Revision of English “Liturgy of the Hours” to begin

I noticed this in the newsletter of the USCCB’s Committee for Divine Worship:

Liturgy of the Hours

Among the many liturgical books affected by the implementation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, none has generated more questions or interest than the Liturgy of the Hours. Numerous inquiries from clergy and religious have prompted the Committee on Divine Worship to begin to develop a plan to produce a revised edition of the Liturgy of the Hours (and related texts such as the one–volume Christian Prayer). This revision would incorporate updated and already–approved translations of many elements, including the Revised Grail Psalms and the orations of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, as well as new additions to the Proper of Saints, some of which still need to be translated and approved. The Committee reviewed the current state of each element of the text, including the Psalter, the orations, antiphons, and Scripture readings, to determine which elements can remain intact, which elements require replacement with updated texts, and which elements require retranslation. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has been consulted regarding its role in producing draft translations of certain elements, including an expanded collection of proper antiphons for the Gospel canticles for Sundays and solemnities, which were added to the Liturgia Horarum, editio typica altera, published between 1985 and 1987. The Committee hopes to present a proposed scope of work to the body of Bishops for their approval in November 2012, and then work can commence to assemble the necessary elements. At this time there is no estimated timeline for this project.

Of course, clerics and religious of the Latin Church obliged to the Office could simply follow what the Second Vatican Council said and just use Latin.

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  1. AdTrinitatemPerMariam says:

    Hmm…I need to buy the English LotH soon, before I enter the convent in September. Should I just go ahead and buy the regular one that’s available now? I am confused…

  2. This announcement fails to mention the single greatest lacuna in the current English translation of the Liturgy of the Hours–the total omission of the great Latin hymns, many of which date back to the time of Ambrose and Augustine.

    As a consequence, even among the minority of Catholics who pray the liturgy of the hours, most surely are unaware that traditional Catholic hymnology is a child of the divine office (rather than of Eucharistic liturgy), indeed, is its show horse (as psalmody is its work horse). Nor that, just as each hour of each day has its proper collect, it has (as specified in the Latin Liturgia Horarum) its own proper hymn, and that the hour is just not the same without the proper hymn that sets its tone.

    None of these glorious hymns appear among the mostly pedestrian “songs” that are included in the hymn section of Christian Prayer (for instance). Many fine translations are available due to Anglican (and 19th century British Catholic) hymnists, but many of these classical Latin hymns have never been satisfactorily translated into English; this seems to me the most imposing remaining task for the new English translation of the LOH.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    they need to do a better job on translations…

  4. Thomas S says:


    On the off chance you have an iPad or iPhone, download the free iBreviary app. That way you can avoid the $150 purchase for soon to be retranslated books. I use my iPad all the time now, even in seminary chapel.

  5. NickD says:

    when you say clerics are obliged to say the Office in Latin, do you mean using the older form; or the version instituted by Paul VI, just in Latin?

  6. Mike says:

    First let me say that I am not a priest but do pray parts of the Liturgy of the Hours…
    I believe that a vast improvement would be to use the New Revised Standard Catholic Edition Bible for all of the psalms, readings and Canticles, dropping the rather more mundane language of the New American Bible. I much prefer the “higher” form of language and beautiful translations used in the New Revised Standard CE. I honestly believe that the USCCB and those governing bodies that worked on the project for the new translation of the Roman Missal missed the boat when the New Revised Standard CE was not selected for that. What a missed opportunity. I hope that they don’t miss the opportunity for the Liturgy of the Hours. Of course when next available one can get the Breviary from Baronius Press or pray it in Latin (with a little English help) by using the, “Lauds and Vespers: Latin-English Enlarged Edition.” I was recently given a copy of it by a priest friend of mine. I find this book to be a wonderful balance between the current Liturgy of the Hours and the more traditional Breviary. I want very much to have the Baronius Press Breviary, but this single volume is wonderful. I am in the process of formatting Compline which I will put onto my Kindle and carry that for travel along with this new single new volume. If you are interested in the, “Lauds and Vespers: Latin-English Enlarged Edition,” simply “Google it” by title. It is very easy to find.

