Traditionalists and the Liturgy of the Hours

I’ve noticed a small, but genuine increase of interest in praying the Liturgy of the Hours amongst Catholics.

But what version should those of us with a traditional bent be using? The LOTH collections available in English in Catholic bookstores or what? Should we be looking on Ebay for older editions in Latin? And are there LOTH collections with parallel Latin and English so I can follow what I’m actually praying?

Right now I’m just using a shorter version of the Office from a book called “Shorter Christian Prayer.” I’ve thought about buying the $145-$160 or so LOTH I commonly see in Catholic bookstores, but am hesitating.

Is the Church about to change the text? Do traditional Catholics find this version flawed?

Please advise.

I’ve been looking into this myself. What i’ve decided is that I want to stay on the Vatican II calendar, but avoid the ICEL version of the LOTH since it tends to be a poor translation. Even the UK “Divine Office” is better. The problem is, the LOTH(ICEL) is the standard in this country. If you are looking to pray in common, anything that departs from the typical LOTH will rule out public prayer.

Nevertheless, I am starting a Latin study club with a local deacon and the director of my Schola Cantorum. During the learning process, I am going to be using this version of the LOTH, *Lauds and Vespers *(Amazon has the best price). It has the Latin and English side-by-side, but lacks the special feasts of saints, the commons, Night prayer, and Day prayer. I can see if I think it will be beneficial to incorporate this form of praying into my spirituality.

After I get used to the Latin, and after a couple of years of serious Latin study, I will go to the original Liturgia Horarum, the Latin Liturgy of the Hours that comes from the Vatican. I have tried it on my palm pilot for a while, and what I can gleam from it right now is wonderful. I can’t wait to think of what it will be like when I’ve gotten more Latin under my belt.

That’s my plan, anyway.

What’s ICEL?

I pray the (novus ordo, modern) “Divine Office”, simply because I am familiar with the older form and know it is a much harder burden. There are more Offices, they are harder, and more complex.

I have heard it said not to get the Angelus Press “Divine Office” as it is only a partial Latin-English version of the 1963 Breviarum Romanum, but I couldn’t help myself and ordered one. I am still waiting for it to arrive. I am looking forward to the Baronius Press bringing out a complete edition.

Despite saying that I pray the modern Office, if Baronius’ offering is really good, I may start to pray the older form. As with the Mass, it is less “lite” and feels solid and reverential. (I could pray the older form, but it is only an English translation I have, and a protestant one at that.)

Hipster Doofus: ICEL is the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

Ahh–but WHICH older form of the Divine Office? :stuck_out_tongue:

Unknown to many, there was a radical redistribution of the Psalter and restructuring of the Divine Office (especially in Matins) at the time of Pius XI.

Somehow, trads never seem to criticize this change. Are they even aware of it?

any Catholic, however they describe themselves, should pray and worship according to the established liturgical texts of the Church. if they have a problem with it, they need to get over it and direct their spiritual life and growth to true humility and obedience.

St. Pius X :wink: Pius XI did intend to continue the revision but was interrupted by world events. The Sectio Historica, which eh established, was only prominent after 1948 when Pius XII’s commission began its work.


Doing anything less, while it might be prayer, it is not the Liturgy of the Hours because it is not according to the texts set forth by the Church.

The traditional breviary would be something like the one on (warning as to the ownership) though there are certain modifications between the version there and the 1961 breviary used by the FSSP, ICRSS, etc. I’ve seen a couple of Latin-English editions that pop up on ebay but they are always expensive and snapped up.

As to the flaws, there are criticisms. Notably one is the criticism of the omission of the 3 imprecatory psalms and verses from the cursus (cf. GILH no 131). You might have noticed one example of this omission in Evening Prayer on Sundays- psalm 109/110 omits verse 6.

Some also are not endeared to the idea of the 4 week cursus as opposed to the former weekly one. Then also reduced psalms, on Sundays and major feasts, fewer lessons from the Fathers, and other things, big and small, and numerous responsories. In some cases, the connection with the Mass was very prominent- like a Gospel Homily on the days Gospel. Some people don’t appreciate the idea that the lives of the Saints were consigned to the small notes under each saint in the Liturgia Horarum.

