Can Liturgy of the Hours be prayed illicitly?

If the Liturgy of the Hours is an official liturgy of the church,

then is at capable of being subjected to liturgical abuse? Can it be prayed illicitely? If so, does that mean I (layity not bound to pray it), can theoretically commit a sin by willingly not praying it according to the prescribed norms? (Who needs the second psalm anyway :-P)


Dear Josh,

If the Liturgy of the Hours is celebrated in public, it is possible to do it in a disrespectful was as it is with any prayer offered in public. One can even intend to offer it privately in a disrespectful way.

But the Liturgy of the Hours is a kind of liturgy of the Word. One doesn’t hear so much about abuses here. Although, you can have the non-ordained reading the Gospel and there can be problems with illicit translations. Actually in the public recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours there is no requirement that a deacon or priest by present. If a deacon or priest is present, he should read the Gospel. The use of an illicit translation when the Hours are prayed publicly is not allowed.

For those who are not bound to pray it, there are no laws that demand that they privately pray all of a particular part of it or what translation they must use.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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