GILH 30-32: Mandate 3

Let’s wrap up the GILH’s approach to requirement:

30. It is most fitting that permanent deacons recite daily at least some part of the liturgy of the hours, to be determined by the conference of bishops. [See Paul VI, Motu Proprio Sacram Diaconatus Ordinem, 18 June 1967, no. 27.]

In the US, the USCCB determines what the deacons must pray.

31. a. Cathedral and collegiate chapters should celebrate in choir those parts of the liturgy of the hours that are prescribed for them by the general law or by particular law.

In private recitation individual members of these chapters should include those hours that are recited in their chapter, in addition to the hours prescribed for all sacred ministers. [See Inter Oecumenici 78b.]

Each religious order sets the tone for its own members:

b. Religious communities bound to the recitation of the liturgy of the hours and their individual members should celebrate the hours in keeping with their own particular law; but the prescription of no. 29 in regard to those in holy orders is to be respected.

Communities bound to choir should celebrate the whole sequence of the hours daily in choir; [See SC 95.] when absent from choir their members should recite the hours in keeping with their own particular law; but the prescriptions in no. 29 are always to be respected.

32. Other religious communities and their individual members are advised to celebrate some parts of the liturgy of the hours, in accordance with their own situation, for it is the prayer of the Church and makes the whole Church, scattered throughout the world, one in heart and mind. [See Acts 4:32.] This recommendation applies also to laypersons. [See SC 100.]


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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7 Responses to GILH 30-32: Mandate 3

  1. Dustin says:

    Many thanks for this series. At the beginning of your commentary for the LOH, you said, “I would rank it . . . as one of the great post-conciliar disappointments.” Liam offered his own opinion on the matter, and I’d like to ask you to elaborate on this further. What are your reasons for thinking this?

  2. Anne says:

    It simply never caught on with the laity. My experience, with 3 different pastors was, in a sense, doubt and pessimism. They didn’t believe the average Catholic was interested in learning to pray the hours, nor would they come if it was offered at the parish such as at Evening Prayer. I found this frustrating but probably true when I polled some people in this area.

  3. Todd says:

    Anne pretty much nails it. I think that the LH could have been developed with a variety of forms for easier use in homes, parishes, and in serious lay communities.

    I’ve had the 1500+ page book Christian Prayer for almost 25 years, and I think that’s way too much for a novice lay person to tackle on her or his own unless they’re a liturgy geek.

    I also think that bishops could take more lead on this, promoting this liturgy over and above Eucharistic processions, and other devotions. Dioceses too, could employ it instead of word services as official prayer to lead off diocesan or regional events.

  4. During the course of the afternoon, I’ve been exchanging emails with the other founding members of our nascent parish Liturgy of the Hours group, so I guess we’ll have to see how things hold up over the months and years to some.

    The immediate reaction I’ve been getting from a lot of people is, “It seems really interesting” or “A priest told me it was a very beautiful set of prayers” but always followed by, “I tried to figure it out and it’s just so complex.”

    Now, as I’ve been reading through a PDF of a 1908 English translation of the Office, my unspoken reaction is, “You ain’t seen nothin!” But I do think that for many people (especially those who don’t get a kick out of doing research and figuring things out on their own) there’s too much of a barrier to entry.

    In this sense, online sites like Universalis are a great help for private use by the laity, and the Shorter Christian Prayer is also a great resource. (That’s what we’ll be using in our group for reasons of simplicity and cost.)

    In this sense, it strikes me that the reforms after the council didn’t really address the main obstacle that the laity face. The four week cycle makes the longer hours much easier to handle for the religious who have to say the Hours ever day, but I think that a single week cycle with a much simplified system of feasts and propers would have been a much greater benefit for the laity. The four weeks just add to the confusion for the average lay person, who’s probably not likely to say more than one of the major hours each day.

    But, noboby asked me (actually, I wasn’t born yet at the time) and no matter how it’s configured, the material of the Hours is so rich that it’s a treasure no matter how its used.

  5. Liam says:

    Darwin, you took the words right out of my fingers in your penultimate paragraphs. The simplification for clerics and religious actually made it more complex for the laity.

  6. FrMichael says:

    I would take the apparent success of Magnificat magazine as a sign that a simplified LOH could have appeal to the laity at large.

  7. Rob F. says:

    Someone told me that before the reform, the Little Offices were quite popular. The new shorter hours of the reformed LOTH owes much to these Little Offices. I think that there was a hope that the new LOTH would be short and simple enough to replace the Little Offices. That did not happen. The Little Offices are (almost) gone, but they have not been replaced. Perhaps they could make a comeback?

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