Rorate Caeli

A bombshell of an interview. Mons. Domenico Bartolucci on the liturgical reforms and the reform of the reform.

An interview with Mons. Domenico Bartolucci, Maestro Perpetuo of the Sistine Chapel under five Popes. The original Italian can be found here.

(The Remnant has published another translation of this interview, less literal and -- I'll admit -- more understandable. Please click here to read it. CAP)






From the remarkable Italian Catholic blog, Disputationes Theologicae:
The liturgical reform of the 1970-ies is today taking up much space in the theological discussions, because liturgy and theology are mixed up in a – may we venture to say so – “transcendental relation”. It is not possible to discuss the one without taking up the other, if one does not want to fall into that theology of watertight compartments that was in use in the 1950-ies. Today it is necessary – in the wake of a more vast debate in which we engage ourselves – to formulate an open and straightforward analysis of what has happened and take an appropriate attitude towards the practical remedies and above all remedies that are “realizable” (realizzabili) as Saint Pius X used to repeat. Upon the request of so many of our readers, our Editorial Office also would like to occupy itself with the argument, if possible avoiding the repetition of the methodological errors of the past. Therefore it is our wish to initiate the true transmittance of the authentic Tradition.– basing ourselves on the testimony of those who have known the past, because of their age and their prestige, and not only because of their authority. As liturgy is also practical science, we have not wished to start off with pontificating “liturgists” who say they have read so and so many books and codices, but rather take the matter up with someone who has lived and touched the liturgy as nobody else has, because he has prepared, repeated, coordinated and known the religious ceremonies in his Tuscan countryside, ceremonies which concluded with the “Messa in terza” (a mass celebrated by three i.e. Solemn Mass -- CAP) and the unfailing processions with a musical band, as well as the splendors of the “Cappella Papale” in the Sistine chapel. We have the honor of introducing to you Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci, in an interview done by us lately. He was born in 1917 in Borgo San Lorenzo (Florence)., Tuscan by birth, Roman by pontifical summons, in 1952 he became substitute next to Perosi in the Sistine Chapel and from 1956 he became its Maestro Perpetuo. On the 24th of June, 2006 the reigning pontiff organized a special ceremony in honor of the musician (see the picture above), in order to consecrate “ad perpetuam rei memoriam” his closeness to the great master. During the occasion the Pope said: “ sacred polyphony, especially the one belonging to the Roman school, is a legacy which we must preserve with care (..); a genuine updating of the sacred music can only take place within the great tradition of the past of the Gregorian chant and of the sacred polyphony”. S.C.




INTERVIEW WITH MONSIGNOR. DOMENICO BARTOLUCCI
by Pucci Cipriani and Stefano Carusi
A meeting with Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci, the distinguished Mugellan musician, Maestro Emeritus of the Sistine Chapel, admirer, friend and collaborator of Benedict XVI.
It is a sunny afternoon on the green hills of the Mugellan landscape, when we arrive on the Roman church of Montefloscoli, in the antique rectory full of memories the Maestro Perpetuo of the Sistine Chapel is enjoying the fresh air, behind him a framed photo of the hug the reigning pontiff is giving Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci, the successor of Lorenzo Perosi in the Sacred Palace. On his writing-desk the now-famous book of Monsignor Brunero Gherardini: “Il Concilio Vaticano II- un discorso da fare” (“The Second Vatican Council – a debate to be started”), edited by Edizioni Casa Mariana.
It is on the subject of the liturgical reform that we start our conversation with the Maestro, with Domenico Bartolucci, who in liturgical and musical matters has been at ease working and giving counsel to five popes and who is a friend and collaborator of Benedict XVI, whose work he says is “an immense gift to the Church, if only they would let it work”.
Maestro, the recent publication of the Motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” has brought a gust of fresh air into the desolate liturgical panorama which surrounds it. Even you may now celebrate the Mass of all time (“messa di sempre”.)
To tell the truth, I have always and without interruption celebrated it since my ordination … on the contrary, I sometimes found it difficult to celebrate according to the modern rite, even if I never said so.
The Mass which never was abolished, is it not?
Those are the words of the Holy Father even if some people pretend not to understand and even if many in the past have argued that the opposite is true.
Maestro, you have to admit to those who are denigrating the old Mass that it is not a Mass open to participation.
So that you won't think that I'm just saying anything, I know how participation in old times was like, both in Rome, in the (St. Peter's) Basilica and outside it, for instance down here in Mugello, in this parish, in this beautiful countryside, which was then populated by people strong in faith and full of piety. During Sunday Vespers the priest could just start singing “Deus in adiutorium meum intende” and thereafter fall asleep on his seat to wake up only at the “chapter”, the peasants would have continued alone and the heads of the family would have intoned the antiphon!
Do we see a veiled polemic, Maestro, in your confrontation with the current liturgical style?
I do not know, if you have ever been at a funeral and witnessed those “hallelujahs”, hand-clapping, giggly phrases, etc. One really asks oneself if these people have ever read the Gospel. Our Lord himself cried over Lazarus and his death. Here now, with this oily sentimentalism, nothing is respected, not even the suffering of a mother. I would like to show you how the people in old times participated in a Funeral Mass and how in the midst of that compunction and devotion, the magnificent and tremendous “Dies Irae” was intoned.
Was the reform not done by people who were conscious of what they were doing and well educated in the teachings of the Roman Church?
I beg your pardon, but the reform was done by arid people, arid, arid, I repeat it. And I knew them. As for the doctrine, Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli himself, once said, I remember it well: “What are we to make of liturgists who know nothing about theology?”
We agree with you, Monsignore, but is it not true that the people did not understand….
Dearest friends, have you never read Saint Paul: “It is not important to know anything but what is necessary”, “it is necessary to love knowledge ad sobrietatem”. At this rate, after a few years people will pretend to understand “transubstantiation” in the same way as they explain a mathematical theorem. But just think of it that not even the priest may quite understand this mystery!
But how could it have come to this twisting of the liturgy?
It became a kind of fashion. Everybody talked about it, everybody “was renewing”, everybody was trying to be like popes (tutti pontificavano) in the wake of sentimentalism, of eagerness to reform. And the voices that raised themselves to defend the two thousand year old Tradition of the Church, were cleverly hushed. There was the invention of a kind of “people’s liturgy” … when I heard these refrains, it came into my mind something which my professor at the Seminary used to say: “the liturgy is something given by the clerics to the people” (“la liturgia è del clero per il popolo”). It descends from God and does not come up from the bottom. I have to admit, however, that this foul-smelling appearances have made themselves a bit more rare. The young generations of priests are maybe better than those who came before them, they do not have the ideological fury of an iconoclastic ideology, they are full of good feelings, however they lack in education.
What do you mean, Maestro, when you say “they lack in education”?

