There was some discussion on our blog the other day on the origins of the forming of the ‘New Mass’ (Novus Ordo) that was to replace the ‘Traditional Latin Mass’ after the Second Vatican Council. This, below, is a statement from Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre at his absolute horror at witnessing the ‘Mass of the Ages’ being all but sidelined (although never officially, of course), whilst a group of Protestant ‘advisors’, together with Fr (later Archbishop) Annibale Bugnini*, with the help of a group of Protestant (!!) ministers, put together a ‘modernised’, shorter type of Mass in the vernacular.
Archbishop Lefebvre, Montreal, 1982:
“I had the occasion to see for myself what influence Fr. Bugnini had. One wonders how such a thing as this could have happened at Rome.
At that time immediately after the Council, I was Superior General of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost and we had a meeting of the Superiors General at Rome. We had asked Fr. Bugnini explain to us what his New Mass was, for this was not at all a small event. Immediately after the Council we heard of the Normative Mass, the New Mass, the Novus Ordo. What did all this mean? It had not been spoken of at the Council. What had happened? And so we asked Fr. Bugnini to come and explain himself to the 84 Superiors General who were united together, amongst whom I consequently was.
Fr. Bugnini, with much confidence, explained what the Normative Mass would be; this will be changed, that will be changed and we will put in place another Offertory. We will be able to reduce the communion prayers. We will be able to have several different formats for the beginning of Mass. We will be able to say the Mass in the vernacular tongue.
We looked at one another saying to ourselves: “But it’s not possible!” He spoke absolutely, as if there had never been a Mass in the Church before him. He spoke of his Normative Mass as of a new invention. Personally I was myself so stunned that I remained mute, although I generally speak freely when it is a question of opposing those with whom I am not in agreement. I could not utter a word. How could it be possible for this man before me to be entrusted with the entire reform of the Catholic Liturgy, the entire reform of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of the sacraments, of the Breviary, and of all our prayers? Where are we going? Where is the Church going?
Two Superiors General had the courage to speak out. One of them asked Fr. Bugnini: “Is this an active participation, that is a bodily participation, that is to say with vocal prayers, or is it a spiritual participation? In any case you have so much spoken of the participation of the faithful that it seems you can no longer justify Mass celebrated without the faithful. Your entire Mass has been fabricated around the participation of the faithful. We Benedictines celebrate our Masses without the assistance of the faithful. Does this mean that we must discontinue our private Masses, since we do not have faithful to participate in them?”
I repeat to you exactly that which Fr. Bugnini said. I have it still in my ears, so much did it strike me: “To speak truthfully we didn’t think of that,” he said!
Afterwards another arose and said: “Reverend Father, you have said that we will suppress this and we will suppress that, that we will replace this thing by that and always by shorter prayers. I have the impression that your new Mass could be said in ten or twelve minutes or at the most a quarter of an hour. This is not reasonable. This is not respectful towards such an act of the Church.”
Well, this is what he replied: “We can always add something.”
Is this for real? I heard it myself. If somebody had told me the story I would perhaps have doubted it, but I heard it myself.”
“I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy..“ – (Pope Benedict XVI).
*In ‘Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II‘, English Catholic writer Michael Davies asserts that Bugnini’s Masonic connections were behind his Modernist liturgical reforms, and that the discovery of his Masonic affiliation prompted his sudden transfer by Pope Paul VI from his post in the Roman Curia to that of Papal Nuncio to Iran. Davies further asserted that an unnamed Cardinal told him in the summer of 1975 that a “dossier” proving him to be a Freemason had been brought to the Pope’s desk.