I once wrote an article for Rorate Caeli entitled “Conservative Fragility.” I have noticed in recent weeks the extent to which conservative Catholics are sounding jittery, short-tempered, dismissive, and intolerant towards traditionally-minded Catholics who refuse to embrace the papally-bestowed role of scapegoat for the abrogation of Summorum Pontificum.
One such person in particular—no need for a name, since my point is not about a name but a phenomenon—heatedly makes fun of anyone who mentions that Bugnini probably or certainly was a Freemason, mockingly referring to “Viganò’s flying monkeys” and other such sarcastic turns of phrase. In fact, he betrays nothing but insouciance about Freemasonry, as if it is a topic unworthy of a moment’s serious consideration, to be put on the shelf next to self-published apocalyptic ravings or unauthorized private revelations.
Not long ago, I was in Mexico, visiting the sites of one martyr after another who was killed by real, live, card-carrying Freemasons. The Catholic parts of Europe and South America bear plentiful scars from the persecution and secularization driven by this sect. And when Paul VI, sensing something desperately wrong at the Vatican, hand-picked Cardinal Gagnon to investigate the curia for its possible entanglements, Gagnon discovered a buzzing hive of activity. At the time Yves Chiron published his excellent biography in 2016 (brought out in English in 2018 by John Pepino), he had concluded that there was no definitive evidence of Bugnini’s membership in this philosophical sect. Thanks to Fr. Brian Harrison and Fr. Charles Murr, however, we have access today to better information about Bugnini’s connection with Freemasonry than ever before.