Three Missing Psalms in the New Liturgy of the Hours (The Breviary Since 1971)

I have prayed and found spiritual blessings from current Liturgy of the Hours (deriving from the reform of the Divine Office by His Holiness Blessed Paul VI). However…

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…there is one thing that I don’t like about it: the current cycle omits three entire Psalms (Psalms 57/58, 82/83), and 108/109). Not only that, it omits 59 verses from other Psalms on account of their offensive tone.

For example, Psalm 108/109 contains these difficult words:

9 May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. 10 Let his children be carried about vagabonds, and beg; and let them be cast out of their dwellings. 11 May the usurer search all his substance: and let strangers plunder his labours. 12 May there be none to help him: nor none to pity his fatherless offspring.

[remnder]So what do you think? Should we not recite this Psalm and other imprecatory Psalms?[/reminder]

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  • Michael Brooks

    The Psalms not only expresses the Church, but they also expresses all aspects of Human Nature, good and the bad. In the Psalms, we have much to learn…what to do, and what not to do. The Psalms can, and they do act as a Moral Compass. These are main reasons that I am trying to learn the Traditional Divine Office, which is on a 1 week cycle instead of the 4 week Cycle. Sometimes I’ll use the Psalms of the Old Office and the rest from the 4 volumes for the readings, etc. Since I am not obligated to pray the Office by canon Law, I can use the two forms together.

  • Erick Chastain

    A beautiful practice in the Eastern Catholic churches uses the imprecatory psalms as in fact a kind of spiritual warfare, with the imprecations uttered against demons (you see this esp. in Evagrius of Ponticus). This is why I find it fruitful to pray them, especially in the context of the 1962 divine office.

  • Taylor

    Every psalm has been prayed by Jews and Christians for millennia. If there was anything intrinsically “problematic” about even a single word, then it wouldn’t have made it into the canon of scripture. All psalms included in the canon are holy, “God-breathed.” It seems an absurdity to exclude any of the psalms from the psalter for such a silly, PC reason. Plus, its not like they threw out every single line- I think of “they blazed like a fire among thorns, in the Lord’s name I crushed them.” So it would seem that the “problem” still remains. I hope that these whole and partial psalms make their way back into the prayer of the Church.

    • Tim

      It might do better to point out the background. Paul VI wanted the “curse psalms” gone as he knew the laity would be using the liturgy of the hours and would have trouble understanding them. A better approach would have been to use the appropriate catechesis about them I think rather than trying to edit Scripture.

  • Monty Ehrich

    It is well within the purview of Holy Mother Church to exclude such, however, I am with you. I would like it if the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours contained the entire Psalter, and not leave out some that may seem not to be politically correct.
    There are parts in the Old Testament which appear to be yet more offensive than the left-out psalms of the newer versions of the Divine Office. (2 Kings 2:23-24) Some kids were making fun of Elisha and calling him “baldy,” so Elisha cursed the boys, and bears came out of the woods and maul them to death. Not exactly what Jesus would have done. Should we exclude these offensive verses from future editions of Holy Writ?