• VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 370
    What changes would you make to the OF or EF Divine Office (or both) to make it better? No matter how big or small, I want to hear it. What would you add from either Office to the other? What about from other rites?
    Thanked by 2GerardH Olivier
  • Well?
    There is Evensong as a model.
    HF Benedict really likes it.
    (Half purple.)
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Vilyanor
  • Vilyanor,

    I wouldn't make changes to the OF Liturgy of the Hours. It's not my call, but I would abolish it.

    Thanked by 2tomjaw Vilyanor
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,575
    A book (ONE) for each hour, with clear rubrics, layout, and ALL antiphons notated. I am a great fan of Fr Weber’s book for Compline for this very reason.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 82
    Taking OF as the current status quo, but looking at what would bring it back in line with the much more ancient traditions and practices in the office

    • Continuous psalmody. That's a big loss in the OF.
    • A restoration of Matins, with one or three nocturnes of three psalms and three readings.
    • Prime I guess. Not so attached to that.

    My thoughts on this tend to be fairly influenced by Dobszay. His book is available for download on the CMAA site, yes?
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Vilyanor
  • GerardH
    Posts: 82
    • Perhaps an option to use the old forms of Terce, Sext and None. With just one fixed psalm each, the three hours could easily implemented and memorised in schools.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor Kathy
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,523
    I would abolish the made up O.F. especially as they have not finished making the books to allow it to be sung.

    As for the EF can we have votive offices back?
  • GerardH
    Posts: 82
    This all raises interesting questions, I think. To be honest, if I was tasked with creating (or organically developing) an ideal office, I'd probably restart with the office in its variants found before the council into antiquity. However, I think there are valuable lessons to be learnt from the Liturgia Horarum which should inform such a creation.

    There are negative lessons.
    • The baffling decision to include antiphon texts which have no melody in the Gregorian repertory should absolutely be reversed - that went entirely against one of the directives of the Council itself. The office must be designed to be sung. Breviaries are a reduction of the norm, not the standard from which to build. The new office effectively destroyed the public celebration of the hours everywhere but in religious houses and a few cathedrals.
    • As I stated before, continuous psalmody was a big loss. The psalter has an ebb and flow of its own.
    • The four-week psalter is confusing to navigate for someone starting out on celebrating the office. Prohibitive even.

    But there are positive lessons too.
    • There seems to have been quite a rise in laypeople celebrating the (read) office on their own, facilitated in part by apps such as Universalis (taking the confusion out of the four-week psalter), but arguably also in part by the reduced load of the office - fewer psalms, fewer mandatory hours.
    • One psalm at Compline seems to be plenty. In my experience, this is a very popular hour amongst the laity.
    • ...
    • Okay, I'm having trouble thinking of more positives. Moving on.

    For most of the history of the Roman Rite, at least two versions of the Divine Office coexisted without conflict (I'm a little hazy on these details, feel free to correct me). The Monastic and the Cathedral offices were both of the same Rite, but different forms suited to their different uses. This seems largely to have been due to the requirement for all 150 psalms to be sung every week in the Rule of St Benedict. From what I recall, the reformers creating the modern office hoped that their office would be adapted universally, so that the entire Roman church would celebrate according to the one form. However, it still failed in this regard, as the Benedictines naturally insisted on a one-week psalter, and have adjusted the new office accordingly.

    My point is this: embrace having diverse forms in an office. To the Monastics their 150 psalms. To the Cathedral Office a reduced Matins. How about a Parish Office? Make concessions that enable or encourage the public celebration of the hours. Heck, to the layperson an option to reduce the number of psalms. People in different vocations have different capabilites. If the office is too much of a load, only those obligated to will celebrate it. If it is too little, the transcendental contemplation of the monastics would be jeapardised.

    We can decry the new office until the cows come home, but don't ignore the positives amongst the myriad of imperfections.

