Sacred music is an essential element of the Liturgy – electric guitar and drums are “never appropriate” during Mass, says Archbishop Sample of Portland.

Archbishop Alexander King Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon penned a pastoral letter, aiming to teach about the “art of celebrating” Mass and sacred music’s role therein.

“We should always aim high to offer God the best and the most beautiful music of which we are capable.”

Archbishop Sample says sacred music has a dual purpose role in divine worship: “the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful,” and has three qualities: “sanctity, beauty and universality.”

“Sacred music is an essential element of worship itself. It is an art form which takes its life and purpose from the Sacred Liturgy and is part of its very structure.”

Gregorian chant should enjoy a “place of pride” within the Liturgy that will require “great effort and serious catechesis” to make it a prominent part of Mass. He wrote on the importance of the pipe organ, as it is “most in harmony with the spirit of the Roman liturgy.”

Sample said instruments like the electric guitar are “not suitable for accompaniment at Holy Mass,” and drum sets are “never appropriate.”

Sample hopes his letter will help Catholics with

“an authentic renewal of the Sacred Liturgy according to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the mind of the Church.”

You can read the full letter from Archbishop Sample here.

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  1. Psalm 149 talks about the joyful praise of the people of God!

    … Let them praise his name with dancing
    and make music with timbrel and harp….

    To some cultures the Drum is their Harp
    The timbrel their tambourine
    Dancing like King David to show their praise in the assembly. A joyful praise of the people of God.

    For the Lord takes delight in his people


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