Now we get into the Council’s revision of the Liturgy of the Hours. It was another decade before the promulgation of the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours, so draw your own conclusions from the slightly longer timetable than the Mass.
Therefore, when the office is revised, these norms are to be observed:
a) By the venerable tradition of the universal Church, Lauds as morning prayer and Vespers as evening prayer are the two hinges on which the daily office turns; hence they are to be considered as the chief hours and are to be celebrated as such.
b) Compline is to be drawn up so that it will be a suitable prayer for the end of the day.
c) The hour known as Matins, although it should retain the character of nocturnal praise when celebrated in choir, shall be adapted so that it may be recited at any hour of the day; it shall be made up of fewer psalms and longer readings.
d) The hour of Prime is to be suppressed.
e) In choir the hours of Terce, Sext, and None are to be observed. But outside choir it will be lawful to select any one of these three, according to the respective time of the day.
What does this mean? Lauds and Vespers are given the most effort. For communities that pray the Office in whole, these celebrations are to stand out above the others. For communities (like parishes) that praysome of the Office, these are to be chosen for celebration, generally above other considerations.
I don’t know what Compline was like before Vatican II. I find it a very suitable prayer for the end of the day, both as a communal experience and when I pray it on my own.
The Matins reform seems sensible to me. I never pray it outside of a monastery, so perhaps our commentariat might weigh in with their sense of it.
Those other hours mentioned in d) and e) designate the ancient numbering of the hours of the day: the first, third, sixth, and ninth hour after sunrise. Any problems with the suppression of Prime? Or other comments, perhaps?