Thursday, July 12, 2007

Characters of the Intervention: Bacci

In 1963 Paul VI established the Consilium which was tasked with the job of carrying out the liturgical reform mandated by Vatican II. Consilium formulated a new Order of Mass which Paul VI promulgated on April 3, 1969. Conservatives had seen half a decade of continual change in the liturgy as each progressivist revision brought the Mass closer to Protestantism, and, for fear that this new theology was going to eradicate the traditional theology of the Tridentine liturgy, a small group of conservative theologians, liturgists and pastors, including Cardinal Bacci, prepared a study of the contents of the Novus Ordo Missae. Cardinal Ottaviani, whose name to which the document has come to referred to under, consented to revise the study and to present it to Paul VI. The preparation of the text was the duty of Dominican theologian and philosopher then a professor at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome , Fr. M.L. Guérard des Lauriers. What was born of this was what was titled "Breve Esame Critico del Novus Ordo Missae", now commonly known as The Ottaviani Intervention.

And so it was that close to 12 cardinals had agreed to sign the study including Arcadio Cardinal Larraona, former head of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. After examining the Critical Study, Cardinal Ottaviani signed the cover letter on Sept. 13 1969. However, most of its supporters abandoned the thing after a French priest published the Study a month early, leaving only Ottaviani and Bacci the sole supporters of the document.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci was a famous Latinist and during this time served on the Vatican Congregations for Religious, Causes of Saints, and Catholic Education, and was one of the most outstanding scholars on Latin in the Curia having published the Lexicon Eorum Vocabulorum Quae Difficilius Latine Redduntur, a dictionary of modern terms in Latin and a standard reference for writers of Latin, especially in the Vatican, continued his support along with Ottaviani. In 1967 Cardinal Bacci had written a complimentary preface to a book which accused the liturgical reform of abandoning the Council of Trent in favour of novel theologies, and that Cardinal Lercaro, the head of Consilium, was “Luther resurrected.” Cardinal Bacci signed the letter on September 28, and, on September 29, the Study and the covering letter were presented to Paul VI. Almost 2 years later, on Jan. 20, 1971, Antonio Cardinal Bacci died at 84.