Rorate Caeli

Motu proprio notes: Remembering Tito Casini
"The Mass will rise again!"

So many great names of the past deserve to be remembered! So many great men and women who shaped the debate in their nations and throughout the world.

As we remembered a great Briton, Michael Davies, we now honor the memory of a great Italian, poet and essayist Tito Casini (1897-1987). After a lifetime dedicated to literature, his last years were filled with his concern for the crisis of the Church, particularly the liturgical crisis. In the Italian-speaking world, Casini and another layman, Romano Amerio, were the most prominent voices against the wholesale demolition of the Roman liturgy.

Already in 1967, before the full replacement of the traditional rites had taken place, his book of protest "La Tunica Stracciata", prefaced by Cardinal Bacci, stirred the Church in Italy. Nearly 10 years later, in 1976, Casini published "Nel fumo di Satana: Verso l'ultimo scontro", with scathing criticism of the post-Conciliar reformers (he was also the first to publicly denounce Bugnini for strange connections, starting the process which would cause the latter's downfall).

His criticism was, nevertheless, filled with hope, as in one of his most beautiful texts, an article published in the aforementioned 1976 volume, an ode to the resurgence of the Traditional Mass, as seen from his abode in Tuscany (a small excerpt of which we posted last year in a comment to the Gospel of the Widow of Naim):

It will rise again, I tell you, [...] the Mass will rise again, as I tell so many who come to me to complain (and they do it, at times, crying); and to him who asks me how I can be so sure of it, I answer (as a "poet", if you would like) bringing him to my balcony and showing him the sun... It will be evening soon and there, in the church of San Domenico [in Fiesole], the friars will sing, at Vespers: Iam sol recedit igneus; but, in a few hours, those same Dominicans, my friends, will sing, at Prime: Iam lucis orto sidere - and thus every day.

The sun, I mean, will rise again, it will shine again after the night, to brighten up the earth from the sky, because...because it is the sun, and God thus established it for our life and comfort. Thus, I add, it is and thus it will be with the Mass - the Mass which is "ours", Catholic, of all times, and of all people: our spiritual sun, so beautiful, so saintly, and so sanctifying - against the delusions of the bats, driven out [of their hiding places] by the Reform, [who believe] that their hour, the hour of darkness, will not end.

And, I recall: on this large balcony of mine we were several, in a past year, watching the total solar eclipse. I remember, and I almost seem to feel it again, the feeling of coldness, of sadness, and almost of disillusion in watching, in feeling the air darken and freeze, little by little. I remember the silence in the city, while the swallows... while the birds disappeared, frightened, and the repugnant chiropters appeared, flying in the sky.

To him who said, when the sun was entirely covered: -"What if it were not visible anymore?" - a thought to which none answered, almost as if not realizing the joke in it... The sun is visible anew, in fact, the sun rises again, after a brief daytime night, as beautiful as before and, as it seems, more than before, while the air is filled again by swallows and the bats go back to hide.

As before, luminous and beautiful, and yet being the same, the sun seems greater than it was before, as in the Leopardian law of "pleasure as fruit of abandonment", or the Gospel [lesson] of the lost and found drachma.

As it was before, and greater than it was before: thus it will happen with the Mass, thus the Mass will seem to our eyes, guilty of not having esteemed it worthily, before the eclipse; our hearts guilty, for not having loved it enough.