Tres Abhinc Annos: Variations on the Divine Office (19-22)


Tres Abhinc Annos has some things to say about the Liturgy of the Hours in Chapter V:

19. Pending complete reform of the divine office, on days of class I and class II with a matins of three nocturns, recitation of any one nocturn with three psalms and three readings is permitted. The hymn Te Deum, when called for by the rubrics, comes after the third reading. In the last three days of Holy Week the pertinent rubrics of the Roman Breviary are to be followed.

20. Private recitation leaves out the absolution and blessing before the readings as well as the concluding Tu autem.

Let’s note that even in 1967, the possibility of the laity participating in a public celebration of the Hours was getting some attention:

21. In lauds and vespers celebrated with a congregation, in place of the capitulum there can be a longer reading from Scripture, taken, for example, from matins or from the Mass of the day, or from a weekday lectionary, and, as circumstances suggest, a brief homily. Unless Mass immediately follows, general intercessions may be inserted before the prayer.

When there are such insertions, there need only be three psalms, chosen in this way: at lauds one of the first three, then the canticle, then the final psalm; at vespers any three of the five psalms.

22. At compline celebrated with a congregation participating the psalms can always be those of Sunday.

This has all been uprooted by the “complete reform” mentioned in section 19, but it is instructive to see that the Consilium was on the right track with this.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Tres Abhinc Annos: Variations on the Divine Office (19-22)

  1. Gavin says:

    I’d like to see your thoughts at some point on the failures with regard to the Office. Especially any suggestions in remedying the lack of public recitation.

    As for me, I led my choir in Compline for the Ascension, and next year I’d like to make a habit out of that for feast days. I’ve also been considering a very abridged Terce for before Mass or something.

    The neat thing about public recitation of the Hours, as I see it, is that it really can be a “bottom-up” thing. You can just say to a few parishoners “meet me at the church on X day at Y time every week and we’ll pray together.” Or you could ask the priest to join you. This really is one issue where you can’t ask “is my priest/bishop bad at promoting this?” but rather “what can I do to implement this?”

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