US priests' obligation to pray the LotH


#1

Hello all,

What is the extent of the obligation of American priests to pray the Liturgy of the Hours? My impression is that they are required to pray five hours (Office of Readings, Morning/Evening/Night and one of the three sets of Daytime Prayers) under pain of mortal sin, but I'm unsure.

Best,

sw85


#2

This is exactly my impression too, though I also am unsure. I guess that’s not much help to you. :rolleyes:


#3

Under pain of mortal sin?

So if they miss daytime prayer they commit a mortal sin?

This is what the USCCB says:old.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/022002.shtml

Question #2: Is the obligation sub gravi extended to the entire recitation of the Divine Office?

Response: The following must be kept in mind:

A serious reason, be it of health, or of pastoral service in ministry, or of an act of charity, or of fatigue, not a simple inconvenience, may excuse the partial recitation and even the entire Divine Office, according to the general principal that establishes that a mere ecclesiastical law does not bind when a serious inconvenience is present;

The total or partial omission of the Office due to laziness alone or due to the performance of activities of unnecessary diversion, is not licit, and even more so, constitutes an underestimation, according to the gravity of the matter, of the ministerial office and of the positive law of the Church;

To omit the Hours of Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers) requires a greater reason still, given that these Hours are the "double hinge of the daily Office" (SC 89);

If a priest must celebrate Mass several times on the same day or hear confessions for several hours or preach several times on the same day, and this causes him fatigue, he may consider, with tranquility of conscience, that he has a legitimate excuse for omitting a proportionate part of the Office;

The proper Ordinary of the priest or deacon can, for a just or serious reason, according to the case, dispense him totally or partially from the recitation of the Divine Office, or commute it to another act of piety (as, for example, the Holy Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, a biblical or spiritual reading, a time of mental prayer reasonably prolonged, etc.).


#4

Well, hopefully any forthcoming answer will benefit us both!

Thank you for this triumphguy. It seems to be that it’s grave matter, but that it can be excused for any of a variety of reasons.

So that leaves me with that last question: are they obligated to pray all seven hours, or just five (taking their choice from one of the three sets of daytime prayers)?


#5

I hope this clears some things up.

From the General Instructions on the Liturgy of the Hours.

From the section: Chapter I-IV. Participants in the Liturgy of the Hours under the subheading: Mandate to Celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours

  1. Hence bishops, priests, and other sacred ministers, who have received from the Church the mandate to celebrate the liturgy of the hours (see no. 17), should recite the full sequence of hours each day, observing as far as possible the true time of day.

They should, first and foremost, attach due importance to those hours that are, so to speak, the two hinges of the liturgy of the hours, that is, morning prayer and evening prayer, which should not be omitted except for a serious reason.

They should faithfully pray the office of readings, which is above all a liturgical celebration of the word of God. In this way they fulfill daily a duty that is peculiarly their own, that is, of receiving the word of God into their lives, so that they may become more perfect as disciples of the Lord and experience more deeply the unfathomable riches of Christ.

In order to sanctify the whole day more completely, they will also treasure the recitation of daytime prayer and night prayer, to round off the whole Opus Dei and to commend themselves to God before retiring.

But this is qualified under this section: Chapter II-V. Daytime Hours

  1. Vatican Council II decreed that these lesser hours are to be retained in choir.

The liturgical practice of saying these three hours is to be retained, without prejudice to particular law, by those who live the contemplative life. It is recommended also for all, especially those who take part in retreats or pastoral meetings.

  1. Outside choir, without prejudice to particular law, it is permitted to choose from the three hours the one most appropriate to the time of day, so that the tradition of prayer in the course of the day's work may be maintained.

So for secular priests they only need to pray one of the Daytime Hours so that makes 5 Hours they should be praying when able.


#6

[quote="sw85, post:4, topic:289248"]
Well, hopefully any forthcoming answer will benefit us both!

Thank you for this triumphguy. It seems to be that it's grave matter, but that it can be excused for any of a variety of reasons.

So that leaves me with that last question: are they obligated to pray all seven hours, or just five (taking their choice from one of the three sets of daytime prayers)?

