Jesus, The Beatnik

From Father Ray Blake’s blog:

I can’t help thinking of Abp Annibale Bugnini writing the Missal of Paul VI and composing the present Lectionary through a haze of whatever was smoked in 60s. Maybe I am being unfair and he didn’t smoke anything but the Pauline Lectionary has a decided 60s feel to it. The image of God, of Jesus is not organic, it has the feel of one particular period in history, to me it is decidedly Beatnik to early Hippie. If it hadn’t been compiled after two World Wars and the Holocaust it would probably have been quite different, if Bugnini or Paul VI had been different types of men the image of God presented to us would be quite different. Because fundamentally it is their image of God, it is not the image that St Thomas Becket, St Francis, St John of the Cross, St John Vianney, or Padre Pio met every day at the altar.


The OF Lectionary presents us with a new theology; the ancient Lectionary formed the theology of the Church, it was an unchanging ‘given’. What Bugnini produced was very much the product of the Council and 20th century theology. It comes from the same school that applied the scalpel to excise the cursing psalm, that separated that bit about eating and drinking one’s own condemnation from the Epistle for Corpus Christi and so many other bits and pieces that they were uncomfortable with, that simply did not reflect the theological fashion of the time.

Yes, we now have a lot more scripture but it is carefully selected, carefully edited and from a very particular time in Church history and produced by very strange men indeed, some of whom were quite unsaintly, who had their own image of God they wanted to impose on the Church.

These excellent words reflect in a very beautiful way the problem of modern Liturgy concerning the way it transmits the Faith. It does it confusedly, wrongly, and one-sidedly.

There was a time – in the first years of comparing the Traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo – in which I thought the vastly more extensive readings of the latter would be an advantage compared with the older form.

Only slowly I have come to the conclusion that a deformed tree can never have straight branches, and what at first sight might seem good turns out after a more attentive examination to be faulty.

Yes, there are more scriptures in the Novus Ordo. But the faithful sitting in the old pews knew the doctrine much better, had a much better grasp of the Scriptures in what really counts – that is: the ordering of their own and their loved’ lives – and had less Scripture at Mass simply because the Gospel and the other readings were not there to teach the faithful what the Scripture says, but to drive home a point in a short, forceful way.

Some readings of the Tridentine Mass are just a few lines. But those few lines drive a spear through your heart. It is a lightning, not a school lesson.

For now more than forty years, one and a half generation of faithful have been served the extensive Mass readings of the Novus Ordo, but their knowledge of the very basic truths of Catholicism is so dismal that illiterate peasants of, say, France circa 1850 would shame them day in and day out. Those simple people probably didn’t have any meaningful or extensive knowledge of the Old Testament, but they knew perfectly well about life and death, heaven and hell, sin and repentance, rebellion and obedience, normality and perversion, morality and scandal. I am absolutely sure when they died they had a better hand of cards than many cafeteria Catholics of today; and mind, it is not that they weren’t sinful, either.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. Again, if the tree is bad the fruits will not be good, and if the liturgy is disfigured it is only a matter of time until the faith of the pewsitter is disfigured, too.

Very probably, neither Father Blake nor your humble correspondent will ever know whatever Bugnini & Co. smoked, but I suspect that in the mixture there must have been a good dose of accommodation, arrogance, irreligiousness, or outright faithlessness.


Posted on August 24, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. I’m getting to like that Fr. Blake more and more these days. For awhile, I confess, I didn’t visit his blog mainly because he is highly thought of by Fr. Z (not one of my favorites). But I think I’ve been wrong about him being a basic NO priest and obviously wrong once again to besmirch Fr. Z (oops). Thanks for posting this.

    • I do not agree with all he writes; by far not.
      But Father Blake has a bluntness of expression that I do not find in any other priest’s blog.

      Just for the sake of clarity, I read often and always enjoy Father Z’s blog too, but cannot avoid thinking the “reading Francis through Benedict” thing has gone down in flames already, and will become increasingly more unreal as time goes by and Francis feels increasingly more “comfortable” in his role.

      Some of his commenters are very amusing, as they represent that degree of extreme Pollyann-ing I have already written about. Others – a minority – are brutally blunt and extremely conservative, and would find this blog of some use.

      I calculate Fr Z has at least 12-13 times my readership; possibly 5 to 10% of them is aligned to this blog, the others are on varying degrees of Neo-con attitude.


  2. Do you know of an online traditional lectionary?

    • Not as such, but if you click on the Online Breviary page you see above you will find the link to the wonderful site “Divinum Officium”.

      On the “Sancta Missa” section you will find the readings of the day.

      I hope this helps.


  3. The Paul VI “smoke” quote is commonly cited, especially by the traditional writers. However, I find it hard to believe that it is being used in it’s proper context. If anything, one would suspect taht PVI was using it to counter the resistance to changing over to the new Bugninian rite. If anyone knows the provenance of this quote, I would be happy to here what it was.

    • As far as I remember, he was referring to strides and disagreement within the Church, noting the “Spring” was proving rather cold. He was not attacking the reformers per se.

    • The link doesn’t work, at least for me. I remember the 29 June 1972, this is also mentioned in “iota unum”.


  4. I know it is futile to wish this, but I do wish that men would stop blaming Bugnini for the revolutionary rite. It was Pope Paul who was responsible for it and this can easily be understood by just reading Fr Cekada’s, Work of human hands

    Of course The Bug Man is a much safer target for then the one attributing to the Bug Man the execrable calvinist rite is unburdened of the unease in identifying the Poe as the revolutionary rebel for that is a thought too consequential to entertain.

