November 22, 1903 

Among the concerns Officio pastoral, not only of this Supreme Chair, which inscrutable disposition of Providence, though unworthy, occupy, but of every particular Church, it is certainly chief to maintain and promote the dignity of the House of God, where the august mysteries of religion are celebrated and where the Christian people gather in order to receive the grace of the Sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, to adore the most august Sacrament of the Body of the Lord and join in the prayer of the Church in the public and solemn official liturgy.

Nothing, therefore, is to take the temple to disturb or even diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that gives reasonable grounds for disgust or scandal, nothing, above which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and therefore is unworthy of the House of Prayer and the majesty of God

Do not touch abuses that can occur in this part. Our attention now turns to one of the most common, the most difficult to eradicate, and that sometimes you have to deplore even where everything else is worthy of the highest praise for the beauty and sumptuousness of the temple, the splendor and the ' accurate order of the ceremonies, the frequency of the clergy, the gravity and piety of the ministers who celebrate it. This is abuse in the things of song and sacred music. Indeed, both for the nature of this art per se same fluctuating and variable, both for the subsequent alteration of the taste and habits along the correr of time, both for fatal influence that exerts on sacred profane art and theatrical both for the pleasure that music directly produces and which is not always easy to hold back on the right terms, and finally to the many prejudices in the matter of light creep and then maintain tenaciously even in people in authority and pious, a v'ha continuing tendency to deviate from the right rule, established by the end, so the art is admitted to the service of worship, and expressed very clearly in the ecclesiastical canons, in the Orders of the General and Provincial Councils, the requirements on several occasions issued by the Sacred Roman Congregations and by the Supreme Pontiffs Our predecessors.

With great satisfaction our soul We are grateful recognize very well that this part has been made in recent decades in this our alma City of Rome and in many churches of the country Nostra, but more particularly in some countries where distinguished men and zealous in the worship of God, with the approval of the Holy See and under the direction of Bishops, united in flourishing company and resumed their very full honor sacred music almost in every church and chapel. Codesto well but it is still far from being common to all, and if we consult experience Our staff and take into account a lot of complaints that we came from all over in this short time, since it pleased the Lord to raise Our humble person to the highest peak of the Roman pontificate, without delay any longer, we believe our first duty to immediately raise the voice of disapproval and condemnation of all that in the functions of public worship and ecclesiastical nell' offìciatura recognizes deviate from the right rule indicated.

Being, in fact, our ardent desire that the true Christian spirit flourish for each mode and remains faithful in all, it is necessary first and foremost to the sanctity and dignity of the temple, where in fact the faithful gather to draw that spirit from its first and indispensable source, 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 to that end, descend upon us abundant blessings of Heaven, when our obedience to the Almighty, instead of ascending in the odor of sweetness, puts hand in the hand of the Lord the scourges, so once more the Divine Redeemer drove from the temple the unworthy profane.

Wherefore, lest any man will henceforth bear an excuse not to know clearly his duty and is deprived of all uncertainty in the interpretation of some things already controlled, we estimated expedient point with brevity those principles which govern sacred music in the functions of worship and gathering together in an overview of the main requirements of the Church against the most common abuses in this area.

And yet the proper motion and certain knowledge we publish this Our Education, to which almost juridical code of sacred music, we want the fullness of Our Apostolic Authority is given the force of law by requiring all this with our Letter of the most scrupulous observance.


The General Principles.

1. Sacred music as an integral part of the solemn liturgy, it participates in the general purpose, which is the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful. It helps raise the dignity and splendor of the ecclesiastical ceremonies, and since his office is the main day cover with acconcia melody the liturgical text that is proposed to the intelligence of the faithful, its proper aim is to add greater efficacy to the text, so that the faithful by such means are more easily excited to devotion and better disposed for the reception of the fruits of grace which are proper to the celebration of the holy mysteries.

2. Sacred music should consequently possess the best degree the qualities that are inherent in the liturgy, namely the sanctity and integrity of form, in order to spontaneously his other character, which is universality.
It must be holy, and therefore exclude all profanity not only in itself, but also in the manner in which it is proposed for the performers.
It must be true art, it is not possible that would otherwise have on the mind of the hearer that efficacy which the Church aims at obtaining in admitting into her liturgy the art of sound. But it will be universal in this sense that while indulging to every nation, to admit into its ecclesiastical compositions those special forms which in a sense the special character of 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 all is not good.

II. Genres of sacred music.

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

For these reasons, the Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model of sacred music, being able to establish any reason, the following general law: such a composition for church is more sacred and liturgical, the more its development, the inspiration, and flavor approaches the Gregorian melody, much less worthy of the temple, as from that supreme model recognizes different ways.