    I'm not sure where my train of thought was heading at the start. Sorry for rambling ;p
  • I’d do pre-DA, but only 1st/2nd/greater doubles would have feast/common psalms so more of the entire psalter would be prayed weekly.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • I'm an Episcopalian so possibly biased, but I think one of the great Anglican ideas has been to make the Office accessible and do-able. What the various versions of the Book of Common Prayer Office offer: (1) a complete psalter with all the psalms in order, so the people can pray the psalms according to any agreed psalm distribution, from one common text designed for reciting or chanting; (2) a huge reduction in complexity and page-flipping (at the cost, I know, of antiphons and responsories); and (3) a bit of modularity, so it's easy to have a simple form for ordinary weekdays and a fuller form for festive occasions. Robert Taft in his magisterial tome on the LotH in East and West lauded the Anglican Office for keeping the tradition going. As it stands, it's used at every level from individuals to parishes to monasteries (although of course not 100% of Episcopalians pray it, but our parish does, morning and evening, every day, according to the BCP's 7-week psalm schedule...about 15-17 minutes is how long it takes to pray an office without music). It also already has some Roman Catholic official approbation via the Ordinariate.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,467
    If the office is too much of a load, only those obligated to will celebrate it. If it is too little, the transcendental contemplation of the monastics would be jeapardised.
    One size cannot possibly fit all from contemplative to PIP. But Cranmer did a pretty good job of devising something useful as a Parish Office.
  • An ideal office? It would include a large desk, a comfortable tufted leather chair, lots of storage for music, good lighting, some tasteful decor, soundproofing, and a comfortable distance away from Susan from Parish Council's office.

    Oh wait, that's not what you were asking, is it?

    Carry on.
  • If I have to accept that abolition of the LOTH is not possible, I would, instead

    1) Restore Prime, with its "Pretiosa in conspectu Domini... Mors Sanctorum Ejus". Bugnini wanted to suppress Prime, so this is supreme justification for putting it back, whole and entire.
    2) Change the office currently called Office of Readings (because in Matins the Lectio are part of the worship of God by the Church, not merely "readings").
    3) Find an actually beautiful English form, if the vernacular must be used, rather than the banal version currently in use.
    4) Restore the one-week cycle.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,575
    Is there any news about the translation currently in use for the OF? I was flipping through my copy of Shorter Christian Prayer earlier this week and found some phrases ... less than desirable.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,463
    I'd take the Divine Office, pre-1955, as a base. Add short responsories after the chapters at Lauds and Vespers as in Monastic use. Restore the Hymns to what they were before Pope Urban mangled them. Include the Officium Parvum de BVM in the Breviaries. Restore all the old Suffrages and Commemoration. (I would also restore multiple orations to the Mass, whether said, sung, or solemn, too.)
  • The Obligation mangles the liturgy when reform-time comes.

    I would graduate the obligation to pray the Office:
    -Religious, full office, preferably in choir, depending on the community life
    -Secular Clergy, major hours and a daytime hour (as present)
    -All else, optional

    Then, revisit the postconciliar reforms on that basis. Don't abbreviate the Office on the basis of what is burdensome for secular clergy praying a breviary -- instead, reduce their obligation.

    Make and publish comprehensive books accessible to laity. No specialist training needed to use them.

    English office hymns need to be in rhyming translation. Very unhappy with the choice otherwise recently made. They're meant to rhyme. Latin office hymns, pre-Urban, of course.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 195
    The Office, with all its official music, and all its translations, really needs to be unambiguously in the public domain, and available in affordable editions.

    For better or for worse, most laypeople don’t have the Latin chops to pray the Office, so they either have to use a website with an unofficial translation of the Office, which would not fulfill the obligation of a priest or religious, pay for a subscription to eBreviary, or shell out quite a lot for a printed book or books.

    For example – my parish does not have the money to buy the Mundelein Psalter in sufficient quantities for a communal celebration of the LOTH. Therefore, the few occasions each year when we celebrate Vespers always involve a brain-bending period of preparation, tracking down what (Latin) antiphons I need from public-domain sources for the Schola, pointing (English) psalms for the people (who sing them most joyfully), and assembling booklets, fearing the whole time that I’ve misunderstood who owns what, and whether ICEL might throw me in prison. I am FT and salaried, so I can do this – but the work needed to prep this very simple music puts it completely out of reach for the majority of parishes with PT musicians.

