Is the Divine Office to be read out loud?


Christ is risen!

When I started praying the Liturgy of the Hours I remember reading somewhere that it ought to be read out loud as opposed to mentally praying it. This question came up again recently and, unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the document I read earlier.

I have read through parts of the General Instruction for the Liturgy of the Hours, Sacrosanctum Concilium, and the Code of Canon Law and couldn’t find anything addressing this. The only thing suggesting it is the use of the word “recite”, which implies reading the text out loud. However, this isn’t exactly definitive and doesn’t exclude mentally praying the Divine Office either. I have also read elsewhere that it was in force in the past to read the Divine Office out loud but that it may or may not still be in force today. Now I’ve begun to doubt whether it really ought to be prayed out loud in private.

So my question is this: does the Church exhort the Divine Office to be prayed out loud when privately praying it (Even if only moving the lips in an inaudible whisper)?



The Church is concerned that people pray. This is what is important. If some can pray by mouthing the words, fine. Some people who are ill, may not be able to. I actually chant the office if I have to pray it alone. The object is that we pray the hours as best we can.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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