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.
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
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
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
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
Books of liturgical chant
3. Books of liturgical
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
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.
58. 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.
4. Musical instruments and
A. 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. Classic organ and
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
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
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
Televising Divine Services
E. Broadcasting and
televising of sacred functions.
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
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.
Times of silence
F. 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
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
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
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
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 Latin Mass Parish, 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 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.
5. Persons having principal
functions in sacred music, and the sacred liturgy.
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
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
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
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
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.
Training in the Liturgy
6. Duty to cultivate sacred
music, and the sacred liturgy.
A. Training of the clergy,
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
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.
On the College Level
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 
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.
The Foreign Missions
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 Latin Mass Parish 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
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
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 St. Pius X, holds first place
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 St.
Gregory or St. 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
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
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 St. Pius X, Sept. 3,
C. Card. Cicognani, Prefect
+ A. Carinci, Archbp. of