  7. Bea says:

    Exclusive use of the EF /TLM would solve the problem.

  8. AdTrinitatem, the Missal was 1 vol. and took 10 yrs to translate, be approved, and come into use; the LotH is 4 vol. Hopefully, they have figured out many of the kinks, but I’m still betting it will be quite a few years before it is in use.

    Henry, maybe we should write letters to let the conference know that we want the hymns included in the new translation of the LotH.

  9. Would not SC 101 apply to whatever version (old or new) is approved for clerical use in a given diocese or religious order:

    101. 1. In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office. But in individual cases the ordinary has the power of granting the use of a vernacular translation to those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a grave obstacle to their praying the office properly. The vernacular version, however, must be one that is drawn up according to the provision of Art. 36.

    2. The competent superior has the power to grant the use of the vernacular in the celebration of the divine office, even in choir, to nuns and to members of institutes dedicated to acquiring perfection, both men who are not clerics and women. The version, however, must be one that is approved.

    3. Any cleric bound to the divine office fulfills his obligation if he prays the office in the vernacular together with a group of the faithful or with those mentioned in 52 above provided that the text of the translation is approved.

  10. barefootcatholic: I hope it is correct, as I understand, that Liturgiam authenticam requires that each liturgical book be translated not only authentically but completely. In which case the hymns in the Liturgia Horarum can not be omitted in the new translation as they were in the old one.

  11. Charles says:

    Dear me, the trees will cry out to heaven for vengeance! Has anyone stopped to think about how ecologically unfriendly the revised liturgy has been? I penned a letter to an editor once (’twas never published) explaining that a return to the older form would be better for the environment. But if the ecologically friendly sisters are going to pull a stunt like the “nuns on a bus” ridiculousness, how will the green liturgists be led to see that their wanton revisions have deforested massive tracts of land?

  12. GregH says:


    What do you pray? The Novus Ordo Liturgy of the Hours or the old Divine Office in either Latin or English? How do you go about meshing the two different calendars New and Old?

  13. Blaine says:

    I regularly pray the Office using the Divine Office iPad app. A few weeks ago I started to use the BrevMeum app to pray in Latin. Unfortunately, I got very bogged down trying to read both the English and Latin, and I’m back to the English only. I’ve never had any exposure to Latin before this, so it was very slow and discouraging. Does anyone have any advice on how to learn to read Latin (not so interested in writing or speaking at this point)? Do I just need to keep pushing through?

    I know someone out there was in the same boat – what did you do?

  14. RichR says:

    If the same people who translated the Missal to English are the ones who will translate the Office, I might start using the Liturgy of the Hours again.

    Right now I’m trying to use the Monastic Diurnal, but it is a monster. Besides, I can’t attend an EFM, so it is a little schizophrenic praying one calendar at Mass and another at home with the Office.

    The Liturgia Horarum isn’t that bad, but I find myself scrambling for my Latin dictionary too often for it to be prayerful.

  15. Geoffrey says:

    The Church in Africa did this a few years ago. They obviously lost patience waiting on the Church in the USA to revise their edition of the LOTH, which was (Sadly) adopted in many territories. The African edition of the LOTH uses an earlier draft of The Revised Grail Psalms and The African Bible (which appears to be a British English version of the New American Bible). It uses the old ICEL translations (as the new were not officially approved yet), but seems to use the new translations here and there in the Proper of Saints. They also took it upon themselves to translate the “new” Gospel Canticle antiphons for Sundays.

  16. What they need to revise are the Readings in Mass – the English translations are still inadequate. If that means using the Duoay-Rheims so be it.

  17. Allan S. says:


    Start by memorizing the Ordinary parts of the Office in Latin, then switch back and forth. Next, start to become familiar with Sunday’s Psalms, especially at Vespers, as they get used for most 1st and 2nd class feasts. Pretty soon, you’ll be praying – and understanding – a good chunk of the Office in Latin.

    Like others, I started with the LOTH and Christian Prayer (the red book), but frankly the four week psalter drove me nuts (what week is it again? etc.) and I finally changed to the the 1962 Divine Office using the Brev Meum iPad/iPhone app. I also now own a Collegeville Latin/English side-by-side Divine Office, and am working Matins into my day.

