I am a great enthusiast for the Liturgy of the Hours. It holds a key, I believe, to the evangelization of the culture (if you want to know my arguments, I have included them in both books, the Little Oratory and the Way of Beauty).
Whatever our thoughts on the appropriateness of the vernacular in the Mass, I do think that the availability of the Liturgy of the Hours in the vernacular is one great gift of the Council. I am not a Latin scholar and generally, and certainly in my personal reading in order to pray the psalms properly I need to be able to understand the text as I read it. Reading or singing Latin while looking across the page at a translation on a regular daily basis does not work for me. The Mass is Latin does not present the same difficulty for me – the bulk of it is repeated and so with relatively little reference to additional texts I can participate.
I have often wondered if this question of language is why some traditionalists are not enthusiastic about the Liturgy of the Hours – tending to promote a piety that excludes it. Certainly, some I have met are reluctant to acknowledge any legitimate case for a value for the the vernacular in the liturgy for fear that it would undermine the argument for an exclusively Latin Mass. A piety focused on he Mass and the Rosary is wonderful of course, but one oriented to the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours is even better I suggest, and for me that means going to the English for the latter.
Ever since Pope Emeritus Benedict created the Anglican Ordinariates, I have felt that it has given the move for greater dignity and beauty in the liturgy in the English a huge boost. I wrote about the general principle of this when Pope Francis strengthened the mission of the Ordinariate in an article called Has Pope Francis Saved Western Culture?
It has taken time, quite reasonably for the approved and final versions for the texts to come forth. Now that the texts have been set for the Mass, I am hoping that we will see a final version of the Office soon in the US very soon. As a preview I use the version produced for England and Wales, which is in the Customary of Our Lady of (Read More)