Revised Liturgy of the Hours News

Monica on June 22nd, 2018 | 42 comments

Dear Community,

In text below, which belongs to Adoremus.org website you will find useful information on the progress that has been made concerning the next round of translations for the next English-language edition of the Liturgy of the Hours: “Liturgy of the Hours: Proper of Time.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Fort Lauderdale, FL, June 13-14. Among their agenda items were two liturgical entries: first on texts relative to liturgical celebrations for St. Mary Magdalene, St. John XXIII, and St. John Paul II, and, second, on the next round of translations for the next English-language edition of the Liturgy of the Hours. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, presented the items to the body of bishops on June 13. A transcript of the presentation and discussion about the Liturgy of the Hours, minimally edited for clarity, follows. The entire discussion can be viewed on-demand at the USCCB website, www.usccb.org.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory: Dear brothers, you have before you an action item from the Committee on Divine Worship, the “Liturgy of the Hours: Proper of Time.” As you know, in 2012 we approved a scope of work that outlined a plan for producing a new edition of the Breviary. That plan is starting to come to fruition. We’ve already approved components of that book, namely, new translations of the Psalter and the Canticles that are at the heart of the Liturgy of the Hours. Meanwhile, ICEL [International Commission on English in the Liturgy] has been busy working on new translations of the non-scriptural parts of the Breviary, and we have the chance to review and comment on the early drafts of this material. ICEL has now finalized several groups of texts for a new edition of the Breviary, and the Committee on Divine Worship is bringing them forward for the vote of the full body of bishops.

Your documentation contains translations of most of the Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons and the intercessions for the seasons of the liturgical year. Future votes will focus on other material, such as the hymns, the Proper of Saints, and the Commons. We anticipate that all the voting might be completed by 2020 at the earliest. The bishops of the Committee on Divine Worship feel that the translations are more precise than the texts we are currently using, and also that ICEL has done a very fine job of making them conducive to recitation and chanting. The action item is amendable and approval of this text requires an affirmative vote by two-thirds of the members of the Latin Church members of the USCCB and subsequent confirmatio of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Archbishop Gregory then took questions about the action item from the floor.

Bishop Donald Trautman (retired Bishop of Erie, PA): I do not rise to question any of the translations, but I was wondering if the committee will take up a more basic question, the present format of the Breviary. I contend that the present format of our Breviary is intended for monks, for monasteries, and that parish priests are unable to carry out this format. Parish priests need a prayer book, but the present texts do not help them in their spiritual life. We should have a rewriting, I think, of the book of readings. So, I’m asking a more basic question: will the committee take up the present format of the breviary and give parish priests a Breviary they can use?

Archbishop Gregory: Your Excellency, I think this touches on one of the [main] issues, namely, that the Holy See asks us to issue books that conform to the Latin editio typica. It’s certainly possible that, after we have approved the official texts, we or another agency could put together, based on the approved texts, a more parish priest friendly edition [of the Breviary]. But I think right now we’re obliged to translate and put things in the order that the Roman editio typica has laid out. We can modify, and sometimes that has happened, those texts once they are officially recognized.

Bishop Robert Baker (Bishop of Birmingham, AL): Just following Bishop Trautman’s comments, I think there is a validity to what he asks. My question would be on the hymns. I know you’re going to revise those, and I just wonder if there is possible input on that ahead of time. In other words, what are we going to put in place of those [present] hymns? I think that might be problematic for diocesan priests.

Archbishop Gregory: Bishop, we will be sending in a future transmission the hymnody that has been laid out. We are also working on an appendix of hymns that might be available at the back of the Breviary. But we committed ourselves to using the hymns that are in the Latin texts [i.e., in the Latin typical edition], but we are also looking at additional hymns that we could use as part of an appendix.

