Archbishop Annibale Bugnini was the secretary of the Liturgical Commission that devised the New Order of Mass after the Second Vatican Council. Over the past several decades a quote has circulated, having been attributed to the late Archbishop, that was purported to have appeared in L'Osservatore Romano in 1965. The purported quote was in regards to the liturgical reforms which he was in charge of directing after the Council. What follows is the "quote" that has been famously attributed to Bugnini, the Great Architect of the Novus Ordo Missae:
"We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants."
We have seen the aforementioned attributed words cited throughout the years by many well-respected authors, particularly those who use the preceding words as proof that the New Order of Mass was designed to suit ecumenical goals with the Protestants. Moreover, it has been used to articulate how the liturgical reformers of the 1960's sought to "Protestantize" the way in which Catholics pray. However, it must be said, for the record that these are not the exact words of Annibale Bugnini in the March 19, 1965 edition of L'Osservatore Romano. What follows are the actual words (in which the reader will certainly still see the clear ecumenical goals aimed for in the liturgical reform of the liturgical prayers on Good Friday) from the article written by Bugnini titled Le "Variationes" ad Alcuni Testi della Settimana Santa (The "Variations" of Some Texts of Holy Week):
"L'orazione 7° reca il titolo; 'Per l'unità del cristiani' (non 'della Chiesa', che è sta stata sempre una). Non si paria più di 'eretici' e 'scismatici', ma di 'tutti i fratelli che credondo in Cristo'...
Gli studiosi penseranno e mettere in luce le fonti bibliche e liturgiche da cui derivano o alle quali si inspirano i nuovi testi, elaborati col cesello dai Gruppi di studio del 'Consilium' E diacomo pure che non di rado lavore è proceduto 'cum timore et tremore' nel dover sacrificare espressioni e concetti tantocari, e ormai per lunga consuetudine familiari. Come non rimpiangere per esempio 'ad sanctam matrem Ecclesiam catolicam atque apostolicam revocare dignetur' della settima orazione? E tuttavia l'amore delle anime e il desiderio di agevolare in ogni modo il cammino dell'unione ai fratelli separati, rimovendo ogni pietra che possa constituire pur lontanamente un inciampo o motivo di disagio, hanno indoto la Chiesa anche a quiesti penosi sacrifici."In English:
“The 7th prayer [of the new rite for Good Friday] bears the title: 'For the Unity of Christians' (not 'of the Church', which was always one.) No longer used is the pariah 'heretics' and 'schismatics' but 'all brethren who believe in Christ...'
Scholars think to shed light on biblical and liturgical sources from which the new texts are derived or inspired, which the Study Groups of the "Consilium" accomplished by using a chisel. And let's say that often the work proceeded 'with fear and trembling' by sacrificing terms and concepts so dear, and now part of the long family tradition. How not to regret that 'Mother Church- Holy, Catholic and Apostolic - deigned to revoke' the seventh prayer? And yet it is the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty, that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices."
(Translation found in Reasons for Resistance; The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Speaks on the Post-Vatican II Crisis, Queen of Martyrs Press. pg. 21)