Published by the Sacred Congregation for Rites – September 3, 1958
In our time the Supreme Pontiffs have issued three important documents on the subject of sacred music: the Motu proprio Inter sollicitudines of Saint Pius X, Nov. 22, 1903; the Apostolic constitution Divini cultus of Pius XI of happy memory, Dec. 20, 1928; and the encyclical Musicæ sacræ disciplina of the happily reigning Supreme Pontiff Pius XII, Dec. 25, 1955. Other papal documents have also been issued, along with decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites in regard to sacred music.
As everyone realizes, sacred music and sacred liturgy are so naturally inter- woven that laws cannot be made for the one without affecting the other. Indeed in the papal documents, and the decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites we find materials common to both sacred music, and sacred liturgy.
Before his encyclical on sacred music, the Supreme Pontiff, Pius XII, issued another encyclical on the sacred liturgy, Mediator Dei (November 20, 1947), which very clearly explains, and demonstrates the relation between liturgical doctrine, and pastoral needs. It has therefore been considered appropriate to put together from the above documents a special instruction containing all the main points on sacred liturgy, sacred music, and the pastoral advantages of both. In this way their directives may be more easily, and securely put into practice.
It is for this purpose that the present instruction has been prepared. Experts in sacred music, and the Pontifical Commission for the General Restoration of the Liturgy have given advice and assistance.
The organization of this instruction is as follows:
Chapter I: General Concepts (no. 1-10).
Chapter II: General Norms (no. 11-21).
Chapter III: -1. Principal liturgical functions in which sacred music is used.
Special Norms (no. 11-21).
1. Principal liturgical functions in which sacred music is used.
a. General principles regarding the participation of the faithful (no. 22-23).
b. Participation of the faithful in sung Mass (no. 24-27).
c. Participation of the faithful in low Mass (no. 28-34).
d. Conventual Mass, or the Mass in choir (no. 35-37).
e. Assistance of priests in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and so-called “synchronized” Masses (no. 38-39).
B. Divine Office (no. 40-46).
C. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (no. 47).
2. Kinds of sacred music.
A. Sacred polyphony (no. 48-49).
B. Modern sacred music (no. 50).
C. Hymns (no. 51-53).
D. Religious music (no. 54-55).
3. Books of liturgical chant (no. 56-59).
4. Musical instruments and bells.
A. General principles (no. 60).
B. Classic organ, and similar instruments (no. 61-67).
C. Sacred instrumental music (no. 68-69).
D. Musical instruments, and mechanical devices (no. 70-73).
E. Broadcasting, and television of sacred functions (no. 74-79).
F. Times when the playing of musical instruments is forbidden (no. 80-85).
G. Bells (no. 86-92).
5. Persons having principal functions in sacred music and the sacred liturgy (no. 93-103).
6. Duty to cultivate sacred music and sacred liturgy.
A. Training of the clergy, and people (no. 104-112).
B. Public, and private schools of sacred music (no. 113-118).
Chapter I explains a few general concepts; chapter II then takes up the general norms for the use of sacred music in the liturgy. With this background chapter III presents the entire subject of sacred music, and sacred liturgy in detail. Each section establishes its own general principles, and then applies them to particular cases.
1. “The sacred liturgy comprises the entire public worship of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, Head and members” (Mediator Dei, Nov. 20, 1947: AAS 39  528-529). “Liturgical ceremonies” are sacred rites instituted by Jesus Christ or the Church; they are carried out by persons lawfully appointed, and according to the prescriptions of liturgical books approved by the Holy See; their purpose is to give due worship to God, the Saints, and the Blessed (cf. canon 1256). Any other services, whether performed inside or outside the church, are called “private devotions”, even though a priest is present or conducts them.
2. The holy sacrifice of the Mass is an act of worship offered to God in the name of Christ and the Church; of its nature, it is public, regardless of the place or manner of its celebration. Thus, the term “private Mass” should never be used.
3. There are two kinds of Masses: the sung Mass (“Missa in cantu“), and the read Mass (“Missa lecta“), commonly called low Mass.
There are two kinds of sung Mass: one called a solemn Mass if it is celebrated with the assistance of other ministers, a deacon and a sub-deacon; the other called a high Mass if there is only the priest celebrant who sings all the parts proper to the sacred ministers.
4. “Sacred music” includes the following: a) Gregorian chant; b) sacred polyphony; c) modern sacred music; d) sacred organ music; e) hymns; and f) religious music.
5. Gregorian chant, which is used in liturgical ceremonies, is the sacred music proper to the Roman Church; it is to be found in the liturgical books approved by the Holy See. This music has been reverently, and faithfully fostered, and developed from most ancient, and venerable traditions; and even in recent times new chants have been composed in the style of this tradition. This style of music has no need of organ or other instrumental accompaniment.
6. Sacred polyphony is measured music which arose from the tradition of Gregorian chant. It is choral music written in many voice-parts, and sung without instrumental accompaniment. It began to flourish in the Latin Church in the Middle Ages, and reached its height in the art of Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina (1524-1594) in the latter half of the sixteenth century; distinguished musicians of our time still cultivate this art.
7. Modern sacred music is likewise sung in many voice-parts, but at times with instrumental accompaniment. Its composition is of more recent date, and in a more advanced style, developed from the previous centuries. When this music is composed specifically for liturgical use it must be animated by a spirit of devotion, and piety; only on this condition can it be admitted as suitable accompaniment for these services.
8. Sacred music for organ is music composed for the organ alone. Ever since the pipe organ came into use this music has been widely cultivated by famous masters of the art. If such music complies with the laws for sacred music, it is an important contribution to the beauty of the sacred liturgy.
9. Hymns are songs which spontaneously arise from the religious impulses with which mankind has been endowed by its Creator. Thus they are universally sung among all peoples.
This music had a fine effect on the lives of the faithful, imbuing both their private, and social lives with a true Christian spirit (cf. Eph 5:18-20; Col 3:16). It was encouraged from the earliest times, and in our day it is still to be recommended for fostering the piety of the faithful, and enhancing their private devotions. Even such music can, at times, be admitted to liturgical ceremonies (This music had a fine effect on the lives of the faithful, imbuing both their private, and social lives with a true Christian spirit (cf. Eph 5:18-20; Col 3:16). It was encouraged from the earliest times, and in our day it is still to be recommended for fostering the piety of the faithful, and enhancing their private devotions. Even such music can, at times, be admitted to liturgical ceremonies (Musicæ sacræ disciplina, Dec. 25, 1955; AAS 48  13-14)., Dec. 25, 1955; AAS 48  13-14).
10. Religious music is any music which, either by the intention of the composer or by the subject or purpose of the composition, serves to arouse devotion, and religious sentiments. Such music “is an effective aid to religion” (Musicæ sacræ disciplina, idem.). But since it was not intended for divine worship, and was composed in a free style, it is not to be used during liturgical ceremonies.
11. This instruction is binding on all rites of the Latin Church. Thus, what is said of Gregorian chant applies to all the chants which are used in other Latin rites.
Sacred music is to be taken generally in this instruction as embracing both vocal and instrumental music. But at times it will be limited to instrumental music only, as will be clear from the context.
