50 years ago today: BUGNINICARE!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

50 years.


I went back into the archives of the blog to find my post about…



(Socialized Worship)

Taking his cue from post-war European national health care programs, Annibale Bugnini, assisted by a small circle of spiritual-care specialists and church policy makers, spearheaded a massive overhaul of the Catholic Church’s spiritual care system in the 1960s. The centerpiece of “Bugninicare” was a program known as Novus Ordo, so-called because it introduced a New Order into the regulation of the Church’s worship. The NO regulations were aimed at extending spiritual-care benefits to those for whom active participation was previously thought to be inaccessible. Bugninicare guaranteed that barriers to full participation were removed, thus permitting access to spiritual care on the part of ordinary believers. Bugnini and his consultants were convinced that the costs their programs would exact would not be excessive.

Special guarantees were built in to Bugnini’s socialized spiritual care system to protect the rights of women. The program also reached out to previously disenfranchised sectors of the general population, ensuring that mainline Protestants, Pentecostals and charismatics would no longer be excluded from participation. In fact, Bugninicare so lowered the bar of spiritual care throughout the Church that other obstacles to full participation, stemming from language, education, religion, gender and sexual orientation, were also effectively removed. The goal of equal distribution of spiritual care in the Church was now guaranteed. Novus Ordo was designed by Bugnini as a monopoly, a “single-provider” liturgy that would allow no room for competition from previous forms of spiritual care delivery. In order to ensure that élite types would not be able to opt out of the Novus Ordo, spiritual care decisions in the Church were left to a small circle of bureaucrats, headed by Bugnini.

Images for your contemplation.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. HighMass says:

    Has Anyone ever read Card. Alfredo Ottaviani’s Intervention???? If not I suggest you do so.
    Sad enough to say the garbage you see in these pictures are all true, in one way or another they happened, came to pass, etc.
    Card. Ottaviani hit it square on the head, he predicted what you see in the photo’s and then some….

    What in the World was Paul VI thinking of????
    It has been said that even Bugnini predicted the N.O. to last 40 yrs or so…..
    The N.O. needs to be reformed….Thank GOD for the Time we had our sweet Pope E. Benedict in the Chair of St. Peter….if he could have only lasted a bit more, to continue on with the reform….

  2. torch621 says:

    An insult to Paul VI and the Vatican II fathers.

  3. Gratias says:

    Bugnini caused immense damage, but the buck stopped with Pope Paul VI. Thank you Father Z for reminding us of what was lost.

    If Bugnini had had a SpiritualCare.vat website available the damage would have probably been greater. As it was, a few bishops fought a rearguard delaying battle and for now we still have limited use of the Traditional Mass in a few countries.

  4. Bonomo says:

    OK. I should not have watched this just before going to bed (late). Now I may have nightmares. Sheesh. Rich

  5. Hank Igitur says:

    As much as I hate to see these images I fully realise the importance of being reminded of them. Bugs was not sent to Iran for nothing, Fr Z.

  6. Odhren says:

    Those Masses are an insult to God. I think that is more of an important issue! Nice comparison with Obamacare.

  7. DaveH says:

    Retch! Argh! I was going to eat breakfast, but my stomach won’t let me after seeing these pictures…it’s probably good that I was barely into my pre-teen years when this mess came about, and probably better still that I had the good, Catholic sense to stop serving Mass when the changes were brought into our country-folk parish… couldn’t bring myself to start doing what a priest had always done. God Bless my parents (+), who brought me back to Tradition, 20 years later.

  8. OrthodoxChick says:

    Brilliant analysis. Devastatingly accurate and sad – but spot on.

  9. Unwilling says:

    Should graphic photos of liturgies that have been destroyed by abuses be used by pro-spiritual-lifers who demonstrate on public blogs? Even among those who oppose desecrations, answers to this question vary. The dispute was recently brought to my attention again by a news article describing the concern of residents of a certain area that the graphic photos used by local pro-spiritual-lifers disturbed the children and other innocents. I have demonstrated against desecrations on the comment lists of almost every major Catholic blog on the net. I have used graphic images and have watched their effect. I am convinced they should be used, and here are some of the reasons. …

  10. Zephyrinus1 says:

    Oh !!!

    My God !!!

