Annus Qui Hunc

On the upkeep and cleanliness of Churches

On the upkeep and cleanliness of Churches;

on the rationale of the Divine Offices and the Music of the Church, on the occasion of the upcoming Holy Year.



The year, which follows this current year, as Your Fraternity has known and learned, is a Jubilee. And because, with the War fought and completely ended, by the supreme mercy of God, peace has been brokered amongst Princes who had warred, it is possible to hope in the Lord that gatherings of foreign nations, even those located far, in this dear City will be great. Indeed, We earnestly be- seech God, and We desire that this be prayed even by others, that all who come together in this City, may obtain the spiritual fruits of the Holy Indulgences, and this that it may come to pass, for Our part, to which We shall diligently at- tend. We prefer as well that all Who come to Rome may not leave offended by our customs; but, rather, from these customs, which they would witness in this City and in other cities of Our dominion, through which it would be their for- tune to make their itinerary, returning to their countries, they may bring back motivations and examples of virtues. That which concerns Rome has already been supplied from Our part, and even so shall be supplied more abundantly in the future: for those, however, which pertain to the diocese which is righteously and prudently governed by You, it is necessary for Us to make use of Your pas- toral zeal and proven care: for if You will to conduct Your helping hand, as cer- tainly We trust, by no means do We doubt that We shall obtain that which is in Our promises, but over and above, so that the ecclesiastical discipline arranged from those which might have been prescribed by Us, may remain whole and steadfast not only for the entire Holy Year but for many more years afterwards. For that which You see happen during holy pastoral visitations touches this very matter; for when Clergy and laymen await the arrival of the ecclesiastical Pastor, both before and after the Bishop arrives, they zealously exert themselves that those that are crooked be straightened, those that are sick be healed, those that are wicked be banished, so much so that the fruit of these would be pre- served not only at the time of the visit, but for a long time afterwards.

  1. But,in order for Us to attain the proposed goal, that which We entrust to You in the first place, is this: that churches be in the best state, neat, clean, and furnished with sacred ornaments; for anyone easily understands that, if foreign- ers making their pilgrimage through this Our ecclesiastical Domain see the churches of the cities and dioceses ruined, disfigured by filth and squalor, lack- ing sacred vestments or possessing tattered and soiled ones, and of a condition and state that be worthy that they be forbidden; they will return to their coun- tries, certainly offended and rendered indignant by our customs. Here, however, We will it admonished that We speak not of the costliness and the magnifi- cence of holy churches, nor of rich or costly ornaments; for it is not hidden from Us that it is not possible to be attained everywhere; but We desire decency and cleanliness, to reject which is not lawful for anybody, for they can be well pleasing and built even in poverty. Amongst other evils, with which the Church of God is afflicted, even the Venerable Cardinal [Robert] Bellarmine sorrowed for this, saying: I fail to mention that elsewhere the sacred vessels and vestments, with which the Mysteries are celebrated, may be found vile and soiled, utterly un- worthy that they be used for the tremendous Mysteries. But by chance, those who use these are poor. This indeed can be done: but if they are not valuable, let them be at least neat and clean. 1 For this very reason, Our Predecessor of righteous memory, Benedict XIII, whose labours in favour of keeping and restoring eccle- siastical discipline, and of ensuring the splendour of churches, have been most known, used to cite as example the churches of the Capuchin Fathers, in which there is supreme poverty, and a commensurate cleanliness in everything will present itself to be marvelled at. [Jeremias] Drexel, in vol. 17 of his works, which were published in Munich, in the treatise that is entitled Gazophylacium Christi, part 2, ch. 2, p. 153, thus wrote: First and foremost, that which is needed in churches, it is cleanliness. Not only should those which are necessary be present amongst sacred ornaments, but also that they be cleanmost as much as possible. And it is justly cast against them, who keep well adorned and maintained houses, but leave churches in squalor and filthiness. There are even those who keep the most furnished and most adorned houses: in their churches and chapels, every- thing is squalid: Altars barely naked at the front are covered with frontals tattered and filthy: in all the rest, there is confusion and squalor. 2 The great Doctor of the Church, Jerome, in his letter to Demetrias not at all obscurely demonstrated himself too little bothered whether churches should be poor or rich. Others may build churches, array the walls with mosaics of marble, boost the massiveness of columns, and gild their capitals unconscious to precious ornament; they may dec- orate doors with ivory and silver, and gilded altars with gems; I do not lay blame, I do not forbid; let everyone abound in their own judgment; and it is better to do this than to brood upon hoarded treasures. 3 To ensure the cleanliness of church- es in the highest degree, he, however, openly declared when he buried Nepotian with supreme praises, for he was diligent and solicitous in keeping the neatness and cleanliness of churches and altars, as can be seen in the epitaph of the same Nepotian, which the Saint sent to Heliodorus. Said he: He was, therefore, solicitous whether the altar was neat, whether the walls were without soot, wheth- er the floors were swept, whether the doorkeeper was constantly at the door, that the drapes were always upon the doors, whether the sanctuary was clean, whether the vessels were glinting, and that pious care was disposed towards all ceremonies; whether small or great, he neglected no duty. 4 Indeed, sedulously and diligently it is to be heeded, lest it happen not without the greatest disgrace of ecclesiastical order, that which Cardinal Bellarmines narrates to have happened to himself. He said: When some time ago during a journey I lodged with a noble and very wealthy Bishop, I saw the chamber splendid with silver vessels, and the table laden with all kinds of excellent fares; the napkins likewise and all the rest neat and ex- haling a sweet odour. But the following day, when very early in the morning I had come down to the church adjoining the palace to say Mass, I found everything to the opposite, that is, vile, filthy, that I could barely dare in such place and with such ornaments to celebrate the Divine Mysteries.