    My lay friends and I could simply huddle and read the English side of Divinum Officium, but if there is to be Benediction or preaching, the form of the service needs to fulfill the obligation of its leader, or else he’ll have to say it all over again.

    Compare this with the situation in the Episcopal Church, in which every parish in the country has a book for each worshiper with all the texts needed for Morning and Evening Prayer, save a Bible, which costs $1 at Dollar Tree. One can also go to any of several websites and access the full, official text of the Prayer Book for free.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,575
    The Divine Office app (FREE) seems incredibly useful. The only real “problem” I see is that you’re limited to 3 calendar weeks for viewing (current date and a couple weeks going forward), which is only a problem for those who might be planning for the future with celebrations as described above. You wouldn’t be able to use it to prepare for Advent quite yet, for example, but by the 31st Sunday OT you’d see Advent I available by scrolling the little calendar at the bottom.

    Screenshots attached.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor CHGiffen
  • OlivierOlivier
    Posts: 55
    Not so much a change to the office (L.O.T.H.), as changes to the printed options and to the division of the office into the books which contain it, thus:
    *Restoration of the old hymns, which is supposedly already in the works for the coming edition (hooray)
    *Sequestering the Office of Readings into its own book(s), so that instead of four seasonal volumes there would be one "Christian Prayer" book plus book(s) for OOR--as in the 1980s Pauline edition. But with these two differences:
    (1)Completion and Inclusion of a biennial lectionary (maybe Pluscarden Abbey's for English language editions?)
    (2)Inclusion of Gospel readings and accompanying patristic homilies for use with "extended vigils"/"third nocturns".
    All this would require no more than, and possibly even fewer than, the four office books to which US Catholics are already accustomed. The chief comparative disadvantage would be needing two of those books on any given day, instead of just one.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor jsigur
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 270
    Sequestering the Office of Readings into its own book(s), so that instead of four seasonal volumes there would be one "Christian Prayer" book plus book(s) for OOR--as in the 1980s Pauline edition.

    This is a very interesting suggestion.

    I'd also like to see the psalms formatted in a way that would facilitate chanting using ordinary psalm tones.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 82
    I'd also like to see the psalms formatted in a way that would facilitate chanting using ordinary psalm tones.

    The issue with this is that no one can decide what an "ordinary" psalm tone is.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,848
    The Office of Readings actually was published in a one-volume edition by the Daughters of St Paul once upon a time.
  • I'm thinking fcb might have meant two-part psalm tones, such as Gregorian tones. The edition of the LotH used in the UK has the psalms pointed not only for Gelineau tones (several accents per line) but also for Gregorian tones (asterisk marking the mid-verse). Why American editions of the Grail Psalter never include the mid-verse pointing is beyond me.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor fcb
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 370
    Thank you everyone for the input, keep it coming!

    Here are some of my own ideas, basically starting from the pre-conciliar office, let me know if you like it or hate it:
    1. Slight reordering of the ferial vespers psalms to better fit the days of creation theme of the hymns, as well as moving psalm 140 to its primordial place in First Vespers of Sunday. Second Vespers of Sunday would remain the same. The pool would be restricted to the traditional cursus of psalms 109-144.
    2. Adding the option for a prolix response (or a shorter one) at First Vespers of Sunday and feasts (as in Sarum and the Dominican Rite).
    3. Maybe adding some of the New Testament canticles from the OF office into Vespers, solely for the season of Easter, to replace the last psalm of the office. I'm somewhat of the opinion that if you don't get to sing the Tonus Peregrinus anyways, you might as well sub something in for Psalm 113.
    4. Cursus of collects for the ferias of the major offices.
    Thanked by 1jsigur
  • Vilyanor,

    While I like canticles, I recoil at the idea of importing anything whatsoever from the OF office.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor tomjaw
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 370
    Maybe we'll take the colonial approach and say we discovered it. Or maybe Edison's approach and say we invented it…
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Olivier
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 66
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,463
    If you take the Vespers from the Traditional Monastic office (as in the 1934 Ant. Monasticum) as the basis, then you have only 4 psalms at Vespers, in cursus, then you have room to add the N.T. canticle, to have five 'Psalms' as in the traditional Roman office.
    Thanked by 1Vilyanor
  • jsigur
    Posts: 12
    *Restoration of the old hymns, which is supposedly already in the works for the coming edition (hooray)

    Olivier, what is your source on this? I would love it if this were true. Hymns edited à la Antiphonale Monasticum Pragliense.

