Sacrosanctum Concilium 120

In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up (the human) mind to God and to higher things.

Note that SC praises the pipe organ. I’ve not always been so lucky to have one in the parish. In one assignment, the priest did have an organ find from the church-building campaign, but when he saw he could get away without one, he shuttled the money elsewhere.

But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.

Other instruments, taken in an ensemble, can duplicate the properties of the organ. There are some significant advantages, communally and spiritually, in having an ensemble of instruments lead the singing. There are technical demands that must be met for a group to match the songleading skill of a good organist. But I’ve always found it to be worth the effort.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Sacrosanctum Concilium 120

  1. Gavin says:

    Ah, now you’re speaking my language!

    The question for us, looking back, is has the pipe organ been “held in high esteem” or not? I would say not.

    My church, built in 1903 or so, doesn’t even have room for a pipe organ. So that proves the general “progressive” point that V2 aimed to FIX things, not merely make random changes.

    I do have to ask WHY a parish of 1500 doesn’t have a pipe organ? $100 from each member (not all families can afford this, but some can afford more) would instantly cover a decent instrument. And of course, organs are never paid up front.

    Edification is a good word, although I’ll admit, a “conservatory” word. I’m not aiming to have a congregation of music snobs who only listen to Mozart, but I am looking to have music feed their soul well, hence Wachet Auf in Advent with violin. Actually, I think I once heard some baroque church music with classical guitar. If I knew anyone who could provide such, I would happy to have my choir provide the singing.

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