  1. The second goal to which We encourage Your care and solicitude is inor- der for the canonical Hours to be sung or recited according to the custom and manner of each church, as is becoming and pleasing, by those who ought to do so; for nothing is more inimical or pernicious to ecclesiastical discipline than to contemptuously and negligently undertake the divine Psalmody in the churches of God. Certainly, the obligation, with which Canons and others of metropoli- tan, cathedral and collegiate churches are bound to daily sing the canonical Hours, is not at all unknown to You: to which obligation he, who, with no at- tention of the mind, negligently and carelessly fulfils the duty of ecclesiastic Psalmody, does not satisfy at any The Supreme Pontiff Innocent III, in the [Fourth] Lateran Council, with the report in the chapter Dolentes [which touch- es] On the celebration of the Mass, speaks of the same obligation in this manner: Strictly commanding in virtue of obedience, that they celebrate diligently and de- voutly as well, the nocturnal and, in like manner, the diurnal Divine Office, to as great an extent as God had given it to them. 6 In the gloss explaining the word dili- gently, these it adds: So much as unto the office of the mouth, that is, without omission. 7 And upon the word devoutly, it notes such: So much as unto the office of the heart. 8 Our Predecessor Clement V in the Council of Vienne, in his Consti- tution, which is found amongst the Clementine documents, and whose begin- ning is Gravi [ nimirum ], under the title On the celebration of Masses, speaks in the same manner: that in cathedral, regular, collegiate churches, the Divine Office ought to be sung in the appropriate hours. 9 And the Council of Trent, ch. 12, sess. 24 On Reformation, discussing about the obligations of secular Canons, says: Let all, indeed, be compelled to fulfil the Divine Offices by themselves, and not by substitutes, and to assist and minister to the Bishop who is celebrating, or the per- son having use of other pontificals; and to reverently, distinctly, and devoutly praise the Name of God with hymns and canticles in choir, established for the pur- poses of singing psalms. 10 And from here, it inevitably follows and is to be watched over diligently, that the chant is by no means hasty, or faster than what is appropriate, and that pauses be made in their places, and that the sec- ond half of the choir not begin the following versicle of the psalm before the first half of the choir might have finished the preceding versicle. And let the first half of the choir not begin the versicle of the psalm before the preceding halves of the psalm and the versicle are finished by the first half of the choir. 11 These are the words of the Council of Saumur in the year 1253. Finally, in order for chant to be accomplished by unison voices, and for the choir to be governed by experts in ecclesiastic chant (which is called plainchant or cantus firmus). Such chant is that upon which Our Predecessor Saint Gregory the Great very much endeav- oured for the ordering and shaping of the rules of the musical art, according to what John the Deacon gives as witness in the saint’s V i t a , bk. 2, ch. 7.12 But to add in this place more points, which pertain to the ecclesiastical teaching con- cerning the origin of ecclesiastic chant, the school of cantors and the precentor who presided it, would be difficult for Us; but having passed over those which seem less important, following the proposed goal, We return to that place from where We have somewhat digressed. This chant is that which stirs the souls of the faithful unto devotion and piety; and thereafter it is that which, if it be car- ried out rightly and decently in the churches of God, is more gladly heard by pious men; and to that other form of singing, which is called harmonised or polyphonic music, is manifested with merit. The Monks indeed learned this from secular Priests; and while this may be handled accurately and diligently by them, and used in sacred functions: it may be, on the other hand, neglected by some Clerics and carelessly carried out: this is the principal reason why the churches of the regulars, rather than those of the seculars, are more frequently attended by the Christian people; as Jacques Eveillon admonishes well in his treatise On the right reason of singing psalms, in ch. 9, art. 9, p. 99: The tickling of all polyphonic harmonisations by all means becomes dirty in saintly ears in the presence of this harmony of plainchant and simple psalmody, had it been proper. And it comes to that point that, having today abandoned the collegiate and parish churches, the faithful people so willingly and eagerly gather in the churches of monks, who, having piety as their aid in worshipping God, reverently, moderately, and, as the Prince of Psalmists once said, wisely sing psalms, and, with supreme reverence, serve their Lord, as Lord and God. Which indeed ought to be a disgrace to principal and major churches, wherefrom Monks learned every art and rule of chanting and singing psalms. 13 And, for that reason, the Holy Council of Trent, which passed over nothing of those which could contribute to the reformation of the Clergy, in ch. 18, sess. 23 On Reformation, where it discusses, concerning seminaries that are to be established, among others, with which it orders semi- nary students to be taught, now too reckons chant with these words: And that they may be more conveniently instructed in ecclesiastical discipline, they shall always at once wear the tonsure and the clerical dress; they shall learn the disci- pline of grammar, of chant, of the Easter calculation of the Church, and of the other liberal arts.


  1. The third goal, concerning which it is required of Us to admonish You, is that polyphonic music, which is now received by usage in churches, and which is usually accompanied by the harmony of the organ and of other instruments, thusly be established, in order for it to resound nothing profane, nothing mun- dane or theatrical. The whole Christian world indeed still does not accept the use of the organ and of other musical instruments; for, besides the Russians of theGreek Rite, who have neither organ nor other instruments of music in their churches, Father [Pierre] Lebrun bearing witness in vol. 2 of the Explication de la Messe, 215, Our Pontifical Choir, as is known to all, admits polyphonic— yet grave, seemly and devout—music, but it never admits the organ,15 which is even noticed by Father [Jean] Mabillon in his Musaeum Italicum, vol. 1, p. 47, § 17: On Trinity Sunday, we were present in the Pontifical Chapel, as they call it, etc. No usage of organ music in the Holy Mysteries of this wise is admitted, but vocal music alone, and this one being grave with plainchant. 16 [Jean] Grancolas reports in the Commentarius historicus in Breviarium Romanum, ch. 17, that, even until now, in French territories, prominent churches, which do not employ the organ and polyphonic or harmonised music in the Sacred Mysteries, are found: Never- theless, up to this day, there are great churches in France that disregard the use of the organ and of polyphonic music. 17 The distinguished Church of Lyon, which indeed has always been opposed to novelties, having followed until this day the example of the Pontifical Choir, is resolved never to employ the organ: It is cer- tain, therefore, from these that have been said that musical instruments were ac- cepted neither immediately from the outset nor in all places: For even now in Rome, in the Chapel of the Supreme Pontiff, the celebration of the Office is always done without instruments; and the Church of Lyon, which has no knowledge of novelties, has always repudiated the organ and has not accepted it even to this day. 18 These are the words of Cardinal [Giovanni] Bona in his treatise On divine psalmody, ch. 17, § 2, no. 5. The opinion, therefore, that they—who, from those climes where there is no usage of musical instruments, travel to Us and to Our cities, in whose churches they shall hear polyphonic music not different from those in theatres and other profane places are to receive from Us, anyone can attain by himself with easy conjecture. Even foreigners will come, there is bare- ly no doubt, from those regions in whose churches singing and musical instru- ments are used, as in like manner is usually done in some of Our places. But if these men be prudent and pious, they shall indeed sorrow over not finding, in the singing and in the sound of Our churches, that remedy that they hoped to be brought forth for curing the wrongdoing of their churches. And indeed, having neglected this controversy, in which some bicker amongst themselves, some of whom disapprove and criticise polyphonic music and the use of musical instru- ments in their churches; while some approve and praise them: there is certainly no one who would not desire some distinction between ecclesiastic chant and stageworthy crooning, and would not doom theatrical and profane songs to be not tolerated in churches.


