Varietates Legitimae 61: Liturgy of the Hours


61. The Liturgy of the Hours has as its goal the praise of God and the sanctification by prayer of the day and all human activity. Episcopal conferences can make adaptations in the second reading of the office of readings, hymns and intercessions and in the final Marian antiphons. (GILH 92, 162, 178, 184)

The Liturgy of the Hours has not made many inroads in non-mission lands. The sanctification of both time and human activity is a very noble one. However, if the Hours are ever to take root in the religious imagination and practice of the laity, a more far-reaching inculturation is needed. A monastic tradition–a very worthy one–will have to be overhauled before we see this kind of spirituality take root among committed Christians, let alone a religious minority in a mission situation.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Varietates Legitimae 61: Liturgy of the Hours

  1. James Ignatius McAuley says:


    AS I am sure you are aware, in the 1940 through the 1960’s St. John’s Abbey (Father Ruff land) as a leader in this field. They set up for Lay people a superb system on daily sanctification through their incomparable Short Breviary’s. The anecdotal evidence I have gathered shows that these breviaries where at one time widely used by the laity throughout the midwest and around New York and Boston, as well as where there were monasteries. I do believe some of the problem lay in the fact that the Bishops, lead by Bernardin, suppressed the 4th ed. of the Short Breviary in 1975. When you compare this volume to the one volume Christian Prayer, it is hands down that the Short Breviary is a better book (and a better translation, per Father Ruff) of the LOTH. An easy one volume Breviary make the sanctification of the days hours easier. Christian Prayer, in my opinion, is not that. It turned me off in the 1980s and 1990s. Father Peter Scagnelli introduced me to the 1975 Short Breviary — I will often use this for a four week cycle in the summer months. While I do not agree with all of Father Anthony’s opinions (or approach to) the new translation, it is too bad he was not there 35+ years ago to raise cain over this great injustice, which I daresay caused damage to the Church. When the Breviary was suppressed, the heart went out of the Abbey’s efforts in these matters.

    Happy feast of St. Irenaeus!

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