It means that they need it! I am speaking of the structure that the wisdom of the Church had so delicately chiseled in course of centuries. You do not understand the importance of the seminary: a liturgy that is fully lived, the orderly articulation of the different periods of the year and all this experienced in social communion with the brothers... Advent, Lent, the big feasts that follow after Easter. All of this is educational and if you only knew how much!

A foolish rhetoric wants to depict the seminary as something which spoils the priest, that the seminarians, remote and far away from the world, remain closed in themselves and distant from the people. This is pure imagination, invented by people who wish to dissolve an age-old formative richness and replace it with emptiness.
Let us return to the crisis of the Church and to the fact that so many seminaries have closed down, do you, Monsignore, support a return to the continuation of Tradition?
Look here, to defend the old rite is not the same as being a worshipper of ancient times; it is to be “eternal”. You see, when one gives the traditional mass names like “Mass of Saint Pius V” or “Tridentine” one is wrong, it makes it seem as if it is a mass belonging to a certain epoch. It is our Mass, the Roman universal Mass, valid everywhere and in all times, a single language spoken from the Oceania to the Arctic’s. Concerning the continuity in time, I would like to tell you an episode. Once we were together with a Bishop whose name I forgot, in a small church in Mugello, when there came the sudden notice that a brother of ours had died. We suggested that we at once celebrate a Mass, but then we realized that we only had old Missals at hand. The Bishop refused categorically to celebrate. I will never forget it and I repeat that the continuity of the liturgy means that – except for small details – it can be celebrated today, with that old dusty missal standing on a bookshelf and which for four centuries or more has served my predecessors.
Monsignore, there is much talk about a “reform of the reform” which could take away the deformities that came in the 70-ies.
The question is rather complicated. That the new rite had deficiencies is by now becoming evident for everybody, and the Pope has many times said and written that we must “keep what is ancient” (guardare all'antico). However we must beware of the temptations of introducing hybrid measures. The liturgy with a big “L” is the one that comes to us from centuries back, it is the reference, it is not the debased liturgy which holds so many compromises “that make God sad and the enemy happy” ("a Dio spiacenti e a l’inimici sui”)
What do you mean, Maestro?
Let us for instance take the innovations in the seventies. Some ugly songs in beat that were in vogue in the churches in 1968, are today already archeological pieces. Giving up perennity and emerging oneself in time, means that one is condemned to the fads of fashion. In this connection I come to think of the Reform of the Holy Week in the 1950's, made with some hurry under the pontificate of a Pope Pius XII who was already exhausted and tired. Only some years later, under Pope John XXIII who in liturgical matters was of a convinced and moving traditionalism, came a telephone call to me from Mons. Dante, Master of Ceremonies of the Pope, who told me to prepare the “Vexilla Regis” for the coming celebration on Good Friday. I was somehow taken aback and answered: “They have forbidden me to do it”. The answer was: “But the Pope wishes it.” In a few hours I organized the repetitions of the songs and very happily we sang again the same songs which the Church had sung in many centuries on that day. All this only to say that when one distances oneself from the liturgical context those voids become difficult to fill and you can be sure they are noticed! In front of our liturgy of many centuries we should contemplate it and venerate it and remember that in our mania for “improvements”, we only risk doing great damage.
Maestro, what role does music play in this process?