The Latin Church members of the USCCB would vote the next day 175-6-2 in favor of the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Liturgy of the Hours: Proper of Time for use in the dioceses of the United States.[1]

[1] Source: Adoremus.org

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission by Surgeworks, Inc for the Divine Office Catholic Ministry. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2019 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

42 thoughts on “Revised Liturgy of the Hours News

  1. To Whom It May Concern:
    I’ve been using Liturgy of the Hours for years now and I was surprised that I couldn’t download the audio for the prayers.
    Was there a new requirement for getting the audio prayers that I’m not aware of?
    Kindly send me instructions to properly download the prayers
    Thank you so much,
    Steven

  2. I am a lay person who has used this DO website for many years and find it invaluable for my prayers, although I do not log on every day, as I have the Christian Prayer and the 4 Volume in use. Thank you for your hard work.

    Please include my son Rob in your prayers. He will have a kidney transplant hopefully within the next 3 months and was recently hospitalized with peritonitis. We need all prayers for him. Thank you.

  3. Praise and thank God, I am delighted Sue, Not one bit surprised but delighted. God is great and ‘with such a great of witnesses praying and working on every side’. Peace and blessings Sr, Valerie

  4. I have to tell you all who have been praying for my son that God has performed a miracle. When he was in the hospital because of his accident, they prescribed Halydol for him. He had a very serious allergic reaction to that a few days after he had been released. Thank God I was with him and took him to an emergency care facility. He was taken from there by ambulance to an excellent hospital. Since he’s been home again, he’s such a changed person. He is so rational and has his wonderful sense of humor back, and he’s not drinking, nor does he wish to for the first time in years. He seems to be at peace with that. I still need to pray that he will turn back to God. But when I say there has been a miracle, I really mean that. God has come through here in a very strong way. I had almost given up all hope for my son. Please thank God with me and praise him for all he has done and continues to do. Thank you all.

  5. PS Excuse the interruption I pressed the wrong button. Perhaps Monica and the team would consider doing likewise.
    or is this a step too far

  6. I have faith-filled hope and deep yearning that any revisions, adaptations, or changes in the Divine Office will more appropriately include the laity, and will erase the elite clericism that is most often, but not exclusively, found in places such as the “Intercessions.” The over-decade old USCCB’s statement that the laity are “co-workers in the vineyard of the Lord” seems to have escaped a substantial part of the Office. It reads, “Praying the Liturgy of the Hours is another means to unite the lay ecclesial minister with the universal Church.” So much is stated in the current version of the Office as though leadership ONLY comes through the magisterium or priest and deacon delegates. This flies in the face of a report by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (a national organization of priests in active ministry), sent to the USCCB outlining how it could update the Program of Priestly Formation by encouraging collaborative pastoring. Does that show up in the “Intercessions” of the Office? Not the one I pray!
    One only needs to look around to see the incompleteness of the presumption of an elite magisterial leadership, albeit lovingly authoritarian. As a former lay Roman Catholic missionary, I can attest to the profound leadership exercised by the laity in places where we singularly keep the Church vibrant and alive. I say these things in all humility, and with deep respect for the role of the bishops, priests and deacons—but the silence in the Divine Office of the leadership of a diverse laity for the Church is a grave omission.

    The Divine Office’s origins, in early Christian communities coming together (read: laity) to pray certain hours, was a continuation of the Jewish practice from which we were birthed. Today, the Divine Office and the Mass (Eucharistic Celebration) constitute THE official public prayer life of the ENTIRE Church—not just for the ordained and the religiously professed.

    I pray that changes reflect a greater sensitivity to diversity, especially to gender. For example, so often, words like “people” could equally substitute for “man.” An example: “Help us to begin this day joyfully in your name and to spend it in loving service of you and our fellow man.” And at times, the teachings in the Office are written in a way that could appear as error, especially when it comes to women. Take for example, the Feast of St. Peter. In the current Office, the apostles are regaled as the ones that Jesus chose to first reveal Himself after the Resurrection. But scripture tells us, e.g., in Luke’s Gospel, women identified as Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James were the first whom Jesus elected to meet (Luke 24:10).

