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Full Version: Rediscovering the Martyrology by George Weigel
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I thought I would share this:

"....It is somewhat ironic that the loss of Prime from the Liturgy of the Hours—and thus the loss of a daily liturgical reading from the Roman Martyrology—coincided with the greatest century of persecution in the history of the Church. It’s a point well-established but little appreciated within American Catholicism: We have been living, and we’re living now, in the greatest era of persecution in Christian history. More Christians died for the faith in the twentieth century than in the previous nineteen centuries of Christian history combined. And while the character of the persecutors has changed, from the lethal heyday of the twentieth-century totalitarianisms to the first decades of the twenty-first century, the assault on the Christian faithful today is ongoing, extensive, and heart-rending....."

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusive...artyrology

As  a matter of fact, Prime never existed.  It's a late invention by some ingenious abbot to keep his monks awoke after the never-ending matins and lauds.  Later, diocesan priests - who had many duties, not like the monks who could afford devoting many hours to praying -  were overburdened by the same long offices; it was so illogical that for centuries poor diocesan priests had to recite matins (and probably lauds) by vespers hours on the day before, a de-naturalization of matins, which had to be read at midnight and lauds at daybreak.  So prime became the daybreak prayer.  Only now Vatican II has finally rearranged the office, which is now understandable, prayable.  Now you can concentrate on the much shorter offices, not as before that you had to pray at vertiginous speeds to keep up with the hours.  The martyrology is part of Catholic history and culture.  You may read it now and then, not every day by obligation. It's not liturgy.  In any case it's good that historian has updated it; pre Vat II breviaries were stuffed with lot of saints' lifes that looked like fairy tales.  Many saints didn't ever exist.  Finally now very few, really few saints have remained, and the office can be centered in God, which is its raison d'être.
(04-12-2014, 06:28 PM)voltape Wrote: [ -> ]As  a matter of fact, Prime never existed.  It's a late invention by some ingenious abbot to keep his monks awoke after the never-ending matins and lauds.  Later, diocesan priests - who had many duties, not like the monks who could afford devoting many hours to praying -  were overburdened by the same long offices; it was so illogical that for centuries poor diocesan priests had to recite matins (and probably lauds) by vespers hours on the day before, a de-naturalization of matins, which had to be read at midnight and lauds at daybreak.  So prime became the daybreak prayer.  Only now Vatican II has finally rearranged the office, which is now understandable, prayable.  Now you can concentrate on the much shorter offices, not as before that you had to pray at vertiginous speeds to keep up with the hours.   The martyrology is part of Catholic history and culture.  You may read it now and then, not every day by obligation. It's not liturgy.  In any case it's good that historian has updated it; pre Vat II breviaries were stuffed with lot of saints' lifes that looked like fairy tales.  Many saints didn't ever exist.  Finally now very few, really few saints have remained, and the office can be centered in God, which is its raison d'être.

The issue is requiring secular priests to keep the whole daily cursus, not the existence of Prime. Rome is so married to this entirely invented obligation for her clerics that she is willing to deform the liturgy to make the obligation easier to meet rather than ask whether the obligation even makes sense (it doesn't, btw). If Prime is a duplication of Lauds, then Compline is a duplication of Vespers. Yes, Prime is "late" compared to Lauds - but it was created in the 6th century, not the Middle Ages. Compline is probably not much earlier - it is not mentioned in 4th century sources, for example. Should it be axed too?
Also, the modern Martyrology contains rubrics for using it in conjunction with Morning Prayer in the LOTH. The issue is that the Martyrology is only in Latin, limiting its use further in the post-conciliar era, and it is both expensive (~$100) and enormous compared to the LOTH volumes, making it unwieldy. Basically to use it at Morning Prayer, the so-called Capitular Office from Prime is tacked on at the end with a few options for the readings.
(04-12-2014, 09:12 PM)aquinas138 Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-12-2014, 06:28 PM)voltape Wrote: [ -> ]As  a matter of fact, Prime never existed.  It's a late invention by some ingenious abbot to keep his monks awoke after the never-ending matins and lauds.  Later, diocesan priests - who had many duties, not like the monks who could afford devoting many hours to praying -  were overburdened by the same long offices; it was so illogical that for centuries poor diocesan priests had to recite matins (and probably lauds) by vespers hours on the day before, a de-naturalization of matins, which had to be read at midnight and lauds at daybreak.  So prime became the daybreak prayer.  Only now Vatican II has finally rearranged the office, which is now understandable, prayable.  Now you can concentrate on the much shorter offices, not as before that you had to pray at vertiginous speeds to keep up with the hours.   The martyrology is part of Catholic history and culture.  You may read it now and then, not every day by obligation. It's not liturgy.  In any case it's good that historian has updated it; pre Vat II breviaries were stuffed with lot of saints' lifes that looked like fairy tales.  Many saints didn't ever exist.  Finally now very few, really few saints have remained, and the office can be centered in God, which is its raison d'être.