A church ordinarily means any sacred place; this includes a church in the strict sense, as well as public, semipublic, and private oratories; again the context itself may restrict the meaning to a church in the strict sense.
12. Liturgical ceremonies are to be carried out as indicated in the liturgical books approved by the Holy See; this applies to the universal Church, to particular churches, and to religious communities (cf. canon 1257). Private devotions, however, may be conducted according to local or community customs if they have been approved by competent ecclesiastical authority (cf. canon 1259).
Liturgical ceremonies, and private devotions are not to be mixed; but if the situation allows, such devotions may either precede or follow a liturgical ceremony.
13.a) Latin is the language of liturgical ceremonies; however, the liturgical books mentioned above, if they have been approved for general use or for a particular place or community, may make use of another language for certain liturgical ceremonies, and in such cases, this will be explicitly stated. Any exceptions to the general rule of Latin will be mentioned later in this Instruction.
b) Special permission is needed for the use of the vernacular which is a word-for-word translation in the celebration of sung liturgical ceremonies (Motu proprio Inter sollicitudines AAS 36 [1903-1904] 334; Decr. auth. S.R.C. 4121).
c) Individual exceptions to the exclusive use of Latin in liturgical ceremonies which have already been granted by the Holy See still remain in effect. These permissions are not to be modified in their meaning nor extended to other regions without authorization from the Holy See.
d) In private devotions any language more suited to the faithful may be used.
14. a) In sung Masses only Latin is to be used. This applies not only to the celebrant, and his ministers, but also to the choir or congregation.
“However, popular vernacular hymns may be sung at the solemn Eucharistic Sacrifice (sung Masses), after the liturgical texts have been sung in Latin, in those places where such a centenary or immemorial custom has obtained. Local ordinaries may permit the continuation of this custom ‘if they judge that it cannot prudently be discontinued because of the circumstances of the locality or the people’ (cf. canon 5)” (Musicæ sacræ disciplina: AAS 48  16-17).
b) At low Mass the faithful who participate directly in the liturgical ceremonies with the celebrant by reciting aloud the parts of the Mass which belong to them must, along with the priest and his server, use Latin exclusively.
But if, in addition to this direct participation in the liturgy, the faithful wish to add some prayers or popular hymns, according to local custom, these may be recited or sung in the vernacular.
c) It is strictly forbidden for the faithful in unison or for a commentator to recite aloud with the priest the parts of the Proper, Ordinary, and canon of the Mass. This prohibition extends to both Latin, and a vernacular word-for-word translation. Exceptions will be enumerated in paragraph 31.However, it is desirable that a lector read the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular for the benefit of the faithful at low Masses on Sundays and feast days. Between the Consecration, and the Pater noster a holy silence is fitting.
15. In sacred processions conducted according to the liturgical books, only the language prescribed or permitted by these books should be used. In other processions, held as private devotions, the language more suited to the faithful may be used.
16. Gregorian chant is the music characteristic of the Roman Church. Therefore, its use is not only permitted, but encouraged at all liturgical ceremonies above all other styles of music, unless circumstances demand otherwise. From this it follows that:
a) The language of Gregorian chant, because of its character as liturgical music, must be exclusively Latin.
b) The priest and his ministers must use only the Gregorian melodies given in the standard editions when they sing their parts according to the rubrics of the liturgical ceremonies. Any sort of instrumental accompaniment is forbidden.
This is binding also on choir, and congregation when they answer the chants of the priest or his ministers according to the rubrics.
c) Finally, if a particular indult has been granted for the priest, deacon, subdeacon, or lector to read solemnly the Epistle, Lesson, or Gospel in the vernacular after they have been chanted in their Gregorian melodies, they must be read in a loud and clear voice, without any attempt to imitate the Gregorian melodies (cf. no. 96e).
17. When the choir is capable of singing it, sacred polyphony may be used in all liturgical ceremonies. This type of sacred music is specially appropriate for ceremonies celebrated with greater splendor, and solemnity.
18. Modern sacred music may also be used in all liturgical ceremonies if it conforms to the dignity, solemnity, and sacredness of the service, and if there is a choir capable of rendering it artistically.
19. Hymns may be freely used in private devotions. But in liturgical ceremonies the principles laid down in paragraphs 13-15 should be strictly observed.
20. Religious music should be entirely excluded from all liturgical functions; however, such music may be used in private devotions. With regard to concerts in church, the principles stated below in paragraphs 54, and 55 are to be observed.
The Sacred Text
21. Everything which the liturgical books prescribe to be sung, either by the priest and his ministers, or by the choir or congregation, forms an integral part of the sacred liturgy. Therefore:
a) It is strictly forbidden to change in any way the sung text, to alter or omit words, or to introduce inappropriate repetitions. This applies also to compositions of sacred polyphony, and modern sacred music: each word should be clearly, and distinctly audible.
b) It is explicitly forbidden to omit either the whole or a part of any liturgical text unless the rubrics provide for such a change.
c) But if for some reason a choir cannot sing one or another liturgical text according to the music printed in the liturgical books, the only permissible substitution is this: that it be sung either recto tono, i.e., on a straight tone, or set to one of the psalm tones. Organ accompaniment may be used. Typical reasons for permitting such a change are an insufficient number of singers, or their lack of musical training, or even, at times, the length of a particular rite or chant.
a. General principles regarding the participation of the faithful:
22. By its very nature, the Mass requires that all present take part in it, each having a particular function.
a) Interior participation is the most important; this consists in paying devout attention, and in lifting up the heart to God in prayer. In this way the faithful “are intimately joined with their High Priest…and together with Him, and through Him offer (the Sacrifice), making themselves one with Him” (Mediator Dei, Nov. 20, 1947: AAS 39  552).
b) The participation of the congregation becomes more complete, however, when, in addition to this interior disposition, exterior participation is manifested by external acts, such as bodily position (kneeling, standing, sitting), ceremonial signs, and especially responses, prayers, and singing.
The Supreme Pontiff Pius XII, in his encyclical on the sacred liturgy, Mediator Dei, recommended this form of participation:
“Those who are working for the exterior participation of the congregation in the sacred ceremonies are to be warmly commended. This can be accomplished in more than one way. The congregation may answer the words of the priest, as prescribed by the rubrics, or sing hymns appropriate to the different parts of the Mass, or do both. Also, at solemn ceremonies, they may alternate in singing the liturgical chant (AAS 39  560)”.
When the papal documents treat of “active participation” they are speaking of this general participation (Mediator Dei: AAS 39  530-537), of which the outstanding example is the priest, and his ministers who serve at the altar with the proper interior dispositions, and carefully observe the rubrics, and ceremonies.
c) Active participation is perfect when “sacramental” participation is included. In this way “the people receive the Holy Eucharist not only by spiritual desire, but also sacramentally, and thus obtain greater benefit from this most holy Sacrifice”. (Council of Trent, Sess. 22, ch. 6; cf. also Mediator Dei: AAS 39  565: “It is most appropriate, as the liturgy itself prescribes, for the people to come to holy Communion after the priest has received at the altar”.)
d) Since adequate instruction is necessary before the faithful can intelligently, and actively participate in the mass, it will help to note here a very wise law enacted by the Council of Trent: “This holy Council orders that pastors, and all those who are entrusted with the care of souls shall frequently give a commentary on one of the texts used at Mass, either personally or through others, and, in addition, explain some aspect of the mystery of this holy Sacrifice; this should be done especially on Sundays, and feast days in the sermon which follows the Gospel (or “when the people are being instructed in the catechism)” (Council of Trent, Sess. 22, ch. 8; Musicæ sacræ disciplina: AAS 48  17).