    Contemporary, inclusive, life-giving changes could be made, if the will was there to make them. A cursory glimpse at the history of the Office illustrates this. Pope Pius V promulgated a version (1568), stating that the Divine Office was unalterable: “Should anyone…presume to [alter it], he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.” Apparently this admonition was impotent since Pope Clement VIII made “obligatory” changes in 1602. Other changes were made by Urban VIII; Pius X (1913); and Paul VI—to name only a few!

    Current changes should reflect current regional realities. And, here in the US, the reality is that, as one priest recently wrote in the NY Times, “A New Foundation is Needed for the Church.” Let the magisterium not forget: the laity—whose diversity is ignored or discredited in so many ways—is BY FAR the largest segment of the Faithful. Half a century ago, the Second Vatican Council, in “The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity” recognized that baptized laity is a “constitutive dimension of the Body of Christ” with special responsibilities. The Divine Office scarcely acknowledges this. Will the new text?

    Let’s acknowledge the stark truth: the laity are a primary hope for the future Church. A Pew survey found that, as of 2015, while 32% of Americans were raised Catholic, just 21% remained so. That drop off is more than twice the rate at which Americans left Protestantism; Church church attendance fell sharply; fewer young people consider themselves Catholic. Research shows that the median age for U.S. Catholics is growing; it is now 49, compared to 40 for members of other religions and 36 for America as a whole.

    With fewer ordained priests; fewer seminarians (even the Vatican recognized this. In June 2018 in Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae, it reported a “crisis in vocations”); massive retirements predicted [most priests will retire between 2015-2015]; and fewer professed religious, one would hope that the “leadership” that is so frequently self-congratulating in the Divine Office would read the writing on the wall and work WITH the laity to transform the instruments that build faith communities. If not, the future well could be far fewer parishes; nor consolidations; and the ordained on the endangered species list. Who will step into the empty spaces and places?

    Perhaps the Holy Spirit has plans in the making! Seemingly in the face of intractable resistance, in many places the laity ARE claiming the Church and instilling new life into it. For example, At the November 2017, International Benedictine Oblate Congress in Rome, it was pointed out that Benedictine lay associates (Oblates) number 25,000 worldwide, compared to 21,000 Benedictine monks and nuns. There are now more lay Benedictines than professed members of the order, following the Rule, engaging in Lectio Divina, hospitality, works of peace and mercy, and yes, praying the Divine Office.
    In his opening remarks at the Rome congress, Abbot Primate Gregory Polan said it is time to “give wings” to the lay community. In her keynote address, Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister was even more emphatic about the unfolding role of these lay members, saying, “You are not meant to simply be consumers of the Benedictine tradition. You are meant to be carriers of the tradition….You are the future of the order.”

    Perhaps the bishops of the USCCB will look long and hard at the language—what is said, and what is not said—in the Liturgy of the Hours: Proper of Time, for use in dioceses I the United States. The diverse laity, and the leadership it is bringing, are the future of the Church.

    • Wow Bob! A lot to be said at 3 in the morning! A lot of interesting thoughts. Thanks. Much to pray about and pray for. It seems to me there should be a wider forum for these ideas. I like them. Deacon Jim

      • Thank you Deacon Jim! At 3 am my thoughts were less lucid and my proof-reading less sharp than had I waited until after 4 am praying of the Office of Readings or later, Lauds….but it is what it is.

        Corrections I wish I could make include: (1) [most priests will retire between 2015-2025], and (2) , the future well could be far fewer parishes; more consolidations; and the ordained on the “endangered species list.”

        But I’d imagine the general ideas were understood in the loving spirit in which they were written.

        I formerly lived in the Atlanta Archdiocese, and feel that Bishop Wilton Gregory, tasked with leadership on this issue, would build Christ-like inclusivity into the process, if possible. He is a man of deep holiness, profound love of the his flock, and epitomizes the word, “pastoral.” I was deeply saddened to move away, and to leave “a light burning on the hill” for all to see, kindled by Bishop Gregory. He and all those working on the liturgical prayer of the church are in my prayers daily.

