Msgr. Annibale Bugnini’s gamble paid off big. A slight majority of the plenary approved his reform, albeit with reservations. Now he took his “New Missal” to Pope Paul for approval. He had previously turned in the new Lectionary with the expanded readings which now covered all of scripture in a three-year cycle. It is truly well done and Pope Paul thought so as well, and he remained so impressed that he didn’t review very well the “New Missal” that came to him and confided that if they had done such a good job with the Lectionary, then they must have done a great job here as well. Pope Paul only saw the original Latin version and had no idea that only vernacular versions would be made available to Catholic printers outside the Vatican. Pope Paul had approved of vernacular translations of the “New Missal” to be made for the rare exceptions of a completely vernacular Mass as the council fathers had stipulated. He had no idea that this would be the only “Missal” offered outside the Vatican. Even to this day the only place you can get the official Roman Missal of our faith in Latin, as should be the norm according to the Council, is the Vatican Bookstore. The Pontifical Masses then, and even today, in the Roman Basilicas continue to use the official Roman Missal in Latin. So what a surprise when Pope Paul went to a normal parish church in Rome to celebrate Mass on the Monday after Pentecost of 1970. First there were green vestments laid out for him. He asked the sacristan why not red for the octave of Pentecost. The sacristan replied that in the “New Missal” that he approved it didn’t have an octave of Pentecost. Pope Paul asked to see the “Missal” and when he saw it in Italian, not Latin, and some of the other spurious changes that were made in it, he sat down in a chair and cried. This was Bugnini’s second gamble, if he could get the vernacular missals out there fast enough, and everyone used them without complaint as the discipline of the Church would dictate, by the time Pope Paul got wind of it, he would hesitate to recall it.
(to be continued)