Sacrosanctum Concilium 123

There is no equivalent of Gregorian chant in the realm of art:

The Church has not adopted any particular style of art as her very own; she has admitted styles from every period according to the natural talents and circumstances of peoples, and the needs of the various rites. Thus, in the course of the centuries, she has brought into being a treasury of art which must be very carefully preserved. The art of our own days, coming from every race and region, shall also be given free scope in the Church, provided that it adorns the sacred buildings and holy rites with due reverence and honor; thereby it is enabled to contribute its own voice to that wonderful chorus of praise in honor of the Catholic faith sung by great (persons) in times gone by.

Nevertheless the development of sacred art from the various cultures of Europe and the world are all determined to be “treasures.” Even modern art is “given free scope,” provided it satisfies a basic positive contribution to architecture and liturgy.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Sacrosanctum Concilium. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sacrosanctum Concilium 123

  1. Gavin says:

    I’d say that the operative words are “due reverence and honor”. And of course, this paragraph doesn’t stand alone but in agreement with all the comments (and tradition) of Gregorian chant. I’ve often said that V2 was a liturgical improvement because of just that idea that new music (and art) should be composed and appreciated. However, that’s clearly not supposed to be to the abolition of all previous works. I’m just going to throw out there that if a Sunday Mass doesn’t have one piece of music written before the Council, something is being done terribly wrong. On the other hand, a parish doing exclusively music composed before 1960 has every right to, as unwise as it is, because they are preserving the musical treasury (hopefully!). The question again becomes, why not do Gregorian chant? And again, if not a capella chant then why not a newer version of it (Not just Durufle or something but even like Proulx’s “Today is born our savior” or I think there’s a Tom Conry piece that uses Parce Domine)?

    Merry Christmas to you!

  2. Todd: I’m sorry you’re ill.

    I’m in solidarity with you — right as 4 pm Mass approached, I grew more and more nauseous; I made it through Mass, but had to make an abrupt exist during the liturgy of the word, felt better after that, but was weak, so I had to make some necessary accommodations. I preached my homily, but didn’t sing as much as I’d planned, and sat down at every opportunity. I called someone forward to distribute holy communion for me, explaining briefly why.

    I already feel better–I have to, I have Midnight Mass.

    To your question: the only qualifier that I would offer, as perhaps analogous to the Gregorian chant, is representational art. I would base that on a long, steady tradition of that, rooted in the seventh ecumenical council.

  3. Dale Price says:


    Additional prayers and good wishes for your health. Strep went screaming (albeit hoarsely) through our house last week, so I can identify.

    As to the topic, I agree with Fr. Fox–what the Church precludes is iconoclasm, and I would argue by extension iconoclasm’s half-brother, minimalism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s