  11. Magpie says:

    The arrogance of those who initiated the New Mass project is staggering, along with the ‘renewal’ of the Church’s timeless and immemorial Rites.

  12. AnimatedCatholic says:

    I think I’m going to vomit.

  13. iPadre says:

    Maybe we had to loose what IS truly beautiful to appreciate it’s beauty and richness.

    A good translation doesn’t do it. Bugnini stripped and muted everything he could get away with through lies and deception. May he rest in peace!

    I had the great pleasure of offering Low Mass yesterday morning. It was the first time they had the Traditional Latin Mass in that church since the dawn of the Novus Ordo. We had 25 people. A schola sang beautiful Latin chants and polyphony. World of a difference from the OF.

  14. sw85 says:

    Now there is talk of synodality, of the Vatican devolving doctrinal (and presumably liturgical) authority to corrupt episcopal conferences. If so I fear there will be no undoing the damage that was done. None of us will live to see things righted.

  15. Bosco says:

    Father Z.,
    Can’t you issue an preliminary warning to your readers before publishing such graphic train wreck photos?

  16. farmer88 says:

    Well, that’s interesting. That picture with the priest in the chasuble with the rainbow coloring and the kids standing around the altar? THAT’S MY FORMER PARISH. My family went there for years. I remember being invited up and standing around the altar. During the final elevation, that very same priest would pass out the Body and Blood for all of us to hold up as well. Then, during the Pater Noster, we would all back up to fit everyone in (back when this parish still had a large number of people going) and hold hands and sing while everyone else in the pews did the same. I got such a terrible catechesis from here, I remember correcting one of the teachers on how to even say the Sign of the Cross. She wasn’t completely wrong, but it wasn’t the same. And there I was, 8 years old, preparing for First Communion, correcting a teacher on how to say the Sign of the Cross. Speaking of First Communion too, they COMPLETELY neglected to mention that I had to go to Confession.

    That parish really made my religious life difficult. There’s another parish barely a mile away that is completely opposite, extremely orthodox. So I go there now. I also go to the (kind of iffy) TLM offered in an additional parish at times, though I’m hoping the FSSP or ICRSS or one of those traditional priestly orders moves in. Thank God for finally getting a new bishop.

  17. OrthodoxChick says:

    Since we’re all becoming rightfully sick and depressed over this…here’s a little something to lift the spirits (hopefully). I posted this the other day under a different article, but I think it might fit better here.


  18. brhenry says:

    I personally prefer the older forms, but I have been to many NO Masses that in no way resembled the above photos. In fact, the NO Low Masses at most Solesmes Abbeys are barely distinguishable from the Tridentine form. The fact is that these photos are clearly extreme aberrations of the NO, not the “read the black, do the red” NO. The chief problem in the Church today is a lack of Discipline, liturgical or otherwise.

  19. Maltese says:

    viva bugnini!


    Instead of focusing on Christ, and his unbloody sacrifice, we get to focus on the priest-presider in the NO. We get the rebirth of Jansenism and the placating of calvinists in the protestantized new order mass–ala 1970s gobblygook saccharine sickly sweetness–which was devised with the help of protestants; yay!

  20. Sonshine135 says:

    I am here to say that many of the churches that I have gone to have NO Masses similar to the ones pictured. Ugh! Let’s just say I shy away from buzz words like “renewal”, “Spirit of Vatican II”, and “Ecumenism”.

  21. anilwang says:

    I think the key problem with the NO, is that these days the opinions of most Catholics fall into four categories:
    (1) The NO is great, and even if it’s not what Vatican II called for, who cares. The NO is perfect for today’s world and better than TLM for most people.
    (2) Yes the NO differs from what Vatican II asked for, but for better or worse, its what we have so we should make the best of it.
    (3) While the NO differs from what Vatican II asked for, if celebrated reverently, it’s good enough. All we need to do is to get everyone to be reverent.

    The key problem is, even position (3) forgets just how different the NO is from what Vatican II called for:

    and if it’s important to fully implement Vatican II, why must Sacrosanctum Concilium be so ignored in this implementation?

  22. StJude says:

    Oy vey…

  23. Robbie says:

    Buckle up. This nonsense is on its way back. I’ve already seen it in my parish since March. Just a month ago, one of the deacons delivered a homily praising Sacrosanctum Consilium. Talk of synodality just makes my blood boil.