    Good luck.

  18. MissOH says:

    They can start with losing the “psalm prayers”. I agree that they need to re-think the translations of the psalms- the RSV-CE (the original version) would be so much better. For those interested in the proper hymns for the days and hours the Mundelein Psalter has them as well as psalm tones that allow the office to be chanted. It is still not the 1962 office, but the Mundelein Psalter makes the LOTH in English a bit more tolerable.

  19. fvhale says:

    Over the last 14 years I have daily prayed the office both in community and by myself, in English (US and UK editions), Italian and Latin, chanted and recited, using a variety of books including the four volume LH (in English, Latin and Italian), the one volume CP (in English and Italian), and the Breviarium Roman (a few editions), as well as editions for particular communities.

    These are the things I would most love to see in a revision of the current first edition of the American “Liturgy of the Hours”:

    1) Update the orations to match the new Roman Missal.
    2) Add the Antiphons for Gospel Canticles at Morning and Evening Prayer for all three Sunday cycles ABC). They have them in Latin and Italian, but the current English only includes A for EPI, B for MP, and C for EPII.
    3) Office liturgies for all the new saints added since the 1970’s. The newer Latin edition of LH, from 2000, has many more than English.
    4) Updated “First Readings” from Scripture using either NABRE (which I suspect is the USCCB choice for future liturgy) or RSVCE. The current NAB leaves some things to be desired, especially in readings from the Prophets.
    5) Updated “Second Readings” according to Latin second edition, and also, Scripture references in Second Readings (as in Italian). Very useful.
    6) Consider putting the Psalm-prayers into an Appendix. They do not appear in the Propers or Commons, anyway; and they are only in the American edition.
    7) Remove most of the American “hymns” with that 1970’s feel, and either use solid English (even Protestant) hymnody. translate the Latin hymns from the Latin Liturgy of the Hours.
    8) Provide full text of all 150 Psalms, at least giving the bits and pieces omitted with permission of Pope Paul VI in an Appendix. Although, for the life of me, I cannot see how the verse cut out are any more “inappropriate” that many that remain. And it may be that, given the incredible violence of the entertainment industry these days, as well as real life, we do not need to be so “shielded” from the occasional “violent” verse in the Psalms.
    9) Add schema for 1- and 2- week Psalter cycles (as in Psalterium Monasticum), as options to go along with 4-week Psalter.
    10) Make more prominent the 2-year cycle of Scripture Readings (option for First Reading) currently buried in “Christian Prayer”

    Just off the top of my head, that is most of what I wish for in a revision of LOTH.

  20. greasemonkey says:

    I think the current 4 volume set is junk. They’re just like the ol’ Sacramentary. To boot… there is no alternative that I am aware of. Either the cheezy Catholic Book Pub 70s set or nothing? C’mon.

  21. Paul says:

    That would be my first choice!

    Hang in there, I stared using the MD, I think I may have even purchased it from you, fisheaters? Anyway, I have an EF calendar and pretty much adhere to the EF calendar with the exception of the Sunday Mass. I am considering attending an EF Mass on Sundays but it’s a pretty long drive. In the meantime I recently downloaded iMass and attend the EF Mass virtually, but it’s helping get a the flow of the Angelus Press Missal.

    When the new LoTH is published I may give it a whirl but as it currently stands it is a hinderance to my spiritual progress. The changes that were made in the 70sto both the Mass and the LoTH took the saltiness out of the salt…

    @MissOH if they loss the Psalm prayers (good idea) that may help address Charles’ concern about the trees…

  22. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Most of the Office hymns have been given good solid translations.

    At least ten or fifteen times.

    Fifty or sixty times for the really popular ones.

  23. MissOH says: They can start with losing the “psalm prayers”.

    Amen to that. They’re lame. And since they’re optional, I always skip them.

  24. RichR says:

    @Paul Glad to see you’re using the MD. That gives me more motivation to keep it up. I like the idea that there are others out there praying the same prayers.

  25. iPadre says:

    Liturgy of the Hours in Latin. $900.00 – wow! The Roman Breviary is only $350.00. That’s an easy choice!

