02 April 2018

More Bugnini


I'm occasionally asked why I bang on about the pre-1911 order of things in the Church.  It's because the liturgical archaeologism which guided liturgical reform in the second half of the twentieth century didn't restore the Liturgy to some pristine, authentic, original: instead it took it further and further away from its origins until it became a creation of people with an agenda which can most charitably be described as "untraditional".

Let me offer two citations:

Prior to its modernisation in the reforms of 1970 the Easter Vigil Mass presented a number of very ancient features.  As well as the absence of any Introit, there was no Creed, no Offertory verse, no kiss of peace, no Agnus Dei and no Communion verse. Incense was carried as normal at the Gospel but no lights. The mediaeval commentators supplied allegorical interpretations for these omissions; Durandus, for example, tells us that the absence of lights at the Gospel signifies that Christ has not yet risen but lies in the tomb, and the omission of the Creed indicates the uncertainty of weak minds. The real reason is once again the operation of Baumstark's Law.  Almost all the features which were omitted in the Easter Vigil Mass had been adopted into the Roman Mass from outside sources in the period between the late fourth century and the twelfth century.  What survived in the Easter Vigil liturgy prior to 1970, therefore, represented, at least externally, the form of Mass as it was celebrated in Rome around the middle of the fourth century, modified only by a few later additions, such as the prayers said silently by the celebrant at the Offertory and before his communion, and, until 1955, the Last Gospel.
 Festa Paschalia Philip J Goddard

(The General Intercessions (Orationes Sollemnes) of Good Friday can also be dated from the late fourth century.) 
In the ecumenical climate of Vatican II, some expressions in the orations 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 18bis. In Intercession I: "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. Intercession VII was given a new title: "For Unity Among Christians" (instead of "For the Unity of the Church"). The text was changed so that it no longer referred to "heretics" and "schismatics", but to "all our brothers and sisters who share our faith in Christ.” Intercession VIII: "For the Jewish People", (instead of "For the Conversion of the Jews") was completely rewritten. Intercession IX: "For Those Who Do Not Believe in Christ" (instead of: "For the Conversion of Unbelievers") was likewise completely rewritten.
 The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 Anibale Bugnini