From a seminarian…
I am a seminarian and I pray the EF Office faithfully. I know I have read somewhere that even when praying alone the words should actually be pronounced (however quiet) and not read as completely silent. What prompts my question is that I see so many guys just reading the Liturgy of the Hours and their lips aren’t even moving. Do you know of any reference that would enlighten me on this issue?
Those of us Latins who are bound to say the Office fulfill the obligation by reciting either the Roman Breviary as it was during the Second Vatican Council (that is to say with the Breviarium Romanum of Saint John XXIII, the actual Vatican II Office) or with the Liturgia Horarum of Paul VI revised by St. John Paul II in 1985 with the New Vulgate. And were I to participate in the singing of monastic office, any of the hours at, say, the wonderful Benedictine Monastery at Norcia or at Le Barroux, I would fulfill my obligation.
103. The psalms are not readings or prose prayers, but poems of praise. They can on occasion be recited as readings, but from their literary genre they are properly called Tehillim (“songs of praise”) in Hebrew and psalmoi (“songs to be sung to the lyre”) in Greek. In fact, all the psalms have a musical quality that determines their correct style of delivery. Thus even when a psalm is recited and not sung or is said silently in private, its musical character should govern its use. A psalm does present a text to the minds of the people, but its aim is to move the heart of those singing it or listening to it and also of those accompanying it “on the lyre and harp.”
There is some recognition of silent recitation.
Recitation of the Office should be aloud, since it is official and mainly vocal prayer. This is why of yore and even now priests move their lips when saying their Office. However, even when you don’t read aloud, there is a measure of subvocalization going on when reading.
That said, I am of the opinion that a priest fulfills his obligation even when not moving his lips, only reading silently.
And before someone asks, yes, priests and deacons can use mobile phone apps and websites for the Office. They don’t have to be holding a book in their hands. The Office is the text, not the book.