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A Bitter Trial: Evelyn Waugh and John Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes Paperback – September 15, 2011
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Evelyn Waugh, English writer [of Brideshead Revisited fame] and Catholic convert (1930), expressed his sentiments on the changes in a letter dated 30 March 1966, one month before dying on Easter Sunday:
.... Easter used to mean so much to me. Before Pope John and his Council -- they destroyed the beauty of the liturgy. I have not yet soaked myself in petrol and gone up in flames, but I now cling to the Faith doggedly without joy. Church-going is a pure duty parade. I shall not live to see it restored. It is worse in many countries... 
A BITTER TRIAL is a slim volume of correspondence between Evelyn Waugh and Cardinal Heenan from 1962 to Waugh’s death in 1966. It also includes some letters to and from a few close friends and relatives. All correspondence concerns the Vatican II Council and the liturgical changes [abuses] it spawned, and the detrimental effect these changes had on many devout Catholics.
Every attendance at Mass leaves me without comfort or edification. I shall never, pray God, apostatize but church-going is now a bitter trial.[letter to Archbiship Heenan, 1965]
The book begins with an essay penned by Waugh and published in the British Spectator, November 1962, “The Same Again, Please.” In it, Waugh expresses trepidation as to what the new Second Vatican Council might do. He was well aware of the modernist wind blowing through the Church, and was already disappointed with the changes in the Easter Holy Week services.
In a 1965 diary entry, Waugh says:
More than the aesthetic changes which rob the Church of poetry, mystery and dignity, there are suggested changes in Faith and morals which alarm me. A kind of anti-clericalism is abroad which seeks to reduce the priest’s unique sacramental position. The Mass is written of as a “social meal” in which the “people of God” perform the consecration.
Pray to God I will never apostatize but I can only now go to church as an act of duty and obedience -- just as a sentry at Buck House is posted with no possibility of his being employed to defend the sovereign’s life. 
A BITTER TRIAL is an interesting look beyond all the modernist celebrations over the Second Vatican Council wreckage, and shows us the other side, one pious Catholic’s views. I’m sure Waugh spoke for many tradition-minded Catholics, as he still does today. And I’m reminded of a line from William F. Buckley, another Catholic who was none too keen on the changes in the liturgy: “I am a practicing Roman Catholic who finds attendance at the new Mass an aesthetic ordeal... I find attendance at Mass less satisfying than it used to be.”
From the Foreward by Joseph Pearce:
Waugh’s love for the Mass is evident throughout this volume, and the “bitter trial” documented in the following pages serves as a witness of the real suffering that Waugh and other Tradition-oriented Catholics experienced during those dismally dark days. As the timeless and priceless inheritance of the Church was being squandered by clueless modernists, the faithful clung to the Church with dogged and dogmatic determination. Now, after this dark night of the Church’s collective soul, we are beginning to see the restoration of the liturgy for which Waugh hoped and prayed
Reading such a painful confession one can't help but think of the alarming numbers of parishes, seminaries & convents that closed down as pews emptied in the wake of these changes, changes that were not called for by Vatican 2 but were rather wrought by what Waugh summed up as "a strange alliance of archeologists absorbed in their speculations on the rites of the second century and modernists who wish to give the Church the character of our own deplorable epoch..."
These two groups, spiritual heirs of the Vandals if ever there were any, in a misguided (to be charitable)attempt to simplify the liturgy, stripped it of its beauty, which in their Philistine arrogance they dismissed as 'the accretions of centuries..." And like the baby & the bathwater, much of the liturgy's reverence was ejected with its beauty. In his most succinct and poignant complaint, which to me is the crux of the matter, Waugh wonders why "the Church [which] rejoices in the development of dogma; why does it not also admit the development of liturgy?"
Why not indeed?
I enjoyed the book tremendously & all throughout it I kept thinking of the quote from Hans Urs von Balthasar with which I will close:
"We no longer dare to believe in Beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order to more easily dispose of it. Our situation today shows that Beauty demands for itself at least as much courage & decision as do Truth & Goodness, & she will not allow herself to be separated & banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were an ornament of a bourgeois past - whether he admits it or not - can no longer pray & will soon no longer be able to love."