Secretary of State Office, No. 55.195. From the Vatican, 12th March 2007.
the Ladies and Gentlemen attending the VIII
International Congress of the International Association for the Study of
Gregorian Chant, Florence, Italy.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Holy Father, Benedict XVI, is particularly happy to hear the news that the theme
of the VIII International Congress that the International Association for the
Study of Gregorian Chant will be holding in Florence from 28th March to 2nd June
2007, is to be the Graduale Romanum.
this occasion I have been asked to convey His Holiness’s most gracious
blessing to the organisers, speakers and all participants.
to the Decree issued on 7th August 1907, the Sacred Congregation of Rites
the Editio authentica et typica of
the Graduale Romanum, expressed on behalf of San Pius X, effective for the
was a decisive step towards the restoration of Gregorian Chant, the result of
tireless work of the learned academics of its manuscript tradition.
International Association for the Study of Gregorian Chant rightly considers
this anniversary as an opportunity to take a retrospective look at the research
that has been successfully carried out since, and the ensuing results.
this congress you have before you the exhortation of Vatican Council II (Sacrosanctum
Concilium, 117), that expressed the desire for an Editio magis critica of the
Gregorian books published since the time of Pius X.
desire was also expressed by His Holiness Benedict XVI: even more strongly as
there is no form of liturgical chant that heralds the voice of the Church sound
better than the “The Spouse of the Lamb”, with such nobility and beauty as
Gregorian Chant, developed and matured over the centuries.
religious and artistic nobility justifies, indeed requires, that every effort
should be made to restore the original form of the melodies, and to make them
available for liturgical ceremonies.
carrying this out, one must always bear in mind that the Gregorian melodies must
be authentic and performed in the form approved by the Church, as happened under
the 1907 Decree, which is binding. The Church must be able to identify its voice
in them. Only in this way can liturgical song express in an authentic way the
deepest sentiments of prayer, praise and the supplication of the virginal Church,
where access is gained to the presence of God.
an attitude also finds its expression in the fact that the melodies, once they
are approved by the Church Authorities, are performed faithfully and without
subjective changes. This is why research is not only carried out to serve
science, but also the Church.
is therefore the desire of the Holy Father that the objective of the work of
this Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen, is not only scientific progress, but is
also to contribute to Gregorian Chant’s being
cultivated with enthusiasm in the whole of the Latin Church, so that it
can serve the glory of God triune and the edification of the faithful.
the hope that the Congress will be both successful and fruitful, His Holiness
Benedict XVI, by intercession of Saint Gregory the Great, grants the Apostolic
Benedition with a full heart.
my best personal wishes
Tarcisio card. BERTONE
of State to his Holiness Benedict XVI