Traditional Calendar, vernacular Office?


Hey all. Got a simple question which I think I already know the answer to, but just thought I would double check.

I am, by an large, and EF attending Catholic. I used to pray the LOTH, but gave it up once I started going to the EF more. Following two different calendars was off-putting for me. In the LOTH, I would celebrate one saint, and then at mass, I would celebrate another.

Now, I know that, in order to make praying the traditional Divine Office liturgical, it should be prayed in Latin. At first, I intended to learn liturgical Latin so I could do just that, but it just is not a possibility in life at this time. Then today, I began wondering if there is any sort officially approved Office in the Church that is A) permitted in the vernacular and B) uses the old calendar, or something very similar to it.

My first guess was the Anglican Ordinariate. Unfortunately, they use, by and large, the OF calendar (the biggest exception I could find was the naming of the seasons was the older method; e.g. “Time after the Epiphany” instead of “Ordinary Time”).

So that leads me to my question: does anyone know of any sort of Breviary that came out after Vatican II in the vernacular, while yet retaining the older calendar? I am wondering if some of the other rites of the Church have this (e.g. the Ambrosian rite), or perhaps there is a monastic calendar/Office that is more similar to the older calendar.

Man, I just really wish some part of the EF Office was permitted in the vernacular…


As a lay person, you don’t have to use Latin for the EF Breviary - No Church law applies to your recitation of it


Yes but then it would become a personal devotion rather than the liturgy of the Church.


From the General Instruction of the LOTH:

  1. When clerics or religious who are obliged under any title to pray the divine office join in an office celebrated in common according to a calendar or rite different from their own, they fulfill their obligation in respect to the part of the office at which they are present.

  2. In private celebration, the calendar of the place or the person’s own calendar may be followed, except on proper solemnities and on proper feasts.

The above would seem to give you quite a bit of wiggle room, as even bound religious are fulfilling their obligation if they attend all or part of the day’s liturgy in a place with a different rite or calendar.

In the modern Liturgy of the Hours, you can pray any saint in the martyrology on that’s saint’s day on a day that’s not bound to another obligation; i.e. on a feria, or on an optional memorial in the LOTH using the Common of that saint. So if the saint is no longer in the OF calendar, you can still celebrate him or her. The “level” of feast has been simplified in the LOTH but IMHO that is a good thing, otherwise, even in the EF, you wind up in the festival psalter too often and saying that you prayed the entire psalter in one week becomes a bit of theoretical notion.

Take the two calendars side-by-side, and you can probably draw up your own so that you’ll be more in sync than you are now.

The renaming of the liturgical year into Ordinary Time from time after Epiphany and time after Pentecost seems to me to be a moot point. Call them what you want, there’s still a stretch of ferias from Epiphany to Lent and another from Pentecost to Advent. You do lose Septuagesima, Ember days and all that stuff, but then why make life more complicated than it needs to be?

But even without all that, what does it matter that you pray a saint at the EF Mass and not in the LOTH? The abbey I’m attached to does it all the time in their OF liturgy; for optional memorials, they do not celebrate the saint in the Divine Office, only at Mass. The sky did not fall…

Keep in mind also that in the days before the Council, the laity almost never prayed the Divine Office, that was the province of the clergy and religious. At most the laity might pray the Little Office of the BVM, or if affiliated to some order as oblate or tertiary, some simplified Office designed for them as a devotion. The LOTH is a great gift to the Church and the laity, and is designed for flexibility for people who are not bound to choir, including diocesan clergy! I’ve yet to meet a diocesan priest that would want to give it up and go back to a 150 psalm psalter every week!


Wow I did not know that I could do any Saint on the Martyrology! Still, the calendar will be far from perfect. They changed so many dates! The first feast I could see working in the near future is Saint Valentine.

I only wonder what they mean by a “good reason” when they say “for a good reason the office of a saint listed on that day in the Roman Martyrology”. Hopefully this would count as a good reason.

Also, were you suggesting that number 243 says that I may follow the EF calendar completely while praying the modern LOTH? I am going to take a guess that is not what you meant.

Finally, for myself, it just makes more sense to celebrate the same saint in both liturgies. I know when I was going to the OF due to lack of an EF in the area I was at at the time, I always enjoyed the link between the saint celebrated in the office and the saint who’s honor mass was said in.

Finally, I agree that the LOTH is a great gift to the Church. While I would love to pray all of the psalms in one week, it just is not doable for myself. However, I know that you mentioned in other forums that it is possible to take many more “traditional” options in the LOTH that often aren’t taken. What are these? Specifically, I think I remember you saying somewhere that the traditional compline psalms for Sunday could be prayed in the modern LOTH? Or maybe you were referring to a monastic version there.

Thank you so much for your help!


Here are a few things you can do to the LOTH to make it more “traditional”. Note that some of the “traditions” I speak of hark back more to the Monastic than Roman Office.