  1. Wehave said that there are found those who do not at all approve chant harmonised with musical instruments for use in churches. The first of these, in some way, can be said to be the abbot Aelred, contemporary and disciple of Saint Bernard, who in bk. 2 of his work, which is entitled The mirror of charity, 23, vol. 2319 of the [ Maxima ] Bibliotheca [ Veterum ] Patrum, p. 118, thusly writes: Whence, types and figures having already ceased, whence in the Church do so many organs, so many cymbals originate? For what, I pray, is that terrible heaving of bellows, rather expressing the din of thunder than the sweetness of the voice? For what is that shortening and weakening of the voice? This one adds a lower voice to the singing, that one intensifies the singing, another adds a higher voice to the singing, another breaks up and cuts off some notes in halves. 20 We do not dare indeed to assert that the use of polyphonic singing with musical instru- ments had been present in no church in the time of Saint Thomas Aquinas; alt- hough by all means We affirm that those that have been known to and recog- nised by the Holy Doctor had by no means been present in churches; and, therefore, by no means does he seem to favour chant of this kind. For he deals in II, II, q. 91, art. 2 with that question whether chanting should be accepted in divine praises;21 he answers that these should be accepted;22 but when he set be- fore for himself in the fourth place that the Church does not make use of musical instruments, such as harps and psalteries, in the divine praises, lest she appear to judaise: 23 when in Psalm 32: Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings. 24 He responds: Such like musical in- struments inspire [the soul] more towards pleasure rather than interiorly dis- pose [it] towards piety; therefore, in the Old Testament, they had been em- ployed: for the people were much more coarse and carnal, so that they had to be roused by such like instruments as also by earthly promises: 25 He adds above all that instruments in the Old Testaments had been types and figures of other things, he says: And because such like material instruments represented some- thing else. 26 Of the Supreme Pontiff Marcellus II, it is transmitted in writing, that he deliberated with himself to abolish music in churches and to restore ec- clesiastic chant to plainchant, and it can be made to be understood to anyone from his Vita, which the recently-deceased beneficed Canon of Saint Peter’s Ba- silica, Pietro Polidori, a man not unreckoned amongst the lettered, wrote.27 In our time, We have seen Cardinal [Giuseppe Maria] Tommasi [di Lampedusa], a man distinguished with holiness of life and utmost learning in matters liturgi- cal, in his titular Church of [Saint Sylvester and] Saint Martin in the Hills, on the feast of the saint in whose honour the church was dedicated, willing not that polyphonic music be had at Mass and during the Office of Vespers; but or- dering so that plainchant be used by religious men in celebrating the Holy Mys- teries.


  1. We have said that there are others who approve the use of polyphonic music with instruments in the Divine Office. In the same century indeed, in which the abbot Aelred lived, John of Salisbury, Bishop of Chartres, also flour- ished, who, in bk. 1 of Policraticus, ch. 6, praises organ music or the harmony of voices and instruments: Therefore, the holy Fathers, when they were spreading reverence in churches, reckoned not only the singing of men but also the modes of instruments to be applied in the instruction of morals and in the elevation of souls with the exultation of virtue unto the worship of the Lord. 28 Saint Antoninus in his Summa [ Theologica ], part 3, tit. 8, ch. 4, § 12, does not reject polyphonic music in the Divine Office: Cantus firmus was indeed established in the Divine Office by holy Doctors, such as Gregory the Great, Ambrose, and others. But who invented descants in the Divine Office, I know not: it seems to be of service to the hankering of the ears and not to devotion; however, even a devout mind reaps fruit by listening to these. 29 And a little later, he admits not only the organ but also other musical instruments in the Divine Office: And that the pulsation of the or- gan and of other instruments for divine praise had the beginning of virtue from the prophet David. 30 Pope Marcellus II indeed had determined to remove polyphon- ic music and musical instruments from churches; but Giovanni Pierluigi da Pa- lestrina, choirmaster of the Vatican Basilica composed for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass polyphonic pieces with such excellent art, that they moved souls towards piety and devotion. And so, these having been heard by the Supreme Pontiff, who was present at Mass, his will having changed, he reneged from what he had proposed to himself, just as Andrea Adami transmit- ted from ancient monuments in his Osservazioni della Cappella Pontificia, in the Prefazio storico, p. 11.31 In the Council of Trent, the matter concerning the elim- ination of music from church was in view; but when it was made known by the [Holy Roman] Emperor Ferdinand [I] through his legates that polyphonic mu- sic or figured chant pertains to the incentive for devotion and piety for the souls of the faithful; the decree, which had already been prepared, was determined to be modified, as is read in sess. 22, in the decree On matters to be observed and avoided in the celebration of the Mass. 32 But in the same decree, only those kinds of music, in which, whether by the organ or in the singing, anything lascivious or impure is mixed, were banished from churches.33 These are related by Grancolas in his celebrated Commentarius, p. 56,34 and by Cardinal [Pietro Sforza] Pallavicino in the Istoria del Concilio di Trento, bk. 22, ch. 5, no. 14.35 Certainly, eccle- siastic writers of great name, follow this same declaration with a willing mind. The Venerable Cardinal Bellarmine, in vol. 4 of the Controversies, bk. 1 On good works in particular, at the end of ch. 17, teaches that the use of the organ is to be retained, but other musical instruments is not to be easily admitted: From which it results that as the organ is to be retained in churches in favour of the fee- ble, so other instruments is not to be easily introduced. 36 Cardinal [Tommaso di Vio] Gaetani insists on the same path in his Summa on the word organ, where such is had: Although the use of the organ in the Church is new, as a sign of which the Roman Church until now does not employ in the presence of the Pon- tiff, it is nevertheless lawful for the faithful imperfect as yet carnal. 37 The Venera- ble Cardinal [Caesar] Baronius thusly for Year 60 of Christ writes: Verily, that which after many centuries had been received by use, that organ instruments, fashioned from unequal pipes joined together, were used in the Church, anyone would by no means be able to reject it. 38 Cardinal Bona, On divine psalmody, ch. 17, discussing about the organ, which is pulsated in churches, says: Their mod- erate use should nevertheless not be condemned, etc. The harmony of the organ gladdens the gloomy minds of men and thrusts them unto the delight of the heav- enly city, urges the reluctant, refreshes the diligent, summons the just unto love, sinners unto repentance. 39 [Francisco] Suárez, in vol. 2 of his Opus de Religione, bk. 4 On the canonical Hours, ch. 8, no. 5, regards to be encompassed by the name organ not only the musical instrument that is usually called in the vernac- ular today as organ, but also other harmonic instruments (which had already been noted by Saint Isidore in bk. 2 of his Origins, ch. 20: Organ is the general name for all musical vessels 40); and so, he concludes that, the organ having been accepted in churches, other musical instruments as well should be admitted.41 And [Franz] de le Boë in vol. 3 of his works on II, II, q. 91, art. 2 of Saint Thom as, does not reject polyphonic music or figured chant from churches, saying: And so, great care of ecclesiastic chant—both the one that is called plain or Gregorian chant, which is properly ecclesiastic; and the one that was introduced afterwards in the Church, and is called figured or polyphonic chant—is to be observed. 42 And a little later: nevertheless, that which after many centuries had been received in use, as musical instruments were used in ecclesiastic Offices; in no way whatsoev- er should be rejected. 43 [Antoine] Bellotte, in his book Ritus Ecclesiae Laudunen- sis, p. 209, under no. 8, after he had amply and copiously spoken about musical instruments, which are sometimes employed in the Divine Office, and after he had demonstrated these by no means to have been useful in churches long ago, entertains no other cause for this old practice and contrary custom besides ne- cessity, by which at that time Christians were constrained, so that as far as can possibly be done, they might refrain from the profane rites of the Gentiles, which made use of musical instruments in theatres, in banquets, in sacrifices. Hence, it is not at all to be altered by the vice of musical instruments, for only in later years did the Church make use of singers of polyphony and of musical instru- ments, but because such like musical instruments had been customarily used by the Gentiles in repulsive and filthy practices, without doubt, in theatres, banquets, and sacrifices. 44 [Pietro Anello] Persico, in his treatise On the Divine and Ecclesi- astic Office, concerning dubium 5, no. 7, thus speaks about figured chant in churches: I say a second time, even though in polyphonic or figured chant many abuses can creep up, as happens in all other ecclesiastical ceremonies; and that, nevertheless, by itself, if done justly, religiously, and with decent moderation, it is lawful, and not forbidden by whatever law. 45 And concerning dubium 6, no. 3, he maintains that the universal use of the organ and of other instruments in the Di- vine Office is praiseworthy in its favour, and useful in raising the souls of the im- perfect towards the contemplation of God. 46 And indeed the use of polyphonic or figured chant and of musical instruments in Masses, during Vespers, and in other ecclesiastical functions has proceeded a long way thus far, that it had reached unto the realm of Paraguay. And so since those new faithful of the Americas possess the finest natural and innate disposition towards polyphonic singing and towards pulsating instruments of the organ, and easily learn by heart those that pertain to the musical art; thereafter, having seized the oppor- tunity, the missionaries, in accommodating the propensity of their souls, made use of pious and devout singing in leading them to the Christian faith; to such an extent that in the present, hardly any difference, neither as far as singing is concerned, nor as far as sound is concerned, comes between the Masses and Vespers of our realms and theirs, according to those which the abbot [Ludovico Antonio] Muratori reports from veracious accounts in his Description of the mis- sions of Paraguay, ch. 12.47