[/quote]

I'm getting back up to speed on this since I now "have" (diocesan requirements) to pray morning and evening prayer during formation for the diaconate. My wife is "strongly advised" to do so also.

Quite telling though is the list of those lay people who are also recommended to pray the office. The list include religious ed people, school principals, church workers of various stripes etc.

I've got a new job next September as a high school teacher/chaplain and I'm going to start daytime prayer in the chapel at lunchtime. I'm hoping some teachers and admin come.

The Office somewhat addictive once you get "into" it.:thumbsup:


#7

[quote="ByzCath, post:5, topic:289248"]
I hope this clears some things up.

From the General Instructions on the Liturgy of the Hours.

From the section: Chapter I-IV. Participants in the Liturgy of the Hours under the subheading: Mandate to Celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours

  1. Hence bishops, priests, and other sacred ministers, who have received from the Church the mandate to celebrate the liturgy of the hours (see no. 17), should recite the full sequence of hours each day, observing as far as possible the true time of day.

They should, first and foremost, attach due importance to those hours that are, so to speak, the two hinges of the liturgy of the hours, that is, morning prayer and evening prayer, which should not be omitted except for a serious reason.

They should faithfully pray the office of readings, which is above all a liturgical celebration of the word of God. In this way they fulfill daily a duty that is peculiarly their own, that is, of receiving the word of God into their lives, so that they may become more perfect as disciples of the Lord and experience more deeply the unfathomable riches of Christ.

In order to sanctify the whole day more completely, they will also treasure the recitation of daytime prayer and night prayer, to round off the whole Opus Dei and to commend themselves to God before retiring.

But this is qualified under this section: Chapter II-V. Daytime Hours

  1. Vatican Council II decreed that these lesser hours are to be retained in choir.

The liturgical practice of saying these three hours is to be retained, without prejudice to particular law, by those who live the contemplative life. It is recommended also for all, especially those who take part in retreats or pastoral meetings.

  1. Outside choir, without prejudice to particular law, it is permitted to choose from the three hours the one most appropriate to the time of day, so that the tradition of prayer in the course of the day's work may be maintained.

So for secular priests they only need to pray one of the Daytime Hours so that makes 5 Hours they should be praying when able.

[/quote]

Br. David, this is perfect. Thank you!


#8

[quote="triumphguy, post:6, topic:289248"]
I'm getting back up to speed on this since I now "have" (diocesan requirements) to pray morning and evening prayer during formation for the diaconate. My wife is "strongly advised" to do so also.

Quite telling though is the list of those lay people who are also recommended to pray the office. The list include religious ed people, school principals, church workers of various stripes etc.

I've got a new job next September as a high school teacher/chaplain and I'm going to start daytime prayer in the chapel at lunchtime. I'm hoping some teachers and admin come.

The Office somewhat addictive once you get "into" it.:thumbsup:

[/quote]

Is the requirment to pray the office while in formation something for just your diocese?

Is this from the Bishop or the formation office?

Just curious.

-Tim-


#9

Tim,
In my diocese, it’s actually on the vocations website as one of those “if your diserning the priesthood/deaconate and don’t already do this, start…” items for those questioning a vocation.
My friends who were just ordained permanant deacons were/are required to do Morning & Evening prayer, either LOTH or the shorter version (Book of Christian Prayer?). Their wives were encouraged to do so also.


#10

[quote="TimothyH, post:8, topic:289248"]
Is the requirment to pray the office while in formation something for just your diocese?

Is this from the Bishop or the formation office?

Just curious.

-Tim-

[/quote]

It's from the formation office, but as has been made very clear, everything they say has the seal of approval from the Bishop.

[quote="Oneofthewomen, post:9, topic:289248"]
Tim,
In my diocese, it's actually on the vocations website as one of those "if your diserning the priesthood/deaconate and don't already do this, start..." items for those questioning a vocation.
My friends who were just ordained permanant deacons were/are required to do Morning & Evening prayer, either LOTH or the shorter version (Book of Christian Prayer?). Their wives were encouraged to do so also.

[/quote]

They are very similar - the only real difference is daytime prayer (which we are encouraged, not required to do) and the Office of Readings - the morning and evening prayer are the same in both versions.


#11

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