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Italian Cardinal Bartolucci, long head of Sistine Chapel choir, dead at 96

Catholic World News - November 11, 2013

Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, the longtime director of the Sistine Chapel choir, died on November 11 at the age of 96.

A priest of the Florence archdiocese, Father Domenico Bartolucci held several positions in music ministry, both in Florence and in Rome, before becoming deputy director of the Sistine Chapel choir in 1952. He was made permanent director of that choir by Pope Pius XII in 1956, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1997. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI raised him to the College of Cardinals in recognition of his service to the Church.

Because he was well over the age of 80 when he received his red hat, Cardinal Bartolucci never participated in a papal election. At his own request, he was exempted from the ordinary requirement that a cardinal must be ordained as a bishop. At the time of his death he was the 2nd-oldest living member of the College of Cardinals.

In a message of condolence to the relatives of the deceased prelate, Pope Francis praised Cardinal Bartolucci as “an illustrious composer and musician, who exercised his long and intense ministry, especially through religious music, born of and expressing faith.”

With the death of Cardinal Bartolucci, there are now 200 living members of the College of Cardinals, of whom 109 are eligible to take part in a papal conclave. Pope Francis will appoint new cardinals in February 2014.

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