Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kenyan revision of the Liturgy of the Hours

Recently, a very thorough review on the Kenyan Liturgy of the Hours was published online. It is another one in a continuum of positive press this edition of the post-Vatican II breviary, previous ones being here, here, here, and here.

Frankly, I will likely not be purchasing a copy - it is just out of budget for me. Although, it appears that everyone who has purchased a copy has been essentially satisfied.

Things to note:

- The revised Grail psalms by Conception Abbey are an improvement over the old Grail version. This said, if you have background with the Hebrew or Greek text, or familiarity with the Latin, you will always have some minor criticisms. For a contemporary English translation, however, it gets the job done well enough.

- With the exception of newly added feasts, the collects appear to be that of the old ICEL version. Make of this what you will. From a Latinist's perspective, the new translation is a mixed bag; it conveys more of the original Latin, however, I am of the opinion it could have been done a little more smoothly. If this is something that "grinds your gears," you may want to stay away. I suspect, however, most people will focus their efforts on trying to assimilate the revised Grail psalter, in which case the collects will be of less concern.

- The corpus of Latin hymns in the Liturgia Horarum are largely missing from this edition, much like its American counter-part.

Allegedly, the new American edition of the Liturgy of the Hours will include a translation of the full corpus of Latin hymns. A big plus if this effort seriously gets of the ground and the books are published. The five year timeline projected in 2012 is, I think, too optimistic and it is possible the project will be derailed if there is a change of perspective in the USCCB. In which case, the Kenyan edition is the only reliable way to have an English edition of the editio altera of the Liturgia Horarum, including new feasts. And lets face it, the Latin edition is immorally overpriced, pious arguments about the invaluable treasury of prayer aside.

All things considered, if you can afford the purchase (which I can't, but you may be able to), it seems this is the most reasonable option. You can find more information, including contact instructions, here.


  1. I understand that the Revised Grail Psalter (2010) is different from the one originally submitted to Rome (CDW) by Conception Abbey in 2008. I also understand that the Kenyan Liturgy of the Hours contains the 2008 version. Also, Conception Abbey and the American Bishops are not happy with the changes made in Rome without consulting them and they may try to go back to the original form. So you may well be right that 2017 is too optimistic for a new American edition of the Liturgy of the Hours.

  2. There is always a back and forth with translation. Whatever the reasons Rome wanted more centralized control over the translation (some of which were justified, some not so much), the end result of Rome's interventions into English translations is questionable.

    The Kenyan edition likely benefited from the influence that Arinze carried and the relatively intact legacy he has in Roman circles.

    Having only seen bits and pieces online, and not being in a position to put down the scratch to acquire a set, it is hard to acquire a good perspective on it. This said, I suspect there is a chance the Kenyan breviary may become of reference point if critiques of the revised grail and Roman Missal gain any steam.

  3. Thank you. So it remains to be seen if any American prelate carries as much weight as Arinze has.