  26. Bea says:

    Why don’t you simply contact the convent and ask them which one to take?
    That way you’ll be able to get the exact one they use there.
    They may even have one for you there to be used by all postulants.

  27. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    I agree with Mike. I really wish we could go to RSV-CE on all liturgical texts.

  28. JKnott says:

    @ AdTrinitemPerMariam. You should ask your Novice Mistress about the LOH. If you are required to pray the Office in common then you will need the current four volumes most likely unless the community supplies them. Chances are it will be years before this is complete.
    God bless you in your new vocation.

    Lets hope the plan is for significant rework, especially the Intercessions. I always feel like apologizing to the Lord after saying them. One tells the Lord to find proper housing for the poor, as if He is a real estate agent taking orders from His employer. Another one tells the Lord not to revoke His Covenant. (The new and eternal covenant) How is that possible? Some of them are almost heretical. The only thing decent about the psalm prayers is that they are optional.
    As for the “hymns”, “Morning has Broken” says it all. The hymns from the “Mundelein Psalter” are a good substitute. I keep a Magnificat handy now to replace the prayer with the new Collects. So it will be good to have a hopefully better revised version.

  29. Blaine says:

    @Allan S.,

    Thanks! I probably tried tackling way more than I could handle at first. I will take a more piecemeal approach as you suggest and see how that goes. Thank you again.

  30. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Blaine, try doing your lectio divina with a Latin/English Bible.

  31. Rellis says:

    As someone who has progressed from Christian Prayer to the 4 volume LOTH to the 1961 Collegeville set to the 1954 Anglican Breviary (with Latin inserts), I don’t envy the complex job of the translators.

    Issues include:

    1. Structurally, do they want to use 1-volume (totus), 2-volume (Advent-Pentecost, Trinity to End), 3 volume (Advent-Lent, Lent-Trinity, Trinity-Advent), or the really limiting 4 volume set? The latter can be done better if it is in the old “pars” seasonal format, rather than the stilted color combo thing we have now.

    2. Latin-English? Mixed Latin here and there? Or English only? Whatever the choice, Latin should be a big part of this. The ordinary should have a simultaneous translation. Ditto for the gospel canticles (Benedictus, Magnificat, Nunc Dimittus, as well as the Te Deum).

    3. Since Psalm-prayers are not part of the LH, they should be dropped automatically as per LA. Ditto for that poetry appendix.

    4. Hymns should just be a straight import from one of those Anglican translations.

    5. I can live with the Grail psalter and the NAB. Pound of flesh.

    6. They will need to finally use the two-year cycle of readings from the Office of Readings.

    7. Speaking of that, restore the traditional names to the seven hours: Office of Lessons, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline

    8. Obviously, incorporate the MR translation corrections, as can already be done here and there.

    9. Incorporate all new saints.

    10. Translate all the votive offices in the LH which most priests have likely never even seen.

    11. Work with the existing lattice of online breviary people to make sure this is easily available and always-improving. I’m thinking in particular of Universalis, iBreviary, and Divine Office. This should have all the best practices for all the platforms from day one, and people should be working to improve it constantly. Open source would help.

    12. Don’t shove the day hours as an afterthought. Even though only one needs be chosen, these really are the red-headed stepchild of the existing translation. Restoration of the traditional hour names should help.

    13. Yes, the Gospel antiphons are a must. ABC is available on Universalis, et al, today.

    14. Not sure if the preces are a faithful translation or a psalm-prayer like free for all. If the latter, tamp down.

    15. Include the traditional prayers before and after the office as an option. Latin-English.

    16. Musical settings should be available, especially for Vespers of Sundays, solemnities, and feasts. Also maybe for Sunday Lauds and Compline. More musical settings for EVERYTHING should be available online.

    17. Besides the full set, there should also be a “diaconal” set (Lauds and Vespers only), and a “diurnal” (Lauds, the Day Hours, Vespers, Compline). There should also be a stand-alone Office of Readings with both years and all those “vigil” options (a “nocturnal”).

