Bugnini Collaborator: “Work of Human Hands” Defames Paul VI’s Reform

Rev. Matias Augé

MUCH TO my surprise, the first non-traditionalist writer to weigh in with a review of Work of Human Hands (albeit brief) was a liturgist who actually had a hand in creating the New Mass.

Rev. Mathias Augé, a Claretian priest and liturgical scholar, worked in the 1960s for Consilium, the Vatican agency headed by Rev. Annibale Bugnini that was charged with the task of overhauling the liturgy. Fr. Augé assisted Consilium Study Group 18b, which revised the orations — the variable prayers in the Missal that change according to the liturgical feasts and seasons.

In particular, Fr. Augé was responsible for rewriting the collects (opening prayers) for the temporal cycle of the liturgical year (the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, etc.).

In Chapter 9 of Work of Human Hands, I cite Fr. Augé’s own commentary on his work, “Le Collete del Proprio del Tempo nel Nuovo Messale” (Ephemerides Liturgicae 84 [1970], 275-98) in which he explains how the reformers sought to eliminate from the collects various concepts “of little relevance to the mentality of modern man.” These concepts, he explained, included punishment for sin, divine anger or wrath, damnation, eternal punishment, etc. — a category he and the other reformers referred to as “negative theology.”

I used his article, and that of Bugnini’s assistant, Rev. Carlo Braga CM, as a starting point for analyzing how Fr. Augé and his collaborators at Consilium applied this principle to the liturgical texts they created for the Missal of Paul VI.

I was therefore very interested to read Fr. Augé’s commentary on Work of Human Hands. It is entitled “A Polemic against the Missal of Paul VI,” and was posted on his blog, Liturgia Opus Trinitatis, on October 27, 2010:

In 1982 those who had worked on the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms with Archbishop A. Bugnini presented the bishop with a collection of studies on the reform entitled Liturgy: A Divine and Human Work. Nearly thirty years later, the Rev. Anthony Cekada has published a book critical of the Mass of Paul VI entitled Work of Human Hands. The title itself is an open polemic against the Pauline reform — as if it were nothing more than the product of human scheming.

I thank the publishers who have sent me this hefty volume of 445 pages with notes and references. I started leafing through it with interest, but I realized very quickly that the book is more than a “Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI,” as the subtitle says. It is a voluminous polemic [un voluminoso pamphlet] that aggressively defames the Pauline reform. It takes just a few examples to understand this:

“The changes made in the prayers of the Missal of Paul VI have been made to destroy Catholic doctrine” (p. 245).

“The Lectionary of the Mass of Paul VI is a gigantic fraud” (p. 274).

“The only victim offered in the new presentation of the gifts is the Catholic doctrine — a ‘living sacrifice’ to ecumenism in a rite reeking not of oblation, but of Luther and Teilhard de Chardin” (p. 304).

The title of Chapter 12 reads: “The Eucharistic Prayer: Deplorable Impoverishment” (p. 305).

The title of Chapter 13: “The Communion Rite: Impiety in Action.”

The author shows himself a true disciple of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who ordained him a priest in 1977. I thank him anyway for the four times that he deigned to mention one of my studies (in a critical way, of course). Bear in mind, though, that I do not belong to [the Masonic lodges] P2 or P3, as the author suggests when he writes of “Augé and company” (p. 222); I have my way of evaluating things, and I express it sincerely. Works like this sadden me because they show the arrogance with which some set themselves up as defenders of tradition (theirs) and teachers of doctrine in the Church of God.

In response, I posted on Fr. Augé’s blog the following comments:

Please excuse me for writing in English, rather that in your sonorous and poetic language.

First of all, the English phrase “Augé and company” is merely an American colloquialism, and did not suggest any Masonic affiliation.

I wish that Fr. Augé had not merely denounced my conclusions, but instead addressed the evidence I presented for them.

