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BOMBSHELL: New historical evidence emerges in support of Bugnini’s association with Freemasonry — Names are named

Updated: Jan 8

The latest edition of the magazine of the Latin Mass Society of England & Wales, Mass of Ages, contains a review by Kevin Symonds of Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within. (The review as published may be viewed in a PDF of the magazine, starting at page 40, as well as on the author’s personal website; it has been reproduced in full here.) 

Pursuing hints in the book, Symonds goes much beyond the conclusions of Marshall regarding Bugnini, having uncovered new material on Bugnini that decisively moves the question of his association with Freemasonry from the realm of shadowy speculation, where it remained even as recently as the scholarly biography by Yves Chiron, to the level of reasonable certainty. Instead of “unnamed sources,” where the matter was left by Michael Davies, we finally have named sources, with a plausible paper trail.

Kevin Symonds

In this book, Taylor Marshall firmly maintains that the Catholic Church has been literally infiltrated by her enemies, thereby experiencing a massive campaign of disruption and distortion. A particular area in which Marshall advances this thesis pertains to the influence of the Vincentian priest, and later Archbishop, Annibale Bugnini (1912-1982) in the liturgical reforms of the mid-twentieth century. This review focuses on Marshall’s presentation of Bugnini’s influence upon these reforms and in particular of Marshall’s claim that Bugnini was involved with Freemasonry. It will be argued that, despite his eagerness to find evidence of ‘infiltration’ and his animus against Bugnini, Marshall actually misses some important evidence in favor of Bugnini’s membership of the Italian Freemasons.

Annibale Bugnini: Freemason Infiltrator with the Roman Liturgy?

Archbishop Bugnini first appears in chapter nine of Infiltration, “Communist Infiltration of the Priesthood.” The available scholarly literature on this volatile topic is not very well-developed at this time. Thus, Marshall has a fairly wide playing field in which to develop his overall thesis. He takes some of the existing literature on the topic, most notably the testimony of Bella Dodd (the former Communist and famous revert to Catholicism), and then folds Bugnini into the mix.[1]

Bella Dodd’s admission to having infiltrated seminaries with communist agents provides Marshall with some solid ground upon which to build his argument. It is now a well-known fact that Soviet Communism, by the design of Josef Stalin, attempted to infiltrate the Catholic priesthood. In fact, while the Catholic priesthood enjoyed a certain pride of place in the Soviet apparatus’ efforts of infiltration, it was not the only target, Protestantism was also similarly targeted.[2] Having a solid foundation, however, and a securely-structured house frame built on top of it are two separate things.

Having shown the foundation, Marshall then brings in Bugnini: “Suffice it here to state that Bugnini was an infiltrated priest [i.e., an infiltrator] and a Freemason” (89). Marshall claims here imply that Bugnini must have been up to something nefarious with his work on the liturgical reforms before, during and after Vatican II.
So, was Bugnini an infiltrator of the Church when he became a priest in 1936? Marshall claims that Bugnini became a Freemason in 1963 (90), but does not say whether he thinks his infiltration preceded that step.

Bugnini’s Briefcase

Marshall then turns his focus upon Bugnini, Freemasonry and the liturgical reforms of the mid-twentieth century. He begins by discussing the famous “briefcase story.”

According to this story, in the mid-1970s, the Archbishop is said to have unwittingly left behind a briefcase in a meeting room in one of the curial departments of the Vatican. This case was discovered by a priest who opened it to determine its owner. Within the briefcase were documents that implicated Bugnini either as a Freemason or at least demonstrating some association with the Freemasons.[3] The documents were duly brought to Pope St. Paul VI and shortly thereafter, Bugnini left the Roman Curia bound for Tehran as Iran’s new Papal Nuncio.

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