The issue is requiring secular priests to keep the whole daily cursus, not the existence of Prime. Rome is so married to this entirely invented obligation for her clerics that she is willing to deform the liturgy to make the obligation easier to meet rather than ask whether the obligation even makes sense (it doesn't, btw). If Prime is a duplication of Lauds, then Compline is a duplication of Vespers. Yes, Prime is "late" compared to Lauds - but it was created in the 6th century, not the Middle Ages. Compline is probably not much earlier - it is not mentioned in 4th century sources, for example. Should it be axed too?

John Cassian (5th century) mentions Prime and many easterners still have the office of prime so the root is evidently ancient.  The root of the Liturgy of the Hours is the idea to pray without ceasing as the Lord said.  From the record, it seems at least Lauds and Vespers were the first two in most places, and in different cities they had many variations.  Sure, it may have been a later development but the LOTH as we know it is largely a 6th century development as a merging and redaction of Metropolitan and Monastic Offices of Hours, namely promoted in the West through the Benedictines, which in the 6th century was eminently practical to that kind of rural life that was predominate in the west at the time.  However by the 11th century it was less so, and by the 13th century became detrimental which is why religious orders of this period were granted  greater dispensation powers when it came to communal prayers.  By the time of Trent the Office was in need of major reform namely due to local variation and the structure, many of those reforms were cosmetics.  The real break in the recitation of the hours (aside from the reformation of Pius X which was meant to bring the Breviary in line with Missal as well as make the readings more feasible by breaking psalms into a more uniform pattern and dropping the number of readings) was a much later development and by the 1958 rubrics, it was really disjointed the office from time of the day.  One of the elder priests I know that entered in '58 would have all their offices done by noon and then do matins for the next day at 5:30pm.    So the reform of the LOTH was a definite need by VII.  Aside, I do believe that every priests, ideally, should recite the office in common (with laity as well).  Unfortunately that is near impossible in most locations and most laity still don't understand the concept of the LOTH which is a great lost.

One of my beliefs is that the reform of the current Breviary should be the next fix on the list (followed by a reform of the Calendar), I find issues with the structure (i suggest reducing it to a two week psalter instead of four week because I find the four week psalter very awkward to say, and restore the "cursing" psalms which is a huge thing) and I am disturbed by the inclusions of some of the documents of Vatican II in it, not because i am so anti-Council, but because they shouldn't be liturgical, not yet at least.  I think a general rule relating to anything including canonization is that we should wait time, long time sometimes.  Usually let the people who wrote die first, wait till a generation or two have past.  Also, I feel that it also politicizes the LOTH.  Not every council succeeds, not every point and iota lasts even beyond the initial generation.  Trent had a lot of decrees that were never realized.  Nicea had canons that would contradict later decrees, heck we don't even know all the canons of that council as they appear to not have the survive long after their pronouncement.  To include a Council document that has not experience the trials of history is reckless and quite unwise.
My primary issue is that it does not make sense that every secular priest should be bound under pain of mortal sin to recite the entire daily cursus, which is a monastic exercise. The so-called cathedral Office was essentially the vigil that evolved into Vespers-Matins-Lauds - the other hours are monastic in origin. There seems to be a fetish for invented obligations that overrides common sense ("People don't come under pain of mortal sin to Ascension Thursday? Let's transfer the feast to the following Sunday when more people show up!"). Deforming the liturgy to make invented obligations easier to fulfill is ridiculous.