In the matter of the orations in the Missal of Paul VI, for instance, I cited several hundred passages where the language had been changed in order to eliminate references to miracles, the true Church, heresy, the merits of the saints and what Fr. Augé himself called “negative theology” — Catholic teachings that modern man finds offensive: hell, contempt for the world, punishments for sin, divine wrath, etc.

Surely the elimination of such concepts from the lex orandi [law of praying] harms Catholic doctrine.

Similar procedures were followed with the new lectionary. It was presented by the reformers as “more Scripture.” But the revisers eliminated, passed over, relocated, or made optional many verses “modern man” would find “difficult.” I provide many citations to the new lectionary to demonstrate this.

If one disputes my conclusion that the lectionary is a “gigantic fraud,” one should at least deal with my evidence.

As for “deplorable impoverishment,” the expression comes not from me, but from Mgr. Bugnini, who used it to describe the unvarying use of the Roman Canon throughout the centuries, rather than multiple Eucharistic Prayers (p. 313).

Fr. Augé (understandably) disagrees with my conclusion that the reform was a bad thing. But leaving that aside, he and others should at least give a fair hearing to my evidence that the changes in the prayers and ceremonies of the Mass introduced by Paul VI and Consilium represent a substantial theological shift for the lex orandi.

After all, even a liturgical scholar on the “progressive” side of the reform like Jesuit Father John Baldovin has stated that “the reformed liturgy does represent a radical shift in Catholic theology and piety” (p. 4). If Father Baldovin and I draw the same conclusion from the examining the new rite, perhaps there is more to my argument than just polemics.

Thank you, Father and readers, for your patience!

Those who reformed the Mass told us they were changing its “doctrinal content.” That they actually did so is verified by comparing the texts and rites of the old Mass with the new.

It is therefore unreasonable for the reformers to claim that Catholics who discover this years later and object to the results are merely engaging in “polemic.”

This entry was posted in 03 Liturgical Changes 1948–1969, 09 Revised Orations, Reviews of Work of Human Hands, WHH Chapter Topics. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Ciaran Mc Ardle
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    As usual, those in the wrong dodge specifics and resort instead to sophistry, mud-slinging and insults. Father Auge is “saddened.” I am saddened that Father Auge cannot handle the cut-and-thrust of dispassionate scholarship, without being overcome by emotion.

  2. Jacques
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    “First of all, the English phrase “Augé and company” is merely an American colloquialism, and did not suggest any Masonic affiliation.”

    I guess the reason why Fr Augé feels uncomfortable on that point bcs there was strong suspicion that Bugnini was a freemason. Probably he is aware of it?

  3. Elaine
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    As with all evil, couching a little bit of truth within it makes it more palpable. Considering the vast amount of evidence available, one, who is searching for the truth, can only discern the reformers actually did reform or transform the church into their own image. That they purposefully worked to desroy God’s one true church is unquestionable. Whether they were Mason’s or not, they had the destructive ideology of those who hate the truth, who pompously consier themselves above God, and work tirelessly to destroy humanity, especially human souls.

  4. Robby
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Well said Fr. Cekada. I dislike people who cannot counteract an argument, but then attack the author of the arguments. Very childish. May the Latin Mass soon be restored to splendor and give God His due.

  5. Posted November 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Mgr. Bugnini mentions the Masonry charge and denies it in his memoirs of the liturgical reform. Fr. Augé was certainly aware of the accusation.

  6. Bill
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    In addition to Father Cekada’s great work, every Catholic must read The Plot against the Church, by Maurice Pinay. It’s online and it’s free.

    Pinay was a pen name for a group of high-ranking archbishops and cardinals who wrote it as a fore-warning to bishops attending Vatican II.

    They claim Vatican II was called for one reason, to absolve the Jews collectively of the crime of deicide, and that Nostra Aetate was how they did it, in addition to the Council’s other false teachings.

  7. Marilyn Remmel
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Father, you have your magnum opus and no one can refute it. Thank you.

