good points.
I had also noticed the drop in numbers across both religious denominations and secular organizations. From your comment, I see that you have looked into this more than I have. There are those who will argue however, that the decline in Mass attendance and Catholic Church membership which is also reflected in the Protestant denominations, would not have occurred without the changes resulting from the aggiornamento coming put of Vatican II. The discussion could go on forever about whether or not the changes made were half again beyond what they should have been. It would be good if the Mass were celebrated in every parish with proper reverence, respect, and decorum in the manner which would give the proper honor to God due to Him, and more in accord with what I think Vatican II intended. I know from things told to me by others who have attended Mass in other parts of the country that this is not the case.However, Masses not celebrated as they should be will not cause me to "lose my religion" because Christ the Bridegroom will never divorce His Church. The members He may chastise from time to time, but the Church will always be His, since God is always the faithful,even when we are not. Although He respects our free will, He will act and intervene whenever He finds it necessary and at the appropriate time.

I read about study which I find fascinating by Azim F. Shariff, professor of psychology and director of the Culture and Morality Lab at the University of Oregon. The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, surveyed a sample of 143,197 people in 67 countries over a span of 26 years.The results of the study concluded that in countries where people believe in Hell and a punitive God, crime rates are lower. The study also found that a nation's rate of belief in Heaven predicts higher crime rates. However, I believe that as far as the
belief in Heaven predicting higher rates, that this has to do with the over-emphasis of Eternal reward versus the lack of emphasis or even denial of Eternal punishment. That's my take on that aspect of the study.

Anonymous said...

You make some good points too George, although I have read studies that show the decline in Catholicism has been faster than the Protestant declince since the 1960s. For example:

"PRINCETON, NJ -- According to Gallup Poll trends on church attendance among American Christians, weekly attendance among Protestants has been fairly steady over the past six decades, averaging 42% in 1955 versus 45% in the middle of the current decade. However, attendance among Roman Catholics dropped from 75% to 45% over the same period.

Most of the decline in church attendance among American Catholics occurred in the earlier decades, between 1955 and 1975; however, it continued at a rate of four percentage points a decade through the mid-1990s, and church attendance has since leveled off at 45%."

I couldn't copy the graph which shows quite plainly that in the States at least the Church has declined more rapidly since the 1960s whereas protestant adherance since the 1960s has climbed until they have become on par. You can see the graph here:

The argument has always been that if the Church goes into decline then so does society because the Catholic Church - although much maglined - has always been the measuring stick. If faith and belief declines in the Church then everywhere that is going to be found. So I don't accept Fr Kavanaugh's explanation.

Returning to Bugnini, it has been suggested that the reasons for the changes he made in the Mass were that he was a Freemason and was instructed to do that. The fact that he was a Freemason is said to have been confirmed by documentation that he - Bugnini - accidently left behind and was picked up and read. One person prepared to put their name to having been told that says:

"On the other hand, I know that there are high-ranking Vatican officials, including at least one former Cardinal Prefect of a Roman Congregation, who believe that there have been and are Freemasons in high Vatican positions. I confess my own amazement when I came to realise that such ideas (whether true or false) do not originate solely amongst "crackpot" conspiracy-theorists. Indeed it is quite widely held in Rome that the Masons themselves were responsible for circulating the absurdly long list of alleged Vatican Lodge members in 1976, precisely in order to make the whole idea look ridiculous, thereby protecting the few prelates who really were Masons. An internationally known churchman of unimpeachable integrity has also told me that he heard the account of the discovery of the evidence against Bugnini directly from the Roman priest who found it in a briefcase which Bugnini had inadvertently left in a Vatican conference room after a meeting.

Rome, Italy"

We shall never know for sure but what we can be sure of is that attendance at the Ordinary Form of the Mass is on the decline whereas the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is gaining in popularity. So to me that speaks for itself.