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The group of psalms, hymns, prayers, biblical and spiritual readings formulated by the Church for chant or recitation at stated times every day. Its origins go back to apostolic times, when it consisted almost entirely of psalms and readings from the Scriptures. Priests are obliged to say the full daily office, and religious who are not priests are obligated according to their rule of life. The latest edition of the Divine Office was promulgated by Pope Paul VI by the apostolic constitution Laudis Canticum in 1970. It represents a complete revision of the text and arrangement of the Hours of the Liturgy according to the directives of the Second Vatican Council (Constitution on the Liturgy, IV, 83-101). As contained in the Breviary, the offices is divided into the Proper of the Season, with biblical readings and homilies; Solemnities of the Lord as they occur during the year; the Ordinary or normal framework of the office; the Psalter, or psalms assigned to each hour of the day on the basis of four weeks to a month; the Proper of the Saints, as their feasts occur in sequence; Common Offices, corresponding to votive Masses in the Eucharistic liturgy; and the Office of the Dead. A supplement contains canticles and Gospel readings for vigils, brief intercessory prayers, and detailed indices.See Also: EVENING PRAYER, See Also: OFFICE, DIVINE, See Also: MORNING PRAYER, See Also: NIGHT PRAYER, See Also: PRAYER DURING THE DAY, See Also: OFFICE OF READINGS
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.