Liturgy and Laity by Alcuin Reid | Articles | First Things

Evelyn Waugh pressed his case

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

The new mass “a bitter trial,” said novelist Evelyn Waugh.

In 1965, Evelyn Waugh wrote to the archbishop of Westminster of the growing tide of liturgical changes: “Every attendance at Mass leaves me without comfort or edification. I shall never, pray God, apostatize but church-going is now a bitter trial.”
The prominent Italian Catholic literary figure Tito Casini went further in 1967, publishing the provocative tract La tunica stracciata(“The Torn Tunic”), with a preface by a curial cardinal. He virulently took to task the cardinal charged with implementing the reform, Giacomo Lercaro, for “a perverted application [of the council] detested alike by Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and unbelievers, in the name of piety, unity, concord, art, poetry and beauty.” ­Lercaro’s adept secretary, Fr. ­Annibale ­Bugnini, would describe Casini’s work as “defamatory” and as a “poisonous attack on the liturgical reform and on the conciliar renewal generally.” As the New…

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