Music at Mass:

What the Church Teaches

About Liturgical Music

By Matthew C. Hoffman

March 24, 2002

Copyright © 2002 by Matthew C. Hoffman. This paper can be freely copied and distributed subject to the following restrictions: no additions, deletions, or modifications can be made, and any charges can only cover production costs. Comments, both negative and positive, are welcome. I can be reached at Please email me if you want this paper in Word format or some other format.


Despite the confusion reigning in many sectors of the Catholic Church regarding liturgical music, the Church's doctrine on the subject has been well established by Vatican II and by the Church's highest authorities during the post-Vatican II era. This teaching has been consistent throughout the Church's history, beginning with the Church Fathers, running through the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Benedict XIV, and numerous other authorities, and reconfirmed repeatedly by the popes and Vatican officials of the 20th century, both before and after Vatican II.1

The Church's doctrine on liturgical music can be summarized in seven points (all of the footnoted citations are quoted later in this paper):

  1. Types of Music Appropriate for the Mass. The music of the Mass and the Sacred Liturgy of the must be either Gregorian Chant, or must be similar to Gregorian Chant. The primary example of music similar to Gregorian Chant is Sacred Polyphony, exemplified by the compositions of Palestrina.2

  2. Characteristics of Music Appropriate for the Mass. The music of the Mass must have "grandeur yet simplicity; solemnity and majesty,"3 and must have "dignity,"4 and "gravity,"5 should be "exalted" and "sublime,"6 should bring "splendor and devotion"7 to the liturgy, and must be conducive to prayer and liturgical participation, rather than distracting the listener from prayer.8 It must be music that befits the profound nature of the Mass, which is the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.9 As Pope Paul VI put it: "The primary purpose of sacred music is to evoke God's majesty and to honor it. But at the same time music is meant to be a solemn affirmation of the most genuine nobility of the human person, that of prayer."10

  3. Types of Musical Instruments Appropriate for the Mass. The instrument that is most "directly" fitted for the Mass is the classical pipe organ.11 Other instruments, however, can be adapted to the Mass, including wind instruments,12 and smaller bowed instruments.13

  4. Types of Music Prohibited in the Mass. All secular and entertainment styles of music are utterly prohibited in the Mass.14 The introduction of inappropriate music into the liturgy is regarded as "deplorable conduct."15

  5. Types of Instruments Prohibited in the Mass. All "noisy or frivolous" instruments are prohibited for use in the Mass.16 The specific instruments named by the Popes have included guitars, pianos, drums, cymbals, and tambourines.17 "Bands" also are prohibited, as are all automated forms of music (recordings, automatic instruments, etc).18

  6. Adapting Musical Traditions of Indigenous Cultures, and "Universality." The musical traditions of particular cultures can and should be incorporated into the Sacred Liturgy, but only in such a way that they will be recognized as sacred ("good" in the words of Pope St. Pius X) by people of all cultures. That is, all such music must have the characteristic of "universality."19

  7. Preserving the Church's Musical Tradition. The treasury of the Church's sacred music is to be carefully preserved, rather than discarded.20

This essay will demonstrate, through copious documentation, that these principles represent the mind of the Catholic Church concerning liturgical music. As official and authoritative papal teaching, they must be given religious submission of the mind and will by all Catholics.21 It is possible that, because they have been taught so consistently for so long, by so many authorities, that they are part of the Universal Ordinary Magisterium of the Church; if so, they are part of infallible teaching, and must be given the assent of Faith.22

In summary: the Church, as in all things, has not changed its mind on liturgical music. The faith "once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) will never be altered, and the Mass always remains fundamentally the same in nature, despite periodic rubrical and textual modifications. As it is always a participation in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Mass must always be celebrated with a dignity that befits it. Because the Mass will always remain the same, so will the Church's teaching on liturgical music. As this paper will show, this teaching remains as valid and binding today as it was when it was formulated by the early Church.

The Unchanging Tradition of the Church

The Catholic Church has always held that liturgical music must have a sacred character, and that worldly, "carnal," entertainment-style music is inappropriate for the Sacred Liturgy. St. Basil (A.D. 329-379), for example, warns his readers against morally subversive forms of music:

The passions born of illiberality and baseness of spirit are naturally occasioned by this sort of music. But we must pursue that other kind, which is better and leads to the better, and which, as they say, was used by David that author of sacred songs, to soothe the king in his madness. And it is said that Pythagoras, upon encountering some drunken revelers, commanded the aulete who was leading their song to change the mode and to play the Dorian for them. They were so sobered by this music that tearing off their garlands they returned home ashamed. Others dance to the aulos in the manner of the Corybantes and Baccantes. Such is the difference in filling one's ears with wholesome or wicked tunes! And since the latter type now prevails, you must have less to do with it than any utterly depraved thing.23

St. Jerome (A.D. 340/2-420) condemns "theatrical" music in the liturgy:

Listen, young men whose duty it is to recite the office in church: God is to be sung not with the voice but with the heart. Nor should you, like play-actors, ease your throat and jaws with medicaments, and make the church resound with theatrical measures and airs.24

St. Nicetius (d. 563/6) makes similar comments:

The music or the form of melodies that should be executed is that which is in harmony with holy Religion and not expressions of tragical chant; it should show that you are true Christians; it should not be like that which is heard at the theater, but should produce in you sorrow for sin.25

In the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas defended St. Jerome's statement as follows in the Summa Theologica, and commented on St. Augustine's opinion on liturgical music:

Jerome does not absolutely condemn singing, but reproves those who sing theatrically in church not in order to arouse devotion, but in order to show off, or to provoke pleasure. Hence Augustine says (Confess. x, 33): "When it befalls me to be more moved by the voice than by the words sung, I confess to have sinned penally, and then had rather not hear the singer."26

