QUAERITUR: Can religious read their Office with the older books?

From a religious:

When the motu proprio came out in 2007, it gave permission for clerics to use the older breviary to fulfill their obligation. I belong to the OCDS and many of our members wondered if we could pray the older form of the breviary to fulfill our obligation (Morning and Evening Prayer). We inquired with the provincial delegate but he didn’t seem to understand the motu proprio and couldn’t give a clear answer. What do you think?

As you mentioned:

SP Art. 9 § 3. It is lawful for clerics in holy orders to use even the Roman Breviary promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

There is nothing ambiguous about that.  If you are a cleric, and you use the older form of the Office, you fulfill your obligation.  That applies to the Roman Breviary.  I suppose it would apply to the Office for religious orders if they have a proper form.


Art. 3  If Communities of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life of either pontifical or diocesan right which in conventual celebration or celebration of the “community” in their own oratories desire to have celebration of Holy Mass according to the edition of the Missale Romanum promulgated in 1962, this is licit for them. If  an individual community or the whole Institute or Society wants to put into effect such celebrations often or habitually or permanently, the matter is to be determined by the Major Superiors according to the norm of law and the particular laws and statutes.

If this is the case for Mass, why would it not be the case for the Office?

If you want a better answer, you might apply to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

Also, I will now invite members of religious orders who may have some experience with this question to sort things out.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Childermass says:

    I am not (yet) a religious, but from spending time with the Dominicans, I know of priories which do the Liturgy of the Hours in English for Matins, Lauds and Vespers while using the Dominican rite for Compline.

    As for private recitation, I don’t see why any cleric could not use the traditional books, even those of his or her order. As Fr. Z says, there are far more pressing things to worry about in the Church than whether religious are using icky traditional stuff for their private prayer…

  2. br.david says:

    WHile using the old books, would NOT the cleric have to pray, then, the ENTIRE office in the EF. For example, one can’t pray Vigils from the OF and then Lauds from OF, Sext from EF, Vespers from OF, etc….

    That doesn’t seem to be the intention behind use of the Older form of the Office….

  3. greasemonkey says:

    The OCD do not have a rite peculiar to their order. The OCarms do, however I understand that the order has not coceded the use of their earlier form of the liturgy. In large part the orders abandoned their rite, Rome did not require it.

  4. greasemonkey says:

    ….also the the OCDS is Secular (3rd order Discalced Carms), lay people.

    In the 3rd order OCARMS the provincial said we could use the earlier office in private but wanted the community to use the current version when they come together

  5. bourgja says:

    Yes, I am the original poster, and I am a layperson belonging to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS). The question was whether such a person can use the older Roman breviary in private recitation to fulfill the obligation of praying Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer.

    Greasemonkey’s reply that the T.O.Carms may do so in private recitation is exactly what I would hope is the case for us, but our provincial delegate is confused about the matter and has not given a clear response. Besides, it seems to me that there should be a general norm instead of relying on each individual provincial, right?

    So any clarification on this issue would be welcomed! [It seems to me that people enrolled in third orders can do pretty much whatever they chose in this regard, since they are not under the obligations that clerics and religious have.]

  6. I started with a single volume english translation of the 1962 Office about Holy Week last year. later I found and switched to a bi-lingual version from 1963 (dig through old religious libraries!). Since my Latin is still quite poor I am not yet fully praying the Office in Latin but I’m getting there. I pray the entire Office in the older form but when I join my community for prayer I use the new form as well (that means I pray vespers twice!). From the begining I have found the older form more satisfying, if more demanding on time, with a more intense encounter with the psalms. As I still celebrate Mass in the NO it is a problem that I am following two calendars but I do what I can.

  7. bourgja says:

    I am wondering if a provincial delegate of the OCD has the authority to tell OCDS (third order laity) that they *cannot* use the older breviary to fulfill their obligation, keeping in mind that a promise of obedience is part of the profession of third order members.

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