  1. At least on Fridays, use ps. 66(67) as the invitatory especially if you say the Invitatory before Lauds; in the original Monastic Office (today now known as Schema “A”, currently the oldest known schema of the Divine Office, in continuous use since the 6th Century), Lauds every day consists of Ps. 66(67) chanted directly, and Ps. 50 chanted with antiphon, followed by the day’s psalmody.

  2. Use the Office of Readings as Vigils, and follow the rubric of the Monastic office which allows communities to use the LOTH if they have valid reasons, instead of a monastic schema (examples: very small community, ageing community, heavy apostolic workload), that suggests that they say Vigils over two weeks instead of 4; divide the psalmody into two nocturnes, using the psalms from weeks 1 & 3 together and 2 & 4, or 1 & 2 and 3 & 4, repeat every 2 weeks. To use the OOR as Vigils, pray it either the evening before (in monasteries that do this, it is done after Compline as it is “prayer during the night”), or very early in the AM before Lauds (I prefer the latter).

  3. Use the Vigils canticles and Gospel reading on Sundays, Feasts and Solemnities.

  4. Use the Gradual Psalms at the the two other daytime hours besides mid-day prayer;

  5. Use psalms 4, 90 and 133, the traditional Compline psalms, at Compline every day; you won’t be omitting psalms, as the regular Compline psalms in the LOTH are repeated at other hours.

1, 3, 4, 5 are all permitted options in the LOTH (see General Instructions); 2 is not in the General Instructions of the LOTH, but it is in the General Instructions of the Monastic LOTH for communities using the LOTH for valid reasons.

Here’s the rubric about the Martyrology, btw:

  1. On weekdays when an optional memorial is permitted, for a good reason the office of a saint listed on that day in the Roman Martyrology, or in an approved appendix to it, may be celebrated in the same way as other memorials (see nos. 234-239).

Said it before and I’ll say it again, the General Instruction is a treasure trove of options, and as you can see above, gems of hidden tradition.

FWIW I am praying Monastic schema B these days (same as my abbey); since I work at the abbey a day a week and pray the Office with them when I do, it keeps everything in sync. I’m retired, so 150 psalms a week is doable at least in winter when I don’t go out as much.


The only thing I am finding pertaining to the Sunday pslams is this:

  1. After evening prayer I of Sunday the psalmody consists of Ps 4 and Ps 134; after evening prayer II of Sunday it consists of Ps 91.

On the other days psalms are chosen that are full of confidence in the Lord; it is permissible to use the Sunday psalms instead, especially for the convenience of those who may wish to pray night prayer from memory.

So this means we have the option of combining Sunday I and II into one night prayer?


Yes. The Monastic Office, schema A or optional schema B, still valid, uses all three.

You can licitly do all three, or 4/133 or 90, or do 4/133 one week and 90 the alternate weeks as I have seen done.


The Anglican Breviary


That’s acceptable but only as a private devotion. The OP is looking for something that would be liturgical. The Anglican Breviary does not count as liturgical for a Catholic.


That assessment is correct! But I do appreciate the recommendation, OldCAFMember.


Great! I just did not see anything indicating that the two could be combined in the General Instruction, but I will take your word for it.

Also, looking at this:

  1. On weekdays when an optional memorial is permitted, for a good reason the office of a saint listed on that day in the Roman Martyrology, or in an approved appendix to it, may be celebrated in the same way as other memorials (see nos. 234-239). Blockquote

I noticed it does not mention ferias, only days when optional memorials are permitted. So are you sure that I could celebrate any saint the martyrology on a feria day?

Finally, some more questions keep coming up. Firstly, in terms of music, what it officially allowed? For example, if I were to chant the Liturgy in English in an adapted gregorian tone that I adapted, would it be officially liturgical? Or would this music setting need to be approved by the US bishops. Similar to that question, what is allowed when it comes to hymns? I recently ordered Hymnal for the Hours by Fr. Weber to supplement for the rather poor hymn choice in my Christian Prayer book. Would chanting one of these hymns based upon the traditional Latin hymns be considered a breaking of the rubrics?

Finally, I have heard that the UK edition of the office is just better than the US version, translation wise. Since I am a layman, and I am not bound to pray the office, would using this officially approved version of the Office make the prayer liturgical, even though it is not approved for use in the US for those bound to pray the Office?

Thank you so much for all your help! I have been googling many of these questions to no avail.


V[quote=“jesusalright4me, post:12, topic:534520”]
I noticed it does not mention ferias, only days when optional memorials are permitted. So are you sure that I could celebrate any saint the martyrology on a feria day?


The statement means that a saint in the martyrology can be celebrated on a day that is not interdicted by a mandatory memorial, a feast, a Sunday, a solemnity, or a priviged time like Lent and the last week of Advent. A day not blocked by the above are days where it is possible to celebrate an optional memorial, and by definition a saint not on the calendar is being treated as an optional memorial. That is, when you choose to celebrate it, that day is no longer a feria.

