Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Funeral of Cardinal Tardini, 1961

Today is the anniversary of the death in 1961 of Domenico Cardinal Tardini, the Vatican Secretary of State under Pope St John XXIII. Born in Rome in 1888, and ordained a priest in 1912, he served in the Curia under Pope Pius XI as a close collaborator of the Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, a role in which he continued when the latter was elected Pope in 1939. In 1952, he was made Pro-Secretary of State for (Extraordinary) Foreign Affairs. Shortly after Pius XII’s death in 1958, John XXIII made him Secretary of State, and raised him to the cardinalate; he was ordained a bishop at the end of the year.

From the always-interesting YouTube channel of British Pathé, here is some archival footage, without soundtrack, of the funeral ceremonies held in St Peter’s Basilica, a Mass coram Summo Pontifice, followed by the Absolution at the catafalque celebrated by the Pope himself.

A few points of interest: throughout the ceremony, the Pope is accompanied by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, whom he had appointed Secretary of the Holy Office, and walking in front of the Pope at the beginning is his Master of Ceremonies, the famous Mons. Enrico Dante. The ceremony is held not at the main altar, but in the right (north) transept, dedicated to Ss Processus and Martinian; starting at 1:44, we see the three chapels of the transept covered over with black drapes, and the central one decorated with a large plain cross. At 2:25, we briefly see the Elevation of the Host during the Mass, which is celebrated at a temporary (but very beautiful) altar set up in front of the drape. The Absolution begins at 2:34; notice how Mons. Dante gestures to people to stand up as he leads the Pope to his place at the foot of the catafalque.

YouTube’s suggestion algorithm also recommended to my attention this footage (once again, archival material without soundtrack), taken in January of 1962, of meetings held in the Apostolic Palace in those strangely perfervid years between the calling of the most recent ecumenical council and its actual beginning.

At 0:21, we see a fresco of St Raymond of Penyafort, the Patron Saint of canon lawyers, presenting his collection of Decretals, the great canon law book of the Middle Ages, to Pope Gregory IX, ca. 1232. At 0:56, we see a group of bishops and cardinals, including Card. Ottaviani and Mons. Dante once again, and at 1:26, Marcel Lefebvre, then newly appointed as Archbishop of Tulle in France; he would serve in this office for less then seventh months, resigning it to take up the role of Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. At 1:33, we see Giovanni Cardinal Montini, the Archbishop of Milan and future Pope Paul VI, and then Eugène Cardinal Tisserant, dean of the College of Cardinals, and retired Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. The rest of the footage is of a meeting at which Card. Tisserant presides.

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