  1. Finally,We have said that there is no one who does not detest theatrical singing in churches, and who does not seek any distinction between the sacred chant of the Church and the profane singing of the Famous is the place of Saint Jerome48 related in the canon Cantantes of Distinction 92, Singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord. 49 Let young men hear these: let those whose duty in Church is singing psalms hear these. Singing to God is not by voice but by heart; and gullet and throat are not to be anointed with sweet remedy unto the custom of tragedians, that in the Church theatrical tones and canticles be heard. 50 Which authority, they, who exceedingly boldly wished that all kinds of singing be removed from churches, abused; but Saint Thomas, responding in the aforementioned place to these, which he sets before himself in the second place from the words of the holy Doctor then asserted: To the second, he says, it is to be said that Jerome does not absolutely condemn singing, but reproves those who sing theatrically in church. 51 Saint Nicetius, in the book On the good of p s a l m o d y , in ch. 3, in vol. 1 of the S p i c i l e g i u m [of Dom Luc d’Achery], describes the singing that is to be used in churches with these words: Likewise, sound or melody consistent with Holy Religion is to be sung; not that which proclaims trag- ic difficulties, but that which demonstrates true Christianity to you, not that which emits some theatrical odour, but which causes repentance of sinners. 52 Fa- thers gathered in the [Provincial] Council of Toledo in 1566, in sess. 3, ch. 11, in vol. 10 of [Jean] Hardouin’s C o n c i l i o r um C o ll e c t i o , after they have spoken about the quality of singing to be used in churches, conclude this way: Care should be taken as well lest the sound of this music, reproducing classical metres of love and war, imitate something theatrical in singing praises to God. 53 There is no shortage of many learned writers who acridly reprehend the patient toleration of stage- worthy sounds and singing in churches, and pray that abuses of this wise be banished from churches. Let [Giovanni Battista] Casali be read in De veteribus sacris christianorum ritibus, ch. [54];54 and Father Ludovico Antonio Muratori in his dissertation on matters liturgical, ch. 22, at the end (in vol. 1 of the Liturgia Romana Vetus ).55 And finally, that we may end Our discourse concerning this matter, that is, concerning the abuse of theatrical singing in churches, which by itself is for a long time manifest that there is no more need for words or proofs; it will suffice to indicate that all of them who were cited by Us above, as [authors] who favoured the use of figured chant or polyphonic music and musi- cal instrument in churches, undisguisedly acknowledge and demonstrate them- selves to have made with the same mind and counsel whatsoever they have written, that by no means these may be understood to be about the singing and sound proper to stage and theatre, which these and others in like manner con- demn and abhor; but about the singing and sound, which is becoming of churches, and which excites peoples unto devotion: something which anyone may learn because by a[n in-depth] reading of them.