More Perfect Worship
23. The primary end of general participation is the more perfect worship of God, and the edification of the faithful. Thus the various means of congregational participation should be so controlled that there is no danger of abuse, and this end is effectively achieved.
b. Participation of the faithful in sung Mass.
24. The more noble form of the Eucharistic celebration is the solemn Mass because in it the solemnities of ceremonies, ministers, and sacred music all combine to express the magnificence of the divine mysteries, and to impress upon the minds of the faithful the devotion with which they should contemplate them. Therefore, we must strive that the faithful have the respect due to this form of worship by properly participating in it in the ways described below.
25. In solemn Mass there are three degrees of the participation of the faithful:
a) First, the congregation can sing the liturgical responses. These are: Amen; Et cum spiritu tuo; Gloria tibi, Domine; Habemus ad Dominum; Dignum et justum est; Sed libera nos a malo; Deo gratias. Every effort must be made that the faithful of the entire world learn to sing these responses.
b) Secondly, the congregation can sing the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass: Kyrie, eleison; Gloria in excelsis Deo; Credo; Sanctus-Benedictus; Agnus Dei. Every effort must be made that the faithful learn to sing these parts, particularly according to the simpler Gregorian melodies. But if they are unable to sing all these parts, there is no reason why they cannot sing the easier ones: Kyrie, eleison; Sanctus-Benedictus; Agnus Dei; the choir, then, can sing the Gloria, and Credo.
In connection with this, the following Gregorian melodies, because of their simplicity, should be learned by the faithful throughout the world: the Kyrie, eleison; Sanctus-Benedictus; Agnus Dei of Mass XVI from the Roman Gradual; the Gloria in excelsis Deo, and Ite, missa est-Deo gratias of Mass XV; and either Credo I or Credo III. In this way it will be possible to achieve that most highly desirable goal of having the Christian faithful throughout the world manifest their common faith by active participation in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and by common and joyful song (Musicæ sacræ disciplina: AAS 48  16).
c) Thirdly, if those present are well trained in Gregorian chant, they can sing the parts of the Proper of the Mass. This form of participation should be carried out particularly in religious congregations and seminaries.
26. High Mass, too, has its special place, even though it lacks the sacred ministers, and the full magnificence of the ceremonies of solemn Mass, for it is nonetheless enriched with the beauty of chant, and sacred music.
It is desirable that on Sundays, and feast days the parish or principal Mass be a sung Mass.
What has been said above in paragraph 25 about the participation of the faithful in Solemn High Mass also applies to the High Mass.
27. Also note the following points with regard to the sung Mass:
a) If the priest and his ministers go in procession by a long aisle, it would be permissible for the choir, after the singing of the Introit antiphon, and its psalm verse, to continue singing additional verses of the same psalm. The antiphon itself may be repeated after each verse or after every other verse; when the celebrant has reached the altar, the psalm ceases, and the Gloria Patri is sung, and finally the antiphon is repeated to conclude the Introit procession.
b) After the Offertory antiphon is sung, it is also allowed to sing the ancient Gregorian melodies of the original Offertory verses which once were sung after the antiphon.
But if the Offertory antiphon is taken from a psalm, it is then permitted to sing additional verses of this same psalm. In this case, too, the antiphon may be repeated after each verse of the psalm, or after every second verse; when the offertory rite is finished at the altar the psalm is ended with the Gloria Patri, and the antiphon is repeated. If the antiphon is not taken from a psalm, then any psalm suited to the feast may be used. Another possibility is that any Latin song may be used after the Offertory antiphon provided it is suited to the spirit of this part of the Mass. The singing should never last beyond the “Secret”.
c) The proper time for the chanting of the Communion antiphon is while the priest is receiving the holy Eucharist. But if the faithful are also to go to Communion the antiphon should be sung while they receive. If this antiphon, too, is taken from a psalm, additional verses of this psalm may be sung. In this case, too, the antiphon is repeated after each, or every second verse of the psalm; when distribution of Communion is finished, the psalm is closed with the Gloria Patri, and the antiphon is once again repeated. If the antiphon is not taken from a psalm, any psalm may be used which is suited to the feast, and to this part of the mass.
After the Communion antiphon is sung, and the distribution of Communion to the faithful still continues, it is also permitted to sing another Latin song in keeping with this part of the Mass.
Before coming to Communion the faithful may recite the three-fold Domine, non sum dignus together with the priest.
d) If the Sanctus-Benedictus are sung in Gregorian chant, they should be put together without interruption; otherwise, the Benedictus should be sung after the Consecration.
e) During the Consecration, the singing must stop, and there should be no playing of instruments; if this has been the custom, it should be discontinued.
f) Between the Consecration, and the Pater Noster a devout silence is recommended.
g) While the priest is giving the blessing to the faithful at the end of the Mass, there should be no organ playing; also, the celebrant must pronounce the words of the blessing so that all the faithful can understand them.
At Low Mass
c. Participation of the faithful in low Mass.
28. Care must be taken that the faithful assist at low Mass, too, “not as strangers or mute spectators” (Divini cultus, Dec. 20, 1928: AAS 21  40), but as exercising that kind of participation demanded by so great, and fruitful a mystery.
29. The first way the faithful can participate in the low Mass is for each one, on his own initiative, to pay devout attention to the more important parts of the Mass (interior participation), or by following the approved customs in various localities (exterior participation).
Those who use a small missal, suitable to their own understanding, and pray with priest in the very words of the Church, are worthy of special praise. But all are not equally capable of correctly understanding the rites, and liturgical formulas; nor does everyone possess the same spiritual needs; nor do these needs remain constant in the same individual. Therefore, these people may find a more suitable or easier method of participation in the Mass when “they meditate devoutly on the mysteries of Jesus Christ, or perform other devotional exercises, and offer prayers which, though different in form from those of the sacred rites, are in essential harmony with them” (Mediator Dei, AAS 39  560-561).
In this regard, it must be noted that if any local custom of playing the organ during low Mass might interfere with the participation of the faithful, either by common prayer or song, the custom is to be abolished. This applies not only to the organ, but also to the harmonium or any other musical instrument which is played without interruption. Therefore, in such Masses, there should be no instrumental music at the following times:
a. After the priest reaches the altar until the Offertory;
b. From the first versicles before the Preface until the Sanctus inclusive;
c. From the Consecration until the Pater Noster, where the custom obtains;
d. From the Pater Noster to the Agnus Dei inclusive; at the Confiteor before the Communion of the faithful ; while the Postcommunion prayer is being said, and during the Blessing at the end of the Mass.