If the Office had just been the Office, it would not have been as burdensome as it is made out to be, even with the changes in society. However, over the centuries, the Office became encrusted with obligatory additions, such as the Little Office of the BVM and the Office of the Dead, at least one of which was added most days; various additional Little Offices in some places; the Gradual Psalms at certain times, the Penitential Psalms, with or without the Litany, at others, etc., etc.  St. Pius V took a much-needed machete to most of this overgrowth, but he didn't change the structure of the Office itself all that much; he redistributed some of the psalms of Sunday Prime throughout the week, and constrained the legends of the saints to the second nocturn, requiring Scripture for the first. Otherwise, the Office was essentially the same as always, with a significantly (but temporarily) pruned General Calendar.

Much like the largely needless Holy Week reforms, it is possible to require services to be said at the proper time without changing them.  Why did Holy Week have to be altered? Couldn't the celebration just be ordered to begin in the evening or at night? As for the Office, the truly traditional Roman Office (not any of the 20th-century hatchet jobs) could stand unaltered in the books, with most priests bound to say only a part of the cursus at the appropriate times. The full office could be recited in monasteries and in chapters. Those parts not of obligation could be further enriched with indulgences as an incentive to their recitation. Perhaps the reestablished permanent diaconate could be especially tasked with cultivating the Office.
Some great points Aquinas138. The idea that the Office itself should be truncated to help people meet fabricated obligations is ridiculous. One thing the late Father Seraphim Rose said about the Orthodox Church and it's strict fasts is that they are not truncated even if people struggle to keep them and even repeatedly fail because it sets a high standard and helps keep one humble. I suppose the same could be said for the Office. I myself manage to pray Lauds through Compline from the Monastic Diurnal every day of the week, missing a few hours here and there due to something. I work almost every day of the week. Most of those hours do not take all that long to pray. Matins would take awhile to pray but even that can be done, and the martyrology for each day is not all that long either.
Sorry, I prayed the entire Johannine Office, with Prime and the Martyrology, whilst working a 50+ hrs/wk job, being a husband and the father of four small children. I don't buy the 'poor secular priests' argument.
(04-12-2014, 10:06 PM)aquinas138 Wrote: [ -> ]Also, the modern Martyrology contains rubrics for using it in conjunction with Morning Prayer in the LOTH. The issue is that the Martyrology is only in Latin, limiting its use further in the post-conciliar era, and it is both expensive (~$100) and enormous compared to the LOTH volumes, making it unwieldy. Basically to use it at Morning Prayer, the so-called Capitular Office from Prime is tacked on at the end with a few options for the readings.
Societas Laudis has a French Language version of a martyrology.
(04-13-2014, 04:29 AM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]Sorry, I prayed the entire Johannine Office, with Prime and the Martyrology, whilst working a 50+ hrs/wk job, being a husband and the father of four small children. I don't buy the 'poor secular priests' argument.

Yes, I managed to do the whole Divino Afflatu for years working part-time, full-time grad school, and small children. It certainly can be done. Alas, there are even those priests who say that the LOTH takes too long - despite the fact that the entire day's office could easily be said in one 30 minute block if necessary - if it even takes that long.

My main point is that insisting on a monastic discipline for the secular clergy is a bit strange, especially when omitting even one hour except for grave necessity is considered a mortal sin. I just think a bit more common sense could reign. Things might have changed with the shortage of priests and one priest having to serve multiple parishes in some places, and I'm sure there are responsibilities I am not aware of since I have never been a priest - but working, studying and raising children are all full-time jobs themselves. However, IF it is the case that the canonical obligation is too burdensome, then it seems wrong-headed to deform the liturgy rather than reduce the obligation.