Rorate Caeli

The opinion of the most radical Council Father:
Freedom for the Traditional Mass

Among those Council Fathers who publicly expressed their opinion on Sacred Liturgy during the debates (First and Second Sessions) on the schema De Sacra Liturgia which led to Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), none was more radical than German-born bishop Wilhelm Josef Duschak, S.V.D., Vicar Apostolic of Calapan, in the Philippines.

He was the only bishop ever to propose, in the official Council discussions, an actual reform of the Canon of the Mass, a matter which was considered unthinkable for most Council Fathers -- even though it would be effected "ad experimentum" in many countries as soon as the Council ended, and, permanently, with the creation of the new Ordinary of the Mass, in 1969. Duschak was, thus, in the avant-garde of the most radical liturgical reformers -- the only bishop to voice openly what other bishops and especially many periti said and wrote in the Conciliar underworld:

Bishop Duschak [PDF file] from Mindoro was the first to suggest that Latin be completely eliminated from the Mass and that priests would face the people at all times; other bishops had encouraged a greater use of vernacular languages while still retaining some Latin. Duschak proposed a Missa Orbis or Mass of the World. Interviewed later, Duschak said: “I haven’t too much hope that my idea will be accepted any time soon. But, as a good Filipino, I say—paciencia!”

But even such a radical liturgical reformer as bishop Duschak displayed a demeanor towards the Traditional Latin Mass which would shame the most recalcitrant among his episcopal colleagues of our own age. As Father Ralph Wiltgen, S.V.D., the liberal-minded press coordinator for the Divine Word Missionaries' Conciliar News Service, recalled in his famous "The Rhine flows into the Tiber", regarding the memories of that first session of the Council (1962):

Bishop Duschak emphasized that he was not proposing the abolition of the existing form of the Latin Mass. He was merely proposing that an additional form or structure of the Mass be introduced.
P.S. Interestingly, Duschak also answered reporters on the demand for a new form of the Mass among the native peoples of his Vicariate:
Asked whether his proposal originated with the people whom he served, he answered, "No, I think they would oppose it, just as many bishops oppose it. But if it could be put into practice, I think they would accept it."
And so they did: the liturgical revolution, as almost all revolutions, emanated from the "Enlightened Élite" to the ignorant people...

And a most informative article in The Wall Street Journal: the Wymans and the obstacles they faced when they tried to get married the Traditional way -- in a presentaton of the "Traditionalist Question" to a wider audience.


  1. And so they did: the liturgical revolution, as almost all revolutions, emanated from the "Enlightened Élite" to the ignorant people...

    New Catholic, very well said.

  2. Our reader, Father Marc Heemels, asks me to add this comment, which I gladly do:


    Father Bugnini also was in favor of a co-existence, as is stated by the liturgist Kaczynski. But the opposition was too strong.

    Source: Kaczynski, R., (1977), Kritische Einwände gegen die Liturgiereform- Berechtigt oder nicht? In: P. Stockmeier (red.), Konflikt in der Kirche- Droht
    eine Kirchenspaltung? Düsseldorf: Patmos Verlag, page 68.

    As R.Kaczynski says: “die harte Linie setzte sich durch, wie ich persönlich meine, mit Recht.”

  3. Bugnini "in favor" ?
    It is I think going too far. Bugnini presented a draft between 1970 and 1974 - if I remember well - where the principle of allowing the use of the trad. Roman missal was asserted. During the discussion at the Congregation for Divine Worship, this proposal was overwhelmingly rejected.
    Now Bugnini in his "apologia pro reforma sua" did not give any details on this proposal curiously :
    - was he "forced" to make this suggestion for ex. by pope Paul VI ?
    - as a manipulating master, he could have spoken before the plenaria against this disposition. Several sources, some not yet edited but reliable, are documenting the constant manipulations, maneuvers, twisted ways of Abp Bugnini. According to Fr. Gy op, Bugnini was disgraced after one of these manipulations was uncovered by Abp Benelli to the pope. So the double-triple faced Bugnini was capable of playing several roles at the same time. Several faces but always one single goal : destroying TLM and the Catholic liturgical doctrine.
    - there was also a project of keeping a quasi TLM for the contemplative religious orders like the Benedictines. Solesmes, Fontgombault and other monasteries were working on that until it was shunned in 1974.