St. Thomas also commented on the use of "coarse" and "carnal" instruments in worship, noting that such instruments mentioned in Old Testament worship are not appropriate for Catholic worship:

As the Philosopher says (Polit. viii, 6), "Teaching should not be accompanied with a flute or any artificial instrument such as the harp or anything else of this kind: but only with such things as make good hearers." For such like musical instruments move the soul to pleasure rather than create a good disposition within it. On the Old Testament instruments of this description were employed, both because the people were more coarse and carnal-so that they needed to be aroused by such instruments as also by earthly promises-and because these material instruments were figures of something else.27

The Council of Trent, in 1562, also distinguished between appropriate and inappropriate liturgical music:

They [the ordinaries of each diocese] shall also banish from churches all those kinds of music, in which, whether by the organ, or in the singing, there is mixed up any thing lascivious or impure; as also all secular actions; vain and therefore profane conversations, all walking about, noise, and clamor, that so the house of God may be seen to be, and may be called, truly a house of prayer.28

Almost two hundred years later, in his Encyclical letter Annus qui,29 Pope Benedict XIV made extensive statements about liturgical music, again denouncing the use of secular, entertainment-style music in the liturgy:

56. [...] ...each one can easily imagine what opinion pilgrims, from regions where musical instruments are not used, will have of us on coming to Our cities and hearing music common to theatres and other profane places...there is certainly no one who does not desire a certain difference between ecclesiastical chant and theatrical melodies, and who does not acknowledge that the use of theatrical and profane chant must not be tolerated in churches.


70. We also said that all condemn theatrical chant in churches and want a distinction made between the sacred chant of the church and the profane chant of the theater...

71. [...] The Fathers of the Council of Toledo, in 1566, after a long exposition of the qualities of the chant of the Church, conclude as follows: "It is absolutely necessary to avoid all that is theatrical in the music used for the chant of divine praises and everything that evokes profane themes of love or warrior feats dear to classic music."

Numerous and learned writers severely condemn the patient tolerance in churches of theatrical music and chant and ask that such abuse be banished from them.

72. To conclude what We have to say on this argument, that is, on the abuse of theatrical compositions in churches (the abuse is evident and requires no words to demonstrate it), it suffices to mention that all the authors whom We have quotes above as being favorable to figurative chant and the use of musical instruments in churches, clearly say and testify that they have always meant and wished by their writings to exclude that chant and that music proper to platforms and to theaters, because they, like others, condemn and despise such chant and music...

He also denounced the use of inappropriate instruments, and named the instruments he had in mind, commanding the bishops to remove them from the liturgy:

90. [...], Venerable Brethren, will see that, if in your churches musical instruments are introduced, you will not tolerate any instruments along with the organ, except the tuba, the large and small tetrachord, the flute, the lyres and the lute, provided these serve to strengthen and support the voices. You will instead exclude the tambourines, cors da classe, trumpets, flutes, harps, guitars and in general all instruments that give a theatrical swing to music.

The Modern Liturgical

Reform Movement: 1903-Present

The modern liturgical reform movement began in 1903 with the motu proprioTra le sollecitudini, issued by Pope St. Pius X. What followed was a series of Papal statements on the liturgy, which culminated in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II. Despite the belief of some that Vatican II nullified previous teaching on the liturgy, Vatican II explicitly reaffirmed the preconciliar liturgical documents in no. 112 of Sacrosanctum Concilium:

112. ...Holy Scripture, indeed, has bestowed praise upon sacred song [Footnote 42: "Cf. Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16."], and the same may be said of the fathers of the Church and of the Roman pontiffs who in recent times, led by St. Pius X, have explained more precisely the ministerial function supplied by sacred music in the service of the Lord.

In his Letter to Cardinal J. Garibi y Rivera, Archbishop of Guadalajara (1969), Cardinal Villot, the Vatican Secretary of State under Pope Paul VI, also clarified that Vatican statements concerning the liturgy that precede Vatican II, particularly those of the twentieth century, remain authoritative:

[...] During the last seventy years, from St. Pius X to Vatican Council II and since then, the Apostolic See has expressed itself repeatedly on the place of sacred music in the liturgy. As a result the documents issued on this topic constitute a very sizable doctrinal corpus. Anyone interested in the theme should pause attentively over this teaching in order to penetrate and take hold of its riches (see SC ch. 6; the Instruction Musicam sacram, 5 March 1967).

Moreover, the serious problems now besetting sacred music and thus disturbing the harmony belonging to it could be solved by taking as the key the doctrinal principles and practical guidelines contained in the conciliar and postconciliar documents.

The following pages will review the teachings of the Popes and the Holy See during this period, demonstrating that this teaching has been consistent throughout, was reaffirmed at Vatican II, and remains authoritative during the post-Vatican II era. Although some disciplinary rules concerning the liturgy have changed (for example, vernacular Masses are allowed), the basic guidelines concerning liturgical practice remain unchanged.

Pope St. Pius X and Tra le sollecitudini (1903)

In 1903, Pope St. Pius X began the modern liturgical reform movement with a brief papal letter (a motu proprio) entitled Tra le sollecitudini. This document is not only important because it was issued by a Saint-Pope, but because he gave it the force of law in the church,30 and because its principles have been explicitly reaffirmed by the Church repeatedly since then. When later Popes addressed the problem of liturgical music, they consistently referred to Tra le sollecitudini, and Vatican II and the postconciliar implementing document on sacred music also referred to it, demonstrating the continuity of Catholic teaching in this area. Tra le sollecitudini is arguably the most important document on the Sacred Liturgy in the 20th century.