  24. nykash says:

    I’ve served at NO masses that are reverent – ad orientem, Latin, communion rail, male servers, no funny business – but the EF resonates with me to a much greater extent. That being said, I feel that most Catholics these days would understand what to do without the hand-holding, disruptive experiences found in most parishes.

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  26. robtbrown says:

    torch621 says:

    An insult to Paul VI and the Vatican II fathers.

    It was Paul VI who returned Bugnini to power.

  27. OrthodoxChick says:


    Those French priests look like they’re about to break out a rockettes kickline any minute. It’s painful to watch.

  28. disco says:

    The best thing to come out of the promulgation of the novus ordo is that it prevented the spirit of the age from doing damage to the roman missal. Like captain Bligh being sent adrift on the lifeboat after the mutiny on the bounty. Bligh made it back to England and the traditional mass has made its way back into the life of the church.

  29. New Sister says:

    @ farmer88: did he [that priest] use grahm crackers? (that’s what it looks like)

    We had a military chaplain in Germany (wearing the rank of colonel!) tell kids at youth group that he could use anything to confect the Eucharist, “…even a Dorito”. (& recently that, c. 2006)

  30. FrDulli says:

    To many problems…

  31. Supertradmum says:

    A thought…when the persecution begins in earnest, there will be no balloons, no clown costumes, not enough fuel for sacred flames in bowls, no gigantic puppets, no large screens (one church in Malta I visited had at least 12 computer screens, only turned off at the Consecration), nothing but pure faith and the remnant priesthood who will do things right.


  32. Catholicman says:

    On a happier note, today is also the 450th anniversary of the closing of the great Council of Trent!

  33. CAR says:

    I’ll add an oy gevalt–pure mashugana!

  34. PA mom says:

    I am grateful to have been spared any of this.
    It would certainly have made the decision to return to the Church far less likely.
    Who can take seriously someone who does these things? And, how could it be only due to the effects of the Council? These things seem way too far out to be due solely to that.

  35. prs1 says:

    I find the 5th photo quite revealing – the children look completely bored out of their minds!

  36. Netmilsmom says:

    We have the only EWTN type NO around, and the only TLM for 30 miles. Now the Charismatics have arrived and they are ON FIRE! In my home parish when I was a child, it only took about 10 years to get to the height of innovation and abuse .
    I’m thinking of moving to a Chaldean parish.

  37. Geoffrey says:

    Vatican II was not responsible for all the nonsense in the above photos and videos (and I would venture to say that not even the late Archbishop Bugnini envisioned liturgical dancers and bowls of incense!). It all comes down to fidelity: fidelity to Sacrosanctum Concilium, and to the GIRM.

  38. wolfeken says:

    It is encouraging to see some reform-of-the-reform crowd finally addressing Sacrosanctum Concilium. Not just the novus ordo abuses, but the actual pastoral Vatican II document itself.

    This is a big change over the past few years, where traditionalists have argued against Sacrosanctum Concilium, while center-right reform-of-the-reformers have said Sacrosanctum Concilium was needed but wrongly implemented.

    Sometimes the problems that come after a document mean the document itself was worthless.

  39. Unwilling says:

    Aw. Come off it, Father. Fer sure in picture 6 with the fire-worshipping temple slaves around the square burning altar – that ain’t no Catholic ritual. Just now I can’t find the exact clip on YouTube, but fer sure I remember that from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Fer sure!

    Or maybe it was from the beginning of Macbeth…

  40. thefeds says:

    Father Z,
    These pictures make my eyes burn! It’s a good thing that the Feast of St. Lucy is coming up!!!

  41. LarryW2LJ says:

    I was b0rn in 1957, so I was 8 years old when N.O. took effect.

    I must say, that in the two parishes that I have belonged to in my lifetime, there has been no “monkey business”, as it were. Masses were always reverently celebrated with no shenanigans allowed to take place.

    That being said, I do remember attending Mass in a parish in Maryland back in 1997, when some cousins got together to see the Mets play the Orioles at Camden Yards. THAT Mass was a bit peculiar. I knew I was in trouble when we entered the Church, and if you wanted to receive communion, you picked out an unconsecrated host from a bowl and dropped it into what looked like a carved out round loaf of rye bread.

