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Pope says music at Mass must be dignified

Pope John Paul has said that Gregorian chant and pipe organs always hit the mark, but new compositions and other instruments can be appropriate if they reflect the sacredness of the occasion and help people pray.

The Pope issued a document on Wednesday to mark the 100th anniversary of another document on the same theme written by Pope Pius X.

While many modern liturgical songs use styles and instruments "not lacking in dignity," Pope John Paul said, "one must ensure that the instruments are appropriate for sacred use, suited to the dignity of the temple, are able to support the faithful's singing and promote their edification."

Sacred music functions both as a way to pray and to praise God as well as a way to involve the entire congregation in the celebration of the Mass, he said.

Pope John Paul has asked the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments as well as bishops and priests around the world to be more vigilant in assuring an appropriate use of suitable liturgical music.

The document released on Wednesday was followed by another on Thursday by another for the 40th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatican II's document on sacred liturgy. Both documents are yet to be translated into English.

Pope says music at Mass must be dignified, help people pray (Catholic News Service 4/12/03)

Chirografo del Sommo Pontefice Giovanni Paolo II per il Centenario del motu proprio "tra Le Sollecitudini" sulla Musica Sacra
Lettera Apostolica del Sommo Pontefice Giovanni Paolo II nel XL Anniversario della Costituzione Sacrosanctum Concilium sulla Sacra Liturgia (Pope Piux X's Encyclical on Sacred Music 1903)
Liturgical Music's Point of Reference, According to John Paul II (Zenit 5/12/03)
Pope urges new thoughts on liturgy (Catholic World News 5/12/03)
John L Allen: Cardinal Francis George on Sacrosanctum concilium (National Catholic Reporter 5/12/03)
Perth seminar told liturgical renewal a "work in progress" (CathNews 5/12/03)
Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy - Second Vatican Council, Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI On December 4, 1963
Times were a-changing (Catholic Weekly 7/12/03)
Archbishop warns against liturgy nostalgia (CathNews 4/12/03)
The Fortieth Anniversary of the Liturgical Reform of Vatican II (David Orr OSB)
Some Highlights of the Liturgical Renewal Initiated by Sacrosanctum Concilium (Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments)
Liturgical music must be reverent, accentuate the sacred, Pope writes (Catholic World News 4/12/03)
Music must be appropriate for liturgical celebration (Vatican Information Service/EWTN 4/12/03)

8 Dec 2003