In the introduction to Tra le sollecitudini, Pius X decries the abuses in liturgical music that were taking place in his time. His statements are worth quoting at length:

Among the cares of the pastoral office, not only of this Supreme Chair, which We, though unworthy, occupy through the inscrutable dispositions of Providence, but of every local church, a leading one is without question that of maintaining and promoting the decorum of the House of God in which the august mysteries of religion are celebrated, and where the Christian people assemble to receive the grace of the Sacraments, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, to adore the most august Sacrament of the Lord's Body and to unite in the common prayer of the Church in the public and solemn liturgical offices. Nothing should have place, therefore, in the temple calculated to disturb or even merely to diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that may give reasonable cause for disgust or scandal, nothing, above all, which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and is thus unworthy of the House of Prayer and of the Majesty of God. We do not touch separately on the abuses in this matter which may arise. Today Our attention is directed to one of the most common of them, one of the most difficult to eradicate, and the existence of which is sometimes to be deplored in places where everything else is deserving of the highest praise-the beauty and sumptuousness of the temple, the splendor and the accurate performance of the ceremonies, the attendance of the clergy, the gravity and piety of the officiating ministers. Such is the abuse affecting sacred chant and music. And indeed, whether it is owing to the very nature of this art, fluctuating and variable as it is in itself, or to the succeeding changes in tastes and habits with the course of time, or to the fatal influence exercised on sacred art by profane and theatrical art, or to the pleasure that music directly produces, and that is not always easily contained within the right limits, or finally to the many prejudices on the matter, so lightly introduced and so tenaciously maintained even among responsible and pious persons, the fact remains that there is a general tendency to deviate from the right rule, prescribed by the end for which art is admitted to the service of public worship and which is set forth very clearly in the ecclesiastical Canons, in the Ordinances of the General and Provincial Councils, in the prescriptions which have at various times emanated from the Sacred Roman Congregations, and from Our Predecessors the Sovereign Pontiffs.


...We consider it Our first duty, without further delay, to raise Our voice at once in reproof and condemnation of all that is seen to be out of harmony with the right rule above indicated, in the functions of public worship and in the performance of the ecclesiastical offices. Filled as We are with a most ardent desire to see the true Christian spirit flourish in every respect and be preserved by all the faithful, We deem it necessary to provide before anything else for the sanctity and dignity of the temple, in which the faithful assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church. And it is vain to hope that the blessing of heaven will descend abundantly upon us, when our homage to the Most High, instead of ascending in the odor of sweetness, puts into the hand of the Lord the scourges wherewith of old the Divine Redeemer drove the unworthy profaners from the Temple.

Then, Pius X lays down the basic principles of liturgical music:

1. Sacred music, being a complementary part of the solemn liturgy, participates in the general scope of the liturgy, which is the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful. It contributes to the decorum and the splendor of the ecclesiastical ceremonies, and since its principal office is to clothe with suitable melody the liturgical text proposed for the understanding of the faithful, its proper aim is to add greater efficacy to the text, in order that through it the faithful may be the more easily moved to devotion and better disposed for the reception of the fruits of grace belonging to the celebration of the most holy mysteries.

2. Sacred music should consequently possess, in the highest degree, the qualities proper to the liturgy, and in particular sanctity and goodness of form, which will spontaneously produce the final quality of universality. It must be holy, and must, therefore, exclude all profanity not only in itself, but in the manner in which it is presented by those who execute it.

Anticipating Vatican II, Pope St. Pius X affirms that Gregorian chant has pride of place in the Church, and that sacred polyphony (which is similar to Gregorian chant, but has multiple voices) is also permitted:

3. These qualities [proper to the liturgy] are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity.

Perhaps most importantly, he proclaims that all sacred music must be measured by the standard set by Gregorian chant; a form of music is appropriate for use in Church to the degree that it is similar to Gregorian Chant.

3. [...] On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.


  1. The above-mentioned qualities are also possessed in an excellent degree by Classic Polyphony, especially of the Roman School, which reached its greatest perfection in the fifteenth century, owing to the works of Pierluigi da Palestrina, and continued subsequently to produce compositions of excellent quality from a liturgical and musical standpoint. Classic Polyphony agrees admirably with Gregorian Chant, the supreme model of all sacred music, and hence it has been found worthy of a place side by side with Gregorian Chant, in the more solemn functions of the Church, such as those of the Pontifical Chapel.

Pius X also explicitly states that some forms of music are, by their very nature, not appropriate for liturgical use:

5. The Church has always recognized and favored the progress of the arts, admitting to the service of religion everything good and beautiful discovered by genius in the course of ages-always, however, with due regard to the liturgical laws. Consequently modern music is also admitted to the Church, since it, too, furnishes compositions of such excellence, sobriety and gravity, that they are in no way unworthy of the liturgical functions.

Still, since modern music has risen mainly to serve profane uses, greater care must be taken with regard to it, in order that the musical compositions of modern style which are admitted in the Church may contain nothing profane, be free from reminiscences of motifs adopted in the theaters, and be not fashioned even in their external forms after the manner of profane pieces.

6. Among the different kinds of modern music, that which appears less suitable for accompanying the functions of public worship is the theatrical style, which was in the greatest vogue, especially in Italy, during the last century. This of its very nature is diametrically opposed to Gregorian Chant and classic polyphony, and therefore to the most important law of all good sacred music. Besides the intrinsic structure, the rhythm and what is known as the conventionalism of this style adapt themselves but badly to the requirements of true liturgical music.

Particularly, musical "bands" are strictly prohibited, as well as all "frivolous" instruments:

  1. The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy or frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like.