    18. The calendar, tables, and general instructions should be in every volume, if possible.

    19. I know that the aesthetics are less important now with many using devices instead of books. However, may I make a strong suggestion that the books be black on the outside, and red or gold on the page edges? And for the materials to be solid and strong?

  32. seminarian87 says:

    How about we just start from the beginning: CALL IT THE ROMAN BREVIARY- NOT THE “Liturgy of the Hours”!!!

    P.S. Make the cover look CATHOLIC…NOT like a children’s 5th grade coloring book.

  33. Rich says:

    Will the “Glory” once more become the “Glory be”?

  34. Trevor says:


    Brother, calm down. Considering the the term ‘Liturgy of the Hours’ is the term that Paul VI preferred when promulgating the new breviary, I don’t see this changing. (Nor do I see why ‘LotH’ is such an offensive term.

    As for the topic in general, I don’t really understand the aversion people have to the psalm-prayers. I think they generally bring out the Christological character of the psalm or the series. In any event, I’ll be a little sad to see the breivary change. The psalms, much more than the Mass propers, really become part of your DNA when you’re saying them each morning. When I read the psalms, every translation that is not the Grail just seems ‘wrong’ to me. I’ll have to buy the New Grail and check the differences.

  35. Geoffrey says:

    ‘Will the “Glory” once more become the “Glory be”?’

    “Glory to the Father…” seems to me much closer to the Latin original. I’ve never liked the “world without end”. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the African edition of the Liturgy of the Hours uses the “Glory be…”

    I have always wondered where the term ‘liturgia horarum’ came from. Vatican II made no mention of it. Other than ‘opus Dei’, I’ve never heard any other term used to describe the Divine Office.

  36. Pingback: Sacred Music Bishop Muller Liturgy of the Hours Homeschooling | Big Pulpit

  37. Geoffrey says: ‘Will the “Glory” once more become the “Glory be”?’

    I always say the “Glory Be.” I do not use the translation in the breviary.

    Perhaps the reason for changes like this was to be able to set the Office to new, crappier musical settings.

  38. mpolo says:

    I notice on that the Latin version is completely sold out (again). It is actually really hard to pray in Latin in the ordinary form, simply because you can’t always find the books — they haven’t reprinted the Lectionarium for Mass since 1971, so that I am constantly snapping up copies from used book dealerships, as we need another 5-6 copies at present, and am strongly considering scanning the whole shebang to reprint it myself.

    They have also never printed the long-promised Supplementum, which would have the readings for Year II, which is of course optional, but shouldn’t there at least be an Editio Typica in Latin?

  39. Chrysostom says:

    The British edition, which is in three volumes, says ‘Glory be’, with the ‘world without end’. I do think that this version of the Gloria Patri is essential, because it is used for the rosary – and thus uses our Catholic sacral vernacular. Nevertheless, I think that this will be a much faster process than the Missal; the ordinary will take some time, but it is mostly a matter of fitting the Revised Grail Psalms into their appropriate format. Still, I hope that a different version of scripture is used – maybe the ESV planned for the Australian lectionary, but that’s a story for another day…

  40. catholictigerfan says:

    As a seminarian with a one volume set of the LOH I hope this comes out before I get ordained so I can simply buy my first 4 volume when the new translaiton comes out. But it probably won’t happen that way.

  41. Andrew says:

    Liturgy of the Hours in Latin. $900.00
    That must be some leather edition. You can get it for much less in vinyl.

  42. TXSem says:

    I wonder if multiple publishers will be able to publish their own versions of the new LotH (similar to the multiple publishers for the Missal)? I’d love to see what MTF could do with the new brievary (even though it’ll probably cost a good chunk of change).

  43. AdTrinitatem:

    If you buy a set of breviaries, chances are you will use them many years before this change comes into effect. However, you are likely to find used breviaries if you try. Ask around. When priests die, or get infirm, they will have breviaries they no longer need. It may even be these things find their way to Ebay or used bookstores, although I’m not endorsing that. More properly, they revert to a parish, a diocese, an order or a seminary, to be distributed to others.

