ARTICLE II. THE ORDER TO BE OBSERVED IN RECITING THE DIVINE OFFICE.
In reciting the Divine Office two points of order are to be noted: (1)
the order or arrangement of offices, (2) the order or arrangement of
Hours. The order of offices indicates which office is to be said on
each day as laid down in the calendar. The order of the Hours points
out which of the seven hours should be recited, firstly, secondly,
etc., Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, etc. It is of obligation to observe
both orders. But is it a sin to change wilfully the order of the
office? It is not, if there be a reasonable cause for the change. For
instance, if a priest cannot say the office proper to his diocese on a
certain day, but says some other approved office, the change is not a
sin. But if a priest, ex industria, substitute one office for another, it is per se
a venial sin; but if an office be said which is very much shorter than
the calendar office, or if this changing or substituting be so frequent
as to disturb gravely the good order of the year's offices, the sin may
be (and, according to some authors, is) a mortal sin.
is asked whether a person fulfils his debt to the Church if he has
recited by mistake an office other than the one assigned in the
calendar of the day. Theologians teach that such a recitation fulfils
the debt. The Church does not wish to impose a second recitation, and
her axiom "officium pro officio valet" holds, provided always
that the order of the psalms as laid down in the new psaltery is
followed. This order is necessary always for validity. However, if the
substituted office be very much shorter than the omitted office, it is
advised to equalise them by reciting the psalms of Matins, This is a
counsel and was not laid down by theologians as an obligation.
An office thus omitted is not to be transferred to another day (S.C.R.,
June 17th, 1673). The office may be omitted altogether for that year.
If there be leisure the omitted office should be recited. This practice
is in conformity with the spirit of the liturgy and with the right
order of the calendar. The Sacred Congregation of Rites, questioned on
this matter, replied sic debere fieri, such should be done.
If a priest recites by mistake one day's office for another (e.g., the
Tuesday office on a Monday) he is bound to recite Tuesday's office on
Tuesday (St. Alphonsus). If, however, after a portion of the office has
been read, it is noticed that a mistake has been made in reading the
calendar or the Ordo, and that the office partly recited is
not the office of the current day, what is to be done? If the priest
has without fault made the mistake of reciting some office not ascribed
to the current day, he is not bound to repeat the part already recited
(e.g., Matins); it is sufficient, valid and lawful to follow the
correct office in the following Hours. The priest reciting is not bound
to repeat even part of an hour, if he finds out his mistake during the
recitation of even a small hour. And he may finish the psalm or hymn or
prayer which he was reciting when he discovered his mistake, and he may
then take up the correct office at the part or hour at which he leaves
off, or he may finish the Hour at which he was engaged. The former
solution of the difficulty seems the better, as it more accurately
agrees with the maxim, error corrigatur ubi apprehenditur. If
the error in the selecting of the office has been wilful, say, through
gross carelessness, and is the fault of the priest who changes a
notable part of a canonical Hour, he is obliged—the more probable
opinion teaches—to repeat the full Hour, and this obligation binds
under pain of venial sin–i.e., the obligation to recite the office in
the prescribed manner.
What is a person bound to do who forgets part of an Hour—is he obliged to repeat the full Hour?
He is bound to recite the part forgotten only, unless the mistake be
made through gross carelessness, and unless it be a considerable part
(e.g., two nocturns); in that case he is bound under pain of venial sin
to repeat the full Hour. If a person say the same Hour (e.g., Terce)
twice, may he compensate for extra labour by the omission of an
equivalent part (e.g., None)? Such omission is unlawful; he must recite
all the Hours without omission (Scavini, 391).
an obligation to repeat the Hours in the order fixed in the Breviary?
Yes, there is such an obligation. And a person may sin venially by the
inversion of the Hours, The obligation binds sub veniali
only. The inversion does not mean any grave breach of order, which is
fixed by a secondary precept and as a circumstance of light importance.
If the whole office be recited, the substance of the office—which is
the main and primary matter—is safeguarded. Several authors argued that
any inversion of the Canonical Hours, if frequent, is a mortal sin, but
the opinion which says that the inversion of the Hours is only a venial
sin is the more probable (St. Alph. 169; Gury, 77; Lehmkuhl II., 621).
Which causes justify an inversion of the Hours? Any reasonable cause
justifies this inversion. Thus, if a friend invite a priest to joint
recitation of an Hour, and the priest have not the preceding canonical
Hours recited, he is justified in accepting the invitation and in
inverting the order of the Hours. Or if a person have a Diurnal only at
hand, he may read the day Hours, although he have not Matins for the
day read. Again, a priest may not have the lessons for Matins at hand,
but he may recite the psalms for Matins, Lauds, and add the lessons at
Matins when they are to hand (Gury, n. 78; St. Alph., n. 170).
Is it a sin to say Matins for following day before finishing office of
current day? Some theologians answer affirmatively, because the office
of the current day should be complete before another office is begun.
Others hold that such recitation is both valid and licit, as the office
of one day and its obligation have no bond with the office of another
day, and that any reasonable cause exempts from all sin or fault (Gury,
n. 79). Not to recite the commemorations in the prescribed order set
out in the Ordo is held by some theologians to be a venial
sin, as they hold that the rubric is preceptive; others hold that it is
not any sin, as they say that the rubric is directive.
SECTION: Article III.—Time Of Recitation.
Article I. —The Obligation Of The …