BALTIMORE — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has approved a plan to draft an amended edition of the English-language Liturgy of the Hours for use in the United States.
The conference’s Committee on Divine Worship, headed by Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, had recommended the action in light of new liturgical texts, including the third edition of the Roman Missal, the revised Grail Psalms and biblical canticles and revision work begun by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy.
The vote at the general assembly of bishops’ Nov. 13 morning session in Baltimore involved only the Latin-rite bishops, who passed the proposal by 189 to 41, with one abstention.
The preliminary vote means the Committee on Divine Worship will begin translation and editing. It will present a full draft to the conference when its work is completed. If approved, the draft would be submitted to the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for approval.
The Liturgy of the Hours is a set of daily prayers that priests and religious are obliged to pray. Many lay Catholics also pray this liturgy, which incorporates Psalms, hymns and readings from Scripture and the Church Fathers. The day’s prayers are set according to the Church calendar.
The U.S. bishops’ conference will decide which elements of the new Liturgy of the Hours edition to replace or retranslate, except for the non-biblical readings of the Office of Readings that will remain in their current form.
The new edition will include changes in light of the new edition of the Roman Missal. Hymns will use English translations of Latin hymns provided by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, which will also be consulted on translations of several regularly used prayers.
The new edition’s Psalms will come from the revised Grail Psalter, translated by the Benedictines at Conception Abbey in Missouri. Canticles from the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Gospel may use the current translation, an updated translation from the New American Bible, or new translations from Conception Abbey.
Biblical readings will be adjusted according to approved texts.
The current edition of the Liturgy of the Hours was published in 1975 and 1976 by Catholic Book Publishing Co., with a 1992 supplement.