  5. On the same lever ,there is a little dutch boy going in behind the clockface at the same time as this little dutch girl comes out.
    The faith of the pewsitter should come from home:
    Have you read Fr Ray’s earlier post about the faith being passed on by an illiterate grandmother? And how catequesis was taken out of the faithfuls’ hands in the same period, clericalized .And said without a sneer, “the rosary is the poor man’s gospel.” Stained glass windows are beautiful-and devotional.and catequetical.
    The mass remains.
    If one should come to the faith from aquaintance with Holy writ, praise the Lord! But – I may be very wrong about this – as a propostion,isolated, it seems a tad protestant. Sure, eg , St Teresa of Avila , shows a an easy aquaintance with scripture and an expectation that her readers might too which seems un posttridentine, we don’t want to leave it to the protestants, but the catholic thing has been I think that one came TO holy writ FROM faith, (which, yeah, very in favour of) Same thing , only different.

  6. I know it is futile to wish this, but I do wish that men would stop blaming Bugnini for the revolutionary rite. It was Pope Paul who was responsible for it and this can easily be understood by just reading Fr Cekada’s, Work of Human Hands

    Of course the Bug Man is a much safer target than the one who is responsible for the calvinist service, Pope Paul VI.

    Attacking safe targets is easy for there can be real consequences that result from identifying a Pope as the revolutionary rebel responsible for that risible rite.

    • Perhaps a more accurate reading of the events is that Bugnini was the spearhead of groupd Paul VI did not have the guts to stop. It is normal in this kind of events that certain men be particularly motivated in their “revolutionary” work, and others simply not motivated enough to stop them.

      Please enlighten me: is Fr Cekada a Sedevacantist or a Traditionalist of the SSPX kind?


    • I think the below post (Part 6) provides the most probable explanation of the Montini/Bugnini relationship.

    • I agree, and found the article an excellent contribution. We can’t call Pope Paul VI out, but I think it’s fair to say Bugnini was the main propeller in a shaft drive set up by the Pope.


  7. Dear Mundabor. Fr Cekada is a highly-intelligent sede but his book is incredibly well documented in support of his arguments against the revolutionary rite.

    It really is a must read so you can disabuse yourself of some of the hoariest myths in the Traditional world; that Paul was a reluctant participant in the Bug Man’s machinations when, in fact, he was pals with the Bug Man since the 1950s and it was Montini that named him to Concilium where he could implement his architecture of destruction.

    Montini was not at all reluctant – he was four square in support of this crummy calvinist supper

    • I am not persuaded by the argument, or by he attitude.

      It is an intrinsic element of Sedevacantism to want to put Popes in the worst possible light, simply in order to try to demonstrate they are not legitimate Pope.

      If this is so – and it must be so – every kind of “documentation” will always be one-sided and one-eyed.


  8. Father Cekada is a Sedevacantist.

    • I do not think Sedevacantism, however intelligent his proposers, should be taken seriously.
      In Italy we say that he who goes with the lame learns to limp (how wonderfully politically incorrect, by the way…). I use Sedevacantist sites as a source of info, and find some of them rather humorous. But if one wants to critically examine the Papacy after V II, the worst he can do is to do so from sources who maintain there is no papacy.


  9. Mundabor, I must agree with vermontcrank. “Work of Human Hands” is not focused on any one pope. There were some real eye-openers. For instance (and just one of many): one of the neo-con liturgical heroes is/was Fr. Louis Bouyer. When you finish reading the expose of his views and his responsibility for the dismantling of the Roman Rite you’ll see just how much propaganda to which we’ve been exposed.

    Believe me when I say I’ve had more than one duel with sedes. But to dismiss this book would leave serious lacunae in your understanding of the liturgical revolution.

    • I am not dismissing any book in particular.
      My problem is with the ideology, and the mentality.
      Sedevacantist books serve the Sedevacantist ideology.

  10. I don’t know how it is you leaped from Work of Human Hands, an extremely well documented …Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI,an analysis of that Mass, to a conclusion that Fr. Cekada can’t be trusted vis a vis Pope Paul VI without ever having read his book.

    The book is not an argument about sedevacantism but, rather, about just what the title indicates.

    While I disagree with Fr Cekada’s conclusion – that the Revolutionary Rite is invalid – what he documents is of invaluable worth to Traditionalists and you are the first Traditionalist who I have read who dismisses his book without having even read it.

    C’est la vie.

    • See the other answer.
      More in general, though, I disagree with the idea books couldn’t be dismissed before reading them.
      I hope you have not read Das Kapital, or think One should read it to criticise it.

    • P.s. I didn’t leap.
      You mentioned Cekada.
      I asked whether he is a Sedevacantist.
      You and others answered yes, he is.
      I warned from Sedevacantist sources, because they have an obvious bias.
      No leap whatever.


  11. Practicing a bit of “chawity”, I think it’s fair to say that Fr. Cekada and that group’s position is that the post John XXIII popes have lost their legitimacy by promulgating dogma that previous popes/councils taught as heresies (Think: JPII at Assisi v the First Commandment). Personally, I am not in a position to assess their claims, “so time goes to the runner”. On the back side of holding a sedevacantist position, the danger is that “all hands” (able hands, that is) are not on deck for the battle raging against the prince of darkness. And that’s the tragic bit.

    • I *am* in a position to assess their claim, and consider it very dangerous for anyone to say he isn’t.

      Let us also not forget that those who share sedevacantism deny Peter. I am unable to dismiss this as something as trivial as “not having all hands on deck”.

      Ubi Petrus, Ibi Ecclesia. And let even Petrus be as bad as Francis, the principle holds true, period.

      I notice here the Church during her history has known worse people than Francis, or at least people as bad as him.


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