  1. But this having been posited, that the use of polyphonic music or figured chant and musical instruments in ecclesiastical Offices be received, and only the abuse be reprobated; which [Joseph] Bingham, though an heterodox au- thor, also considers in vol. 6 of the Antiquities of the Christian Church, 14, § 16,56 it follows that it diligently be enquired, which of the two be the righteous and upright use, and which is the abuse. But that We may execute and correctly accomplish that which has been proposed, We would need of expertise in the musical art, in which some of Our holy and distinguished Predecessors have been gifted, Gregory the Great, Leo II and Leo IX, and Victor III. However, as neither time nor occasion to learn this art by heart is afforded Us, we shall be content solely with indicating some, which we have gathered from the constitu- tions of Our Predecessors, and writings of pious and learned men. But for Us to proceed in order, first we shall leave word about those which are to be sung in churches; then about the method and reason with which chant must be prac- ticed; and finally, about musical instruments proper to churches, with which chant must be sung in sacred
  2. Guillaume Durand, who lived when Nicholas III governed the Apostolic See, openly reproved the use of strains called motets in the vernacular, which wasin vogue during his time, in his treatise De modo generalis concilii celebran- di, 19: It appears very honourable that the undevout and disorderly singing of motets and the likes should not be done in the Church. 57 Afterwards, the Pontiff John XXII, Our Predecessor, promulgated his Decretal, which begins with Doc- ta sanctorum, and is found amongst the extravagantes communes; in it, he re- veals himself loathe towards the singing of motets in the vernacular tongue, saying: They trample [ecclesiastical canticles] sometimes with motets in the ver- nacular. 58 When therefore Theologians had undertaken the consideration of the singing of this wise of strains or motets in churches; from amongst their num- ber, [Pierre] La Palud in In quartum Sententiarum, distinction 15, q. 5, art. 2, considered the singing of motets as equivalent to stageworthy singing, upbraid- ing those who employ them, saying: those who sing motets on feasts, for chant ought not be like tragedy. 59 Suárez seems to favour motets in vol. 2 of De Reli- gione, bk. 4 on the canonical Hours, ch. 13, no. 16, even though they might have been written in the vernacular tongue, as long as they be grave and devout.60 But to promote what he affirms, he asserts the practice and use of some churches, which though governed by knowledgeable Prelates, motets or poly- phonic pieces are nevertheless not rejected in them. He adds, moreover, that, because from the first ages of the Church, one of the faithful sang in church pi- ous and devout hymns that he had composed, the use of motets in a certain manner is considered approved from this ancient custom as well. But stating this, which might be thrown [in argument] to him, beforehand—that ecclesias- tic psalmody is thought to be interrupted by polyphonic pieces of this wise, which are called motets—thusly he responds: And this interruption, or pause, which is then made between parts of another Hour, is not reprehensible, because morally it is as though it is continued in devotion, which is understood to be ex- cited by that piece: and that piece can be inserted as though a preparation for the ensuing parts, or a solemn and befitting conclusion of the preceding ones, and an ornament of the entire Hour. 61 In the year 1657, the Supreme Pontiff Alexander VII released the Constitution whose beginning is Piae sollicitudinis, also num- bered 36 among the other Constitutions of the same Pontiff. But in this, he commands that in the very duration within which the Divine Offices are cele- brated, and within which time the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is exposed in churches for the public veneration of the faithful, no other pieces or lyrics be sung, except those taken from the Roman Breviary or Missal; which is pre- scribed in proper or common offices, for the occurring feast of whichever day or the solemnity of a saint; or from Sacred Scripture or from the works of the holy Fathers; thusly nevertheless that beforehand they ought to be examined and approved first by the Sacred Congregation of Rites.62 It appears that from this pontifical Constitution, henceforth the singing of motets, which, employing the reason prescribed by the same Alexander Our Predecessor, were composed, and examined and approved by the Sacred Congregation, without doubt is con- sidered to have been approved. The Venerable Servant of God Innocent XI by his Decree of 3 December 1678 confirmed the Constitution of Alexander.63 An- other doubt nevertheless having arisen with regards to the understanding and interpretation of the Constitution of Alexander and the Decree of Innocent XI, Innocent XII of happy memory, Our Predecessor, on 20 August 1692 promul- gated another Decree,64 which is number 76 in his Bullary: while in it, having thoroughly dispelled the widespread darkness of various interpretations, ex- plaining and clarifying the entire matter, he forbad in detail the singing of whatever polyphony or motet; he allowed them only besides the chant of the Gloria and the Credo in the solemn celebrations of the Holy Mass, so that the Introit, Gradual, and Offertory may be thusly sung; but during Vespers, without the slightest change made as well, the Antiphons, which are sung at the begin- ning of whatever Psalm, and at its end. Moreover, he willed and commanded that musician cantors should entirely follow the law of the Choir, and absolute- ly agree with it, and as in what manner it is not lawful for the Choir to add any- thing to the Office or to the Mass, so he willed it not lawful as well to musi- cians; and insofar as he conceded this, that from the Office and the Mass, which is usually celebrated in the solemnity of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Body of the Lord, namely, from the hymns of Saint Thomas, or from the Anti- phons and other related pieces in the Roman Breviary and Missal, another strain or motet may be taken or sung, with no change in the words, to excite the devotion of the faithful, while the sacred Host is elevated, or publicly exposed for veneration and adoration.