        + In all things, may God the Creator, Jesus the Redeemer, and the Spirit who Sanctifies us be praised +

        Bob

    • Bob Hill, your missive has been eagerly received by my ears. It’s clarity and lucidity of thought is profound in many ways. Thank you for taking the time to write on this timely topic which has often been ignored by the Magisterium.

      I would like to add one item to your wonderful meditation. At 74, I have long been a volunteer at any church to which I regularly attended. Time and again I have witness the lack of male volunteers. Bake sales, church dinners, CCD, fund raisers, special projects, works of mercy, linen care, and the list goes on, have all been undertaken by the hard work of women, many of whom are quite old.

      I ask the question, “Who is going to step in to perform these invaluable services in the future?”

      I would like to see Pastors address this imbalance that goes on in the Church. I note that when it comes to Parish Council membership, the situation is just the opposite. Apparently men like to lead and let the women do the work. We know there is far more glory in being on the Council than there is to having one’s hands in dirty dish water.

      Your letter was eloquent and well thought out. The Church is slow in changing, as we know from the abuse scandal. It still has not learned the lessons necessary to become what Christ intended.

      The Laity, as you have written, is the future of the Church. My prayer is that ALL of us put our shoulder to the wheel in honoring Christ through our individual contributions.

      Mary

    • I read your whole post re: The Proper of Time. I love the Liturgy of the Hours just the way they are. I don’t understand why the priests are having difficulty praying it. I understand they have various responsibilities, but then again, so do the Laity. As for the language in the Intercessions, I keep in mind that only the priests prayed the LOH at one time, so naturally, the texts make references to this. To be perfectly honest, I think the Bishops are wasting a lot of time and money on this, when they should be focusing on how to purify the Church, which has been plagued with scandals of abuse. Many Catholics have left the Church because of it, and we must get them to come back.to our Church.

  7. Thank you so much, Sister Valerie, and all of you who have been praying. He has so many mental issues, and it’s an ongoing thing. He’s in another hospital now. He’s so confused, and confusion is of the devil. That confusion creates such waste out of such good, and I’m so tired of watching that happen to his life. Please pray that I will have wisdom to know what to do for him because I really don’t know what to do.

    • Sue ~
      Rest assured of my prayers for your dear son.May Our Lord give you the strength necessary to endure this troublesome time. Call on your guardian angel as well as your son’s angel
      for help.

  8. As a lay person, I have never known much about the history of the LOH. I realize that there were several small Divine Offices – of the BVM, etc that I guess were popular with some laity ages past. I first became a user of the divine office during the interim version that was only one book and I believe it was called the Prayer of Christians (not to the confused with the current one volume – Christian Prayer).

    Thank the previous poster who gave link for older versions of the office. I went through a 1st hour and noticed that it was longer. I looked over the 2nd hour (MP) and noticed it was also longer.

    I have been able to pray the LOH much more faithfully with the help of this DIVINE OFFICE MINISTRY. It has all the work done — I understand how to pray with the 4 volumes but why would anyone use those anymore with this ministry available. No ribbons needed with this ministry. Buy a tablet or whatever. I pray it either on desktop, tablet or smartphone.

    We are a small Christian Community and have prayed Inv, MP and EP for over 10 years. Most recently we have added Night Prayer since we no longer add our own form of NP to the EP.

    I’m a bit disappointed to hear that the ICEL is making revisions to the 4 volume. I personally had a hard time with the changes in the Mass of 3-4 years ago. Mainly because we all knew that the Mass of Paul VI wasn’t a good translation of the latin. It was obvious in the Confidetor. I was upset because it took the church over 40 years to admit it was a bad translation and I feel that it was translated poorly because they made the English version say what they wanted it to say – to heck with faithfulness to the Latin.

    Oh, well, I’m extremely thankful to the Divine Office Ministry which has helped me tremendously so that I have been able to make the Divine Office Inv, MP, EP and NP a daily part of my prayer life.