  44. Sid says:

    Thank you, Father Z., for this notice! My own suggestions, other than the obvious need for an improved translation:

    1. The Latin hymns from the Latin edition should be translated for those praying alone. Martin O’Keefe, S.J., has paved the way for this in his Exsultemus: Rejoicing with God in the Hymns of the Roman Breviary.

    2. I pray the edition will be five, not four, volumes, with Lent separated from Easter.

    3. I would welcome an edition much like the Mundeline Psalter, but for the entire Office, — an edition that respects the Catholic tradition in music, with chant in English.

    4. And I would most welcome an optional edition with the Two year Cycle of readings for the Office of Readings. Of course, such an edition would be more than 4 or 5 volumes. The Augustinian Press’s multi volume A Word in Season is an example. At one can find a two year Patristic Lectionary for the Second Reading. (Alas, its editor has no plans to put this into print, so it has to be downloaded.)

    And while I’m considering the two year cycle, 40 years ago the Church called for an edition of this cycle. Has it ever been done?

    At least the notations of the Biblical Readings of the Two Year Cycle should be printed an an appendix in the regular 4 vol Breviary for those who would like to pray this cycle. I strongly recommend this cycle. In two years, one reads almost the whole Bible, and such Catholics will end up knowing the Bible better than many Protestants!

    5. Finally, I pray the new edition will leave out the Psalm prayers at the end of each Psalm. They aren’t in the Latin edition.

  45. Sid says:

    Does anyone have the email address for the responible officials at the USCCB’s Committee for Divine Worship, so that we can email our suggestions? Many good suggestions above from writebackers!

  46. Geoffrey says:

    I don’t mind the psalm-prayers (oratio super psalmum). They are not included in the African edition, and I kind of miss them. I wonder where the Latin originals are…

  47. Geoffrey,

    Nor are there any of these “psalm prayers” in the British edition used in most English-speaking areas outside North America. Because there are no “Latin originals” of the psalm prayers in the (Latin) Liturgia Horum. I understand the invention and insertion of new prayers like these is one of the reasons the original ICEL was disbanded or re-constituted prior to the new translation effort–to insure that in obedience to Liturgiam authenticam they would translate all of what’s there, and only what’s there.

    Incidentally, regarding criticism of the intercessions, I think their admittedly embarrassing current English translations are possibly even worse than the 1973 ICEL translations of the collects of the Mass–frequently saying something that’s not only banal but age-of-luv-and-lets-just-all-get-along different from the original. Whereas I would much miss the original Latin intercessions, which are sometimes the most elegant texts of morning and evening prayer.

  48. ShameUsSeamus says:

    It always helps to read the instructions. From the General Instruction for the Liturgy of the Hours (1971):

    112. Psalm-prayers for each psalm are given in the supplement to The Liturgy of the Hours as an aid to understanding them in a predominantly Christian way. An ancient tradition provides a model for their use: after the psalm a period of silence is observed, then the prayer gives a resume and resolution of the thoughts and aspirations of those praying the psalms.

    There apparently exists a supplement to the Liturgia Horarum which has not been published, as far as I am aware. Also in the supplement is the two-year cycle for the Office of Readings, as referenced in No. 145. This is the source of the psalm-prayers, which were incorporated into the English translation prepared by the ICEL. They are a legitimate, though optional, part of the rite.

  49. John V says:

    As ShameUsSeamus indicates, No. 112 of the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours references the “supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours” as being the source of the psalm-prayers. FWIW, I think it’s a misinterpretation of the explanatory clause of the second sentence of No. 112 (“after the psalm a period of silence is observed . . . .”) to insert the psalm-prayer after the “Glory to the Father, etc.” and before the repetition of the antiphon, as it appears in the Catholic Book Publishing edition. Rather, if the psalm-prayer is to be used, I think it makes more sense if the phrase “after the psalm” in this clause is understood as meaning after the combined psalm, “Glory to the Father, etc.”, and antiphon. No. 123 of the General Instruction states: “. . . . At the end of the psalm the practice of concluding with the Glory to the Father and As it was in the beginning is retained. This is the fitting conclusion endorsed by tradition and it gives to Old Testament prayer a note of praise and a Christological and Trinitarian sense. The antiphon may be repeated at the end of the psalm.” If we conclude with the “Glory to the Father, etc.” at the end of the psalm and repeat the antiphon at the end of the psalm, why would we insert the psalm-prayer in between? “After the psalm” should either mean immediately after the psalm proper and before the “Glory to the Father”, which is silly, or it should mean after the psalm together with its concluding elements, i.e., Glory to the Father and the repeated antiphon.