In short, that day is no longer a feria, but an optional memorial! Which is why the GI doesn’t say you can celebrate such a saint on a feria, as that is a contradiction in terms. If you celebrate a saint, you are celebrating a memorial (similarly if you elect to celebrate an optional memorial, it becomes simply a memorial).

Monastic joke: I have a great devotion to Saint Feria! (A way of saying monks like it when the liturgy is simple with familiar chants). We really love it when we can celebrate the Octave of St Feria! (A week with no mandatory memorials, feasts or solemnities).

I’ll get back to you on the other questions. I’m at the abbey and have to go up for Vespers shortly.


Octave of St. Feria :joy: And great! I look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks again!


To answer your other questions:

  1. Yes you can use adapted English Gregorian psalm tones. Have you checked out the Mundelein Psalter? That’s exactly what it is. I don’t think you need to have the setting approved for private recitation,

  2. For the hymns, I always use the Liber Hymnarius in Latin. I think the hymns should come from either the LOTH or an approved hymnal, so as to ensure that the hymn is in keeping with the season, saint, etc. But I don’t think you’d be outside the “rules” by using the Fr. Weber hymns. I understand that the next edition of the LOTH will do just that, English versions of the Latin, and I think the Mundelein psalter does the same if I’m not mistaken. I’ve seen English-speaking abbeys do likewise.

  3. I think you’re supposed to use the LOTH approved for your region, if only because the calendars will be in sync with the local feasts.


I have been praying the office for about 60 years now! I began with the four volume 3 nocturns daily matins - It was hard for me to get used to the LOTH - after about 3 decades I finally changed to the LOTH. and so I can pray the full office in half an hour - I also go to the Novus Ordo Mass - so I have fully the official Vatican II liturgy and have not problems now in adapting the offices. It’s a great relief to use the liturgy as it is now. - I use the LOTH in Latin, for which I have copied the entire Pian Psalter (that of Pius XII) which is the version I am used to.


As I priest I am not mandated to use a Latin Liturgy of the hours. For a variation I alterate between English, Italian, French, and Spanish. Since it is the official prayer of the Church, the more that people that pray it, the better. See the Constitution on the Dacred Liturgy 82=88.


Benedictine oblate here. I alternate between Latin and French (my mother tongue). Our abbey uses Latin for Lauds and Vespers, and French for the other hours except the hymn in Latin, and the Marian antiphon at Compline (and the responsory at Compline).

My main reason for liking to pray in Latin is Gregorian chant, as I am part of a schola and it keeps my voice “tuned” as it were. Plus it sounds nice. I like the mechanics of latin psalmody. It’s actually easier in Latin than in my mother tongue, French, which doesn’t lend itself well to Gregorian tones, though I have some workable ones from a monastery in Luxembourg.

I also alternate between the monastic psalter and the 4-week Liturgy of the Hours. In winter, I pray all 7 canonical hours. In summer, I only do mid-day prayer.


Very creative! Good for you! Will keep you and the abbey on my prayer list


In the immediate time preceding the Council, most of the laity did often participate in the Divine Office. I don’t know what the statistics are for this, but I think most people are in agreement on that. For that matter, it is also debatable how many clerics truly participated in the Office themselves, aside from rambling off the Hours to fulfill their obligation. However, the statement isn’t true for most of the history of the Church, in which the laity took part in the choral Office, as can still be attested to in the East for the most part.

In regards to the post-conciliar era, certainly the wish of the Council Fathers can hardly be said to have been fulfilled. Regardless of any private recitation, the public choral Office, its true form, has fallen off from the face of the Church’s liturgical map, more so than before the Second Vatican Council. This includes self-labelled “traditionalists” and their parishes, who often have no interest in even Sunday Vespers.

I can not agree that the Liturgy of the Hours is a gift to the Church, no more than Divino Afflatu was, as it is a massive rupture with the traditional cursus of psalms and the general structure of the Hours. In other words, the form of the Roman Office was abolished and something new put in its place. The Church managed to live with this ancient Office for 1400-1500 years, and no doubt the different forms of the Office before then were even longer, especially for monks. Aside from our modern sleeping patterns, we are no different than our ancestors who managed to get on with the old Office.

As you know, the Divine Office is the public prayer of the Church. There is no reason to radically alter its substance and essence to suit individual needs. I think what the new Office gets correct, then, is freeing up some obligations and allowing for more breathing room, aside from combining many Hours together. From what I understand, the Eastern Office allows for more leeway, at least in parochial settings.

Anyways, regardless of the form, I would love to see the Divine Office chanted more. It is truly a shame that the choral Office has been virtually abandoned outside of monasteries and convents.

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