S A GOOD HISTORIAN who knows how to weigh both sides and reach a balanced judgment, why did you not mention the millions and hundreds of millions of the faithful who have at last achieved worship in spirit and in truth? Who can at last pray to God in their own languages and not in meaningless sounds, and are happy that henceforth they know what they are saying? Are they not “the Church?”
As for the “bond of unity”: Do you believe the Church has no other ways of securing unity? Do you believe there is a deep and heartfelt unity amid lack of understanding, ignorance, and the “dark of night” of a worship that lacks a face and light, at least for those out in the nave? Do you not think that a priestly pastor must seek and foster the unity of his flock—and thereby of the universal flock—through a living faith that is fed by the rites and finds expression in song, in communion of minds, in love that animates the Eucharist, in conscious participation, and in entrance into the mystery? Unity of language is superficial and fictitious; the other kind of unity is vital and profound … Here in the Consilium we are not working for museums and archives, but for the spiritual life of the people of God … The present renewal of the Church is serious, solid, thoroughgoing, and safe [Bugnini’s italics] even if it also brings suffering and opposition … Do you not think, Professor, that historians too ought to search historical events and discover signs of God in them?
What’s even more troubling than Bugnini’s polemical and bitter tone is the substance. For example, consider his bizarre assertion that Catholics could not worship God for almost 1600 years. Furthermore, he claims not to be working for “for museums and archives,” yet a major goal of his was returning to a more “pristine” age of the Church and the elimination of “accretions” that developed over many centuries.
As time goes on, I hope to speak about this quotation, but I must be careful. You see, there’s tons more stuff like this in Bugnini’s book, and providing a full critique would take centuries…