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must therefore be returned largely in the functions of public worship, keeping all affirmed, that ecclesiastical function loses nothing of its solemnity, as well as not to be accompanied by more music from this alone.

In particular, we procure the return of Gregorian chant in the use of the people, so that the faithful take a more active part all' officiatura new church, the old name solevasi.

4. The above-mentioned qualities are also held in great degree from the classical polyphony, especially the Roman School, which in the sixteenth century gained its greatest perfection in the work of Pier Luigi da Palestrina and then went on to produce even after the liturgical compositions of great goodness and music. The classical polyphony very well approaches the supreme model of all sacred music is Gregorian chant, and for that reason deserved to be accepted along with the Gregorian chant, the more solemn functions of the Church, such as those of the Pontifical Chapel. Therefore it must also be returned largely in ecclesiastical functions, especially the most famous basilicas, cathedrals, in the seminaries and other ecclesiastical institutions, where the means usually do not defect.

5. The Church has always recognized and favored the progress of the arts, admitting to the service of worship all that the genius was able to find good and beautiful over the centuries, but always subject to the liturgical laws. Consequently modern music is also admitted to the church, offering also compositions of this goodness, seriousness and gravity, which are in no way unworthy of the liturgical functions.

However, since modern music has arisen primarily in the service profane, will have to await more carefully, because the musical compositions of modern style which are admitted into the church, contain nothing profane, neither have reminiscences of motifs used in the theater, and not are fashioned even in their external forms on the progress of profane pieces.

6. Among the various genres of modern music, what seemed less acconcio to accompany the functions of public worship is the theatrical style, that during the last century was in greatest vogue, especially in Italy. By its nature it has the greatest opposition to the Gregorian Chant and classic polyphony, but the most important law of all good sacred music. Moreover, the intimate structure, the rhythm and the so-called conventionalism of this style do not bend, if not badly, to the needs of the true liturgical music. 

III. liturgical text.

7. The proper language of the Roman Church is Latin. It is therefore forbidden in the solemn liturgical functions of singing in the vernacular anything, much more then singing in the vernacular or common variable parts of the Mass and the Officio.

8. Since for every liturgical function certain texts that can present itself in music, and the order in which they propose, it is not lawful or to confuse this order, or to change the prescribed texts in other of your choice, or to omit them entirely or even in part, although the liturgical rubrics do not allow the body to compensate with some verses of the text, and these are simply recited in chorus. Only is allowed, just the custom of the Roman Church, to sing a motet to SS. Sacrament after the Benedictus Mass. It also allows that, after singing the prescribed offertory of the Mass, we can perform the time that remains, over a short motet words approved by the Church.

9. The text to be sung as it is in the books, without alteration or postponement of words, without undue repetition, without breaking syllables, and always in a manner intelligible to the faithful who listen.   

IV external shape of the sacred compositions

10. The individual parts of the Mass and also musically dell'officiatura must retain the concept and the form which ecclesiastical tradition has given them, and which is found very clearly expressed in Gregorian chant. So different is the way of composing an income, a gradual, an antiphon, a psalm, a hymn, a Gloria in excelsis, etc..

11. In particular, please observe the following rules:

a) The Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc.. Mass must maintain the unity of composition, of their own text. It is therefore not permissible to compose them in separate pieces, so that each of these pieces form a musical composition complete and that it can break away from the rest and give place to other.

b) Nell'officiatura of Vespers should ordinarily follow a policy of Caerimoniale Episcoporum, which prescribes Gregorian Chant for the psalmody and permits figured music for the verses of the Gloria Patri and the hymn.

Will nevertheless be permitted, in the main solemnities to alternate the Gregorian chant of the choir with the so-called falsibordoni or verses in a similar fashion conveniently compounds.

You can grant eziandio sometimes that individual psalms are proposed for integer music, provided in such compositions is preserved the proper form of the psalms, that is, as long as the singers seem psalms together, or new reasons, or those taken by hand Gregorian, or according to this imitated.

Therefore remain forever excluded and prohibited the psalms so-called concert.

c) In the hymns of the Church retains the traditional form of the hymn. It is therefore not permissible to compose p. eg. the Tantum ergo so that the first stanza present a romance, a cavatina, adagio, and a cheerful Parents.

d) The antiphons of the Vespers must be proposed ordinarily with the Gregorian melody of their own. If, however, in some particular case be sung in music, should never have either the form of a melody in concert, or the amplitude of a motet and a cantata.

V. Cantori.

12. Except the celebrant at the altar of their melodies and ministers, which must always be in only Gregorian chant without accompaniment of the organ, the rest of the chant proper to the choir of the Levites, and the singers of the church, however, also if they are old, they do exactly the place of the ecclesiastical choir. As a result the music offering must, at least in their most part, retain the character of music choir.