20. It is strictly forbidden to have bands play in church, and only in special cases with the consent of the Ordinary will it be permissible to admit wind instruments, limited in number, judiciously used, and proportioned to the size of the place-provided the composition and accompaniment be written in grave and suitable style, and conform in all respects to that proper to the organ.

The music must never be allowed to take precedence over the liturgy itself:

23. In general it must be considered a very grave abuse when the liturgy in ecclesiastical functions is made to appear secondary to and in a manner at the service of the music, for the music is merely a part of the liturgy and its humble handmaid.

Pius X also lays the foundations for the inclusion of the musical traditions of various ethnic groups in the liturgy, clarifying that they must be "universal" and seem "good" to the peoples of all nations:

2. [...] [Sacred music] must, at the same time, be universal in the sense that while every nation is permitted to admit into its ecclesiastical compositions those special forms which may be said to constitute its native music, still these forms must be subordinated in such a manner to the general characteristics of sacred music that nobody of any nation may receive an impression other than good on hearing them.

Pope Pius XI and Divini Cultus (1928)

Pope Pius X's letter of 1903 was followed in 1928 by the Apostolic Constitution Divini Cultus, issued by Pope Pius XI. The Holy Father denounces the stubborn refusal on the part of many in the Church to comply with the directives in Tra le sollecitudini, and repeats that certain musical forms are not appropriate for the Sacred Liturgy:

It is, however, to be deplored that these most wise laws in some places have not been fully observed, and therefore their intended results not obtained. We know that some have declared these laws, though so solemnly promulgated, were not binding upon their obedience. Others obeyed them at first, but have since come gradually to give countenance to a type of music which should be altogether banned from our churches. In some cases, especially when the memory of some famous musician was being celebrated, the opportunity has been taken of performing in church certain works which, however excellent, should never have been performed there, since they were entirely out of keeping with the sacredness of the place and of the liturgy.

Again, the profane styles of music prohibited in the Liturgy by Pope St. Pius X are prohibited by Pius XI:

[...] We cannot but lament the fact that, as in the case of certain types of music which the Church has rightly forbidden in the past, so now attempts are being made to introduce a profane spirit into the Church by modern forms of music; which forms, if they begin to enter in, the Church would likewise be bound to condemn. Let our churches resound with organ-music that gives expression to the majesty of the edifice and breathes the sacredness of the religious rites; in this way will the art both of those who build the organs and of those who play them flourish afresh and render effective service to the sacred liturgy.

The pride of place due to Gregorian chant, which was affirmed by Pius X, is reaffirmed, and familiarity with Gregorian chant is required for all those who are "bound to office in choir":

In this connection it should be observed that, according to the ancient discipline of the Church and the constitutions of chapters still in force, all those at least who are bound to office in choir, are obliged to be familiar with Gregorian Chant. And the Gregorian Chant which is to be used in every church of whatever order, is the text which, revised according to the ancient manuscripts, has been authentically published by the Church from the Vatican Press.


In order that the faithful may more actively participate in divine worship, let them be made once more to sing the Gregorian Chant, so far as it belongs to them to take part in it.

Pope Pius XII and Musicae Sacrae (1955)

The most extensive papal letter on sacred music is the Encyclical Musicae Sacrae (On Sacred Music), issued by Pope Pius XII in 1955. Musicae Sacrae again refers to Pius X's Tra le sollecitudini, and upholds the principles it contains. It also repeats the Church's prohibition of secular styles of music in the Sacred Liturgy:

41. First of all the chants and sacred music which are immediately joined with the Church's liturgical worship should be conducive to the lofty end for which they are intended. This music -- as our predecessor Pius X has already wisely warned us - "must possess proper liturgical qualities, primarily holiness and goodness of form; from which its other note, universality, is derived."[Acta Pii X, loc. cit., 78]

42. It must be holy. It must not allow within itself anything that savors of the profane nor allow any such thing to slip into the melodies in which it is expressed. The Gregorian chant which has been used in the Church over the course of so many centuries, and which may be called, as it were, its patrimony, is gloriously outstanding for this holiness.

Pope Pius XII makes it clear that, although the Church doesn't lay down "technical rules" or "laws of aesthetics," liturgical music must obey certain "laws" that apply to all forms of religious art. He calls the use of inappropriate music in the liturgy "deplorable conduct":

21. Certainly no one will be astonished that the Church is so vigilant and careful about sacred music. It is not a case of drawing up laws of aesthetics or technical rules that apply to the subject of music. It is the intention of the Church, however, to protect sacred music against anything that might lessen its dignity, since it is called upon to take part in something as important as divine worship.

22. On this score sacred music obeys laws and rules which are no different from those prescribed for all religious art and, indeed, for art in general. Now we are aware of the fact that during recent years some artists, gravely offending against Christian piety, have dared to bring into churches works devoid of any religious inspiration and completely at variance with the right rules of art. They try to justify this deplorable conduct by plausible-looking arguments which they claim are based on the nature and character of art itself. They go on to say that artistic inspiration is free and that it is wrong to impose upon it laws and standards extraneous to art, whether they are religious or moral, since such rules seriously hurt the dignity of art and place bonds and shackles on the activity of an inspired artist.

Pius XII also states clearly that liturgical music must have "dignity," reflecting the awesome fact that the Mass is a participation in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

34. It is easy to infer from what has just been said that the dignity and force of sacred music are greater the closer sacred music itself approaches to the supreme act of Christian worship, the Eucharistic sacrifice of the altar. There can be nothing more exalted or sublime than its function of accompanying with beautiful sound the voice of the priest offering up the Divine Victim, answering him joyfully with the people who are present and enhancing the whole liturgical ceremony with its noble art.