    • Messiha Brothers :- when you mentioned OLH did you mean Our Lady of Hope. ? I began that few years ago as a tribute to Mother Mary for the Souls in Purgatory. Encouraging people to recite the Rosary faithfully daily. I pray it daily from Lourdes in France I enjoy reciting it in French, MESSIHA BROTHER what name are you called that we can continue to speak and pray for each other. Bless your Community Fr. Gill

    • I use the 4 volumn, the internet , and the app and I need all three. I feel I am able to concentrate better when holding the book and reading. It takes more disapline for me to stay focused when someone else is reading and I am home with distractions. When I have to travel the phone app is a treasrue. It is combersome to take all four voulmns and it seems I’m always gone over the change of volumns, This last trip has been to help my brother. I have been gone 6 mos and only brought 2 volumns with me so I am once again relying on the internet or my phone. We are blessed to have such availablity.

  9. I have not been able to open the Invitatory. I can only start with the Office of Reading and the Morning pryer. Have something changed or is there a problem with the podcast.

    Peace be with you
    Marguerite

  10. I would invest significant money in books that were truly user-friendly. I know that would require a LOT of duplication, but I honestly would prefer a 12-volume set where every day I could just open the volume containing that day and see every word, in order, from the first word of the invitatory to the last word of compline.. Imagine having LOTH books that only needed one ribbon! I suppose I would be ok if the hymns were in a different book…

  11. I am an old Deacon and have been using this present breviary for over 25 years. Has any of these bishops ask the priests and deacons what they think? I suggest that they ask others, not just their “yes-men” Priests and Deacons Sounds like a make work ;project to me.
    Deacon Mike
    Diocese of Phoenix

  12. In reading the excerpts from the Bishop’s Conference, the question on the Breviary that the priests use, is more suitable for monks in monasteries, rather than for diocesan or parish priests, had me wondering a little. The present form of the Breviary has been in use for centuries, hasn’t it? Then why are the Bishops taking issue with it now?

    • If I recall history correctly, the current form of the Liturgy of the hours has been in use since after Vatican II council. The Divine office is a work which has evolved over time. The form we now use is simplified from what was prayed in the middle ages. Catholic worship is it seems always a work in progress, always changing and evolving. May it always bring us closer to our great God. Blessings, Deacon Justin.

    • June,

      I dont want to undermine Monica and this website as she and it are faithful as possible to the Litugy as currently structured, however the Divine Office (DO), like much of the intent and results of Vat 2, radically changed the DO and many think for the worse. In fact, many would argue that like the Mass itself, the DO was “inorganically” changed and reduced without reason or just cause, but I digress.

      The Old Rite DO can be found here in it’s mother tongue, Latin, and its vulgar language, English:

      http://divinumofficium.com/cgi-bin/horas/officium.pl

      As can be seen with just a week or so of praying the old office and comparing it to the same days and time of day to the new office, the old is deeper and contains the more sacrificial selections of pslams and scripture. And, Monks, Diocesan Priest and Laity alike prayed essentally the same Liturgy for centuries despite its length and time requirements.

      I do praise the Coucil for its encouragement of the Laity to pray the DO in it documents, but in my opinion it removed and revised past what may have been needed to accomidate Diocesan Clergy that were only being enriched by the DO that had been thier obligation for more than a millennia.

      Vive Christus Rex!

  13. Will you need volunteers for inputting the newer prayers? If so, please know that I would be happy to help in any way. You have so blessed us with this ministry and it will be a labor intensive initiative. Thank you again.

    • I would be happy to help with the input of the new prayers as well. I realize it probably won’t be for a while yet, but do keep me in mind.

  14. Thanks very much, Monica. Please keep us posted. I intend to purchase the new one-volume Christian Prayer as soon as it is available. Also, once the new translations are available to DivineOffice.org, I hope that they might be included with our unceasing prayers.

  15. Thank you for keeping us informed Monica. I do hope that this and your copyright issues begin to clear up soon.

    I do wish those at The Bishop’s we’re going to be using the different version than The New American Bible. If the purpose of retranslating the Liturgy of the Hours is be more precise, then I think a more precise translation of the Bible would be in order too. Something like the New Revised Version, 2nd Catholic edition.

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Liturgy of the Hours for July 18