    I am personally more than dubious with a "tolerant" Bugnini. It is documented he tried to veto the 1971 indult granted by Paul VI to cardinal Heenan. He then added a letter, a true Bugnini motu proprio, to restrict as much as possible this English-Welsh indult. This official letter was aiming at a smooth extinction of this indult.
    Why would Bugnini be different for England and for the rest of the world ? it doesn't make sense.
    Besides who are opposing today any freedom for TLM ? basically the disciples of Bugnini. Are they all "traitors" to their (regrettable and infamous) master ?
    Have a look on what Kaczynski wrote in the Vatican II history by Alberigo...

    However thanks to Fr. Heemels to remind us all, especially some mitred heads, this proposal of CDW under Paul VI. Something CDW under Benedict XVI has apparently forgotten.

  4. The emineny liturgist Louis Bouyer tells of a meeting of the post conciliar committee to reform the breviary.Bugnini told them that Pope Paul wanted the curse psalms ("may they dash thy children against a stone"etc) dropped even though Jesus has prayed them.Reluctantly they followed the papal wishes.When the liturgical reform was completed Pope Paul had a private audience with Bouyer.The Pope congratulted Bouyer for his work but especially on the Liturgy of the Hours.Then Pope paul said"I was disappointed that you decided to drop the curse psalms.I wanted them kept because our Lord prayed them." Surprised by this statement Fr.Bouyer then told His Holiness that they were going to keep them until Bugnini told the Pope wanted them dropped.Bouyer,no fan of Bugnini,said that Pope Paul stood there stunned.

  5. "And so they did: the liturgical revolution, as almost all revolutions, emanated from the "Enlightened Élite" to the ignorant people..."

    That is very true. There are plenty of cases here in South America, of indians rejecting the New "indian" Mass with all the "inculturation" and liturgical abuses of the "indian theology" of many PHDs in Anthropology disguised as priests.

    The simple people of the Andean region loved --and still love- the Old Mass.

  6. Our reader, Father Marc Heemels, asks me to add the following comment, which I gladly do:


    Archbishop Bugnini’s thoughts about an indult.

    We all know about the long and difficult history of the Indult, starting with old priests being allowed to celebrate the 1965 (!) Ordo Missae (however with the corrections made by Tres abhinc annos, 1967). Then there was the so called Agatha Christi indult of 1971, allowing English and Welsh priests to use the same 1965 missal.

    What was father Bugnini’s opinion to this? According to himself, Pope Paul VI and the Congregation for Divine Worship seemed to be inclined towards giving an indult, probably under strict circumstances.

    However, Bugnini blames the intolerant "attacks" of the traditionalists to be the main reason for not granting this, being a danger to the reform.

    The liturgist Kaczynski, himself a hardliner, has stated [Kaczynski, R., (1977), Kritische Einwände gegen die Liturgiereform- Berechtigt oder nicht? In: P. Stockmeier (red.), Konflikt in der Kirche - Droht eine
    Kirchenspaltung? Düsseldorf: Patmos Verlag, page 68] that Bugnini was one of only two members of the CDW in favor of an indult. This was then rejected by the majority.

    Contrary to this, already in 1972 permission was given by the CDW to a French school to celebrate once according to the Tridentine rite:
    “quaestionem proponendam esse Ordinarii Dioecesano, qui pro sua prudentia pastorali iudicabit an opportunum sit concedere celebrationem unius sanctae missae iuxta missale romanum non instauratum, remoto quovis periculo dissentionis et turbationis in communitate fidelium” (Notitiae 9 (1973), p.48). Unfortunately, in 1974 this permission was denied again.

    The discussion about the indult is an old one, and it is about time to finally put it to an end.