Pius XII allowed traditional vernacular hymns to be used in the liturgy, but only if they could not be prudently removed from the practice of a particular diocese:

47. Where, according to old or immemorial custom, some popular hymns are sung in the language of the people after the sacred words of the liturgy have been sung in Latin during the solemn Eucharistic sacrifice, local Ordinaries can allow this to be done "if, in the light of the circumstances of the locality and the people, they believe that (custom) cannot prudently be removed." [Footnote 21: "Code of Canon Law, Can. 5."] The law by which it is forbidden to sing the liturgical words themselves in the language of the people remains in force, according to what has been said.

Three years later, the Sacred Congregation of Rites would issue an implementing document for Musicae Sacrae, which would clarify that traditional vernacular hymns could only be used in isolated parts of the liturgy, and could not be used for the actual words of the liturgy. This fits well with the principle laid down by Pope St. Pius X: that the appropriateness of a musical form for use in the liturgy is determined by its similarity to Gregorian Chant.

The Sacred Congregation of Rites and De Musica Sacra (1958)

The Vatican's Sacred Congregation of Rites (SCR) in 1958 issued an implementing document for Pius XII's Musicae Sacrae, titled De Musica Sacra. The SCR classified sacred music according to the following breakdown:

4. By "sacred music" is meant: a) Gregorian chant; b) sacred polyphony; c) modern sacred music; d) sacred organ music; e) popular religious singing; f) religious music.

De Musica Sacra went on to say that the first two kinds of music, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony, are acceptable in the Sacred Liturgy. The third kind, "modern sacred music," which is a modern form of polyphony that sometimes uses musical instruments, can be used if it is "pious and preserve[s] a religious character." The fourth kind, "Sacred organ music," which is music for the organ only, can be used "if the laws of sacred music are scrupulously observed." The fifth kind, called "popular religious singing," which consists of traditional vernacular hymns, is not to be used in the liturgy unless "it cannot prudently be discontinued because of the circumstances of the locality or the people."31

The sixth kind, called simply "religious music" absolutely cannot be used in the Liturgy. Here's the way De Musica Sacra put it:

10. By "religious music" is meant that which, either because of the intention of the composer or because of the subject and purpose of the composition, is intended to express and arouse pious and religious sentiments and is therefore 'most salutary to religion.' [Footnote 4: Musicae sacrae disciplina, AAS, XLVIII (1956), 13 f.] But, since it is not destined for divine cult and is expressed in a very free form, it is not admitted to liturgical functions.

It repeated this in paragraph 20: "Religious music then absolutely must not be admitted into any liturgical function..."

De Musica Sacra regarded "religious music" as a form of entertainment, although it recognized that such music outside of the liturgy could be beneficial to Catholics:

55. The proper places for religious music compositions are in concert halls, or in the assemblies of congress, but not in churches intended for the worship of God.

De Musica Sacra specifically denied the use of what it called "raucous secular music" in the liturgy, when discussing the use of various instruments:

68. Other instruments besides the organ, especially the smaller bowed instruments, may be used during the liturgical functions...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.

De Musica Sacra adds this about the proper use of instruments in the liturgy:

60. The following principles about the use of musical instruments in the sacred liturgy are recalled:

a) In view of the nature of the sacred liturgy, it's holiness and its dignity, the use of any kind of musical instrument should in itself be perfect. It would therefore be better to entirely omit the playing of instruments (whether the organ alone or other instruments) than to permit it to be done indecorously...

b) It is also necessary to know the difference between sacred and profane music, it is to be noted as well, that there are musical instruments which by origin and nature--such as the classic organ--are directly fitted for sacred music: or others, as certain string and bow instruments, which are more easily adapted to liturgical use; while others, instead, judged by common opinion so proper to profane music that they are entirely unfit for sacred use.


70. Those musical instruments which by judgment and usage are used only for profane music must be absolutely prohibited in liturgical functions and pious exercises.

De Musica Sacra also forbids the use of any sort of "automatic" instrument for liturgical music:

71. The use of "automatic" instruments and machines such as the automatic organ, the radio, phonograph, dictaphone, or tape recorder and other similar devices, are absolutely forbidden in liturgical functions or pious exercises, whether put to use inside or outside the church, or used only to transmit sacred discourses or music, or used to support or help the singing of the choir or faithful...

Vatican II and Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963)

At the Second Vatican Council, none of these principles were revoked. In fact, Vatican II's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,Sacrosanctum Concilium, reaffirmed the earlier statements of Popes on sacred music:

112. ...Holy Scripture, indeed, has bestowed praise upon sacred song [Footnote 42: "Cf. Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16."], and the same may be said of the fathers of the Church and of the Roman pontiffs who in recent times, led by St. Pius X, have explained more precisely the ministerial function supplied by sacred music in the service of the Lord.

Sacrosanctum Concilium makes it clear that the Church's tradition of sacred music is a "treasure" that is to be maintained, not thrown out:

112. The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy...

114. The treasury of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care. Choirs must be diligently promoted, especially in cathedral churches; but bishops and other pastors of souls must be at pains to ensure that, whenever the sacred action is to be celebrated with song, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs, as laid down in Art. 28 and 30.

Sacrosanctum Concilium goes on to specify what sort of music is proper to the liturgical rites, repeating in essence what had been said by Pope Pius X sixty years earlier:

116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.

Three times Sacrosanctum Concilium used variations of the word "solemn" with regard to liturgical music, contradicting those who wish to use informal, "festive" music in the liturgy (boldfacing added):

112. [sacred music] forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy...Therefore sacred music is to be considered the more holy, the more closely connected it is with the liturgical action, whether making prayer more pleasing, promoting unity of minds, or conferring greater solemnity upon the sacred rites...

113. Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when the divine offices are celebrated solemnly in song...

