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The Italian Edition of “Work of Human Hands”

THIS NOVEMBER 30 marks the 50th anniversary of the Sunday in 1969 that Paul VI designated as the obligatory date for celebrating his New Mass; the following month this year is the tenth anniversary for me completing the manuscript Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI. 

It took me three decades to finish this book, and I was most gratified when it finally saw the light of day, thanks to the heroic work of its original publishers, John and Rhonda Lynch. 

Work of Human Hands received a wide array of positive reviews. Though officially ignored by its author’s enemies in the SSPX and R&R camps, the book is now in its third printing and has been a consistent best seller ever since it first appeared. You can purchase a copy for $24.95 plus postage from

For the more visually inclined, I produced a series of short, YouTube videos, Chapter Overviews of Work of Human Hands, that sum up some of the principal points in the book. These thirteen videos, as of this publication date, have had an aggregate number of 258,000 views.

Another project for the book is in the works. Over the past two summers, I have recorded the entire book for release on Audible. This will be a great benefit to the thousands who listen to books in their cars or as they work around the house, once the final version is edited.

Today, however, I am pleased to announce that my priest-colleagues at the Institute Mater Boni Consilii, Verrua Savoia, Italy, have just published a complete Italian translation through their publication arm, Sodalitium.

The following is the English original of my preface to the Italian edition:

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Mom would have been better…

As I note in the Preface to the original English edition of Work of Human Hands, I conceived of writing the book because I was unable to find, in any language, a work that systematically and comprehensively treated the major theological problems presented by the Mass of Paul VI. I was therefore pleased to hear of the project to translate my book into Italian. For while English may have become a sort of lingua franca for matters of commerce and international relations, Italian will always hold its premier place in discussions of the Roman liturgy.

I discovered this almost immediately when I first began my research for this book. The major figures who created the post-Vatican II “reforms” wrote primarily in Italian. This presented a problem for me. As a child, I had always wanted to learn Italian, since my mother, whose family was from Tuscany, spoke the language, but I never had the opportunity.

When I first encountered Bugnini’s The Reform of the Liturgy: 1948–1975 in Italian, and was told by the major liturgical publishing house in the United States that it would never be translated into English because it was too specialized a work, I despaired. But then I resolved to learn to read Italian, so I purchased grammars and dictionaries, and struggled for two years to decipher Bugnini’s book and to sum up in English the most important material.

I rejoiced once I finished annotating the last few pages. Two years of struggle completed! Now it would be easy to incorporate into my study all the incriminating information that Bugnini provided.

Shortly thereafter, a colorful and beautifully-printed advertising brochure arrived in the mail: “Now in English: The Reform of the Liturgy: 1948-1975 by Annibale Bugnini.”

Alas, I would rather have learned Italian from my mother than from Bugnini …

So with the appearance of this Italian edition of Work of Human Hands, I offer my condolences to any students of liturgy who undertook a similar project, and “learned English from Cekada”!

I am most grateful to Sodalitium and the Institute Mater Boni Consilii for their efforts to bring this project to completion. I sincerely hope that this translation will contribute to a fruitful discussion of the difficulties of the liturgical reform wherever your beautiful language is spoken!

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Please pass the word along to your Italian-speaking friends and acquaintances. The book is available at this link. 

Mgr. M.L. Guérard des Lauiers OP

French speakers may also be interested in Sodalitium’s edition of Réflexions sur la Nouvelle Messe by Père Guérard des Lauriers. Fr. (later Bishop) Guérard was the author of the famous Ottaviani Intervention, which I translated into English in the 1990s, and the person to whom I dedicated the first English edition Work of Human Hands. Guérard’s devastating critique of the first edition of the New Mass in 1969, submitted to Paul VI by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci, served as sort of a “charter” for the traditionalist resistance to the liturgical revolution. My translation, together with an explanatory Foreword, is available here.