It has an incredibly important role for many reasons. The affected “Cecilianism” to which certainly Perosi was no stranger, with its tones that were so mild and enticing to the ear had introduced a new romantic sentimentalism, which had nothing to do, for instance, with the eloquent and solid physicality of Palestrina. Some extravagant deteriorations introduced by Solesmes had cultivated a subdued gregorianism, which also was the fruit of a pseudo-restauring passion for the Medieval ages, which were so popular in the nineteenth century.

The idea of an opportunity to recuperate the archeological vein, both in music and liturgy, of a past, from which the so called “oxen centuries” (seculi bui) of the Council of Trent separated it ….. in short an archeology which has nothing at all to do with Tradition and which wishes to restore something which maybe never existed, is a bit similar to certain churches restored in the “pseudoromantic” style of Viollet-le-Duc.
What does it mean, Monsignore, when in the musical field you attack Solesmes?
This means that the Gregorian chant is modal, not tonal and not rhythmical, it has nothing to do with “one, two, three, one, two, three”. We should not despise the way people sung in our cathedrals and replace it with a pseudo-monastic and affected murmuring. A song from the Middle Ages is not interpreted with theories of today, but one should go about it as it was then. Moreover the Gregorian chant of another historical time could also be sung by the people, sung using the force with which our people expressed their faith. Solesmes never understood this, but we should recognize the learned and great philological work executed on the old manuscripts.

Maestro, how far have we come in our days with the restoration of Sacred Music and the Liturgy?

I cannot deny that there some signs of restoration, but I still can see that there persists a certain blindness, almost a complacency for all that is vulgar, coarse, in bad taste and also doctrinally temerarious. Most important, do not ask me, please, to make a judgement on the guitar-players and on the tarantellas which are sung during the Offertory.….The liturgical problem is serious, do not listen to the voices of those persons who do not love the Church and who oppose the Pope and if you want to cure the sick then remember that the merciful doctor makes the wound purulent (fa la piaga purulenta).

55 comments:

Johnny Domer said...

Very interesting. I thought his criticism of Solesmes was the most intriguing...I haven't read much into the subject, but I've never heard anyone ever say anything bad about Solesmes. Has this been a subject of some debate?

Jordanes said...

Msgr. Bartolucci has ALWAYS been a strong critic of the Solesmes method of Gregorian chant. He's got a really good point, too, though I can see a benefit of Solesmes' duples and triples as an aid for a schola as it learns a particular chant.

LeonG said...

Maginficently expressed Monseigneur.

Your point about hybridisation is not lost. Education in depth is required before we end up with yet another liturgical catastrophe.

Rubricarius said...

A very interesting interview.

The good Monsignor's comments on the rushed putting together of the 'restored' Holy Week are fascinating - even more so John XXIII's insistence on having the traditional Vexilla regis sung on Good Friday. One wonders what would have happened if John XXIII had lived longer and suspect there would have been several more reversals/restorations.

The criticism of Solesmes is not particularly surprising.

Ygnacia said...

This means that the Gregorian chant is modal, not tonal and not rhythmical, it has nothing to do with “one, two, three, one, two, three”.

Yes!! As someone who for many years didn't know 'regular' music, only Gregorian Chant, I have experienced this as a problem. To me, chant is like breathing, so singing it rhythmically is like being on a lung machine - it's too mechanical.

FDM said...

Brilliant interview and brilliant post as usual from a brilliant blog. Tks RC ! God Bless.

Sacerdos in Germania said...

BLAM! Preach it Mosignor!

What a great interview and a sign of hope. I had the honor of meeting Mons. Bartolucci at a visit he made to Gricigliano, at the ICK's seminary. He gave a conference on Sacred music and afterward related anecdotes of serving as Maestro di Capella under Pope Pius XII and John XXIII. I was to say the least enlightening. At the end, he announced to everyone that he only offers the TLM and all the seminarians and priests rose and gave him a standing ovation. Nice memory of a great churchman and musician.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Pretty high ranking guy to be saying stuff like this. Amazing.

David Joyce said...

Wonderful, "call a spade a spade" type interview.

"That the new rite had deficiencies is by now becoming evident for everybody"

... except perhaps, for the Archbishop of Westminster, where he states:

"The view that the ordinary form of the Mass, in itself, is in some way deficient finds no place here. Indeed, anyone who holds such a view does not come under the generous provision of Summorum Pontificum. Such a person is inexorably distancing themselves from the Church."

http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2009/08/tablet-lms-usus-antiquior-and-foreword.html

Steve said...

What a dude.
He's done well to survive this long.

Andre said...

I hope others who have actually seen the horrible changes in the liturgy from Pius XII to John XXIII will speak more aboout how these changes impoverished the liturgy. It is tyring to hear from the "traditionalist" who think that the 1962 missal just fell out off the sky. I hope others will do some research on these changes and discover that the same man(Bugnini) who "made" the "ordinary" form of the Mass also made huge changes to the True Mass.


Andre

Paul Haley said...

God bless this holy Monseigneur for standing up for Tradition in the liturgy and sacred music. One only wishes more prelates shared his views.

Anonymous said...

"I beg your pardon, but the reform was done by arid people, arid, arid, I repeat it. And I knew them. As for the doctrine, Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli himself, once said, I remember it well: “How come that we make liturgists who know nothing about theology?” We agree with you,..."

Amen.