    Thankfully, for the Mass, the hosts were transferred to a proper vessel, but I remember the sermon being a little bit “hootsy”. When my eyebrows raise from something a priest has said, it’s not a good thing, as uneducated as I am.

    But in my two home parishes? No dancing, no theatrics, no explosions, no chorus lines – just a very solemn and reverent Mass. Thanks be to God for that!

  42. OrthodoxChick says:

    The picture with the priest trying to explain the consecration (and presumably, transubstantiation) to the children is striking for one big reason. In today’s version of the N.O., void of “smells and bells”, or almost anything sacred, there’s nothing to point people, especially children, toward the fact that something supernatural is happening. What children witness at an N.O. is a priest making gestures that are ordinary, while speaking the same language they hear everyday. Nothing supernatural about that.

    Meanwhile, in the E.F. Mass, the children know that something incredible is happening when they see it in the priest and hear it in the bells and chant. When you explain exactly what that is after Mass – then they really GET the real presence on a sensory level that opens the door to the spiritual level. Once that door has been opened, the Lord just walks right in. There’s nothing in the N.O. that can rival the E.F. when it comes to opening that door.

    Whether it was Bugnini or some other hair-brained idiot who thought that trying to out-Protestant a pentecostal would somehow seem more “catholic” doesn’t interest me. Somebody needs to just wake up and make it stop.

  43. Netmilsmom says:

    No handholding or Orans for the laity, LarryW2LJ?

  44. LarryW2LJ says:

    @ Netmilsmom

    Very, very little. Not widespread at all.

  45. frahobbit says:

    Are the guys sitting around the teacup dressed in pj’s and barefoot? They seem to have come from a hospital.

  46. HighMass says:

    One has to wonder what way the Council would have gone if B. John XXIII had live longer or was younger to see the Church through that difficult time……

    Rumor had it B.J.XXIII ousted Bugnini, so again the shape of the new Mass could have been totally different…..

    Then Paul VI gets elected and Bugnini is in the spot light or head of the band again……

    Guess the beef alot of us have is the N.O. and how it was stripped….v.s. the Mass in the E.F. again which this old boy prefers…..

  47. dominic1955 says:

    “Vatican II was not responsible for all the nonsense in the above photos and videos (and I would venture to say that not even the late Archbishop Bugnini envisioned liturgical dancers and bowls of incense!). It all comes down to fidelity: fidelity to Sacrosanctum Concilium, and to the GIRM.”

    Read Bugnini’s book about the “reform”. He loved the idea of fluid liturgies, the NO was a “compromise” with the old fuddy-duddies in the minds of Bugnini & Co.

    However, I will agree that showing pictures of some of the most egregious abuses and silliness really doesn’t help but only because they convey the wrong message. They make it seem as if the externals were the important thing we lost and this is partially true. However, what is really at issue is the GIRM and the NO MR itself! Compare the traditional liturgies with the new one-the new one is so banal and this is in its texts, not its presentation. Its just as banal in a “Tradded up” form. Look at the wording of the various prayers in how they altered the Mass to fit their theologies, look at the Jewish meal-prayer Offertory, look at the overly didactic reading cycle, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    As I will never tire of saying, a Tradded up NO is a Trabant with a Benz hood ornament, or a Cimarron which was basically just a tarted up Cavalier. Want a Cadillac? Then buy a Fleetwood or an Eldo. Want the (real) Roman Rite? Then its Tridentine or bust.

  48. HighMass says:


    Have you ever heard of bugnini’s replacement….pierio marini….
    Enculturation of the liturgy???? have you ever watched some of the side shows he had folks from different countries B. J.P.II visited during his Pontifcate????

    Thank God Pope Benedict retired piero…..and pray he doesn’t return…..BTW Piero Marini doesn’t the Mass in E.F. he has made it quite clear

  49. greinkebs says:

    I hope the video of the circus “mass” was not a Redemptorist Church. I was a Redemptorist for 25 years and that is the saddest thing I have seen for a “mass”. Mother of Perpetual Help – Pray for us!

  50. Charles E Flynn says:

    At Catholic World Report:

    December 04, 2013

    Dom Alcuin Reid reflects upon what the landmark document on the liturgy did—and did not do—and what it has meant for Catholic worship.