  1. However,law having been placed upon ecclesiastical canticles or poly- phonic pieces or motets, it cannot be negated that this had been carried out with no small determination to remove theatrical singing from churches, but it is necessary to acknowledge that this does not suffice for achieving the pro- posed objective. For it can be done, and it is exceedingly also done not without Our sorrowing, that the singing of the Gloria, the Credo, the Introit, the Gradu- al, the Offertory, and all the rest, which are duly and by custom, as said above, usually sung at Mass and Vespers, be accomplished in the theatrical fashion and with stageworthy vocal style. The great bishop Willem [Damaszoon] van der Lindt in his Panoplia Evangelica, in bk. 4, ch. 78, does not oppose polyphonic singing in churches; but disapproves frequent repetitions and commingling of voices, and proposes that that music, which be consentaneous to the matters that are being sung, be employed in churches. Though it does not escape me that music with organ and musical instruments is rightfully considered by some wor- thy to be retained, for my part, I will most freely agree with them, if in the very place of this kind of music, which now occupies churches here and there, another be introduced that is both graver and more in harmony with these very matters, and if not, as it behoves, something closer to the pronunciation than to the sing- ing, at the very least more suitable and more in accordance with the matters that are being sung. 65 Drexel in his work Rhetorica coelestis, in bk. 1, ch. 5, oppor- tunely exclaims thusly concerning Our topic: I would say with your peace, O ye musicians, that in churches is now dominating a kind of singing that is new but deviating, abrupt, saltatory, and assuredly insufficiently religious, more in harmo- ny with the theatre and with balls, than with the church. We seek after artistry, and we lose the pristine zeal of prayer and chant. We take counsel in curiosity, but in reality we neglect piety. For what is this novelty and frivolous method of sing- ing, unless it is the harmony, in which cantors are become as actors, out of whom one now sings, then two, and then later all together sing, and speak together in tuned voices, and then again one triumphs alone with the rest to follow in a short while. 66 A recent writer, Benito Jerónimo Feijóo [y Montenegro], General Mas- ter of the Order of Saint Benedict in Spain, in his Teatro crítico universal, dis- course 14, buttressed by expertise and knowledge of musical notes, indicates the rationale with which the musical forms of churches can be restored to the same method and rationale, which in all things would be entirely dissimilar to the polyphonic singing of the theatres.67 It shall be sufficient for Us, however, having kept in mind the rules of the Sacred Councils and the declarations of ap- proved authorships, to produce this admonition, that if the polyphonic singing of theatres is thusly established, that, in a certain way reported to Us, the peo- ple watching and listening is entertained indeed by the harmonious singing of the cantors, rejoices in the artistry of the musical art and is delighted by numer- ous musicians, derives pleasure from the melody and sweetness of voices; but in general does not rightly understand the words: then, it must be considered as something different from and entirely contrary to ecclesiastic chant, in which care is first taken so that the words be perfectly and plainly understood. For when polyphonic singing be received in churches to raise the minds of men to God, as Saint Isidore teaches in bk. 1 of De Ecclesiasticis Officiis, ch. 5, the psal- ter, for that reason, with the melody of sweet strains, is frequented by the Church, with which souls more easily incline towards repentance. 68 It is certainly difficult to attain this if the words are not heard. In the Council of Cambrai in the year 1565, in tit. 6, ch. 4, vol. 10 of the Conciliorum Collectio of Hardouin, p. 582, thusly it is construed: Now those that ought to be sung in Choir for instruction, are sung by the voice that they may be understood by the mind. 69 And in the Council of Cologne, which was convoked in the year 1536, in ch. 12, under the title De Officiis privatis, such are read: And this is already done not rightly in some churches, that due to the blending of cantors and organ instruments, those which are important be omitted or mutilated. Those of this type are the recitation the words of the Prophets and of the Apostles, which we call the Epistle, the Credo, the Preface, the [Hymn of] thanksgiving, and the Lord’s Prayer. Wherefore let all these, as all the rest, be most distinctly and intelligibly sung. 70 In the Council of Milan, however, first convoked in the year 1565, in par. 2, no. 51, in the afore- said Conciliorum Collectio of Hardouin, p. 687, such are read: In the Divine Of- fices, or in churches in general, let neither profane canticles or sounds be em- ployed; nor weak flexions, voices more oppressed in the throat than expressed by the mouth, or, in short, any lascivious method of singing in sacred canticles. Let chant and sound be grave, pious, and distinct, and suited for the divine praises in the house of God, that simultaneously the words as well may be understood, and those listening are excited unto piety. 71 In this matter, concerning which we are discussing, grave is the sermon of the Fathers who convened in the Council of Toledo in the year 1566, in sess. 3, ch. 2, in aforementioned Conciliorum Colle ctio, p. 1164. They say: When those that are to be sung in churches for the celebra- tion of the praise of God, be in that way, by which the intelligence of the people, as much as possible, prevail to be instructed, and, by the religious moderation of pie- ty and devotion, the minds of pious hearers can be excited unto the adoration of Divine Majesty and unto heavenly desires; let Bishops be warned, lest while they admit in choir polyphonic techniques confused by division of all types of voices, the words of the psalms and of others that are usually sung be obscured, and sim- ultaneously, the sense be buried by disordered din. In this manner, finally, let them retain the so-called organ music, so that the words of those that are sung may be understood, and the souls of those listening may as well be influenced towards the divine praises more by the pronunciation than by the curious techniques. 72 From these, however, it is manifestly ascertained how meritoriously Bishop van der Lindt complained with these words, in the place cited before: For now, musicians both do not excite with their singing the souls of hearers unto the cultivation of piety and heavenly desires; and distract, disincline away, and estrange from these. For I know when sometime I attended [the celebration of] divine praises, when even though I most attentively listened, if by chance they were singing at all, I could not understand even a word: all of the syllables were thus muddled by repetitions, confused by voices, rather obscured by unpolished clamours and artless bellowing, rather than by the singing. 73 Thereafter, how pious has been the desire, and how prudent may be the exhortation, with which Drexel stirred musicians unto piety in the place equally cited before: Let a little, I pray, of the pristine religiosity in sa- cred music be restored to life. Because if there is divine honour in the heart and in the duty, do this, O ye men, labour for this, that the words that are sung may sim- ultaneously be understood as well. For what is for me the varied sound in church, what is the motley singing, if the core be wanting, if I be unable to understand the sense and the words, which are to be instilled in the singing? 74 And finally, it is demonstrated that Cardinal Domenico Capranica, when he attended some func- tion and the Divine Offices, which were celebrated with polyphonic music, nev- ertheless therefore that the words were not heard, asked by the Supreme Pontiff Nicholas V what seemed proper to him concerning those polyphonic pieces, not without reason responded with those that can be read in [the work of] [Giovanni Battista] Poggi, in the Vita 75 of the same Cardinal edited by [Étienne] Baluze, in bk. 3 of the Miscellanea, § 18, p. 289.76 The great Father Augustine, in bk. 9 of the Confessions, ch. 6, himself attests of himself, that when he would hear the sweet singing of hymns in church, he usually was poured out in tears: How I wept in Thy hymns and canticles, fiercely moved by the voices of Thy sweetly sounding Church. Those voices streamed into mine ears, and Thy truth flowed clearly in mine heart, and out of it was enkindled thenceforth the affection of devotion, and tears overflowed, and it was well unto me with these. 77 But when such great pleasure, which he experienced in hearing ecclesiastic hymns, had fallen in him as into scrupulousness, and therefore by some severity of habits and fear of the displeasure of God, that chant, with which that sensible delight was created in him, he would judge to be deserving of disapproval: afterwards, having better weighed the matter, he changed his declaration, that his mind was not moved by that singing alone, but by the words joined to the singing, as he himself manifestly declares in bk. 10 of the Confessions, ch. 33.78 Augustine therefore wept with most tender sense of devotion, when he heard in churches the sing- ing of sacred things, excellently hearing and understanding the words, which were being borne forth with the singing: He would perhaps weep even at this time, if he would hear the polyphonic singing of some churches, not with the sense of devotion, but of sorrow, for he would perceive the singing, but he would not understand the words.


  1. Thus far, concerning polyphonic music: It now follows that We should leave word about the sound of organ music and of other instruments, whose use, as We have said above, is admitted in some churches. And since indeed it is necessary to discuss this, for if in the slightest it is not becoming of singing to become theatrical, by all means of sound as well. Indeed, all doubt about this matter had long forsaken the Hebrews, whether singing in the Temple should of course be unlike the profane singing in theatres. For it is ascertained from Sa- cred Scriptures that singing and the sounds of musical instruments had been in use in the Temple, but not in theatres, as [Antoine Augustin] Calmet well draws attention to in his dissertation on the music of the Hebrews. 79 It is, however, needful for Us to prescribe the limits in the singing and sound of churches and theatres; and to define the distinction between the two, when at this time, fig- ured chant or polyphonic music with the sound of instruments obtains a place in theatres as well as in churches. And since We have sufficiently left word con- cerning singing, it remains for Us to accomplish the same for sound as well. In order, however, for the discourse to progress in its own order and path, it shall be divided by Us: first concerning musical instruments, whose use in churches can be tolerated; then concerning the sound of those instruments, which usual- ly accompanies the singing; and finally concerning sound separately from sing- ing, that is, concerning the harmony of instruments.


