About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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In the '60s, I thought this emphasis on congregational singing was to encourage good Catholic hymns like "Immaculate Mary" and so forth … but after the Council, they threw them out, too!
— Fr. Valentine Young, OFM (2007)

No Salvation From Decrees (2 of 3)
published 16 September 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski
“The 1967 instruction Musicam Sacram repeats the words of the constitution and again insists on the use of Gregorian chant, which should be given 'pride of place.’ It must be taught in seminaries and sung in parish churches, both in Masses celebrated in Latin and in the vernacular, since nothing prohibits that in the same celebration different parts be sung in different languages.” — Msgr. Richard J. Schuler   [source]

E HAVE EXAMINED and now understand, having read Part 1 of this series, that the following assertion is without validity:

“Vatican II never said Gregorian chant should have pride of place in the liturgy. This only applies to Masses celebrated in Latin.”

Therefore, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini was incorrect when he wrote the following remarks about the “treasury of sacred music” mentioned in Sacrosanctum Concilium §114 and subsequent relevant paragraphs like §116:

When, therefore, the Constitution allowed the introduction of the vernaculars, it necessarily anticipated that the preservation of this “treasure of sacred music” would be dependent solely on celebrations in Latin [ … ]
In this part of the text, the instruction intends to make it clear that just as there are two forms of celebration, one in Latin, the other in the vernacular, in accordance with the norms established by competent authority, so the use of the musical repertory that is connected with the Latin text is for celebrations in Latin, although it is possible to use some parts of it even in celebrations in the vernacular.
[Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1975, page 907]

By the way, I’m not going to address here the whole question of what we properly call “Gregorian chant” sung in the vernacular. Funny enough, neither did the Second Vatican Council. I realize some people are obsessed with what they consider the “correct terminology,” but I quickly get bored of such discussions. I once received a phone call wherein a priest screamed at me for 15 minutes because I used the term “Gregorian chant.” He yelled, “How dare you call it Gregorian chant? Are you saying that St. Gregory wrote all those melodies by himself? The only acceptable term is cantillation.”

Incidentally, you might be surprised how often Bugnini was flat out wrong about stuff. Take, for example, those short little paragraphs quoted above. As Susan Benofy has pointed out:

There is nothing in the Constitution on the Liturgy, however, to indicate that the Council Fathers envisioned anything like “two forms of celebration”. They did not envision an entirely vernacular liturgy.   [source]

Monsignor Schuler pointed another basic flaw in Bugnini’s paragraphs:

The instruction orders that the distinction between solemn, sung and read Masses, sanctioned by the instruction of 1958, is to be retained.   [source]

FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT, let’s pretend that Bugnini’s argument was correct, and Gregorian chant only has pride of place for Mass celebrated in Latin. What exactly does that mean? How does one define a “Mass in Latin”? When the Eucharistic Prayer is said in Latin? Or perhaps just the Mass parts? What about the General Intercessions? Do those have to be in Latin, too? How about the Kyrie Eleison? If the Kyrie is said in Greek, is it still a Latin Mass? What about the homily? What about the readings? Obviously, his argument is untenable.

More importantly, however, the Council ordered Latin to be retained in the liturgy and “did not envision an entirely vernacular liturgy” (c.f. quote by Benofy above). Sadly, like so many of the Council’s wishes, this order was ignored.

This article is part of a series:

Part 1   •   Part 2   •   Part 3