  50. Thanks, Seamus. Though, as I mentioned, there are no “psalm prayers” in the official Liturgia Horarum–as published in three editions over a 30-year period–I had forgotten that reference in the original (never revised?) instructions to an allegedly existing but never published supplement allegedly including such “psalm prayers” (if indeed this supplement still exists in some sense). Admittedly, I’ve occasionally wondered whether the particular psalm-prayers in ICEL’s LOH really were derived from these unpublished ones, recalling vaguely a reference in a late 1990s or early 2000s Vatican criticism of the old ICEL to its inclusion of unauthorized prayers. (Perhaps it’s just the 1970s ICELese that makes some of them seem bogus.) In any event, I’m inclined to think that–however ancient the alleged tradition–they seem foreign to the ethos of the divine office as it has come down to us, and therefore probably will not personally agitate for the publication of that particular supplement (though I would very much like to see the two-year cycle of readings).

  51. mpolo says:

    The supplement exists in Italian, but doesn’t include the psalm-prayers, as far as I know.

  52. ShameUsSeamus says:


    Does it include the expanded cycle of readings, or is it a collection of material for saints that have been added to the calendar since publication? In English, there is a thing called The Liturgy of the Hours Supplement that has additional material for recently added feasts, and I often encounter the problem that people think I am referring to that text when I am not.

    Henry Edwards,

    Three editions? I know of the 1971 (the one the ICEL translation is based on) and the 1985 (reissued, but not revised, in 2000 and again in 2003). Did I miss something? I wouldn’t mind if all the liturgical works of the Church were published, at the very least in Latin. Heck, throw up a PDF. I just want something to reference.

    John V,

    I agree that the placement of the psalm prayers is a bit of a headscratcher. You articulated the argument against Catholic Book Publishing’s formatting decision decision quite well.

  53. Geoffrey says:

    The concept of psalm-prayers seem to have some roots in the Mozarabic Rite, as can be seen in “The Mozarabic Psalter” (1905):

    Whether or not the ICEL psalm-prayers are based on these is anyone’s guess… I just discovered this text and have not been able to do a thorough comparison…

  54. Seamus, however you count the number of editions and printings of the Liturgia Horarum, the number of officially published Latin editions of the Liturgia Horarum that contain approved psalm-prayers is–in the absence of any specific reference–zero, zilch, nada. If officially approved psalm-prayers are alleged to exist only in some unpublished form of indeterminate provenance–then why should we assume that they exist at all? Indeed, is it not odd for us to spend time discussing allegedly existing liturgical prayers that none of us can claim to ever have seen?

  55. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    Will (and Rich),

    Neither the “Glory be” nor the “Glory be to” strike me as being particularly close to the Latin, and since the Latin is so simple and so short, I see no reason to ever use either of them; just use the original:

    Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
    Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

    The first thing to notice about this lovely prayer is that it has only one verb, “erat”, for two sentences, which is an example of a literary form called ellipsis. The verb “erat” (usually translated “was”) is a conjugated form of the verb “esse” (usually translated “to be”). Note, however, that the predicate of the first sentence is in the dative form (TO the Father, and TO the Son, and TO the Holy Spirit). The verb “esse”, when it takes the dative, is often better translated as “to belong”.

    “The glory [belonged] to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.”

    The word “et” is normally translated “and”. However, it is often the case that it means “thus” or “so”. Since “et” follows “sicut” (just as) in the second sentence, it seems that translating it as “so” is warranted here.

    “As it belonged in the beginning, so now and always and into ages of ages. Amen.”

    Needless to say, the translation above is not approved by any bishop, and so it must not be substituted into the liturgy. Fortunately, there is no reason why you would want to use it or any other translation. The Latin is simple and short enough to memorize and beautiful to chant.

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