US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Slander from the Latin Mass crowd

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Kenneth Wolfe, a Latin Mass supporter and "traditionalist Catholic" writer, scored the brass ring by getting his shots against the liturgical reform published in the New York Times. The article is a sin against the truth and an act of slander against Annibale Bugnini, who was secretary of the Consilium, the committee charged with implementing the reforms of the liturgy after Vatican II. Wolfe trots out the usual calumny, including alleging Bugnini was a Freemason.

In addition to being historically inaccurate, it is an act of gross slander and absolutely irresponsible on the part of the NYT. Bugnini hardly made decisions by fiat, as Wolfe contends, and the line about Paul VI weeping over the having to wear green vestments instead of red on the Monday after Pentecost is hagiographical at best. Like the US women religious now being investigated, Bugnini did exactly what he was asked to do by the Council.

Also a stretch is the claim that our current pope, Benedict XVI, is a liturgist (and his predecessors weren't). The pope, it is true, is no fan of the Vatican II reform, and he has written about the liturgy. But he is not trained as a liturgist but as a dogmatic theologian, and his writings about the liturgy lack the depth of scholarship and historical awareness that mark his other writings. Benedict is no more a liturgist than his predecessor, though Wolfe grants him that title to bolster an otherwise spurious set of arguments.

As Father Robert Taft, SJ said in our December interview, the liturgical reform after Vatican II was a completely collaborative process that took years and years. Poor Bugnini is turning over in his grave. Bugnini himself wrote a really, really long book about the whole process of reform, The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1975 (Liturgical Press); another source of accurate information is A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal by Piero Marini (Liturgical Press), papal master of ceremonies under Pope John Paul II.

Kenneth Wolfe ought to be ashamed--bearing false witness being a sin, after all--along with the editorially absent New York Times.