The Council in Action: Theological Reflections on the Second Vatican Council

By Hans Kung; Cecily Hastings | Go to book overview

11
Reform of the Breviary in the Light of History

The problem

IF I MAY BE perfectly frank at the very outset of this chapter, I must admit that I do not very much care for this subject in the form in which I have to deal with it. Can there, in fact, really be such a thing as reform of the "Breviary"?

The task confronting the Second Vatican Council is that of the renewal of the Church as a preparation for reunion. The central point of this renewal is the reform of religious worship, and it would be impossible to renew the Church without renewing those who are in holy orders. This, in turn, would be impossible without renewing the priestly life of prayer, which has clearly to be carried out according to the Gospel, and in particular, in accordance with Christ's commandment: "And, when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens; for they think that in their much speaking they may be heard. Be you not therefore like to them; for your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before you ask him" (Matt. 6.7 f.).

Is it therefore not simply a question of reforming the Breviary, but of renewing the entire life of prayer of the priest? This would, of course, envisage a far more radical and comprehensive renewal than that of the Breviary alone, since the Breviary is

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