"And the voices that raised themselves to defend the two thousand year old Tradition of the Church, were cleverly hushed."

I am reading a letter from 1965 by Archbishop Lefebvre and it reads like a prophecy.

"It is our Mass, the Roman universal Mass, valid everywhere and in all times, a single language spoken from the Oceania to the Arctic’s."

"The liturgical problem is serious, do not listen to the voices of those persons who do not love the Church and who oppose the Pope and if you want to cure the sick then remember that the merciful doctor makes the wound purulent "

Words I will hold dear.

Anonymous said...

How was it that he has always, without interuption< said the Old Mass? I would assume that meant privately, but wasn't that even forbidden? Or is he admitting that despite the attempt to suffocate the Old Rite he continued to say Mass in defiance to the directives of Pope Paul VI? Or was he given an indult privledge?

Peter said...

The young generations of priests are maybe better than those who came before them, they do not have the ideological fury of an iconoclastic ideology, they are full of good feelings, however they lack in education.

...then we realized that we only had old Missals at hand. The Bishop refused categorically to celebrate. I will never forget it and I repeat that the continuity of the liturgy means that – except for small details – it can be celebrated today, with that old dusty missal standing on a bookshelf and which for four centuries or more has served my predecessors.

These are two most important passages of the whole interview. The first one rebukes all the neocons who claim that Tradition is the "attachment to the Latin Mass" only, and the second proves how little do priests who resent saying the 3rd Confiteor understand from the liturgy, law and theology.

Maureen said...

You haven't understood what either man said. To say that the OF is not deficient is to say that it is a perfectly valid and licit form of the Mass. It's Mass; it's sufficient.

To say that the OF has deficiencies is to say that a Mass which is perfectly valid and licit could be better, or that there are areas where other perfectly valid and licit forms of the Mass are "closer to the heart's desire", or to more perfect fittingness of the human part of the worship. What is lacking is not what makes the Mass the Mass or not; it is other things.

servusmariaen said...

It's doubtful this sort of interview will be published by the "Catholic press" except in rare instances (perhaps The Wanderer or Remnant)but this type of thing needs to be in diocesan newspapers. The dishonesty regarding the Novus Ordo has gone on far too long. We need to pray for this intention. I pray every day for a restoration of Catholic liturgy/tradition in a word for a restoration of sanity. In my 43 years I've only known the desert with an Oasis here or there.

Mickey said...

All though Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci is advanced in age, I would certainly hope that the Holy Father would make him a Cardinal.

Note: Cardinal Alfons Maria Stickler was made bishop and Cardinal at a very late age nearing the retirement point.

Capreolus said...

I, too, am very grateful for this interview and for your publishing it. The good Monsignor makes several very interesting (and encouraging) comments. I think he is representative of the best qualities of the Roman School. Also: even though "de gustibus non est disputandum," it's good to read a defense of the Italian style of singing (so maligned by some), which represents a true continuation from the days of Palestrina if not earlier. Vivat, crescat, floreat!

Jordanes said...

How was it that he has always, without interuption, said the Old Mass? I would assume that meant privately, but wasn't that even forbidden?

De facto it was forbidden, though every time a bishop tried to punish a priest for do so, Rome always sided with the priest.

Or is he admitting that despite the attempt to suffocate the Old Rite he continued to say Mass in defiance to the directives of Pope Paul VI? Or was he given an indult privledge?

I'm pretty sure he was one of the priests who was given permission, and that he did not act in defiance of the pope.

The first one rebukes all the neocons who claim that Tradition is the "attachment to the Latin Mass" only

Do any such persons actually exist?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they'll be discussing this on Catholic Answers today? Or EWTN's Open Line (especially after having the audacity of telling a young girl on C.A. yesterday that permission for Communion in the hand was obtained in the USA without any chicanery)?

God reward Mons. Bartolucci for speaking out before going to his reward!

Thom said...

Can someone tell me where I can learn more about the differences between the Solesmes and Roman approaches to chant? I'm very interested in this. Thanks.

Aristotle said...

Wonderful interview! I found it intriguing from start to finish. Hats of to NLM for running this. Excellent.

Nick said...

I just wonder: did the good Monsignor voice his concerns publicly under the previous pontificates?

Anonymous said...

Maureen writes:

"To say that the [New Mass] has deficiencies is to say that a Mass which is perfectly valid and licit could be better, ..."

No, to say that a Mass is deficient is to say that, even though (in this case) it is valid, it falls short of the mark. The New Mass undermines the Faith despite being valid. It does so because it is open to heretical interpretations, even though it is also open to the correct orthodox interpretations.

It is not enough to say that the New Mass could be better: any Mass improves gradually over the centuries. We must also say that it REQUIRES correction because it fails to some extent as a Catholic liturgy. I am convinced that Beneidct XVI intends to make some changes so that it may become unambiuously Catholic in meaning.

However, even that is not enough. It is simply not legitimate to concoct a Eucharistic (or any) liturgy in committee, with or without the advice of six heretic ministers. Liturgy is a gift from God through the revelation of countless generations of holy fathers; it is not the banal product of the dust which is man.