  1. And,indeed, that which concerns instruments, which can be permitted in churches, Benito Jerónimo Feijóo, in the aforementioned discourse 14, 11, no. 43, admits organ instruments and others, but wished that violins be removed: For when these are played by string, they produce truly harmonic sounds, but insofar as shrill, that they may excite in us puerile joy rather than grave venera- tion towards the sacred Mysteries and intention of souls.80 [Michel] Bauldry, in the Manuale sacrarum caeremoniarum, part 1, ch. 8, n. 14, wished that singing in churches should only be accompanied by the pneumatic organ, trumpets, and other wind or pneumatic instruments: And let no other musical instruments be pulsed with the organ, except trumpets, flutes or horns. 81 On the other hand, the Fathers of the First Provincial Council of Milan, under Saint Charles Borro- meo, under the title De musica et cantoribus, reject wind instruments by name from churches: Let place in church alone be reserved to the organ: let flutes, horns, and the rest of the musical instruments be excluded. 82 To expound the counsel of prudent men and illustrious masters of the musical arts has been committed to Our care; it is consentaneous with their declarations, that Your Fraternity, if in your churches the use of instruments has been introduced, permit no other mu- sical instrument with the organ, except the violone, the violoncello, the bas- soon, the violas, the violins: for these instruments serve to strengthen and sus- tain the voices of singers. But [Your Fraternity] shall forbid the timpani, the natural horns, the trumpets, the oboes, the flutes, the piccolos, the orchestral harps, the mandolins, and others of that sort, which produce theatrical music.


  1. But besides these, concerning the use of instruments, which can be per- mitted in ecclesiastic music, We shall produce no admonition, except that these should only be used to strengthen in a certain manner some force of the words to the chant, that their sense be more and more instilled in the minds of the lis- teners, and the minds of the faithful be moved unto the contemplation of spir- itual things, and be stirred towards God and the love of divine things, and [Gregorio de] Valencia appropriately decides in 3 [of his Commentaria The- ologica ] on the II, II [of the Summa Theologica of] Saint Thomas [Aquinas], disp. 6, q. 9, in the only point, where, discussing about the usefulness of music and musical instruments in churches, he says: To stir the interior affection not only of one’s self but also of others, especially of the multitudes, who sometimes thus far are feeble, that they may be roused unto the perception of spiritual things, not only by the singing of voices, but by organ and musical instruments as well. 83 But if the instruments continuously84 sound, and only sometimes, as nowadays is usually done, quiet down for a few moments, that they may offer a free space for the hearing of polyphonic modulations and pleated volleys of voices, com- monly known as trills; [and if] in other respects, they overpower and overwhelm the voice of the cantors and the sound of the words, [then] the use of such in- struments is in vain and useless, nay, forbidden and interdicted. The [Supreme] Pontiff John XXII, in the aforementioned extravagans communis, Docta sancto- rum, enumerates amongst the abuses of music that which he expresses in these words: They sunder the melodies with hockets 85 ; that is, with hiccups: as, for in- stance, Charles du Fresne[, sieur du Cange] explains in his Glossary 86: he gave this name to those short vocal modulations commonly called trills. 87 The great Bishop van der Lindt, in the place cited before, inveighs against the abuse of overpowering the words of the cantors with the sound of instruments: with the clangour of trumpets, the stridor of horns, and other varied din, lest it seem to be permitted to go by that the words of the canticle be obscured once for all, and the sense overwhelmed and covered. 88 The pious and learned Cardinal Bona in the treatise De Divina Psalmodia, many times cited before, ch. 17, § 1, no. 5, regard- ing Our topic, appropriately says: I [will only] cease, if first I will have attended to ecclesiastical cantors, lest they adopt unto the use of illicit voluptuousness that which the holy Fathers established for the purpose of piety. For such ought to be sound, so grave, so moderate, so as not to seize the whole mind unto its own de- light, but so as to allot 89 a greater portion to the sense of those that are being sung and to the affection of piety.


  1. Finally,as far as orchestras are concerned, they can be tolerated in places where their use is already established, as long as they be grave, and they do not, with their complexity and length, cause weariness and squeamishness upon those who assist in choir or serve at the altar during Vespers or Mass. Suárez tackles orchestras of this wise in bk. 4, ch. 13, no. 17: Wherefrom it is also un- derstood that the practice of inserting the sound of organs without any chant, alone with the sweetness of the music of instruments, in the Divine Offices, so that sometimes it be present in the solemn Mass, or in between psalms in the ca- nonical Hours, is not condemnable by itself; for then that sound is not part of the Office, and is made for the solemnity and reverence of that same Office, and to raise the minds of the faithful, that they may more easily rise unto and be disposed towards devotion. 91 But, even though, to this sound nothing may be sung with the voice, it behoves that this very sound should be grave and appropriate for encouragement of devotion. But in this place, it is not to be bypassed with si- lence that it is a grossly indecent, and by no means tolerable, affair that, in cer- tain days of the year, sumptuous and resounding orchestral productions and polyphonic singings are celebrated in sacred places, which events are not at all in harmony with the sacred Mysteries, which the Church proposes to be commemorated by the faithful throughout this very season. The oft-praised General Master of the Order of Saint Benedict in Spain in the aforecited discourse 14, § 9, moved by an ardent zeal, exclaims against airs and strains, alas!, exceedingly used in singing the Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremias, which are prescribed by the Church on the days of Greater Week, in which now the destruction of Je- rusalem by the Chaldeans, then the scourging of the world due to sin, later the affliction of the Church militant in the persecutions, and finally the sorrow of our Redeemer in his passions are lamented.92 The Church of Lucca, when Our Predecessor, Saint Pius V, was sitting upon the Apostolic Throne, was being governed by Alessandro [Guidiccioni il vecchio], a most zealous shepherd of ec- clesiastical discipline; who, when he had observed that the most exquisite sing- ing of all kinds of voices and instruments were customarily done in churches on the days of Greater Week, not at all in harmony with the sorrow of the sacred functions that are celebrated on those days; but that people of both sexes most desirously gather in great multitudes to hear them; and that thence grave sins and scandals are committed; having promulgated an edict, forbad them from being performed during Holy Week and on the three succeeding days of Easter. But when some who are exempt from the jurisdiction of the bishop pretended to regard themselves not at all encompassed by the episcopal law, the bishop deferred the case to the Supreme Pontiff Pius V, who, in his Brief given on 4 April 1571, having first decried the blindness of human minds and carnal men, who, not only on holy days, but rather on those days which were assigned espe- cially by the Church for the celebration of the memory of the passion of Christ the Lord, having neglected piety and the purity of a sincere mind, delivered themselves up to be governed and impelled by the allurements of worldly pleas- ures and the voluptuousness of the senses, said: For when it is to be avoided and shunned in all holy times, then [it is to be so] chiefly during that time, which was established and appointed by the same Church for the celebration of the memory of the Lord’s passion, during which same time it is supremely befitting for all Christians, turned with all the mind unto the contemplation of such and only such kindness of Our Redeemer, to present themselves devoid of and free from all impu- rity of heart and sense. 93 After these, he relates an abuse, which had crept into the Church of Lucca; of choosing exquisite and excellent musicians throughout Holy Week, and of gathering instruments of all kind for celebrating solemn mu- sical singing: Recently, not without great sorrow in our soul, We have learned that, in this City, whose Episcopate you bear, a certain very detestable abuse had crept over—that of employing most exquisite musical shows of voices and instru- ments of all kind in churches throughout Holy Week—with all the youth of both sexes most desirously gathering in great multitudes to these shows rather than to listen to the Divine Offices, it was confirmed by experience that grave sins and not minor scandals are committed. 94 Finally, he praises the edict of the Bishop and declares it adhering to the decrees of the Holy Council of Trent, that with this edict, even churches that affirm earnestly that they are exempt by ordinary au- thority, by apostolic privilege, or by some other right, are encompassed and bound.95 In the Council of Rome, which was recently held in the year 1725, tit. 15, no. 6, many decrees are read concerning the use of polyphonic singing and instruments during Advent, during Sundays of Lent, and during the exequies of the dead; let this mention of them be enough.


