I used to think that the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, was “just fine” if you took it at face value, and that the problem was people ignoring it or implementing it in a one-sided or distorted manner. I used to think that a “reform of the reform” could take its bearings from Sacrosanctum Concilium strictly applied.

Two things happened to wake me up from this pleasant daydream.

The first thing was the discovery of how cleverly the reformatory impresario Annibale Bugnini steered the Sacrosanctum Concilium drafting committee prior to the Council. Employing “the Bugnini Method” (in the words of acclaimed French historian Yves Chiron, who has written the best biography on Bugnini), the Monsignor ensured that the text would never ask for too much, too fast, but would leave things vague enough to allow the extensive work of demolition and reconstruction he and his allies already had in mind. As he said to members of that committee on November 11, 1961 (this, then, prior to the opening of the Council):

Praise the Lord

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