Some day over the rainbow, probably long after I am dead and gone, the New Mass must be entirely abolished. In the mean time, we work for what is humanly possible.

P.K.T.P.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

Evidence mounts each day that Archbishop Lefebvre was right in refusing to celebrate the Novus Ordo. One day all the nay sayers will be praying for his intercession.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes writes:

"De facto it was forbidden, though every time a bishop tried to punish a priest for do so, Rome always sided with the priest."

Jordanes is correct this time. But he might have added a fact, which is that Rome carefully concealed the fifteen to twenty cases which were overturned, according to Alfons Cardinal Stickler. How is it that we only learned of this after S.P. was published? An interesting question. I am wondering what these priests were threatened with should they blab their victories. They were probably told to keep quiet so that the Pope would not 'have to' abrogate the T.L.M. Of course, we'll never know.

One of the winners was a priest at St. Willibrordus Church in the Netherlands. This came out AFTER he finally died! The only one I ever heard of in all those years was a case from the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia. I have tried to find a reference to it over the last fifteen years but have failed, and I lost the original one. All the evidence has evaporated like dew before the morning sun. But we shall all remember the fact that, for 35 years, a right was denied and refused and suppressed. So much for law; so much for truth; so much for justice.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

"One wonders what would have happened if John XXIII had lived longer and suspect there would have been several more reversals/restorations."

It is a great tragedy for the Church that John XXIII did not live longer....even if by just a year or two more.
His idea for the Council was NOT what came to be, and his agenda for the Council was NOT what actually happened.
He planned for the Council in January, 1959, and wanted to to begin in 1960. His staff in the Curia (at the time nearly all traditionalists who didn't what a Council at all), created all kinds of roadblocks and insisted that a Council couldn't be called so fast.
Unfortunatly, their procrastination gave the liberals the time they needed to craft their own agenda for any Council.
The Schema (agenda) for the Council as devised by John XXIII and his imediate corcile in the Curia was EXTREMELY traditionalist. The Synod of the Diocese of Rome (1960) which was a preliminary practice exercise for the Council was loundly booed by the radicals and liberals when it was over as a triumphalistic "Tridentine" victory. Some of the rulings of the Roman Diosecean Synod (wearing soutanes/habits at all times, friars and monks to restore the monastic tonsure where it had been abandoned, no tampering with the Mass etc.) looks wonderful. The Council of John XXIII would have been like this.
But unfortunatly,by Sept. 1962 John XXIII was diagnosed with stomach and intestinal cancer and was dying. The liberals knew it and the Council hijacked by the liberals (Bugnini and others) in the Curia (and also by Diosecean Cardinals who wanted a hand in things...Leger (Canada), Alfrik(Netherlands),Suenens& DeSmet(Belgium), Ritter,Cushing,&Meyer (USA), Lecaro (Italy), Bea(Germany) plus dozens of others.
John XXIII opened and attended the first session (but was ill often and watched the proceedings from his Vatican apartments).
Had he been well, and had his hand more in things, the liberals would not have taken charge.

Pius XII was NOT a liberal Pope, but the liberals took advantage of him in his last 4 years when he was in declining strength and vigor, and were ready to make their move with John. He held them off for awhile, but when he was dying, they circled in for the kill, like vultures.

Paul VI was a liberal, but not a radical. Yet he was too weak to fend off the liberal radicals and they stole the show of Vatican II, and the reform of the Mass. The tragic result is the disaster of the last 40 years.

Had John XXIII lived even 2 more years in good health, we probably would not have had the NOvus Ordo, the "reform" of religious life, radical ecumemnism, inter-religious dialog, or the discarding of the Papal Court and magnificent ceremonies.

Our Church of today would probably look a good 90% the same as the Church before 1962, and it's a genuine tragedy that John XXIII did not live. If you read his actual speeches from the beginning of his reign, and even at the end...what we got is a radical twisting of his original agenda.
He would not recognize it. And probably would be horrified by the Catholic Church of today.

The really bad thing however, is that a recent past Pope actually had no objections to any of it.

John said...

His comments about the calendar helps confirm what I believe about the power of the divine office said throughout the year:

"You do not understand the importance of the seminary: a liturgy that is fully lived, the orderly articulation of the different periods of the year and all this experienced in social communion with the brothers... Advent, Lent, the big feasts that follow after Easter. All of this is educational and if you only knew how much!"

The fullness of the liturgical calendar and my place in changed my life when I became a Benedictine oblate.

And his comments on Gregorian chant... well, I will think about that too.

Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes writes:

"I'm pretty sure he was one of the priests who was given permission, and that he did not act in defiance of the pope."

I'm not so sure. Escriva was given an indult in an extreme case and for a special reason.

Everyone has concentrated on Canon Law on this. It is forgotten that Moral Law takes precedence. Cardinal Stickler also comments on this regarding the findings of the 1986 Commission of Cardinals. He said that the cardinals believed that the Pope not only had not but could not abrogate the old Mass. It is owing to its divine origin and ancient and venerable usage. There is a precept of Moral Law that a ordinance of positive law which is immoral is not only bad law but fails to qualify as law in any sense.

