HAVE BEEN re-reading Bugnini’s Reform of the Liturgy. I’m sorry to say it is not a good book. Bugnini comes across as incredibly arrogant and intransigent. It is one of the most polemical books I’ve ever read, and Bugnini does not attempt to hide his contempt for anyone who dared to question his way of thinking.
Susan Benofy wrote an article everyone should read, wherein she explains how the Graduale Simplex was a key player in promoting the (eventual) replacement of 99% of the Mass Propers 99% of the time. Bugnini talks about the Graduale Simplex at length, admitting he does not value highly the Propers: what matters for him are the “prayers and readings.”
At one point, he enters into a kind Fantasy World, going on and on about the amazing popularity of the Graduale Simplex. He claims that people across the globe were enamored with it and clamoring for its immediate promotion throughout the Church. He even goes so far as to declare that many Conferences made vernacular translations of the Graduale Simplex (around the year 1967) and were using it with great success in countries everywhere.
Reading passages in Bugnini’s book, it seems as though he lived in an alternate reality. Much of what he claims simply never happened. It’s nonsense, patently false. Some of it is actual defamation, and it’s a good thing he moved to Iran in 1976 (where criminal prosecution was unlikely). I’m reminded of my years as a high school teacher. There were always 5-6 parents who had too much time on their hands, and they pestered the administration for changes. Invariably, we teachers would receive a memo beginning with the words, “It has come to our attention that the parents greatly desire such-and-such.” We all knew what “the parents” meant. [Hint: it did not mean a majority of the parents at the school.]
The problem is, as Susan Benofy describes, that’s all water under the bridge, because the damage has been done. Archbishop Bugnini was able to persuade the Pope (on so many occasions) that “the people desire this” or “our priests want that” or “many young people desire such-and-such.”
This illustrates a familiar (and highly effective) technique used by those who pushed for radical implementation of the reform. A practice, often one which had been explicitly rejected for general use, would be requested for “pastoral” reasons for a particular situation. Once permission was granted, liturgists would employ the innovation in other situations. Then its “widespread use” becomes an argument for general approval. [source]
GETTING BACK TO MY EARLIER POINT, if one reads “between the lines” in the 1975 edition of the GIRM, one can see the influence of the Graduale Simplex, reinforcing the idea that it’s OK to replace the Mass Propers with alternate texts/music. Susan Benofy and Archbishop Bugnini are in agreement on this point. The promotion of the Simple Gradual helped bring about the demise of the Proprium Missae. It’s a shame, too, since the Propers had been preserved for so many centuries (at such great cost) and the Second Vatican Council wanted to bring them to greater prominence.
1975 General Instruction of the Roman Missal
25. After the people have assembled, the entrance song begins as the priest and the ministers come in. The purpose of this song is to open the celebration, intensify the unity of the gathered people, lead their thoughts to the mystery of the season or feast, and accompany the procession of priest and ministers.
26. The entrance song is sung alternately either by the choir and the congregation or by the cantor and the congregation; or it is sung entirely by the congregation or by the choir alone. The antiphon and psalm of the “Graduale Romanum” or “The Simple Gradual” may be used, or another song that is suited to this part of the Mass, the day, or the seasons and that has a text approved by the conference of bishops. If there is no singing for the entrance, the antiphon in the Missal is recited either by the faithful, by some of them, or by a reader; otherwise it is recited by the priest after the greeting. [source]
1975 “American Adaptation” to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal
26. ENTRANCE SONG
As a further alternative to the singing of the entrance antiphon and psalm of the “Roman Gradual” (Missal) or of the “Simple Gradual,” the Conference of Bishops has approved the use of other collections of psalms and antiphons in English, as supplements to the “Simple Gradual,” including psalms arranged in responsorial form, metrical and similar versions of psalms, provided they are used in accordance with the principles of the “Simple Gradual” and are selected in harmony with the liturgical season, feast or occasion (decree confirmed by the Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, December 17, 1968).
With regard to texts of other sacred songs from the psalter that may be used as the entrance song, the following criterion was adopted by the Conference of Bishops in November, 1969:
The entrance rite should create an atmosphere of celebration. It serves the function of putting the assembly in the proper frame of mind for listening to the word of God. It helps people to become conscious of themselves as a worshipping community. The choice of texts for the entrance song should not conflict with these purposes.
In general, during the most important seasons of the Church year, Eastertime, Lent, Christmas and Advent, it is preferable that most songs used at the entrance be seasonal in nature.
There are thus four options for the entrance song:
1. the entrance antiphon and psalm of the “Roman Gradual”;
2. the entrance antiphon and psalm of the “Simple Gradual”;
3. song from other collections of psalms and antiphons;
4. other sacred song chosen in accord with the above criterion.
The same options exist for the sacred song at the offertory and Communion, but not for the chants between the readings (below).
Only if none of the above alternatives is employed and there is no entrance song, is the antiphon in the Missal recited. [source]