    Also I agree with all of your other points 100%.
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 147
    As I chant the LOTH daily as a busy layperson, I would leave its length as is. I use the Office of Readings as Matins anyway, with two nocturnes as specified in Notitiae 89, at least when I have time. When pressed, I will combine it with Lauds or read it silently the previous evening.

    What really irritates me is Vespers, especially in Week III where the mid-day Office feels like a major hour and Vesperettes like a minor hour, with the Gradual Psalms. I would eliminate the NT canticle. They don't chant well in any case, they are nowhere near as poetic as the psalms. Sorry, but those canticles were written as prose, and calling prose a poem does not turn prose in to a poem.

    After eliminating that, I would put a third psalm at Vespers, and would restore the Gradual psalms of week III to their proper place in the little hours.

    I would not restore Prime. It's redundant. Monastics love the opening up of the morning a bit more to allow more time for lectio, which works better early in the morning. Matins, Lauds and Prime make for too busy a morning.

    Other than Vesperettes, I think the LOTH is fine for secular clergy and the laity. It allows me to pray the whole psalter (minus the ones omitted anyway), which I could not do with the pre-Conciliar Roman Office, much less the "full monastic". The options in the LOTH, such as two-nocturne Office of Readings and complementary psalter allow those with more time to flesh out the Office, and those too busy to keep it light.

    Oh and one last thing, I'd restore, at least ad libitum, the imprecatory psalms and verses. And I would make the psalms reserved for Advent, Xmas, Lent, Easter, etc. (77, 104 etc) year-round. The psalms they would replace are already repeated elsewhere in the Office in any case.

    But even as-is, I can live with the LOTH, Fantasy Office notwithstanding.

    Thanked by 1jsigur
  • OraLabora,

    [disclaimer: I don't use LOTH; I use the Divine Office]

    What do you mean about Prime being redundant? In the LOTH, do the distinctive aspects of Prime appear elsewhere? Does the martyrology show up, or the prayer for the right ordering of the day?
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 147
    The rubrics of the new Martyrology indicate it can be proclaimed after Lauds, one of the minor hours, or stand-alone (to that monks also add the reading of a chapter of the Rule with commentary).

    Looking at it from the point of view of monastics, who spend a good hour and a half with Vigils, another 40 minutes with Lauds, and probably 20+ minutes with Prime (with Martyrology proclaimed), it makes for a very full morning leaving essentially no place for lectio divina. The monks I'm associated with are very grateful for the lectio time between Vigils and Lauds. And since Vatican II abolished (at least for Benedictines) the notion of "lay brothers" to do the manual labour of the monastery, with all being equal and bound to choir, the work of the monastery is easier to get done.

    I also chant the Office every day, in Latin Gregorian chant. I simply couldn't pull it off with the Divine Office pre-Vatican II. No time. Even though I'm retired, I'm very busy with choir stuff, volunteering at the abbey library, oblate affairs in Rome, and some ad-hoc translation work. Not to mention family things. I find the LOTH allows me to also take a slow meditative approach to the Office. Chant psalm in Latin, re-read silently in French. When I use our Monastic Office (all 150 psalms in a week, monastic Schema "B"), I find I am too often rushed.

    I guess it boils down to "whatever works" for the circumstances we are in.

  • Ora,

    And the prayer for the right ordering of the day, Domine, Deus omnipotense, qui ad principium huius diei, or the right ordering of our hearts, Dirigere et sanctificare, ?
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 147
    That is what the Intercessions at Lauds are for. From the General Instruction:

    181. Since traditionally morning prayer puts the whole day in God's hands, there are invocations at morning prayer for the purpose of commending or consecrating the day to God.

    182. The word preces covers both the intercessions at evening prayer and the invocations for dedicating the day to God at morning prayer.

  • Ora,

    The prayers got moved, perhaps. Did they keep a recognizable format, or did they change content?