Sacrosanctum Concilium also made it clear that only instruments "suitable for sacred use" were to be admitted to the Sacred Liturgy:

120. ...But...instruments [other than the pipe organ] also may be admitted for use in divine worship...This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use; that they accord with the dignity of the temple, and that they truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.

The Sacred Congregation of Rites and Musicam Sacram (1967)

Following Vatican II, and Sacrosanctum Concilium, in 1967 the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued an implementing document, called Musicam Sacram, just as it had for Pius XII's encyclical Musicae Sacrae. Musicam Sacram reaffirmed the basic principles concerning music in the liturgy that had been stated by Popes Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII, and Vatican II. It also reaffirmed the categorization of sacred music that had been made by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in De Musica Sacra in 1958, distinguishing between liturgical and non-liturgical "popular" music.

Musicam Sacram explicitly made reference to Pope Pius X's letter on sacred music at the beginning of the document, just as had Vatican II in Sacrosanctum Concilium:

4. ...(a) By sacred music is understood that which, being created for the celebration of divine worship, is endowed with a certain holy sincerity of form. [Footnote 2: "Cf. St. Pius X, Motu Proprio, 'Tra le sollecitudini,' n. 2"].

It then listed the same categories of sacred music that the Sacred Congregation of Rites had given in De Musica Sacra in 1958, explicitly referring to that document in a footnote, and in the last two categories distinguished again between the kinds that are "liturgical" or "simply religious":

4. [...] (b) The following come under the title of sacred music here: Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony in its various forms both ancient and modern, sacred music for the organ and other approved instruments, and sacred popular music, be it liturgical or simply religious. [Footnote 3: "Cf. Instruction of the S.C.R., 3 September 1958, n. 4."]

The basic types of music permitted in the liturgy, therefore, were the same as those permitted in 1958 and before. Musicam Sacram was in a perfect continuity with previous documents on basic principles of liturgical music.

Again, following the Popes and Vatican II, Musicam Sacram made it clear that "profane" musical instruments were prohibited from the Sacred Liturgy, again referring to the instruction De Musica Sacra of 1958:

63. In permitting and using musical instruments, the culture and traditions of individual peoples must be taken into account. However, those instruments which are, by common opinion and use, suitable for secular music only, are to be altogether prohibited from every liturgical celebration and from popular devotions. [Footnote 44: "Cf. Instruction of the S.C.R., 3 September 1958, n.70."]

Pope Paul VI was still referring in his public statements to Musicam Sacram as late as 1977,32 indicating that it did not apply merely to the Mass as it was before the changes in 1970 and 1975, but that it continued to be relevant for the "New Mass" as well.

Various Statements of Pope Paul VI and Other Authorities

In the years following Vatican II, Pope Paul VI, who had presided over the second session of the council, made numerous public statements about liturgical music, as did other Church authorities. In these statements, the Church's traditional teaching concerning liturgical music was upheld, and secular forms of music in the liturgy were denounced. Unfortunately, they were ignored by many in the Church, and continue to be ignored today. These statements prove that the principles proclaimed before the promulgation of the Missal of 1970 were still applicable to the Liturgy. The Church, as always, does not change its teachings; it only adapts unchanging principles to different circumstances.

Pope Paul VI: Address to the Associzione Italiana di Santa Cecilia (1968)33

In his Address to the participants in the general meeting of the Associzione Italiana di Santa Cecilia of Italy, on sacred music, handmaiden of the liturgy, Pope Paul IV denounced the use of improper forms of music in the liturgy, and decried the loss of traditional music:

Yet this reform is not without obstacles that also involve sacred music and song. Moreover, there is a failure at times to hold in due honor the priceless musical heritage; the new styles of music are not always in keeping with the Church's magnificent and revered tradition, which is so sound even at the level of culture. On the one hand, musical compositions are offered that, although simple and easy to perform, are either uninspired or lacking in any nobility. On the other hand, musical experiments are going on here and there that are completely unauthorized and outlandish and that must cause anyone to be puzzled and suspicious.

The Holy Father went on to repeat the categorization of sacred music made by De Musica Sacra in 1958 and Musicam Sacram in 1967:

[...] you must above all not lose sight of the function of sacred music and liturgical singing. The alternative is the futility of every attempt at reform and the impossibility of correct and appropriate use of the different structural resources for this noble and sacred endeavor. These resources are, as you well know, Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony, and modern music; the organ and other instruments; the Latin and vernacular texts, the ministers, choir, and congregation; official liturgical song and the religious music of the people (see SC ch 6; SCR, Instruction on music in the liturgy, 1967).

He noted the attributes that must be present in music used for worship:

Music and song are servants of worship and are its subordinates. Accordingly they must always possess the qualities befitting their place: grandeur yet simplicity; solemnity and majesty; the least possible unworthiness of the absolute transcendence of God, to whom they are directed, and of the human spirit, which they are meant to express. Music and song must possess the power to put the soul in devout contact with the Lord, arousing and expressing sentiments of praise, petition, expiation, thanksgiving, joy as well as sorrow, love, trust, peace. There is a limitless range for every kind of inspiring melody and the most varied harmony.

Since that is the essential function for sacred music, what ground is there for allowing anything shabby or banal or anything that caters to the vagaries of aestheticism or is based on the prevailing excesses of technology?...

Vocal and instrumental music that is not at once marked by the spirit of prayer, dignity, and beauty, is barred from entrance into the world of the sacred and the religious...

The primary purpose of sacred music is to evoke God's majesty and to honor it. But at the same time music is meant to be a solemn affirmation of the most genuine nobility of the human person, that of prayer.