The Pope's authority is plenary, not absolute. He can do anything without limit so as to build up the Mystical Body of Christ or save souls. But he hath no power to harm the Church in law. He cannot take away what is a gift of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, Who speaks through the ancient traditional practices of the Church.

Frankly, I think that some of the wiser (not necessarily smarter) prelates simply realised from the outset that Paul VI had not suppressed the old Mass in law. "De Missali Romano" of 1970 was signed by Cardinal Tabera & Msgr. Bugnini and therefore did not bear the degree of authority needed--if there exists one!

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Riveting interview. The days of the Novus Ordo are clearly numbered. There is no other conclusion to draw. Benedict himself spoke of a hybrid of the two, but all that means is that he also knows the new Mass is a disaster for souls.

Jordanes said...

I'm not so sure. Escriva was given an indult in an extreme case and for a special reason.

St. Josemaria was hardly the only such priest to be given that indult (which all now know to have never been necessary). De Missali Romano no. 3 explictly provides for such indults.

Everyone has concentrated on Canon Law on this. It is forgotten that Moral Law takes precedence.

Ah, but you don't have the ability to read "everyone's" minds, Mr. Perkins. Others have also argued that even if the Pope has the juridical authority to abrogate the traditional Roman Rite, he lacks the moral authority to do so (for though it is not directly or wholly of divine origin, it is of ancient, venerable, and universal usage in the Latin Church).

John L said...

Could the priest from Sydney have been Fr. Patrick Fox, who never celebrated the old mass and died happily not long after the issuing of Summorum Pontificium?

sacerdos in germania said...

P.K.T.P.,
Thank you sir for the excellent response concerning the inherent deficiencies of the Novus Ordo mass. This is exactly the reason why I am against a reform of the reform and something I wish more people would realize. The method or remedy is almost always dress it up and that will solve everything. I don't think so. If the reform of the reform is used as a step to restore completely the TLM as the normative mass the fine but we should heed Monsignor's warning about hybridism, that is, some sort of new mass-TLM mixture. I am completely of the mind of the late Cardinal Ottaviani who thought that the Liturgy did not need to be altered but only the attitude toward the Liturgy. This beginning with proper catechesis among the laity and proper formation with respect to priests. What we don't need is more tinkering...that has already got us into enough trouble. I believe that was what Mons. Bartolucci was refering to when he was speaking of the danger of hybrids.

Anonymous said...

If there is now a new music director at St. Peter's (as I have read here and on other blogs), where did the modernist mediocre Maestro of the Sistine Choir get bumped to...or is he by some unhappy circumstance still in office.
This person who is Maestro of the Sistine replaced the magnificent Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci. Msgr. Bartolucci was sacked by John Paul II and his cohort, Piero Marini in the mid 1990's. No surprise there. But it shows monumental ignorance and lack of respect.

I hope Pope Benedict XVI repairs this damage to such a great man by raising him to the honorary rank of Cardinal at the next consistory (along with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger). Since both are past 80, it would be only an honory posting.
Three men who deserve it:
Domenico Bartolucci, Georg Ratzinger, and the celebrated and highly respected traditionalist bishop in the Vatican, Archbishop Luigi DeMagistris.

Peter said...

The liturgy is the public prayer of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. In the Liturgy Christ prays for us Himself. Telling Him how to do this is something close to blasphemy, especially when you're a mere archbishop Bugnini aided with some heretical "advisors".

Remember that the first topic to be spoken about during the SSPX-Rome discussion is the liturgy. I wonder what will be the result. We'll probably find out in a year or so.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:24 wrote,
"Since both are past 80, it would be only an honory posting...Three men who deserve it:.."

Wouldn't it be great if the Pope lifted the mandatory retirement age. Others have said the retirement should be left in place for now so that the great liberals can be replaced more quickly.

I pray for our Pope that at the time he becomes ill that the wolves do not take advantage of his weakness. I pray he buttresses the castle before then.

May Pope Benedict XV1 find the strength today to do God's will and to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Hart of Mary as asked for in Fatima proper.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 19/8 23.50
I beg to disagree in your description of John XXIII as traditionalist, and your complaint about the misfortune of his being diagnosed with cancer shortly before the Council started.
It may have been so at the beginning of his pontificate, but by the time that the proceedings for convening the Council he had very much changed his mind and was aligned with the modernists. Proof of the foregoing is his summoning of periti that were previously suspicious of heresy by the Holy Office, and his openess to protestant and communist "observers".
He was so obsessed with the Council, one "that probably was not necessary" by his own words, that he went ahead with it in spite of his ill health, when it would probably have been wiser to postpone its celebration for a future pontiff.
This seems to have been an attempt on his part to realize something that he was unable to acoomplish in his lifetime, kind of a doting of old age.
Sincerely,
Charles

Anonymous said...

Anon 23:50

Where did you come by this information about Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI? Everything I've read says the opposite.

Anonymous said...

A priest agreed with me when I said I feared Benedict XVI was trying to invent a hybrid rite of Mass by "reforming the reform." What other conclusions should I draw when the Pope tells us that he wants the Traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo to enrich each other. I'm not a theologian. But I believe Quo Primum probably forbade the Novus Ordo. As the Monsignor points out, liturgical changes should be minor. The Novus Ordo was anything but a minor change. It was, and is still, a new rite of Mass that ought not to exist.