Prayers and Hymns
30. The faithful can participate another way at the Eucharistic Sacrifice by saying prayers together or by singing hymns. The prayers and hymns must be chosen appropriately for the respective parts of the Mass, and as indicated in paragraph 14c.
31. A final method of participation, and the most perfect form, is for the congregation to make the liturgical responses to the prayers of the priest, thus holding a sort of dialogue with him, and reciting aloud the parts which properly belong to them.
There are four degrees or stages of this participation:
a) First, the congregation may make the easier liturgical responses to the prayers of the priest: Amen; Et cum spiritu tuo; Deo gratias; Gloria tibi Domine; Laus tibi, Christe; Habemus ad Dominum; Dignum et justum est; Sed libera nos a malo;
b) Secondly, the congregation may also say prayers, which, according to the rubrics, are said by the server, including the Confiteor, and the triple Domine non sum dignus before the faithful receive Holy Communion;
c) Thirdly, the congregation may say aloud with the celebrant parts of the Ordinary of the Mass: Gloria in excelsis Deo; Credo; Sanctus-Benedictus; Agnus Dei;
d) Fourthly, the congregation may also recite with the priest parts of the Proper of the Mass: Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion. Only more advanced groups who have been well trained will be able to participate with becoming dignity in this manner.
32. Since the Pater Noster is a fitting, and ancient prayer of preparation for Communion, the entire congregation may recite this prayer in unison with the priest in low Masses; the Amen at the end is to be said by all. This is to be done only in Latin, never in the vernacular.
33. The faithful may sing hymns during low Mass, if they are appropriate to the various parts of the mass.
34. Where the rubrics prescribe the clara voce, the celebrant must recite the prayers loud enough so that the faithful can properly, and conveniently follow the sacred rites. This must be given special attention in a large church, and before a large congregation.
The Mass in Choir
d. Conventual Mass, or the Mass in Choir.
35. The conventual Mass, among all other liturgical ceremonies, has a special dignity: this is the Mass which must be celebrated daily in connection with the Divine Office by those whom the Church obliges to choir service.
For the Mass, together with the Divine Office, is the summit of all Christian worship; it is the fullness of praise offered daily to Almighty God in public, and external ceremony.
Since, however, this perfection of public, and corporate worship cannot be realized daily in every church, it is performed vicariously by those who have the “choir obligation”, and are deputed for this service. This is especially true of cathedral churches acting in the name of the entire diocese.
Thus all “choir” ceremonies should be performed with special dignity and solemnity, making use of both chant and sacred music.
36. the conventual Mass should, therefore, be a solemn Mass, or at least a high Mass.
Even if particular laws or indults have dispensed from the solemnity of the “choir” Mass, the canonical hours are not to be recited during the conventual Mass. It would be more appropriate to celebrate a conventual low Mass according to the manner outlined in paragraph 31; however, any use of the vernacular is to be excluded.
The Conventual Mass
37. Regarding the conventual Mass, the following prescriptions are to be observed:
a) On each day only one conventual Mass is to be celebrated; this must correspond to the Office recited in choir unless the rubrics direct otherwise (Additiones et variationes in rubricis Missalis, ti. I, n. 4). However, if there are pious foundations or other legitimate reasons which require more than one conventual Mass, they still remain in force.
b) The conventual Mass follows the rules of a sung or low Mass.
c) Unless the superior of a community decides that it should be said after Sext or None, and this only for a serious reason, the conventual Mass is to be said after Terce.
d) Conventual Masses “outside the choir”, which until now were sometimes prescribed by the rubrics, are now abolished.
e.) Assistance of priests in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and so-called “synchronized” Masses.
38. In the Latin Church sacramental concelebration is limited by law to two specifically stated cases. The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, in a decision of May 23, 1947 (AAS 49  370), declared invalid the concelebration of the sacrifice of the Mass by priests who do not pronounce the words of consecration, even though they wear the sacred vestments, and no matter what their intention may be. But when there are many priests gathered for a meeting, it is permissible “for only one of their number to celebrate a Mass at which the others (whether all of them or many) are present, and receive Holy Communion from one priest celebrant”. However, “this is to be done only for a justifiable reason, and provided the Bishop has not forbidden it because of the danger that the faithful might think it strange”; also, the practice must not be motivated by the error, pointed out by the Supreme Pontiff Pius XII, which taught that “the celebration of one Mass at which a hundred priests devoutly assist is equal to a hundred Masses celebrated by a hundred priests” (cf. Address to Cardinals and Bishops, Nov. 2, 1954: AAS 46  669-670; and Address to International Congress on Pastoral Liturgy at Assisi, Sep. 22, 1956: AAS 48  716-717).
39. So-called “synchronized” Masses, are, however, forbidden. These are Masses in which two or more priests simultaneously, on one or more altars, so time their celebration of Mass that all their words, and actions are pronounced, and performed together at one and the same time, even with the aid of modern instruments to assure absolute uniformity or “synchronization”, particularly if many priests are celebrating.
The “Opus Dei”
B. Divine Office.
40. The Divine Office is said either in choir, in common, or alone.
The Office is said in choir when it is recited by a community obliged by Church law to choir duty; it is said in common when recited by a community not bound to choir duty.
However it is said, whether in choir, in common, or alone, it must always be looked upon as an act of public worship offered to God in the name of the Church, if it said by persons deputed to this obligation by the Church.
41. The Divine Office by its very nature is so constructed that it should be performed by mutually alternating voices; moreover, some parts even presuppose that they be sung.
42. Thus the celebration of the Divine Office in choir must be retained, and promoted. Likewise, its performance in common, including the singing of at least some parts of the Office, is earnestly recommended when circumstances of places, persons, and time permit.
43. The recitation of the psalms in choir or in common, whether sung in Gregorian chant or simply recited, should be performed in a solemn, and becoming manner; care should be taken that the proper tones, appropriate pauses, and perfect harmony be preserved.
44. If the psalms of a particular canonical hour are to be sung, they should be sung at least partly according to the Gregorian tones; this may be done either with alternate psalms, or with alternate verses of the same psalm.
Vespers When Possible
45. Where the ancient, and venerable custom of singing Vespers according to the rubrics together with the people on Sundays, and feast days is still practiced, it should be continued; where this is not done, it should be re-introduced, as far as possible, at least several times a year.
The local Ordinary should take care that the celebration of evening Masses does not interfere with the practice of singing Vespers on Sundays, and feast days. For evening Masses, which the local Ordinary may permit “for the spiritual good of a sizable number of the faithful” (Apostolic Constitution Christus Dominus, Jan. 6, 1953: AAS 45  15-24; Instruction of the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, same day: AAS 45  47-51; Motu Proprio Sacram Communionem, March 19, 1957: AAS 49  177-178), must not be at the expense of other liturgical services, and private devotions by which the people ordinarily sanctify the holy days.
Hence, the custom of singing Vespers or of holding private devotions with Benediction should be retained wherever such is done, even though evening Mass is celebrated.
46. In clerical seminaries, however, both diocesan and religious, at least part of the Divine Office should frequently be said in common; so far as possible if should be sung. On Sundays and feast days, Vespers at least must be sung (cf. canon 1367, 3).
47. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a true liturgical ceremony; hence it must be conducted in accordance with the “Roman Ritual”, ti. X, ch V, no.5.
Wherever an immemorial custom exists of imparting the Eucharistic Benediction in another way, the Ordinary may give his permission for the custom to continue; but it is recommended that the Roman custom of giving Benediction be prudently given preference.
A. Sacred polyphony.
48. Compositions of sacred polyphony, by the old masters as well as by contemporary artists, are not to be introduced into the liturgy unless it has first been established that, either in their original form or in arrangements, they comply fully with the ideals, and admonitions set forth in the encyclical Musicæ sacræ disciplina (AAS 48  18-20). If there is any doubt, the diocesan commission on sacred music is to be consulted.
49. Ancient manuscripts of this music still lying about in archives should be uncovered, and if necessary, steps taken for their preservation. Musicologists should make critical editions of them as well as editions suitable for liturgical use.
B. Modern sacred music.
50. Modern compositions of sacred music are only to be used during liturgical ceremonies if they conform to the spirit of the liturgy, and to the ideals of sacred music as laid down in the encyclical Musicæ sacræ disciplina (AAS 48  19-20). Judgments in this matter are to be made by the diocesan commission of sacred music.
C. Popular Religious Song
51. Hymns ought to be highly encouraged, and fostered, for this form of music does much to imbue the Christian with a deep religious spirit, and to raise the thoughts of the faithful to the truths of our faith.
Hymns have their own part to play in all the festive solemnities of Christian life, whether public or of a more personal nature; they also find their part in the daily labors of the Christian. But they attain their ideal usefulness in all private devotions, whether conducted outside or inside the church. At times their use is even permitted during liturgical functions, in accord with the directions given above in paragraphs 13-15.
52. If hymns are to attain their purpose, their texts “must conform to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, plainly stating, and explaining it. The vocabulary should be simple, and free of dramatic, and meaningless verbiage. Their tunes, however brief, and easy, should evince a religious dignity and propriety” (Musicæ sacræ disciplina (AAS 48  20). Local Ordinaries should carefully see that these ideals are observed.
53. All who have the training should be encouraged to compile serviceable collections of these hymns which have been handed down either orally or in writing, even the most ancient, and to publish them for the use of the faithful, with the approval of the local Ordinary.
D. Religious music.
54. The type of music which inspires its hearers with religious sentiments, and even devotion, and yet, because of its special character cannot be used in liturgical functions, is nevertheless worthy of high esteem, and ought to be cultivated in its proper time. This music justly merits, therefore, the title “religious music”.
55. The proper places for the performance of such music are concert halls, theaters, or auditoriums, but not the church, which is consecrated to the worship of God.
However, if none of these places are available, and the local Ordinary judges that a concert of religious music might be advantageous for the spiritual welfare of the faithful, he may permit a concert of this kind to be held in a church, provided the following provisions are observed:
a) The local Ordinary must give his permission for each concert in writing.
b) Requests for such permissions must also be in writing, stating the date of the concert, the compositions to be performed, the names of the directors (organist, and choral director), and the performers.
c) The local Ordinary is not to give this permission without first consulting the diocesan commission of sacred music, and perhaps other authorities upon whose judgment he may rely, and then only if he knows that the music is not only outstanding for its true artistic value, but also for its sincere Christian spirit; he must also be assured that the performers possess the qualities to be mentioned below in paragraphs 97, and 98.
d) Before the concert, the Blessed Sacrament should be removed from the church, and reserved in one of the chapels, or even in the sacristy, is a respectful way. If this cannot be done, the audience should be told that the Blessed Sacrament is present in the church, and the pastor should see to it that there is no danger of irreverence.
e) The main body of the church is not to be used for selling admission tickets or distributing programs of the concert.
f) The musicians, singers, and audience should conduct themselves, and dress in a manner befitting the seriousness, and holiness of the sacred edifice in which they are present.
g) If circumstances permit, the concert should be concluded by some private devotion, or better still, with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. In this way the devotion, and edification of the faithful, which was the purpose of the concert, will be crowned by a religious service.
56. The standard editions of the liturgical chant of the Roman Church are:
Roman Gradual, with the Ordinary of the Mass.
Roman Antiphonal, for the Day Hours.
Offices of the Dead, Holy Week, and Christmas.
57. All publication rights to the Gregorian melodies as they appear in the liturgical books approved by the Roman Church are the property of the Holy See.
58. The following decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites remain in force:
Instruction on the Publication, and Approval of Books Containing the Gregorian Liturgical Chant, Aug. 11, 1905 (Decr. Auth. SRC 4166)
Declaration Concerning the Publication and Approval of Books Containing the Gregorian Liturgical Chant, Feb. 14, 1906 (Decr. Auth. SRC 4178); and the decree which treats of particular questions regarding the approval of books containing the chant for the “Propers” of certain dioceses, and religious congregations, issued Feb. 24, 1911 (Decr. Auth. SRC 4260).
The rules established by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on Authorization to Publish Liturgical Books, Aug. 10, 1946 (AAS 38 [1946} 371-372), also apply to books of liturgical chant.
59. Thus, the authentic Gregorian chant is that which is published in the standard Vatican editions, or which has been approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites for a particular church or religious community. Publishers who have this authorization are obliged, therefore, to reproduce both the melody, and the text exactly as approved in all details.
The rhythmic signs which have been inserted into some chant editions on private authority are permitted so long as they not alter the melodic line of the grouping of the notes, as they appear in the Vatican editions.
A. Some General principles.
60. The following principles for the use of musical instruments in the sacred liturgy are to be recalled:
a) Because of the nature, sanctity, and dignity of the sacred liturgy, the playing of any musical instrument should be as perfect as possible. It would be preferable to omit the use of instruments entirely (whether it be the organ only, or any other instrument), than to play them in a manner unbecoming their purpose. As a general rule it is better to do something well, however modest, than to attempt something more elaborate without the proper means.
b) The difference between sacred, and secular music must be taken into consideration. Some musical instruments, such as the classic organ, are naturally appropriate for sacred music; others, such as string instruments which are played with a bow, are easily adapted to liturgical use. But there are some instruments which, by common estimation, are so associated with secular music that they are not at all adaptable for sacred use.
c) Finally, only instruments which are personally played by a performer are to be used in the sacred liturgy, not those which are played mechanically or automatically.
B. The classic organ and similar instruments.
61. The principal musical instrument for solemn liturgical ceremonies of the Latin Church has been and remains the classic pipe organ.
62. An organ destined for liturgical use, even if small, should be designed according to the norms of organ building, and be equipped with the type of pipes suitable for sacred use. Before it is to be used it should be properly blessed, and as a sacred object, receive proper care.
63. Besides the classic organ, the harmonium or reed organ may also be used provided that its tonal quality, and volume are suitable for sacred use.
64. As a substitute, the electronic organ may be tolerated temporarily for liturgical functions, if the means for obtaining even a small pipe organ are not available. In each case, however, the explicit permission of the local Ordinary is required. He, on his part, should consult the diocesan commission on sacred music, and others trained in this field, who can make suggestions for rendering such an instrument more suitable for sacred use.