These statements were echoed repeatedly by Pope and officials of the Holy See, well into the 1970s. Vatican authorities also continued to uphold the principles stated in Musicam Sacram. A sample of such statements are given below:

Cardinal J. Villot:34 Letter to Cardinal J. Garibi y Rivera, Archbishop of Guadalajara (1969)35

[...] During the last seventy years, from St. Pius X to Vatican Council II and since then, the Apostolic See has expressed itself repeatedly on the place of sacred music in the liturgy. As a result the documents issued on this topic constitute a very sizable doctrinal corpus. Anyone interested in the theme should pause attentively over this teaching in order to penetrate and take hold of its riches (see SC ch. 6; the Instruction Musicam sacram, 5 March 1967).

Moreover, the serious problems now besetting sacred music and thus disturbing the harmony belonging to it could be solved by taking as the key the doctrinal principles and practical guidelines contained in the conciliar and postconciliar documents.

Pope Paul VI: Address to the 10th International Congress of Church Choirs (1970)36

[...] Your wish is for a word from the Pope. His word can be nothing else but an echo of the Church's recent declarations on the relationship between music and liturgy (in the Constitution on the Liturgy and the various instructions on carrying it out, particularly that on sacred music 5 March 1967). His word is an echo also of what the Church has said on the role that you as choirs are called to fulfill in order to bring an ever greater splendor and devotion to the celebrations of the sacred mysteries.

The study of such documents clearly establishes that the charge the Church entrusts to music, its composers and performers, remains, as it has always been, one of great importance and highest purpose?.

Pope Paul VI: Address to women religious taking part in the National Convention of the Associazione Italiana di Santa Cecilia (1971)37

[...] Our wish is to leave you with one counsel: always give first place, as the main concern for yourselves and for others, to the sensus Ecclesiae. Otherwise, instead of helping to deepen charity, singing can be a source of disturbing, diluting, and profaning the sacred and even of creating division among the faithful. The sensus Ecclesiae will mean your grasping in obedience, prayer, and the interior life the sublime and elevating reasons for our musical endeavors. The sensus Ecclesiae means also the deep study of papal and conciliar documents in order always to be aware of the criteria that regulate the liturgical life. [...] The sensus Ecclesiae, finally, will mean discernment in what concerns the music of the liturgy: not everything is valid, not everything is lawful, not everything is good. In the liturgy the sacred must come together with the beautiful in a harmonious and devout synthesis that allows the assemblies with their different capabilities fully to express their faith for the glory of God and the building up of the Mystical Body.

Cardinal J. Villot: Letter to Cardinal G. Siri, Archbishop of Genoa, on the occasion of a national meeting on sacred music (1973)38

We must avoid and bar from liturgical celebrations profane types of music, particularly singing with a style so agitated, intrusive, and raucous that it would disturb the serenity of the service and would be incompatible with its spiritual, sanctifying purposes. A broad field is thus opened for pastoral initiative, the effort, namely, of leading the faithful to participate with voice and song in the rites, while at the same time protecting these rites from the invasion of noise, poor taste, and desacralization. Instead there must be encouragement of the kind of sacred music that helps to raise the mind to God and that through the devout singing of God's praises helps to provide a foretaste of the liturgy of heaven.

Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship, Letter Voluntatit obsequens to bishops, accompanying the booklet Iubilate Deo (1974)39

Pope Paul VI has expressed often, and even recently, the wish that the faithful of all countries be able to sing at least a few Gregorian chants in Latin (for example, the Gloria,Credo, Sanctus,Agnus Dei). In compliance, this Congregation has prepared the enclosed bookletIubilate Deo, which provides a short collection of such Gregorian chants.

I have the honor and office of sending you a copy of this booklet as a gift from the Pope himself. I also take this occasion to commend to your own pastoral concerns this new measure intended to ensure the carrying out of the prescription of Vatican Council II: "Steps should be taken enabling the faithful to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass belonging to them."


The teaching of the Catholic Church concerning liturgical music is consistent and clear, and flows from the very nature of the Mass as the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. As the numerous ecclesiastical authorities cited in this paper proclaim, the music of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass must have a sacred character and be conducive to prayer and contemplation. From these principles are derived the teachings, directives, and restrictions issued by the Popes and Roman Congregations concerning sacred liturgical music.

Until these principles are upheld in our parish churches, our participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be undermined, and the very nature of the Eucharistic Liturgy will continue to be distorted. We cannot show respect for the atoning death of our Savior with trite, breezy, informal music. The Mass is not an occasion for entertainment, but for the highest act of worship possible to man. The Sacred Liturgy is, according to Vatican II, "the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows."40 If we do not treat it as such, our spiritual loss will be incalculable.


1Letter of Cardinal J. Villot to Cardinal J. Garibi y Rivera, Archbishop of Guadalajara, 1969 (Notitiae 6 [1970] pp. 309-310). The relevant quotation: "[...] During the last seventy years, from St. Pius X to Vatican Council II and since then, the Apostolic See has expressed itself repeatedly on the place of sacred music in the liturgy. As a result the documents issued on this topic constitute a very sizable doctrinal corpus. Anyone interested in the theme should pause attentively over this teaching in order to penetrate and take hold of its riches (see SC ch. 6; the InstructionMusicam sacram, 5 March 1967)." Principle also stated in: Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), n. 112.

2 Pope Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini (1903), nos. 3-4; Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), nos. 112, 116.

3 Pope Paul VI, Address to the Associzione Italiana di Santa Cecilia (September 18th, 1968) [Notitiae 4 (1968) pp. 269-273].

4 Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Musicae Sacrae (1955), nos. 21, 34; Pope Paul VI, Address to the Associzione Italiana di Santa Cecilia(September 18th, 1968) [Notitiae 4 (1968) pp. 269-273].

