Hey–Roman Catholic Readers!

If there are still any…

I’m constantly struck by the fact that the great Roman musical renewal sites, preeminently the New Liturgical Movement, talk quite a lot about the liturgy–but they nearly always mean the Mass…

What is the status of the Divine Office in current Roman circles? Do many people use it? Is it promoted by clergy/laity?

7 thoughts on “Hey–Roman Catholic Readers!

  1. The young fogey

    What is the status of the Divine Office in current Roman circles? Do many people use it? Is it promoted by clergy/laity?

    Of course you answered this:

    …talk quite a lot about the liturgy – but they nearly always mean the Mass…

    That’s the giveaway, isn’t it? AFAIK the divine office is still virtually unknown in RC lay circles. But a few parishes to their credit have public recitation of one or two offices even though it’s the reformed divine office and often an official abridgement (Shorter Christian Prayer and suchlike).

    And to their credit the men behind TNLM, a good quasi-traditionalist site, at least know about the office. IIRC they’ve put up a YouTube of Solemn Vespers for example.

    The office – either in full (like the Anglican Breviary – theirs for the asking if not for both Modernism and the Irish hatred of things seen as English) or abridged (the Little Office and short breviaries like the one printed by Collegeville in the early 1960s) – was something the devout such as tertiaries, oblates and lay followers of the legitimate liturgical movement (I imagine a minority of RCs) were keen on before Vatican II ruined everything.

    Promoting it over unliturgical devotionalism was a reform that should have happened but for the most part didn’t.

    Instead of Mass-and-office Catholicism a wrecked Mass junked up with unliturgical music became the RC experience.

  2. Derek the Ænglican

    I’m wondering–I think there may be pockets especially in people our age and I wonder if those leaving ECUSA for Rome might not bring the Office with them…

    If I remember right I think the twins were using some form of the Offices, and one of my never-Anglican lay department fellows used a Breviary of some sort daily as well.

  3. David Bennett


    Nice new home. I like the WordPress format better than blogger personally.

    I see a lot of interest in the Liturgy of the Hours among converts. I know that Jonathan, I, Chad, Jason, and NiceneHobbit use it daily. Jennifer and Carmel do too, but mainly from our influence. My local priest brought his copy to school the other day to lead prayer in class from it (as I do too everyday). However, I suspect among lay cradle Catholics you’d mostly get stares if you brought it up.

    I am wondering if the new translation of the Mass will affect the Divine Office. I suspect it will since they share some prayers, but we’ll have to wait and see.

  4. Chris T.

    I know a few Romans, mostly Benedictine oblates and so forth, who pray the Office. A few other lay people I know use universalis.com.

    But it really seems like the Rosary has more or less totally supplanted the Office, hasn’t it? I mean, even the hierarchy pushes the Rosary really, really hard, which is rather strange given the nearly 100% literacy rates among Westerners. I’ve never once seen the Office promoted in such a way that a large number of RC laypeople would hear, whereas the pro-Rosary stuff seems to be more or less constant.

  5. The young fogey

    Chris: yup. A substitute for the office perfect for the illiterate (the 150 Aves mimic the psalter), a good prayer that does work for the literate and has its place, has replaced the office in popular RC culture.

  6. Scott

    Thanks to the Daily Office always having been available to Anglican churchgoers in the Book of Common Prayer, the Office is a solid part of Anglican liturgical life, with the Holy Eucharist of course at the center. I (a former RC) think the Second Vatican Council missed a chance to open up the Office to all Roman Catholics in this way and kept it largely as a clergy practice (praying one’s breviary).

    On “Mass,” I noticed this on local Catholic radio today, in a sermon in which “liturgy” was consistently used to mean “Mass.” I wonder what the problem is with “Mass” lately. Then there’s the “Eucharistic Liturgy,” which certainly describes the Mass but is six syllables longer. :)

  7. Derek the Ænglican

    Hi Scott–thanks for stopping by. I noticed that particular oddity (Liturgy for Mass) when I was attending Roman Masses on a regular basis a few years ago…

    Yes, the Roman devotional rota is quite full–I think the Hours as a devotional practice have come and gone. (But may yet come back…) In chucking most of it the Anglican reformers left the Office as the only real option. Still, it too has gone in cycles as far as a devotion of the people. I believe it’s on an upswing–at least, I certainly hope so.

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