65. The musicians who play the instruments mentioned in paragraphs 61-64 should be sufficiently skilled in their art so that they can accompany the sacred chant or any other music, and can also play alone with appropriate skill. Indeed, since it is also often necessary to be able to improvise music suited to the various phases of the liturgical action, they should possess sufficient knowledge of, and capability in the techniques of organ playing , and of sacred music.
Organists should religiously care for the instruments entrusted to them. Whenever they are seated at the organ during sacred functions, organists should be conscious of the active part they are taking in glorifying God, and edifying the faithful.
66. The organ playing, whether during liturgical functions or private devotions, should be carefully adapted to the liturgical season and feast day, to the nature of the rites and exercises themselves, and to their various parts.
67. The organ should be located in a suitable place near the main altar, unless ancient custom or a special reason approved by the local Ordinary demand otherwise; but the location should be such that the singers or musicians occupying a raised platform are not conspicuous to the congregation in the main body of the church.
C. Sacred instrumental music.
68. Other instruments besides the organ, especially the smaller bowed instruments, may be used during the liturgical functions, particularly on days of greater solemnity. These may be used together with the organ or without it, for instrumental numbers of for accompanying the singing. However, the following rules derived from the principles stated above (no.60) are to strictly observed:
a) the instruments are truly suitable for sacred use;
b) they are to be played with such seriousness, and religious devotion that every suggestion of raucous secular music is avoided, and the devotion of the faithful is fostered;
c) the director, organist, and other instrumentalists should be well trained in instrumental techniques, and the laws of sacred music.
69. The local Ordinary, with the aid of his diocesan commission on sacred music, should see to it that these rules on the use of instruments during the sacred liturgy are faithfully observed. If need be, they should not hesitate to issue special instructions in this regard as required by local conditions, and approved customs.
D. Musical instruments, and mechanical devices.
70. Musical instruments which by common acception, and use are suitable only for secular music must be entirely excluded from all liturgical functions, and private devotions.
71. The use of automatic instruments and machines, such as the automatic organ, phonograph, radio, tape or wire recorders, and other similar machines, is absolutely forbidden in liturgical functions and private devotions, whether they are held inside or outside the church, even if these machines be used only to transmit sermons or sacred music, or to substitute for the singing of the choir or faithful, or even just to support it.
However, such machines may be used, even inside the church, but not during services of any kind, whether liturgical or private, in order to give the people a chance to listen to the voice of the Supreme Pontiff or the local Ordinary, or the sermons of others. These mechanical devices may be also be used to instruct the faithful in Christian doctrine or in the sacred chant or hymn singing; finally they may be used in processions which take place outside the church, as a means of directing, and supporting the singing of the people.
72. Loudspeakers may be used even during liturgical functions, and private devotions for the purpose of amplifying the living voice of the priest-celebrant or the commentator, or others who, according to the rubrics or by order of the pastor, are expected to make their voices heard.
73. The use of any kind of projector, and particularly movie projectors, with or without sound track, is strictly forbidden in church for any reason, even if it be for a pious, religious, or charitable cause.
In constructing or remodeling meeting halls near the church or under it (if there is no other place), care must be taken that there is no direct entrance from the hall into the church, and that the noise from the hall, especially if it is going to used for entertainments, shall in no way profane the holiness, and silence of the sacred place.
E. The transmission of sacred functions over radio and television.
74. For any radio or television broadcast of liturgical functions or private devotions, the local Ordinary must give his express permission; this is required whether they are being held inside or outside the church. Before granting permission, the Ordinary must be sure that:
a) the singing and music fully comply with the laws of the liturgy, and sacred music;
b) in the case of a television broadcast, all those taking part in the ceremonies are so well instructed that the ceremonies may be carried out in full conformity with the rubrics, and with fitting dignity.
Standing permission may be granted by the local Ordinary for broadcasts to originate regularly from a particular church if, upon inquiry, he is certain that all the requirements will faithfully be met.
75. Television cameras should be kept out of the sanctuary as much as possible; they should never be located so close to the altar as to interfere with the sacred rites.
Cameramen and technicians should conduct themselves with the devotion becoming a sacred place and the rites, and not disturb the prayerful spirit of the congregation, especially at those moments which demand the utmost recollection.
76. Photographers in particular should observe these directives, since it is much easier for them to move about with their cameras.
77. Each pastor is to see to it that the prescriptions given in 75 and 76 are faithfully observed in his church. Local Ordinaries, moreover, shall not fail to issue more specific directives as circumstances require.
78. Since the very nature of a radio broadcast requires that the listeners be able to follow the action without interruption, a broadcast Mass will be more effective if the priest pronounces the words a little more loudly than demanded by the “low voice” of the rubrics, and correspondingly pronounces louder still the words to be said in a clear voice according to the rubrics; this is particularly desirable when there is no commentator. Then the listeners will be able to follow the entire Mass with no difficulty.
79. It is well to remind the radio and television audiences before the program that listening to the broadcast does not fulfill their obligation to attend Mass.
F. The times when the playing of musical instruments is forbidden.
80. The playing of the organ, and even more, of other instruments, is an embellishment of the sacred liturgy; for that reason they should be accommodated to the varying degrees of joy in different liturgical seasons, and feast days.
81. Accordingly, the playing of the organ, and all other instruments is forbidden for liturgical functions, except Benediction, during the following times:
a) Advent, from first Vespers of the first Sunday of Advent until None of the Vigil of Christmas;
b) Lent and Passiontide, from Matins of Ash Wednesday until the hymn Gloria in excelsis Deo in the Solemn Mass of the Easter Vigil;
c) the September Ember days if the ferial Mass and Office are celebrated;
d) in all Offices and Masses of the Dead.
82. Only the organ may be used on the Sundays of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, and on the ferial days following these Sundays.
83. However, during the seasons, and days just mentioned, the following exceptions to the rule may be made:
a) the organ may be played, and other instruments used on holy days of obligation, and holidays (except Sundays), on the feasts of the principal local patron saint, the titular day, and the dedication anniversary of the local church, the titular or founder’s day of a religious congregation, and on the occasion of some extraordinary solemnity;
b) the organ only (including the harmonium or reed organ) may be used on the third Sunday of Advent, and the fourth Sunday of Lent, on Thursday of Holy Week during the Mass of Chrism, and during the solemn evening Mass of the Last Supper from the beginning to the end of the hymn Gloria in excelsis Deo;
c) the organ only may be used at Mass, and Vespers for the sole purpose of supporting the singing.
Local Ordinaries may determine more precisely the application of these prohibitions, and permissions according to the approved local or regional customs.
84. Throughout the Sacred Triduum, from the midnight before Holy Thursday until the hymn Gloria in excelsis Deo of the Solemn Mass of the Easter Vigil, the organ or harmonium shall remain completely silent, excepting the instance mentioned in paragraph 83b.
This prohibition holds even for private devotions during the Sacred Triduum; no exceptions or contrary custom are to be tolerated.
85. Pastors and others in charge must not fail to explain to the people the meaning of this liturgical silence. They should also take care that during these seasons, and particular days the other liturgical restrictions on decorating the altar are likewise observed.