  8. digdigby
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    “In particular, Fr. Augé was responsible for rewriting the collects for the temporal cycle of the liturgical year (the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, etc.)”

    As a relatively new Catholic I have been studying, word for word accurate translations of the Collects in Latin on Father Zuhlsdorf’s blog. There is tier upon tier of splendor that reveals itself in each line. That this third rate nobody took it upon himself to REWRITE COLLECTS leaves me speechless at the arrogance.

  9. Roberto Geissmann
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I have no doubt this book from Fr. Cekada is a magnificent work. It saddens me it’s not available in the libraries in my country. It makes me angry when Modernists feel a kind of victory feeling if they call anyone “disciple” of Mgr. Lefebvre, as if Tradition and Orthodoxy were property of this great Archbishop. Nevertheless, our currente Faith crisis someday will be over, meanwhile God never dies!! Thank you Fr. Cekada for your theological labour and apostolate!!

  10. Posted November 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    It is being translated into Spanish and will be published in Argentina.

  11. Mr Richard
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    ‘Pinay was a pen name for a group of high-ranking archbishops and cardinals who wrote it as a fore-warning to bishops attending Vatican II.

    They claim Vatican II was called for one reason, to absolve the Jews collectively of the crime of deicide, and that Nostra Aetate was how they did it, in addition to the Council’s other false teachings’

    This has been deftly used by the State Department and Jews to ‘wave offering’ a legitamate silencing of all criticism against Israel from all, esp. Catholics; and to great effect has this bastardization wrought the unfettered promotion of multiple heresies inside the ‘CHURCH” ;most noticeable in the ‘white Anglo Saxon nations, with their ‘White Mans Burden’ justifying their ideology of oppression.

    Oh, how the haulocost ties into this with great precision to stiffle the opposition is masterful in a perverse sense.Wonder if Frs. John(you know-the ‘good John’ we were told by the masters of ceremony news medias)Roncalli,Paul Montini,Odi, and Cappovilla ever thought of this angle when they set in motion through ecumenism their new direction and what fruits could be expected?I’ll bet Cardinal Siri saw what these blatant wisdom of the world morons (Does charity allow for the recriminations against the unfaithful???)claim to not have seen?

  12. Toni Bartorilla
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Dear Rev. Cekada,
    Just ordered your book, and am anxious to read it. Been a Catholic all my life (65 years). Been attending the new mass for years, since these are the only type of masses offered in my area. After finding out about the heresy of Vatican 2, is it sinful of me to have attended the new mass all these years, and does receiving the Most Holy Eucharist at this type of mass have the same effect?
    God bless you,
    Toni Bartorilla

  13. Christopher Ogwogwo
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    One cannot but see how he avoids the main points and directs his attention to the irrelevant points and ‘picking and choosing’ only the quotations of Fr. Cekada from his works clearly of human hands… A feat proper to the Vatican II in their quest to push their false religion

  14. E. Jaynes
    Posted November 11, 2010 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    It seems incredible, that Fr. Mathias Augé in his rather brief and biased review of Rev. Anthony Cekada’s Work of Human Hands, would have done so with a cohesive frame of thought, particularly since he was so instrumental with some of the aforementioned changes to the Sacred Liturgy itself. That being said, was it a Pauline reform or destruction?

    All the results that came out of this so-called “reform” did nothing but destroy the true Catholic doctrine and liturgy. This book was not written to sadden nor to show arrogance to anyone, but to rather describe events as they evolved (with corroborated proof and facts) in the aftermath of Vatican II

    With all due respect, the problem it seems with Fr. Augé and others of his ilk (surviving members of the Consilium, if any, now) is that they were and are in denial. The greatest accomplishment to come out of all this as their ultimate goal iwas Montini’s New Mass. This great Protestant abomination was falsely created not only to appease the aforementioned sect, but to also elevate modern man and his age as being more important than the presence of Our Lord in the true Sacrifice of the Mass, as it had been for almost two thousand years prior to V2.

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