Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Instaurare Omnia in Christo

February 23rd, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Pope St. Pius X is the recipient of much devotion in circle like our own. His motto, which titles this post, translates to “to restore all things in Christ.” This theme of restoration is one which the Church is realizing, universally, especially during this reign of Pope Benedict “the Great.” One of the most precious things which Pius sought to restore was an “active participation” in so far as the congregation joining the cantor, schola, or choir in singing the chant for the day, more precisely, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.

Pope Benedict, too, yearns for us to realize the integral nature of chant to our worship. The melodies, many of them, can be traced back to chants used by the Jews in the Temple. Many have subsequently been written by saints, Doctors of the Church, masterful theologians, and even popes. Indeed, the term “Gregorian” chant comes from Pope Gregory the Great who, as tradition holds, was moved by the Holy Spirit to transmit these chants and preserve them for all ages. The restoration of chant, which began in the early 20th century, has been slowly gaining more and more momentum, even through the days of the Council and its often incorrect interpretation and implementation. When one reads the documents as they are written, and does not put into them any tinge of political bias, one clearly and definitively sees that the move was not towards the wretched folk tunes plaguing our parishes, or the use of non-denominational hymns – we were supposed to keep our Tradition, not trample upon it for the sake of something new and exciting.

The following comes from Sacrosanctum Concilium, my emphasis added:

Accordingly, the sacred Council, keeping to the norms and precepts of ecclesiastical tradition and discipline, and having regard to the purpose of sacred music, which is the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful, decrees as follows.
113. Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when the divine offices are celebrated solemnly in song, with the assistance of sacred ministers and the active participation of the people.
As regards the language to be used, the provisions of Art. 36 are to be observed; for the Mass, Art. 54; for the sacraments, Art. 63; for the divine office. Art. 101.
114. The treasure 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.
115. Great importance is to be attached to the teaching and practice of music in seminaries, in the novitiates and houses of study of religious of both sexes, and also in other Catholic institutions and schools. ( I know several priests who were ordained in the 70’s and 80’s, and who said that they never even studied Latin, let alone Gregorian Chant.) To impart this instruction, teachers are to be carefully trained and put in charge of the teaching of sacred music.
It is desirable also to found higher institutes of sacred music whenever this can be done.
Composers and singers, especially boys, must also be given a genuine liturgical training.
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. (This does not say “do away with it” or “just let the choir sing it.” It says that it is unique and wholly intended for use at Mass – “it should be given pride of place.” Now how many liberals do you see spreading this “Spirit of Vatican II?”)
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.
117. The typical edition of the books of Gregorian chant is to be completed; and a more critical edition is to be prepared of those books already published since the restoration by St. Pius X. (Restore all in Christ – take the books of the past, edit them, and make them extant. The Council did not say that we should turn from Traditional music, from chant and polyphony, in favor of what Sr. Sobala calls “People Music.” No – “people music” is for outside of Holy Mass. It is secular, aka “profane.” This doesn’t mean “profane” as in vlugar, but it comes from the Latin “profanum,” or “outside of the shrine.” Sacred music within, profane music without.)

Let’s celebrate the Spirit of Vatican II, and “restore all things in Christ.”

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