86. The ancient and highly approved tradition of ringing bells in the Latin Church should be devotedly carried on by all who have this responsibility.
87. Church bells may not be used until they have been solemnly consecrated, or at least blessed; thereafter, they should be treated with the care due to sacred objects.
88. Approved customs, and the various ways of ringing bells, according to the occasion, should be carefully preserved. Local Ordinaries should set down the traditional, and customary practices, or prescribe them if there are none.
89. Attachments designed to amplify the sound of the bells or to make them easier to ring, may be permitted by the local Ordinary after consultation with experts. If there is doubt the matter should be referred to the Sacred Congregation of Rites.
90. Besides the various customary, and approved ways of ringing bells mentioned in paragraph 88 some places have an arrangement of smaller bells, hanging in a bell tower, for the purpose of ringing out various melodies. This is commonly called a carillon. It is to be entirely excluded from liturgical use. These small bells may not be consecrated or blessed according to the solemn rite in the Roman Pontifical, but they may receive a simple blessing.
91. Every effort should be made to furnish all churches, public and semi-public oratories with at least one or two bells, even though they are small. But it is strictly forbidden to substitute any kind of machine or instrument which merely imitates or amplifies the sound of bells mechanically or automatically. Such machines may be used, however, as a carillon in accordance with what has been said above.
92. The prescriptions of canons 1169, 1185, and 612 of the Code of Canon Law are to be exactly observed.
93. The priest-celebrant is the presiding officer in all liturgical functions. All others participate in the service in their own proper manner. Thus:
a) Clerics present at a liturgical ceremony in the manner, and form prescribed by the rubrics, who fulfill the role of sacred or minor ministers or sing in the choir or schola cantorum, exercise a liturgical ministry which is direct, and proper to them by virtue of their ordination or elevation to the clerical state.
b) The laity also participate actively in the liturgy by virtue of their baptismal character which enables them, in their own way, to offer the divine Victim to God he Father with the priest in the holy sacrifice of the Mass itself (cf. Mystici Corporis Christi, June 29, 1943; AAS 35  232-233; Mediator Dei, Nov. 20, 1947: AAS 39  555-556).
c) Therefore, laity of the male sex, whether boys, young men, or adults, when appointed by competent ecclesiastical authority to serve at the altar or to perform the sacred music, and when they fulfill this office in the manner, and form prescribed by the rubrics, exercise a liturgical ministry which is direct, though delegated. If they are singers, they must be a part of the choir or schola cantorum.
94. In addition to observing the rubrics carefully, the priest-celebrant and the sacred ministers should endeavor to execute their song parts as correctly, distinctly, and artistically as possible.
95. When the ministers can be chosen for a liturgical function, preference should be given to those who have the greater singing ability, especially if it is a more solemn liturgical function or one which has more difficult chants, or is to be broadcast or televised.
96. The active participation of the faithful can be more easily brought about with the help of a commentator, especially in holy Mass, and in some of the more complex liturgical ceremonies. At suitable times he should briefly explain the rites themselves, and the prayers of the priest and ministers; he should also direct the external participation of the congregation, that is, their responses, prayers, and singing. Such a commentator may be used if the following rules are observed:
a) The role of commentator should properly be carried out by a priest or at least a cleric. If none is available, a layman of good Christian character, and well instructed in his duties may fill the role. Women, however, may never act as commentator; in case of necessity, a woman would be permitted only to lead the prayers, and singing of the congregation.
b) If the commentator is a priest or a cleric, he should wear a surplice, and stand in the sanctuary or near the Communion rail, or at the lectern or pulpit. If he is a layman, he should stand in a convenient place in front of the congregation, but not in the sanctuary or in the pulpit.
c) The explanations and directions to be given by the commentator should be prepared in writing; they should be brief, clear, and to the point; they should be spoken at a suitable time, and in a moderate tone of voice; they should never interfere with the prayers of the priest who is celebrating. In short, they should be a real help, and not a hindrance to the devotion of the congregation.
d) In directing the prayers of the congregation, the commentator should recall the prescriptions given above in paragraph 14c.
e) In those places where the Holy See has permitted the reading of the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular after the Latin text has been chanted, the commentator may not substitute for the celebrant, deacon, or subdeacon in reading them.
f) The commentator should follow the celebrant closely, and so accompany the sacred action that it is not delayed or interrupted, and the entire ceremony carried out with harmony, dignity, and devotion.
Good Example Required
97. Those who have a part in the sacred music — composers, organists, choir directors, singers, and instrumentalists — should above all be outstanding Christians, and give example to the rest of the faithful, conformable to their role as direct or indirect participants in the sacred liturgy.
98. Besides excelling in Christian faith and morals, these persons must also possess the training necessary to fulfill their particular role of participation in the liturgy.
a) Composers of sacred music should have a thorough knowledge of the historical, dogmatic or doctrinal, practical, and rubrical aspects of the liturgy; they should know Latin; and finally they should be well trained in the art, and the history of both sacred, and secular music.
b) Organists, and choir directors should also have a comprehensive knowledge of the liturgy, and a sufficient understanding of Latin; and finally they should be well trained in their art, and able to carry out their role worthily, and competently.
c) Singers, both boys and adults, should be taught the meaning of the liturgical functions, and of the texts they sing insofar as they are capable of comprehending, for then their singing will be inspired by an understanding mind, and a loving heart, and be truly rendered as befits the service of an intelligent person. They should also be taught to pronounce the Latin words correctly, and distinctly. Pastors, and those directly in charge must see to it that good order, and true devotion reign in that part of the church occupied by the singers.
d) Instrumentalists who perform sacred music should not only be well trained in the techniques of their instruments, but should also know how to adapt them to the playing of sacred music. They should be well enough instructed in the sacred liturgy that their devotion will be evidenced by an artistic performance.
The Schola Cantorum
99. It is highly desirable that a choir or schola cantorum be established in all cathedral churches, in parish churches, and all other churches of importance where the liturgical functions can be carried out as described in paragraph 93a, and c.
100. Wherever such a choir cannot be organized, a choir of the faithful, either mixed or consisting only of women or girls, can be permitted. But such a choir should take its place outside the sanctuary or Communion rail. The men should be separated from the women or girls so that anything unbecoming may be avoided. Local Ordinaries are to issue precise regulations about these matters, and pastors are to see to their enforcement (Decr. Auth. SCR 3964, 4210, 4231, and the encyclical Musicæ sacræ disciplina: AAS  23).
101. It would be ideal, and worthy of commendation if organists, choir directors, singers, instrumentalists, and others engaged in the service of the Church, would contribute their talents for the love of God, and in the spirit of religious devotion, without salary; should they be unable to offer their services free of charge, Christian justice, and charity demand that the church give them a just wage, according to the recognized standards of the locality, and provisions of law.
102. The local Ordinary should, after consultation with the diocesan commission of sacred music, fix a scale of wages to be observed throughout the diocese for the various offices mentioned in the previous paragraph.
103. An adequate program of social security should also be set up for these persons in accordance with civil law; if the law makes no provisions, the local Ordinary himself should make regulations regarding social security.
