Rorate Caeli

"The Latin Mass brings forth greater spiritual fruit"

Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci was the guest of honor in the concert with his compositions offered to the Holy Father in the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo on August 31. In his words to the Pope on the occasion, Cardinal Bartolucci could not have been clearer:

Holy Father,

I am here to thank Your Holiness for all that you have done and are doing in order to give back nobility and splendor to the Holy Liturgy of the Mass regarding the music that should be truly consonant with the sacrament of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

How not to recall the chant - “et, hymno dicto, exierunt in montem Olivarum” - that Jesus chanted in the Last Supper together with the apostles in the cenacle after the first Mass. It is true, that ancient beautiful hymn could not but generate a deep holy impression upon those extraordinary singers. It is the same today.

I am here, Blessed Father, in order to thank Your Holiness for the strong call for the use of music in the current celebrations of the Holy Mass. I am certain that, by calling a musician to be part of the College of Cardinals, you desired it to be a call for the use of sacred music in Holy Liturgy.

Today's concert is, above all, the performance of my work "Baptisma", on the precise text of the ancient rite of Baptism. It pleases me to recall that this short work, defined as a "sacred short poem", was commissioned by the faculty of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and performed in the aula magna of the same institute. It also pleases me to recall that, after that concert, the following year I was named professor of composition and polyphonic direction of the same institute; I was named maestro di cappella of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. In the year after that, vicemaestro, with Perosi, of the Sistine Chapel Choir. Upon the death of the Maestro, I was named, in '56, by Pope Pacelli, Pius XII, perpetual director Maestro.

Then, the times unfortunately changed. But today, a true a proper reawakening by so many young people, who wish to relive the beauty of the Latin Mass and the greater spiritual fruit derived from it, can be noticed with great satisfaction; this is great, a very great comfort. And it makes us hope for a liturgical future certainly desired by Your Holiness. We thank the Lord, that he may help all those who are working for seriousness in sacred music. I firmly trust that, we the help of God, a true return to the bimillenary tradition of sacred music will take place.

Thank you, Your Holiness!

By "Latin Mass", he was obviously making a reference to the only Mass he has ever celebrated, the traditional Latin Mass ("Extraordinary Form", "Ancient Use", whatever name with which any of our dear readers may be comfortable). "The times unfortunately changed".It is just so refreshing to hear this from a Cardinal! Because it is true! Yes, we know - the other one, the "fabricationproduit banal de l'instant", the "Celebrazione eucaristica", is legitimate; it is valid, when properly said, we know it (and also its sibling, the "Concelebrazione eucaristica"). But why not stop beating around the bush, it can be quite suffocating at times to hold back what we think for fear of being "divisive" or "offensive". If His Eminence can say it freely in front of His Holiness, the father of Summorum Pontificum, why should we fear saying it?

[Updated. Tip: Fides et forma; full transcript: Messa in latino; image source: Orbis catholicus.]