Revised Liturgy of the Hours News

Monica on June 22nd, 2018 | 9 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 © 2006-2018 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

9 thoughts on “Revised Liturgy of the Hours News

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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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