    Father Marc

  7. I wonder what was the position of Paul VI during all of this upheaval of the liturgy reform in 1960s. I am sure he must have had deep discussions with member of the curia about the position to take during this period. In all, he is responsible for what happened during this time. AMDG.

  8. Fr.Brian Harrison writes that one of Pope Paul's closest friends,philosopher Jean Guitton,said emphatically several times."I can only repeat that Paul VI did all that he could to bring the Catholic Mass away from the tradition of the Council of Trent towards the Protestant Lord's Supper"..These remarks were broadcast,a transcript of which was published in Latin Mass magazine.If Guittons statements are accurate then Pope Paul definitely violated the will and the intent of the Council.

  9. It is clear that Paul VI went away from what the council prescribed in many areas. It is incomprehensible to understand the reasons for this. How did he justify his actions to members of the curia and other cardinals and bishops? because I am sure that there must have been discussions about this departure from the council's teachings. It is all a great mistery which is incomprehensible to any honest person. Why did he do this?

  10. Sacerdos15- Do you have a source for that Louis Bouyer story?

    Reading Bugnini's "Apologia pro reforma sua," I definitely got the impression that he was either gravely ignorant or gravely malicious toward traditionalists. He built his career on criticizing the "old" Mass.

    Like Alsaticus, I find it very hard to believe that he supported a universal indult/co-existence.

  11. Louis Bouyer told that story to several people both in private and when teaching at Mt.St.Mary's seminary and at CUA and later the Ignatius Institute.I heard it from him when we discussed his coming to the graduate school that I ran at the time. As you may know he felt betrayed by the NO.When he said mass he would often sit in the front pew for the first part of the mass because he so disliked the "presidential chair" and the front pew seemed similar to a sedilia.

  12. I once heard a theology professor tell the story of when he picked up Fr. Bouyer from the airport. This professor's wife stuck him with his two year old son, who proceeded to scream and cry the entire duration of the hour long drive between the airport and the university. At the conclusion of the drive, Fr. Bouyer said to this embarrassed theology professor, "St. Augustine certainly did not have your son in mind when he argued against re-baptism."

    This has no relevance to this discussion, other than being my own favorite Louis Bouyer story.

  13. with peter, good story :)

  14. The memoirs of Fr. Louis Bouyer will be normally edited. If the original text is respected, the tricks of the infamous Annibale Bugnini will be partly exposed in their darkest colours.
    And alas, Bouyer was so upset by the results and procedure of the "Consilium", the special commission that has manufactured the Novus Ordo Missae, he is not relating as much as we would like to know. It was too painful for him.
    The delicate word he used to qualify NOM is "avorton" (I cannot find the proper translation for something close to total misfit with a special derogative touch).
    His portrait of Abp Bugnini is also very lively : (Lercaro) "was unable to resist to the maneuvers of the smooth-tongued scoundrel, that the Vincentian from Naples quickly proved to be, a man deprived from knowledge as well as basic honesty whose name was Bugnini."

    Last year, the now archbishop of Toulouse, Robert Le Gal, president of French bishop committee on Liturgy and staunched advocate of Novus Ordo,delivered a speech in praise of the great liturgist as an unforgettable father of the glorious Liturgical "renewal" given to us by this 8th world marvel, NOM ...
    I would have been there to meditate this speech: from heaven, the roaring laughter of Louis Bouyer must have been heard !

  15. At the same time, it seems worth recalling that Fr. Bouyer was one of 149 consulters appointed to the Consilium. Reading Bouyer's 1966 book on the Eucharist – Eucharistie: theologie et spiritualite de la priere eucharistique, translated into English by Charles Quinn – one certainly sees his high hopes and general support for the reform. To be frank, much of what he says in this book would disturb traditionalists. He defends the displacement of “mysterium fidei” from the words of consecration and trumpets the addition of the three new Eucharistic Prayers.

    His view of the ecumenical impact of the liturgical reform is also, well, idealistic. He may have been gravely disappointed by the final result of the liturgical reform, but I don't think he was a traditionalist.

  16. He was not a Traditionalist; yet he had common sense.


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