Aid to Christian restoration
CATHOLICS in all countries of the world should sing in their churches and the Liturgical chants and popular hymns should be taught in all Catholic schools during the entire course of study.
These are the instructions contained in a directive issued by the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities, issued in connection with the opening of the International Congress of Sacred Music in Vatican City.
"Perhaps never before has sacred music been as important for the Christian restoration of society as in our day," the statement says.
The directive was sent to Mgr. Igino Angles, president of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, who is also president of the congress. It was signed by Cardinal Pizzardo, Prefect of the Congregation.
About 600 delegates from all parts of the world have been attending the six-day congress, on whose programme there are lectures, organ recitals and concerts by the Sistine Choir under the direction of Mgr. Lorenza Perosi and the Lateran Choir.
Cardinal Tisserant, Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of the Oriental Church, and Cardinal Pizzardo, attended the opening, together with some 20 Archbishops and Bishops.
Mgr. lingo Angles, of Spain, presided, and Mgr. Perosi, who is also the leading Italian contemporary composer of sacred music, was among the speakers.
The opening session was concluded with a concert of polyphonic sacred classical music by the Lateran Pontifical Choir directed by Mgr. Lavinio The purpose of the congress is described as " the establishment of fraternal union among Catholic musicians. Differences of opinion regarding Sacred Music must become a source of study and emulation, not a cause of division," The Congregation's directive declares it desirable that, to stimulate singing in churches, each country have its own popular religious songs collected in hymnals, selected in accordance with sound liturgical criteria.
Where financial difficulties hinder the maintenance of scholae canforum, the Congregation recommends choirs of volunteers, and also urges the preserving of the Catholic tradition of boys' choirs.
Diocesan and inter-diocesan schools for musical training of the laity are declared desirable. All Catholics, Bishops and priests are held morally obliged to contribute toward the maintenance and development of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music as " the highest centre for musicians of the Church."
The directive also urges a careful study of the ramic of the.‘, Oecreal Church, saying that the Gregorian Chant has many elements of oriental origin.
The Congress was organised by the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in collaboration with the Central Committee for the Holy Year.