This is not to completely ruled out the voice. But this must never predominate in function, so that the greater part of the liturgical text is in this way carried out; rather should have the character of simple mention or melodic idea and be closely linked to the rest of the composition in the form of a chorus.

13. The same principle it follows that singers in church have real liturgical office, and that though women, being incapable of such office, cannot be given a place in the choir or music chapel. So, if you want to use the high voices of sopranos and altos, they must be incurred by the children, according to the custom of the ancient Church.

14. Finally, do not admit to be part of the church choir but men of known piety and probity of life, which, with their modest and devout demeanor during liturgical functions, show themselves worthy of the holy office exercising. It will also be fitting that singers while singing in church, shall wear the ecclesiastical habit and surplice, and if you are found in choir too exposed to the public eye, be represented by grates.             

VI. organ and musical instruments.

15. Although the music proper to the Church is purely vocal music, however, is allowed eziandio music with organ accompaniment. In some special cases, within due limits and with regard to cost, they can also admitted other instruments, but never without special license of the Ordinary, according to the prescription of Caerimoniale Episcoporum.

16. As the singing should always excel, so the organ or instruments should simply support it and never oppress him.

17. It is not allowed to precede the singing long preludes or to interrupt him with pieces of intermezzo.

18. The sound of the organ in accompaniment of the song, in the preludes, interludes and the like, not only must be conducted according to its nature of this instrument, but must participate in all the quality that the true sacred music and who have previously counted.

19. It is forbidden to use the piano in church, as well as that of light or loud instruments, which are the drum, bass drum, cymbals, bells and the like.

20. It is strictly forbidden to so-called bands to play in church, and only in some special cases, place the consent of the Ordinary, be allowed to admit a limited choice, sensible and proportionate to the environment, wind instruments, provided the composition and accompaniment is written to be performed in serious style, convenient and similar in all regions than in other organ.

21. In processions outside the church may be permitted by the ordinary musical band, provided that no bodies should in no way profane pieces. It would be desirable in such cases that the concert is music to accompany some restringesse Spiritual Canticle in Latin or the vernacular, proposed by the singers and the pious congregations taking part in the procession.

VII. Scope of liturgical music.

22. It is unlawful by reason of the song or sound, to wait for the priest at the altar more than that involving the liturgy. Right ecclesiastical prescriptions the Sanctus of the Mass should be made prior to the elevation, but also the celebrant must here have regard to the singers. The Gloria and Credo, just the Gregorian tradition, must be relatively short.

23. In general it is to be condemned as a serious abuse, which the liturgy in ecclesiastical functions and land appear almost secondary to the service of music, while the music is simply part of the liturgy and its humble handmaid.  

VIII. principle means

24. For the exact execution of what is set forth herein, the Bishops, if they have not already done so, set up in their dioceses a special commission of persons competent in sacred music, which, in the way they judge most appropriate, both entrusted with the task of superintend the music that you are doing in their churches. Neither badino only that the music itself is good, but also to respond to the forces of the singers and are always well executed.

25. In seminaries of the clergy and the ecclesiastical institutions, just the Tridentine prescriptions, be cultivated by all with diligence and love the prelodato traditional Gregorian Chant, and superiors are in this part of wide encouragement and praise with their young subjects. Similarly, back where possible, should be promoted among the clergy the foundation of a Schola Cantorum to perform the sacred polyphony and good liturgical music.

26. In the ordinary lessons of the liturgy, morality, gius canon that are given to students of theology, do not omit to touch on those points that concern more particularly the principles and laws of sacred music, and try to compierne the doctrine in some detail education about the aesthetics of sacred art, so that the clerics do not come from the seminary ignorant of all these notions, although necessary for the full ecclesiastical culture.

27. Take care to return, at least at the main churches, the ancient Scholae Cantorum, as already practiced with excellent fruit in good number of places. It is not difficult to establish such zealous clergy of Scholae even in smaller churches and in the countryside, is in fact very easy to half of them gather around him children and adults, with their own profit and edification of the people.

28. It can obtain support and promote in every way the best schools of sacred music which already exist, and to contribute to fondarle where you do not have yet. So it is important that the Church herself Provide education of his teachers, organists and singers, according to the true principles of sacred art.  

Conclusion IX.

29. Finally, it is recommended to choirmasters, singers, people of the clergy, superioni seminars, church institutions and religious communities, parish priests and rectors of churches, to the canons of colleggiate and cathedrals, and especially the diocesan Ordinaries of favor with all the zeal of these wise reforms, long desired and invoked all agree, lest he fall into the same contempt authority of the Church, which repeatedly proposed and time again inculcates.

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