Gregorian Chant and Congregational Participation: The Possibilities and Conditions for a Revival | Monsignor Valentino Miserachs Grau, President of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music | From Musica Sacra—Sacred Music: A Liturgical and Pastoral Challenge
1. Admonitions by the Magisterium
That the assembly of the faithful, during the celebration of the sacred rites and especially during the Holy Mass, should participate by singing the parts of the Gregorian chant that belong to them is not only possible, as we will see in a moment—it is the ideal.
This is not my opinion but the thought of the Church. See in this regard the documentation from the Motu Proprio Tra Ie Sollecitudini  of Saint Pius X until our own time, passing through Pius XII (Musicae sacrae disciplina), chapter 6 of the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Liturgy, the subsequent Instruction issued by the Congregation for Rites in 1967, and the recent Chirograph of John Paul II commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Motu Proprio of Saint Pius X. Another example is what was said by the recent Synod of Bishops [October 2005] in its conclusions (no. 36) about the use of Latin in liturgical celebrations:
In celebrating the Eucharist during international meetings ... it is proposed:
—that the [con]celebration of the Mass be in Latin ... and, where appropriate, Gregorian chants be sung;
—that priests, beginning in the seminary, be trained to understand and celebrate Mass in Latin, as well as to use Latin prayers and to appreciate Gregorian chant;
—that the possibility of educating the faithful in this way not be overlooked [emphasis added].
The Synod, in exhorting them "not [to] neglect opportunities", looks forward to the day when this will be carried out. What it says about the formation of priests in this regard will likewise be very useful.
2. The Formation of Priests
The motivation for this hope is widely demonstrable, if not self-evident. Indeed, it is incomprehensible that Latin and Gregorian chant have been banned almost absolutely over the past forty years, especially in the Latin countries. Incomprehensible and avoidable. Latin and Gregorian chant, which are closely united to the biblical, patristic and liturgical sources, are part of that lex orandi [law of praying] that has been forged over a span of almost twenty centuries. Why should such an amputation take place, and so lightheartedly? We should have tried to haec facere et illa non omittere [do these (new) things without omitting those (traditional ones)]. It would be like cutting off roots—now that there is so much talk about roots. Shelving all at once a tradition of prayer that developed over two millennia has produced favorable conditions for a heterogeneous and anarchic proliferation of new musical products that, in most cases, have been unwilling or unable to take root in the essential tradition of the Church, causing not only a general impoverishment but also damage that would be difficult to repair, assuming that someone wants to apply an effective remedy.
3. Give Back to the Congregation the Gregorian Chant that Belongs to It
Congregational Gregorian chant not only can but must be restored, along with the chanting of the schola and the celebrants, if we desire a return to the liturgical seriousness, holiness, sound form and universality that should characterize all liturgical music worthy of the name, as Saint Pius X teaches and John Paul II reiterates, without changing so much as a comma. How could a bunch of silly tunes, cranked out in imitation of the most trivial popular music, ever replace the nobility and sturdiness of the Gregorian melodies, even the simplest ones, which are capable of lifting the hearts of the people up to heaven?