One thing I personally regret the loss of, are the distinctions of the Office of the Dead- the omission of the versicles, saying “Eternal rest grant unto them…” at the end of the psalm, and things like that. Also the loss of the distinctive Office of the Holy Week particularly the Triduum- they are no longer that different from other Offices in the ear. These small differences did highlight particular times in the Liturgical Year and curiously, were quite apt in matching the “mood” at that time (at least, tats what I felt).

<<Then also reduced psalms, on Sundays and major feasts, fewer lessons from the Fathers, and other things, big and small, and numerous responsories. In some cases, the connection with the Mass was very prominent- like a Gospel Homily on the days Gospel. Some people don’t appreciate the idea that the lives of the Saints were consigned to the small notes under each saint in the Liturgia Horarum.>>

One of the complaints made by some traditionalists is that the present Roman LOH has fewer lessons, both Scriptural and Patristic.

Technically, this is so. OTOH, most of the lessons, especially at the Office of Readins, are longer than in the old RB.

As far as the Holy Week offices having the same form as the rest of the year, it might have been felt that having a consistent, unchanging format was more conducive to prayer, especially in this holy season, i/o the peculiarities the older Office showed, especially in the Triduum.

I use a four volume set available Catholic publishing company.

Pius X. (No connection with the SSPX – the version approved under his Pontificate.)

If you want to pray it as liturgy, the modern form, whether the US, UK or Latin, is the way to go. With his motu proprio, Pope Benedict has now also allowed the older 1962 form to be used as liturgy. Older forms should be avoided, just as the motu proprio was for the 1962 Missal, not older forms of the Mass.


I agree. That is why I choose to go with one of the approved versions of the LOTH (UK or Latin) in my personal devotions. While I feel the translations in the US version are weak, I accept them as the standard in this country for communal celebrations or for those who are bound to its recitation (priests, bishops, religious). Criticizing the approved translations are, in no way, the same as criticizing Church authority. There is something to be said for scholarship in translating, and just because the Vatican gives its stamp of approval doesn’t mean that the translations are immaculate and un-improvable (I think you would agree with this).

I think that a real appeal should be made for a better translation of the LOTH for use in this country - especially since more and more people are using it. I think the reforms of the Council did much to clear up the accretions, abuses, and complexities of the Divine Office. However, I think that Christ’s faithful in this country deserve a better translation than what we have.

That notwithstanding, it has been made clear that the older liturgical texts were not abrogated, and now the Holy Father has allowed the use of those of 1962. There is still therefore room for the ‘old’ and ‘new’ - but, I agree with others, in that even older texts should not be used or encouraged.

Inasmuch as the Divine Office is only required for religious, the prayer of the Divine Office by laity is therefore a private devotion. Consequently, I would respectfully suggest that the laity may pray any edition they so desire. Of course, that would make praying the Divine Office with others difficult, at best, but there are no consequences for the faithful who may opt to pray any older edition.

Okay, now I’m more confused than ever.

I found even the book “Shorter Christian Prayer” took awhile to get the hang of, and the LOTH seems ***very ***complicated. I’m not saying that that would put me off it, but those of you who have used a lot of technical jargon in this thread have confused me, rather than served to answer my questions.

So I’m still at Square One, not knowing which version to get or how to use it once I do. If, say, I bought an older version of the LOTH online, where would I find a guide for using it?:confused:

There is a version of the pre reformed (traditional) Benedictine Breivary avalible at this site
in Latin and English, has all the offices except matins I think. Also Baronious press is in the process of releasing a 1962 Breviary set. Personally I use the Shorter Christian prayer because its 1. cheap 2. what my apartment mates use.

There are books to learn the breviary like “Learning the new breviary” The 1961 breviary is different from the LOTH in structure- fortunately, it is not as far removed as the earlier editions. It may take some time, but I think once you get used to it, you’ll be able to pray it like a pro. It also has one extra ‘hour’ - Prime which is between Lauds (what is now called Morning Prayer) and Terce (the first of Daytime prayer)

Perhaps you have a Traditional community near you, where someone (like the priest) may be able to assist you?

Well, there is a TLM at our Cathedral Sunday afternoons. It’s said to be part of a community, but I’ve been unable to find out anything about the “community,” even after asking members. All I’ve been able to put together is it’s a group of people who like the TLM and have attended it in various churches in the city.

Our priest is a brilliant man, but getting up there in years and hard of hearing. He’s always on the move–arriving to hear confessions, then going straight into mass, then leaving after that.

I keep hearing good things about the offerings from Baronius Press. I hear that new missal will be the ultimate in Latin-English missals.

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