J.G: Rathkaj said...

Wouldn't it be great if the Pope lifted the mandatory retirement age.Others have said the retirement should be left in place for now so that the great liberals can be replaced more quickly."

When Pope Paul VI signed the MP Ingravescentem aetatem he acted like an englightened absolutist despot. Its curtailment of the cardinalitial dignity is unprecedented in the history of the divine senate. Through the centuries pontiffs were more than once confronted with very inconvenient members of the sacred college or the episcopate but they refrained from such drastic measures to muzzle them.

finecrown said...

Does anyone wonder about the translation of the Italian

a Dio spiacenti e a l’inimici sui

whereby "sui" is somehow taken to suggest "happy"?
I ask the webmaster or, failing that, someone who knows Italian to explain this. Is it necessary to ask Mons. B. for clarification?

Anonymous said...

It is also not that hard to hear from the Russian infiltrators about how they subvert countries.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xef8EEyhPVU&NR=1

Tomas Schuman (Yuri Bezmenov)

Pray hard that Pope BXV1 and all the Bishops consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart asap.

johnf said...

Fine Crown
a Dio spiacenti e a l’inimici sui

I find that odd as well. It's as if there is a word missing.

The analogy in the last sentence is odd too. A good doctor doesnt make a wound fester - quite the opposite.

But these do not detract from an excellent and inspiring interview. The points made about the orderly articulation of the liturgical year drew tears.

We have lost so much.

Cardinal Siri once said that it would take 100 years to repair the damage done by John XXIII. At the time I thought that he was just an old reactionary. He was right.

dcs said...

"To tell the truth, I have always and without interruption celebrated it since my ordination … on the contrary, I sometimes found it difficult to celebrate according to the modern rite, even if I never said so."

Doesn't sound to me like he asked for "permission" to continue celebrating the old Mass, unless by "never said so" he means "never said so publicly." It sounds more like he just went on celebrating the old Mass privately. One wonders how many priests did the same thing and never said anything about it.

bryandunne said...

I regret to say...

I was struck by the following extract from the interview with Msgr Bartolucci:

Q. Was the reform not done by people who were conscious of what they were doing and well educated in the teachings of the Roman Church?

A. I beg your pardon, but the reform was done by arid people, arid, arid, I repeat it. And I knew them. As for the doctrine, Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli himself, once said, I remember it well: “How come that we make liturgists who know nothing about theology?”

I can already see that this quotation from Cardinal Antonelli will be appearing all over the Internet. But what does it mean? Indeed which reform is the Maestro speaking of - the reform of Holy Week or the 1962 Missal or the Paul VI Missal? Who was arid? Who were the Liturgists? Does he mean Fr (later Archbishop) Bugnini? or those in the Dioceses who in the late 1960's and 1970's implemented the Liturgical changes? Was Cardinal Antonelli not a key figure in the Consilium and the previous Liturgical Reform Commission?

I regret that this interview (and as I do not speak Italian I cannot really check the original to see if it is the transaltion that is at fault, but I think not) tantalises but leaves me with too many questions.

I hope some one will have the opportunity to re-visit and re-interview Mgsr Bartolucci again on the Liturgical Reforms and really tease out from him what he means.

His views on this are of interest due to his position under Pope Pius XII and Bl. Pope John XVIII and the interviewer has done a great service by providing us with this overview of his ideas on the Liturgical Reform but the interview is faulty because he has left so many elements of what the Maestro said unclear and uncertain.

If his views on Old Solesmes are well-known they they are of secondary importance here.

In caritate Xp.,

Bryan Dunne

Schola Guy said...

Thanks so much for posting this interview. It is wonderful to hear such encouraging thoughts from one so close to the Holy Father.

I must disagree, with the greatest respect and in a minor way, with your translation of Msgr. Bartolucci's comment on "the debased liturgy which holds so many compromises “that make God sad and the enemy happy.” The Italian says “displeasing to God and to his enemies.”

The Monsignor is quoting Dante's Inferno, Canto III. Dante and Virgil are in the vestibule of Hell. Here Dante encounters the opportunists, who were neither good nor bad but lived only for themselves. Also tormented there are the angels who did not take sides in the Great Rebellion. They took no side, so they are given no place, either in Heaven or Hell. Here is the passage:

Incontanente intesi e certo fui
che questa era la setta d'i cattivi
a Dio spiacenti e a'nemici sui.

The estimable John Ciardi translates as:

At once I understood for certain: these were of that retrograde and faithless crew
hateful to God and to his enemies.

It’s pretty clear that the Monsignor made this allusion to invoke the same concept—the compromises of the New Mass pleased no one, neither God nor His enemies.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

d.c.s. wrote:

It sounds more like he just went on celebrating the old Mass privately. One wonders how many priests did the same thing and never said anything about it.


