The Doxology in the Liturgy of the Hours

Date: October 22, 2023
Author: Fr. Edward McNamara, LC

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology and director of the Sacerdos Institute at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University.


Question: I need some clarifications about the Liturgy of the Hours. In the general presentation of the Liturgy of the Hours, No. 123, it says: "The custom of concluding the psalm with Glory be to the Father is retained. Tradition has aptly employed this to attribute to the prayer of the Old Testament a quality of praise and a christological and trinitarian meaning.” And in No. 137, we learn that "At Vespers, after the two psalms, a canticle from the Epistles or Revelation of the New Testament is inserted. There are seven such canticles, one for each day of the week.” Here is my concern: Since these canticles are not neither psalms nor from the Old Testament to apply automatically to what is said in No. 123, can we also conclude these canticles of the New Testament with Glory be to the Father as in any psalm recited or sung? – F.K., Ndola Diocese, Zambia


Answer: Our reader has made a close reading of the General Introduction to the Liturgy of the Hours and has probably discovered a logical oversight in an otherwise very precise and detailed document.


It was probably obvious to those who composed the introduction that the doxology would be added to the newly introduced Old and New Testament canticles, but they seemingly allowed this detail to pass. This can happen in complex documents composed by a committee.


Although this detail slipped by the redactors of the introduction, it did not escape whoever oversaw the rubrics.


Thus, we find, that after the very first psalm of Evening Prayer I of Sunday, on week one of the four-week cycle, the Glory be to the Father is printed and is then followed by this rubric:


“This doxology is said after each psalm and canticle unless otherwise noted.”


In fact, the lone case where it is noted to omit the doxology is for the Old Testament canticle of Morning Prayer on Sunday of week one. The text is taken from Daniel 3:57-88, 56. The rubric indicates that the “gloria Patri” is omitted because this canticle already contains a doxology.


Hence, the doxology is thereby included at the end of all other canticles.


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