A. Training of the clergy, and people.
104. Sacred music, and the liturgy are intimately bound together; sacred chant forms an integral part of the liturgy (no. 21), while hymns are used to a great extent in private devotions, and at times even during liturgical functions themselves (no. 19). For that reason, instruction in both sacred music, and sacred liturgy cannot be separated from each other: both belong to the life of the Christian, though in varying degree, depending upon one’s own of life, and rank among the clergy, and faithful.
Hence, every Christian should have some instruction in the sacred liturgy, and sacred music, in accordance with his station in life.
105. The Christian family is the natural, and in fact, primary school of Christian education. It is in the family circle that the little children are first introduced to the knowledge, and life of a Christian. The aim of this first education should be that the children learn to take part in the private devotions, and even in the liturgical functions, particularly the Mass, as their age, and understanding enable them. Furthermore, they should begin to learn, and love the hymns sung both in the home, and in the church (cf. above, no. 9, 51-53).
106. In private or elementary schools the following directions should be observed
a) If the schools are conducted by Catholics, and are free to set up their own programs, the school children are to be given additional training in sacred music, and hymn. Above all, they are to be more thoroughly instructed in the holy sacrifice of the mass, adapted to their own age level, and in the manner of participating in it; they should also be taught to sing the simpler Gregorian melodies.
b) If the schools are public, and subject to the laws of the state, the local Ordinaries should see to it that these children, too, are educated in the sacred liturgy, and the sacred chant.
107. This applies to an even greater degree to the intermediate or secondary schools, so that adolescents may acquire the maturity to lead a good social, and Christian life.
108. Universities, and colleges of arts and sciences, too, must strive to deepen and further this musical, and liturgical education. It is important that those who have completed higher studies, and who take upon themselves the responsibilities of public life, have a complete appreciation of all the aspects of Christian life. Thus all priests who have charge of university students should endeavor to imbue in them a deeper understanding of the sacred liturgy, and the sacred chant, both as to its theory, and its practice. If circumstances permit, they should use the forms of Mass participation described in paragraphs 26 and 31.
109. Young men aspiring to the priesthood need an even greater knowledge of the liturgy, and sacred music than do the faithful; wherefore, they should be given complete and sound instruction in both. Hence, everything prescribed by Canon Law in this matter (canon 1354, 1 and 3; 1365, 2), or specifically ordered by competent authority, must be observed in every detail under serious obligation of conscience (cf. especially the apostolic constitution Divini cultus, on the wide promotion of the liturgy, Gregorian chant, and sacred music, of Dec. 20, 1928: AAS 31  33-41).
110. Men and women religious, as well as members of Secular institutes, should be given a thorough and progressive formation in both the sacred liturgy, and the sacred chant, beginning with their probation and novitiate.
Competent instructors should be procured to teach, direct, and accompany the sacred chant in all the houses of these communities, and those dependent upon them. Religious superiors should see to it that the entire community is adequately trained in the chant, and not just select members.
111. Some churches, by their very nature, require that the sacred liturgy, and sacred music be carried out with special dignity, and solemnity. Such churches are the principal parish churches, collegiate and cathedral churches, and important centers of pilgrimages. Those attached to these churches, whether clergy, servers, or musicians, should diligently prepare themselves to perform the sacred chant, and carry out the liturgical functions in a pre-eminent fashion.
112. The foreign missions present special problems in the introduction, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, and sacred chant.
A distinction must first be made between people who have their own culture, very rich, and in some instances going back for thousands of years, and people who still have not developed a high level of culture.
With this in mind, some general principles may be established:
a) Missionary priests must be trained in the sacred liturgy, and sacred chant.
b) If the people to whom the priests are sent already have a highly developed musical culture, the missionaries should cautiously try to adapt this native music to sacred use. In particular, private devotions should be arranged so that the native faithful can use their own traditional language, and musical idiom to express their religious devotion. But the missionaries should remember that even the Gregorian melodies can sometimes easily be sung by native peoples, as experience has shown, because these melodies often bear close resemblances to their own native music.
c) But if the natives are of a less civilized race, then what has been said in paragraph “b” must be adapted to suit the capabilities, and character of these peoples. Where there is a good religious family life and community of spirit, the missionaries should be very careful not to extinguish it, but rather to rid it of superstitions, and imbue it with a true Christian spirit.
B. Public and private schools of sacred music.
113. Pastors and those in charge shall see to it that there are servers present, boys, young men, and even adults, for liturgical functions and private devotions. These servers should be noted for their devotion, well instructed in the ceremonies, and adequately trained in sacred music, and hymns.
114. The boy choir, an organization praised over and over by the Holy See (Apostolic constitution Divini cultus: AAS 21  28; Musicæ sacræ disciplina: AAS 48  23), is even more important to the performance of sacred music, and the singing of hymns.
It is desirable, and every effort should be made, that every church have its own boy choir. The boys should be thoroughly instructed in the sacred liturgy, and particularly in the art of singing with devotion.
115. Moreover, it is recommended that every diocese have a school or institute of chant and organ where organists, choir directors, singers and instrumentalists can be properly trained.
In some cases a number of dioceses will prefer to collaborate in organizing such a school. Pastors and others in charge should be alert in detecting, and sending talented young men to these schools, and encourage them in their studies.
116. The great importance of academies and schools of higher learning which are established specifically for more comprehensive studies in sacred music must be recognized. The Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, established by Saint Pius X, holds first place among these.
Local Ordinaries should send priests with special talent and a love for this art to such schools, particularly to the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome.
117. In addition to the schools established to teach sacred music, many societies, named after Saint Gregory or Saint Cecilia or other saints, have been founded to promote sacred music in various ways. The increase of such societies and their associations on a national or even international scale can do much to further the cause of sacred music.
118. Since the time of Pius X, every diocese has been required to have a special commission of sacred music (Motu proprio Inter sollicitudines, Nov. 22, 1903: AAS 36 [1903-1904] no. 24; Decr. Auth. SRC 4121). The members of this commission, both priests and laymen, specially selected for their knowledge, experience, and talent in the various kinds of sacred music, are to be appointed by the local Ordinary.
The Ordinaries of a number of dioceses may, if they wish, establish a joint commission.
Since sacred music is so closely bound with the liturgy and with sacred art, commissions of sacred art (Circular letter of the Secretariate of State, Sep. 1, 1924, Prot. 34215), and of the sacred liturgy (Mediator Dei, Nov. 20, 1947: AAS 39  561-562) are also to be established in every diocese. These three commissions may meet together — at times it is even advisable — to work out their common problems by a mutual exchange of opinions and solutions.
Local Ordinaries should see to it that these commissions meet frequently, or as often as circumstances require. Moreover, the local Ordinary himself should occasionally preside at these meetings.
This instruction on sacred music, and the sacred liturgy was submitted to His Holiness Pope Pius XII by the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. His Holiness deigned to give his special approval and authority to all its prescriptions. He also commanded that it be promulgated, and be conscientiously observed by all to whom it applies.
Anything contrary to what is herein contained is no longer in force.
Issued at Rome, from the office of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, on the feast of Saint Pius X, Sept. 3, 1958.
C. Card. Cicognani, Prefect
+ A. Carinci, Archbp. of Seleucia, Secretary