Exactly right. The problem is that you really have to stretch De Missali Romano to allow this, even sine populo. It had to be owing to advanced age or an inability to celebrate the New Mass and "other serious reasons". Essentially, Bartolucci just ignored this ordinance, which we now know never qualified as a law, since it violated a precept of the Moral Law. I note that Paul VI quoted D.M.R. to justifiy his suppression of the T.L.M. and yet D.M.R. was never signed by him. It was an act of the Holy See but not specifically a papal act. Interesting. He was leaving open the possibility that a later Pope would annul D.M.R. without having to contradict the legal act of another pope qua pope.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes needs a bit of correction in his responses to me.

1. About No. 3 of "De Missali Romano", it only allowed for indults to offer Mass sine populo WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE PROPER ORDINARY for reasons of advanced age or "other serious reasons".

D.M.R. was not just "unnecessary", as Jordanes characterises it; it was ultra vires and therefore illegal.

In the case of Bartolucci, he would have needed permission from his ordinary (bishop of the diocese where he was incardinated) and he would have needed to justify this on the grounds of "serious reasons". It might have happened in the same way that a meteorite might hit Jordanes this evening; that is, I admit that it's not impossible but it sure the hell isn't likely.

Now the case of Escriva was different. Escriva WAS a proper ordinary. Canon 295.1 makes it clear that the prelate of a personal prelature is a proper ordinary, even though such a structure is not a particular church (equivalent in law to a diocese). So he could have given the permission to himself, or the Pope could have given it to him.

This brings us to point 2:

2. According to St. Thomas, ordinances which violate precepts of Moral Law are not 'bad laws'; rather, they FAIL TO QUALIFY as law, just as a child's scribble on the page of a law does not constitute law.

S.P. settles this, even if the Pope won't come out and say it: Nos. 2 & 3 of De Missali Romano DO NOT QUALIFY as law, even though they are cast as law. D.M.R. is an ordinance but not a law.

Paul VI may have suspected as much. I note that he did not sign D.M.R., so it was not specifically what is called 'a papal act'. It was an act of the Holy See but not of the Pope per se. So S.P. is not one Pope contradicting another. It is one Pope contradicting Cardinal Tabera and Msgr. Bugnini, although Paul VI must take general responsibility for this error. It is an error in law, not law.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

On the legal question, I hypotheise that Msgr. Bartolucci may have simply realsed what Cardinal Stickler said directly in 1986: there was no valid abrogation of the T.L.M. It follows that D.M.R. is ultra vires, illegal. Therefore, the good Monsignor may have felt no need to obey an illegal ordinance, and he simply decided to celebrate the old Mass quietly--and legally.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

John L. said:

"Could the priest from Sydney have been Fr. Patrick Fox, who never celebrated the old mass and died happily not long after the issuing of Summorum Pontificium?"

I wish I could answer this. I mislaid the article about the priest in Sydney in the early 1980s and I've never been able to recover it. It's probably stuffed in my filing cabinet somewhere but I don't think so. I can't remember his name. I do remember that, after a very long delay, he received a note from the Archbishop, a one-sentence note, saying that the action against him had been withdrawn, and giving no reasons. The writer of the article suggested that Rome had told the Archbishop that he would lose on this and that it would be better to withdraw rather than to set some sort of precedent. But I admit that what was said in the article is very foggy for me because it's been decades since I've seen it.

Never throw away important papers!!! I have in a special file the ruling from Rome that we may all receive Holy Communion whilst kneeling, no matter what the Episcopal Conference says to the contrary. Just an example of something you don't want to mislay.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

John L.:

Do you have an article regarding Fr. Fox which I could see? Could you send it to me or give me a source reference? I'd appreciate that.

P.K.T.P.

Jordanes said...

D.M.R. was not just "unnecessary", as Jordanes characterises it; it was ultra vires and therefore illegal.

You could be right, and yours is an permissible opinion. Time will tell whether or not the Holy See concurs.

About No. 3 of "De Missali Romano", it only allowed for indults to offer Mass sine populo WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE PROPER ORDINARY for reasons of advanced age or "other serious reasons".

In the case of Bartolucci, he would have needed permission from his ordinary (bishop of the diocese where he was incardinated) and he would have needed to justify this on the grounds of "serious reasons". It might have happened in the same way that a meteorite might hit Jordanes this evening; that is, I admit that it's not impossible but it sure the hell isn't likely.


I don't know if Msgr. Bartolucci obtained an indult for the proper ordinary, and you don't know if he continued to celebrate the traditional Mass privately without an indult. There's no way I can tell, based on what we know at this time, how likely either possibility is. Unless we find out more facts, there's nothing more we can say on the subject.

As for St. Josemaria, didn't he obtain his indult before Opus Dei was erected as a personal prelature?

dcs said...

As for St. Josemaria, didn't he obtain his indult before Opus Dei was erected as a personal prelature?

St. Josemaria died in 1975, seven years before Opus Dei was erected as a personal prelature.

Paul Emmons said...

Maestro Bartolucci's remarks about Solesmes, complete with reference to Viollet-le-Duc's acknowledgment of the novelties connected with "restoration," echo uncannily what Katherine Bergeron wrote in _Decadent Enchantments_, University of California Press, c1998.

Has this book been translated into Italian? Has he read it? Has he heard of it from others? Or did reach the same insights independently (and probably years earlier)?