  1. We do not fail to remember that We have read that, when the Emperor Charlemagne had proposed with himself to restore the ecclesiastic chant, inele- gantly and unskilfully practiced in the churches of France, to the rules of the art, he requested from Pope Adrian I that expert men in ecclesiastic music be sent from Rome to himself, by which men Roman chant was easily introduced into the realm of France, as anyone can learn by himself from Paul the Deacon, in bk. 2 of the Vita 97 of Saint Gregory [the Great], ch. 9;98 and from Radulph99 [vander Beken, canon] of Tongeren in De canonum observantia, prop. 12;100 [and] from Saint Antoninus [of Florence] in the Summa Historialis, part 2, tit. 12, ch. 3.101 The monk of Angoulême,102 in the Vita of Charlemagne, ch. 8, adds that the cantors who came from Rome taught as well in France the art of pulsating or- gan music, which had become widespread while Pepin was reigning in the realm of France.103 Therefore, when it be solemn and according to rule, that this City of Rome ought to lead by example before and be a paragon to all other cit- ies with regards to the sacred rites and to all other ecclesiastical matters: more- over are added as well those which were related earlier by Us concerning Char- lemagne, who summoned forth ecclesiastic chant from the City of Rome, as though from his own habitations, into his realm; which indeed more fiercely urge and stir Us, so that all abuses, which have crept into ecclesiastic chant, and which have been disapproved by Us, be absolutely abolished in all church- es, as much as can possibly be done, but chiefly in all churches in the City of Rome. But in a certain way, We do not forget to command those that are neces- sary and opportune to Our Cardinal Vicar in Rome, thus, let Your Fraternity not forget to publish, if needed, edicts and laws which are consentaneous with these Our circular Letters, and, with these, to conveniently direct ecclesiastic chant to the rules prescribed and established in the same Letters, that finally an onset can be given to the reformation of the music of churches. For this very thing was supremely wished for and desired, now by many, a hundred years ago then by Giovanni Battista Doni, a Florentine patrician, in his treatise De praestantia musicae veteris, bk. 1, p. 49: And, now, for that reason, the matter is now rendered, that nobody can be found, who may restrict by a severe law a cer- tain effeminate and somewhat petty method of singing, which has already become prevalent in every direction; and not suppose that those pretended and prolonged and often disconnected melismata ought to be restored to a certain norm, or think that solemn days and sacred places are to have their celebration and assembly, un- less all things clashingly resound with the singing that is weak and oftentimes of meagre beauty, and with the great commingling of voices and instruments.


  1. We have said that, if needed, for it has been opportunely ascertained by Us, in the ecclesiastical States, there are some cities wherein the music of the churches behoves to be reformed, and that in others, however, the necessity does not exist at all. Indeed, We fear, and vehemently We fear, lest in some cit- ies, the churches and the holy altars be lacking in the appropriate cleanness and necessary neatness; lest in many cities, the choirs of cathedral and collegiate churches be stripped of plainchant well and excellently guided towards the rules of the art according to those which have been mentioned above by Us: into which cases, if it be necessary in the church of [Your Fraternity], it is appro- priate to direct every fibre of Your diligence and care; and would that in all the dioceses of Our entire States, priests would celebrate the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with that comeliness that is befitting to it; and, moreover, would ap- pear in public clad in clerical attire and with a comely appearance of the body, gait, modesty, and all other ecclesiastical dignity, concerning which matters We shall add nothing here, for We have copiously discussed these things in Our No- tification xiv, § 4 and 6, bk. 2 of the Italian edition,105 which is xxxiv in the Latin edition,106 and in Notification iv, vol. 4, similarly of the Italian edition,107 which is lxxi in the Latin edition,108 to which We redirect those who are zealous for ec- clesiastical discipline. Therefore, encouraging Your priestly zeal, We shall put an end to this writing, after We shall have intimated to You this one thing: that no other proof ought to be revealed to men [about the opinion] that churches are poorly and recklessly ruled and governed by bishops; than [the fact] that, if priests be observed, they, having wrongly employed or omitted ecclesiastical ceremonies, haphazardly and neglectfully roam about with unsightly attire or by no means proper to the priestly dignity. For these things register in the eyes of everyone, and are subjected to the judgment of residents and foreigners, and, most especially, offend them who come from those regions where priests are clad in befitting attire and Masses are celebrated with due devotion as well. Reckoning these with himself, and pondering these not without tears, thusly complained the pious and learned Cardinal Bellarmine. There is another thing also worthy of plentiful tears, that due to the carelessness and impiety of some priests, the most holy Mysteries are so unbefittingly celebrated, that those who cel- ebrate them may seem not to believe that the majesty of the Lord is [really] present. For thusly some celebrate the Mass, without spirit, without affection, without fear and trembling, with unbelievable haste, as though they could not see Christ the Lord with faith, or they could not believe that they themselves are seen by Him. 109 And after these, with some interjections, he proceeds in this way: I know that in the Church of God there are [still] many good and most devout priests present, who celebrate the divine Mysteries with a clean heart and with the neatmost orna- ments; for them, thanks ought to be given to God by everyone; but, at the same time also, the not so few, who attest with exterior turpitude and filthiness to the impurity and filthiness of their souls, are to be bewailed with fountains of tears. 110 And, meanwhile, We, embracing Your Fraternity within the bowels of Christ, to You and to the Flock committed to Your care, We very lovingly impart Our Ap- ostolic Blessing. Given in Rome at Saint Mary Major on the 19th day of February 1749, the ninth year of Our Pontificate.