Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Part 2 of the NLM Interview with Dom Alcuin Reid

The 'Consilium ad Exsequendam' at 50 - An Interview with Dom Alcuin Reid (Part 2)

NLM: Were there any persons who, in your opinion, should or should not have been included on the committee? If so, why?

Dom Alcuin: Eleven pages of an appendix to Archbishop Bugnini’s memoirs, The Reform of the Liturgy (Liturgical Press), lists the personnel. Many of these had been involved in the commission for liturgical reform of Pius XII, the preparatory liturgical commission or the conciliar liturgical commission. Names such as Jungmann, Gy, Botte, Martimort, Righetti, feature rightly enough amongst the consultors. Interestingly Louis Bouyer was only included in 1966. Antonelli was one of the members; Bishop Jenny also. And there were bishop members from around the world who were regarded as having shown interest in the liturgy at the Council.

And a reference to Fr. Bouyer's memoirs:
NLM: During and after the Council, there was a great deal of talk in the Church about “collegiality” between the Pope and the bishops. Sacrosanctum Concilium itself says in no. 25 that “(t)he liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from various parts of the world.” Were the bishops consulted by the Consilium? If so, to what extent? Were the reforms carried out as an act of collegiality between the Pope and the world-wide episcopate?

Dom Alcuin: Certainly there were bishops from dioceses across the world on the Consilium. And some schemas were sent to Bishops Conferences before the 1967 Synod of Bishops. But it is simply not true to assert that “every suggested adaptation, change, or modification was sent out to every Catholic bishop in the world” and that “when changes were severely questioned or opposed by a large number of bishops, they were revised according to the will of the bishops and then sent back again.” (Robert Taft SJ, Interview, 4 Nov. 2009) Bugnini describes the relationship with the world’s bishops in chapter 14 of his memoirs—and it is a very different account from Father Taft’s. The Consilium had ongoing contact with the Episcopal conferences, certainly, but one only has to read Cardinal Heenan’s letters to see how a residential Archbishop regarded the reform as something imposed by ‘Rome’ regardless of local bishops’ views (cf. A Bitter Trial, Ignatius Press).

Msgr Martimort, the Relator (co-ordinator of the working group) for the reform of the Liturgy of the Hours, explained to me in an interview that after consultation with experts he presented two position papers to the Consilium plenary meeting, which decided on which to follow and on appropriate revisions. After this, Martimort complained vigorously, Bugnini ignored these decisions and himself proposed another course to Paul VI—which was the one adopted. This ‘Paul VI approves what Bugnini-wants’ is a significant factor in the postconciliar reform, a fact underlined also by details recounted in the memoirs of Louis Bouyer, still sadly unpublished.

So too in 1969, the by-then Archbishop Jenny wrote to Paul VI because he believed he had “a duty in conscience” to utter “a cry of alarm” about “the liturgy in general and the divine office in particular” because of influences outside of the Consilium and outside of its normal working methods. Co-operation within the Consilium itself was questionable!