ECENT MONTHS SAW news dealing with liturgical issues. The most relevant was probably Cardinal Sarah’s article in the Osservatore Romano. In this article, the Cardinal addressed liturgical issues, showing his awareness about abuses and his willingness to fight them, as well as his attention for the dignity and sanctity of the liturgy. I think Pope Francis, having chosen him to lead the Congregation for Divine Worship, is certainly on the same page with the Cardinal. But I also think that the Pope has not an easy life in his own city, Rome. Indeed, only the blind can avoid facing this reality: the biggest crisis in liturgy (and liturgical music) is really in Rome.
Many years ago, a German priest told me a common phrase I had not known: Roma veduta, fede perduta (“When you see Rome, you will lose your faith”). I know this kind of idea can be attached to anti-Roman feelings coming from German people, but this priest was very conservative and a great supporter of the Latin Mass. I think this kind of idea has more to do with bad reputation of Roman curia and so on.
Indeed, there are also saints living and working in Rome, saints that we don’t know well because their work is often in the shadow. But is true that the phrase Roma veduta, fede perduta is not far from reality when we take into account the level of once glorious musical institutions. Also here, not all is terrible—there are still brilliant people trying to do their best, but it’s true that the standards in recent years have fallen dramatically. I think Pope Francis must look to his own city (and my own city) to hope for a general reform in the life and discipline of the Church. He has to fight the terrible disease of clericalism that has such an impact on liturgy and music in Rome. But I know that this disease is so big and serious that it’s difficult to see the day when our Church will be freed from this curse.
Will I ever see that day?
More articles by Aurelio Porfiri can be found on ilnaufrago.com.