The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council [wrote]:
The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, in setting out the norms for the celebration of Holy Mass reiterates this last point of the Council:
The main place should be given, all things being equal, to Gregorian chant, as being proper to the Roman liturgy.
One of the great Popes of our time, St. John Paul II, made the teaching of Pope St. Pius X his own:
With regard to compositions of liturgical music, I make my own the “general rule” that St Pius X formulated in these words: ‘The more closely a composition for the Church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian melodic form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.’ It is not, of course, a question of imitating Gregorian chant but rather of ensuring that new compositions are imbued with the same spirit that inspired and little by little came to shape it.
[…] The U.S. Bishops’ document on sacred music, Sing to the Lord, also reminded the Church in the United States of the importance and pride of place enjoyed by Gregorian chant. Some practical suggestions are given in that document for the implementation of this principle.
Given all of this strong teaching from the Popes, the Second Vatican Council, and the U.S. Bishops, how is it that this ideal concerning Gregorian chant has not been realized in the Church? Far from enjoying a pride of place in the Church’s Sacred Liturgy, one rarely if ever hears Gregorian chant.
This is a situation which must be rectified. It will require great effort and serious catechesis for the clergy and faithful, but Gregorian chant must be introduced more widely as a normal part of the Mass.