VERYONE SHOULD OWN a copy of The Development of the Liturgical Reform: As Seen by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli from 1948 to 1970, by Nicola Giampietro. Cardinal Antonelli served as peritus (“expert”) during the Second Vatican Council. In 1965, he was appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He is generally regarded as one of the most reliable witnesses of the Council proceedings.
The following paragraphs were written by Cardinal Antonelli about Bugnini’s Consilium on 23 April 1967:
1.) There is no denying that colossal work has been done.
2.) There is a lack, however, of that kind of organization which favors mature judgment. Move on, move on, get it out. Schemata are multiplied without ever arriving at a considered form.
3.) The system of discussion is bad:
a. There are 50 Fathers: sometimes they do not all come, but there are always at least 30. Few have any specific competence. In itself, it would be difficult to conduct a discussion involving so many people;
b. Often the schemata arrive just before the discussions. Sometimes, and in important matters, such as the new anaphoras, the schema was distributed the evening before the discussion was to take place;
c. Cardinal Lercaro is not the man to direct a discussion. Father Bugnini has only one interest: press ahead and finish.
4.) The voting system is worse. It is ordinarily done by a show of hands, but nobody counts who has raised a hand and who has not. Nobody says “so many approved” and “so many said no.” It is disgraceful. Although the question has been asked several times, nobody has succeeded in ascertaining whether the necessary majority must be absolute or two thirds of the votes. Voting by scheda only takes place at the request of the Fathers. The scheda are subsequently examined by those from the Secretariat.
5.) A further grave lacuna is the absence of any minutes of the meetings. There certainly has been no reference to them and they certainly have never been read.
Cardinal Antonelli’s written comments (19 April 1967)
It is clear that Paul VI closely followed the work of this Consilium. I well remember that Paul VI personally intervened at one of the meetings of this Consilium (that of April 19, 1967). The fact struck me that Paul VI, speaking of the course taken by the implementation of the liturgical reform, declared that he had been hurt by certain arbitrary liturgical experiments and pained by a certain tendency to de-sacralize the liturgy. He re-confirmed his confidence in the Consilium, however. The Pope did not seem to realize that all the difficulties had been created by the manner in which the reform was interpreted by the Consilium.