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Annibale Bugnini

Annibale Bugnini

Reformer of the Liturgy

By Yves Chiron

214 pp

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About the Book

In this book, French historian Yves Chiron turns his attention to one of the most influential figures of 20th-century Catholicism: Annibale Bugnini, guiding spirit of liturgical reform in the period surrounding the Second Vatican Council. Highly controversial in his day, and down to the present, Bugnini has attracted high praise from his disciples and vilification from his detractors—but all agree that without his energetic organizational skills and access to the levers of power, the most extensive overhaul of the Roman Catholic liturgy in the history of the Church would not have taken place as it did. 

Yet who was Bugnini, really? What were his formative experiences, personal ideals, intellectual assumptions, practical aims? How did he accomplish so much in so short a time? Why, after such a singular collaboration with Pope Paul VI, did he suddenly fall from grace and suffer exile? Should he be remembered as liturgiae amator et cultor, lover and servant of the liturgy (his epitaph), or as the éminence grise of an unscrupulous reinvention of Catholic worship? Can we cut through the legendary, the polemical, and the partisan, to arrive at a clear portrait of the man and his work? Until now, there has been no biography that makes extensive use of all available documentary sources, including Bugnini’s own memoirs, Vatican publications, private correspondence, interviews, articles, and lectures. The present book has filled this lacuna with the scholarly care and dispassionate analysis for which the author’s books are praised at all points on the ecclesiastical spectrum.


“Yves Chiron’s incredible work reads like a novel and is one of the best introductions to the detailed history of the reform of the Latin rite.”


Nashotah House Theological Seminary

“A perceptive portrait of the personalities, ideas, and events that remain central to questions surrounding the sacred liturgy even now, decades after the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missæ.”


St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie

“Chiron’s study is invaluable for anyone interested in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council and the history of the liturgical reform.”


Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley

“As the reform of the Roman Rite continues to be a part of the ordinary life of the Church, Annibale Bugnini: Reformer of the Liturgy provides an important and necessary perspective.”


Rector, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

“An important contribution to English-speaking students of modern liturgical history.”


University of Notre Dame

“Yves Chiron’s biography is an enlightening and fair treatment of a significant and interesting personality.”


Stanford University

“A dependable summary of the Consilium’s work that will be useful to any scholar in the field.”


Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius 

About the Author

Yves Chiron, born in the Gard (Southern France) in 1960, obtained his degree in advanced studies in the History of Religions and Religious Anthropology at the University of Paris IV. After writing an authoritative biography of Edmund Burke, he turned his attention to modern Church history and has written biographies of Pius IX, Pius X, Pius XI, and Paul VI as well as works on the process of beatification and canonization. He lives in a small village in the Vendée.

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