The famous Sistine Chapel Choir is being integrated to the Office of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations (UCEPO), by a Motu Proprio of Pope Francis, published on January 19, 2019 and dated January 17.
Thus, it becomes the responsibility of Monsignor Guido Marini, 53, Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations. It’s financial management is entrusted to Monsignor Guido Pozzo, 67, former Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission, suppressed the same day, Jan. 19, 2019, by Pope Francis.
In September 2018, the Holy See confirmed that the Pontiff had authorized an investigation into the financial and administrative management of the Choir, hence the implementation of a financial reform.
However, such a re-grouping is also inscribed in the dynamic of the reform of the Curia launched by Pope Francis, which tends to unite the competencies of the different dicasteries.
The Glory of God and the Sanctification of the Faithful
To Monsignor Marini, the Pope entrusts “the duty to guide the activities and the liturgical, pastoral, spiritual, artistic and educational areas of this Chapel, always making more perceptible in it and in its particular components the first end of sacred music, which is “the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful” (SC 112).”
Monsignor Marini is also charged with “rewriting a Statute proper of the Chapel,” so that the regulation approved by Saint Paul VI on August 8, 1969, and the dispositions of 1970 are updated.
Finally, having at heart “the ecclesial path” of the Choir, Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Guido Pozzo as Administrator of the financial affairs. The Holy Father entrusts to him “the duty of the specific management of the financial administration of the Chapel itself and to accomplish it under the leadership of the Master of Celebrations and responsible for the Pontifical Musical Chapel,” Monsignor Marini.
High-Place of Artistic and Liturgical Expression
The decision rests on “the precepts of the Council regarding the Holy Liturgy,” in particular numbers 28 and 29 of the Conciliar Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, regarding the “dignity of the liturgical celebration.” “Those who form part of the Schola Cantorum acquit themselves of a veritable liturgical ministry. It’s the reason they’ll exercise their function with all the sincere piety and the good order that is appropriate to such a great ministry, and which the People of God have the right to exact from them.”
The Motu Proprio reminds that the UCEPO constitutes “the specific place of service of papal liturgical functions, also charged with taking care and promoting the prestigious artistic and musical heritage produced in the course of centuries by the Chapel itself, for the solemn liturgies of the Sovereign Pontiffs.”
The Pope stresses, moreover, that the Pontifical Musical Chapel constitutes a “high place of artistic and liturgical expression at the service of solemn celebrations of Sovereign Pontiffs,” first “at the interior of the splendid Chapel” then in the Vatican Basilica.
Pope Sixtus IV — who reorganized the College of Pontifical Singers, which had existed for centuries, already under Gregory the Great (Pope from 590 to 604)–, founded the Choir in 1471.