Musicam Sacram on Music Commissions (68-69)


Let’s talk commissions:

68. The diocesan Commissions for sacred music are of most valuable assistance in promoting sacred music together with pastoral liturgical action in the diocese.

Therefore they should exist as far as possible in each diocese, and should unite their efforts with those of the liturgical Commission.

It will often be commendable for the two Commissions to be combined into one, and consist of persons who are expert in both subjects. In this way progress will be easier.

It is highly recommended that, where it appears to be more effective, several dioceses of the same region should set up a single Commission, which will establish a common plan of action and gather together their forces more fruitfully.

This is classic Vatican II talk: teamwork. It continues as we hit the end of Musicam Sacram:

69. The Liturgical Commission, to be set up by the Episcopal Conference as judged opportune,[SC 44] should also be responsible for sacred music; it should therefore also consist of experts in this field. It is useful, however, for such a Commission to confer not only with the diocesan Commissions, but also with other societies which may be involved in musical matters in the same region. This also applies to the pastoral liturgical Institute mentioned in art. 44 of the Constitution.

And an official endorsement to cap off the document:

In the audience granted on 9 February, 1967 to His Eminence Arcadio M. Cardinal Larraona, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, His Holiness Pope Paul VI approved and confirmed the present Instruction by his authority, ordered it to be published and at the same time established that it should come into force on Pentecost Sunday 14 May, 1967.

Any last words?


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Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgical Music, Musicam Sacram, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Musicam Sacram on Music Commissions (68-69)

  1. Gavin says:

    The obvious question is to what does this document refer? The 1965 Mass? Tridentine and all modern indults? Novus Ordo? Novus Ordo prior to MCW? Or is it a general instruction to all of the Latin Rite?

  2. Todd says:

    Check back to MS 2 & 3. “Some problems” with music had arisen after December 1963, and this document was commissioned to address these. In that sense, it would be treating the common celebrations of Mass in the world at that time, the 1962 Missal with the inclusion of the 1964 norms from the first post-SC liturgy documents. The Tridentine Rite or indult, as such, did not lawfully exist at this time.

    “2. The recently begun reform of the liturgy is already putting the conciliar enactments into effect. The new norms relative to the faithful’s active participation and the structuring of the rites, however, have given rise to some problems about music and its ministerial function. In order to draw out more clearly the relevant principles of the Constitution on the Liturgy, it is necessary to solve these problems.”

    The Consilium concedes this document is not exhaustive. Indeed, it seems to be addressing particular situations that were arising in the 60’s.

    “3. … This does not, however, gather together all the legislation on sacred music; it only establishes the principal norms which seem to be more necessary for our own day. It is, as it were, a continuation and complement of the preceding Instruction of this Congregation of Rites prepared by this same Consilium on September 26, 1964, for the correct implementation of the Liturgy Constitution.”

    It would be in the category of documents of Liturgiam Authenticam, probably intended to work within the overall structure of liturgical law, especially in the interim period before the permanent reforms were promulgated.

    I know others debate this point, but it would seem to me that the guiding document is the GIRM. MS, where it may be in conflict, would seem to be abrogated, especially in that its framers intended that this document serve to respond to particular questions of the 60’s, and that by design and admission, is only a partial listing of musical laws/guidelines/suggestions.

    My sense is that this is a particular instruction, not a general one.

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