5 Pope Pius X, Tra le sollecitudini, n. 5. The principles inTra le sollecitudini were reaffirmed by Vatican II inSacrosanctum Concilium (1963), no. 112, and by Cardinal J. Villot in his Letter to Cardinal J. Garibi y Rivera, Archbishop of Guadalajara (1969) [Notitiae 6 (1970) pp. 309-310).

6 Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Muiscae Sacrae, n. 34. The principles in Musicae Sacrae were generally reaffirmed by Vatican II in Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), no. 112, and by Cardinal J. Villot in his Letter to Cardinal J. Garibi y Rivera, Archbishop of Guadalajara (1969) [Notitiae 6 (1970) pp. 309-310].

7Pope Paul VI, Address to the 10th International Congress of Church Choirs (April 6th, 1970) [Notitiae 6 (1970), pp. 154-157].

8 St. Augustine, Confessions, x, 33; St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 2a-2ae, q. 91, art. 2; Pope Pius X, Motu ProprioTra le sollecitudini, n. 23; Pope Pius XII, EncyclicalMusicae Sacrae, n. 34; Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), n. 112; Pope Paul VI, Address to the Associzione Italiana di Santa Cecilia (September 18th, 1968) [Notitiae 4 (1968) pp. 269-273].

9Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), nos. 112, 113; Vatican Secretariat of State: Letter of Cardinal J. Villot to Cardinal G. Siri, Archbishop of Genoa, on the occasion of a national meeting on sacred music, September 1973.

10 Pope Paul VI, Address to the Associzione Italiana di Santa Cecilia (September 18th, 1968) [Notitiae 4 (1968) pp. 269-273].

11 Pope Benedict XIV, Encyclical Annus qui (1749), n. 90; Pope St. Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini (1903), n. 20; The Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction De Musica Sacra (1958), n. 68. Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), n. 120.

12 Pope Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini (1903), n. 20. The principles in Tra le sollecitudini were generally upheld by Vatican II in Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), n. 112.

13 Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction De Musica Sacra (1958), n. 68. The principles in De Musica Sacra were upheld in the post-Vatican II period in the Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Musicam Sacram (1967), n. 63.

14 St. Jerome, quoted in the Summa Theologica, 2a-2ae, q. 91, art. 2; St. Augustine, Confessions, x, 33; St. Nicetius, quoted in the Encyclical Annus qui, Pope Benedict XIV, February 19, 1749, to the Bishops of the States of the Church; Pope Benedict XIV, Encyclical Annus qui (1749), nos. 56, 70, 72; Pope Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini, n. 5; Pope Pius XI, Apostolic Constitution Divini Cultus; The Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction De Musica Sacra (1958), n.55; Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction Musicam Sacram(1967), n. 63.

15 Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Musicae Sacrae, n. 21.

16 Pope Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini (1903), n. 19. Principle Upheld by the Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of Rites Musicam Sacram (1967), n. 4. The principles in Tra le sollecitudini were generally reaffirmed by Vatican II inSacrosanctum Concilium (1963), n. 112.

17 Pope Benedict XIV, Encyclical Annus Qui, n. 90; Pope Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini, n. 19. Principle upheld by Vatican II,Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), nos. 112, 120, and by the Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Musicam Sacram(1967), nos. 4, 63.

18 Pope St. Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini (1903), n. 20; The Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction De Musica Sacra (1958), n. 71.

19 Pope St. Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini (1903), n. 2; Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Musicae Sacrae (1955), n. 41.

20 Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), nos. 112, 114.

21 Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, par. 25.

22 Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, chapter 3; Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, par. 25.

23 St. Basil, Exhortation to Youths as to How They Shall Best Profit from the Writings of Pagan Authors VII. Quoted in Cole, Basil, O.P., Music and Morals: A Theological Appraisal of the Moral and Psychological Effects of Music (New York: Alba House, 1993), p. 55.

24 Quoted in the Summa, 2a-2ae, q. 91, art. 2.

25 Quoted in Encyclical letter Annus qui, Pope Benedict XIV, February 19, 1749, to the Bishops of the States of the Church.

26Summa, 2a-2ae, q. 91, art. 2.

27Summa, 2a-2ae, q. 91, art. 2.

28 Council of Trent, Session XXII, Decree Concerning Things to be Observed, and to be Avoided in the Celebration.

29 Issued February 19, 1749, to the Bishops of the States of the Church.

30 "We do therefore publish, motu proprio and with certain knowledge, Our present Instruction to which, as to a juridical code of sacred music (quasi a codice giuridice della musica sacra), We will with the fullness of Our Apostolic Authority that the force of law be given, and We do by Our present handwriting impose its scrupulous observance on all." -from the introduction to Tra le sollecitudini.

31De Musica Sacra 14. The full text of the summary of musical forms is as follows: "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 (Musicæ sacræ disciplina, Dec. 25, 1955; AAS 48 [1956] 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."

32 Pope Paul VI, Address to the 10th International Congress of Church Choirs, April 6, 1970.

Pope Paul VI, Homily to members of the Associazone Italiana di Santa Cecilia, September 25, 1977 (Notitae 13 [1977] 475).

33 Published in Italian in Notitiae 4 (1968) pp. 269-273. Address delivered on September 18, 1968.

34The Vatican's Secretary of State.

35Published in Spanish in Notitiae 6 (1970) pp. 309-310. Letter issued in December 1969.

36Published in Italian in Notitiae 6 (1970) pp. 154-157. Address delivered April 6th, 1970.

37Published in Italian in Notitiae 7 (1971) pp. 241-243. Address delivered April 15th, 1971.

38Published in Italian in Notitiae 9 (1973) p. 301. Letter issued September 1973.

39Published in Notitiae 10 (1974) pp. 123-126. Issued April 14th , 1974.

40 Vatican II, The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), par. 10.