    The Liturgy, Fifty Years after Sacrosanctum Concilium

  51. Lin says:

    After reading this post, music during the Eucharistic prayer does not seem so bad! I see an unfortunate lack of focus every where I look. The bishops are too busy or distracted to define and expect discipline in the ranks?!? The priests are too busy to minister to the parish?!? Parishioners are too busy to pray, go to Church and the sacraments?!? And too many of us are uncomfortable with the actions, words, and focus of Pope Francis? How do we put the pieces back together again?

  52. trentecoastal39 says:

    I Say….

    50 Years of Abuse is Enough! NOVUS ORDO MUST GO!

  53. RJHighland says:

    The Novus Ordo plain and simply removed the Universallity of worship from the Church. Now days you have no idea what your going to run into when you walk through the doors of a church that on the sign post says it is Catholic. The Catholic Church because of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo lowered itself to the level of the Protestants. When you have over 60% of Catholics polled to believe Christ is not truly present in the Eucharist you have a problem. I believe it started in Germany and France along the Rhine in the 60’s then working its way around the world under the guidance of the bishops and priests the destruction of the postures and reverence of the mass combined with the truncated NO and “New Catechism”. Rome was complicite or silent during this revolution. So God has blessed the few of you out there who get to participate in a reverent Novus Ordo Mass , realize the majority of the Catholic world does not have that luxury. I have a question for y’all. Has anyone out there known of any diocesean parish in your dioceses, your country, or in the world that has maintained the TLM from before Vatican II until today. Anyone? Has any one know where in any given dioceses in the world were the TLM has been continuously available from before Novus Ordo until today? I didn’t come into the Church until the mid 90’s so I was just interested to know.

  54. Fifty years later, the lonely, desolate center of the church still awaits the sensible liturgical reform that was needed but never implemented after the loonies invaded and derailed what had been a reasonable process that was moving along all throughout the early twentieth century. Instead of a logical continuation of previously started organic development, we got liturgical insanity. Bishops, priests, deacons, please give us the true reform that Sacrosanctum Concilium promised us!

  55. mburduck says:

    Most of the kids in that one picture need a good whipping. THAT might remove the bored looks from their little faces….. Where is Sr. John Anthony (our old principal at Sacred Heart School in Queens, New York) when you need her?

    Of course those kids don’t belong anywhere near that “altar” at all.


  56. Mojoron says:

    One of those images looks familiar from a video clip of a mass held at the Anaheim Convention Center by the now bishop of Los Angeles. The video showed the lady coming in with the incense, but the video I saw the Deacon DANCED in with the Book of Gospels. Then when it was time for the Deacon to read the Gospel, he DANCED up to the lectern after being blessed by the bishop. I really thought I was going to puke. Excuse my crudeness.

  57. lsclerkin says:

    Is it over yet?
    I’m 49.
    Please tell it’s over.
    I will happily give up my legs, my stems.
    Hand. And even…
    My eyes..

    Please tell me it’s over.

  58. lsclerkin says:

    My arms.
    Not stems.

  59. Uxixu says:

    Wow, these abuses are abominable. I don’t get the clown music. Who could think that was ok? Same with the incense bowls.

    I don’t see anything in the Canons of Vatican II to place the blame there, though. I still think reverent Novus Ordo are the norm rather than the exception but ever since I attended one, my heart has been with the Usus Antiquior, though I love my parish and it’s priests and deacons too much to leave it. I do hope to help build a stable group to get a regular TLM, though.

  60. Francis Lobo says:

    Bugnini was a liberal Archbishop who caused enough damage to the Church. Indian Church suffered real pain. It is a really a sad story.

    Indian stubborn Bishops and Cardinals like Lourduswamy and his brother played a major role in Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India. There were priests as well as Laity who fought against it. Even they went to Rome with their case. But no one listened to them.
    Victor J. F. Kulanday, Founder of The Laity association written in detail his book “The Paganized Catholic Church in India” which was released 1985. Indian Bishops and Cardinals cheated Vatican.
    This book is available at
    Things are not stopped. There are much more things are happening in the Indian Church. Hinduisation, OM chanting during liturgy, women priests movement. Sad thing is that our own Bishops supporting it.

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