ARTICLE IV.—AFTER SAYING THE DIVINE OFFICE.
1. Give God thanks for His goodness in permitting us to join in the
great work, for hearing our prayer, and for His helps and graces during
2. Ask God's pardon for faults committed in the course of this prayer of His Church.
3. Devoutly recite the "Sacro-sanctae et Individuae Trinitati ... Amen. V. Beata viscera....R. Et beata ubera...."
This prayer, which is generally printed in Breviaries immediately
before the Psalter, is to be said kneeling, where this is physically
possible. This is necessary in order to gain the indulgence granted by
Pope Pius X. to all persons obliged to recite the Divine Office. It is
not of obligation and its omission is not sinful. It forms no part of
the obligatory Office. "It must be said kneeling, but at the request of
Cardinal Asquini, Prefect of the Congregation of Indulgences, Pope Pius
IX. was pleased to make one exception (July 12, 1865) in favour of
persons who were not able to say it kneeling–infirmitatis tantum causa.
Hence, travellers or persons on a journey are not exempted, for they
can say it kneeling at the end of the journey. It is sufficient to say
the 'Sacro-sanctae' once only, that is, at the end of
Compline, with the intention of obtaining pardon of all the defects a
person may have been guilty of in saying the entire Office. Yet it may
be repeated after each Hour, e.g., after Matins, and Lauds, after the
small Hours and after Compline; in each case one would thereby get
forgiveness for the faults committed during the part of the Office
recited. This explanation has been given by the Holy Father (Pius IX.)
himself. The usage amongst the chapters at Rome, as at St. Peter's, St.
Mary's, etc., is to recite it every time they leave the choir" (Maurel,
S.J., Le chretien e claire sur la nature et l'usage des Indulgences).
The beauty and sublimity of this prayer is not always appreciated. Its
translation here may inspire fresh thoughts of fervour. "To the most
holy and undivided Trinity, to the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ
crucified, to the fruitful virginity of the most glorious Mary ever a
Virgin, and to the company of all the saints, be given by every
creature eternal praise, honour, power and glory, and to us the
remission of all our sins. Amen. Blessed be the womb of the Virgin
Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father. And blessed be the
breasts which gave suck to Christ, our Lord."
In connection with this prayer an interesting question is discussed in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record (No. 540. December, 1912). Is this prayer merely a sacramental? Has it an indulgence attached to it at all? The querist quotes The new Raccolta,
in answering the second part of his query but wishes to know if it be
an indulgence how it produces its effects. "For either the defects
committed in reading the Divine Office are voluntary or involuntary. If
voluntary they are sins and consequently cannot be touched by an
indulgence; if involuntary they are not sinful and therefore stand in
no need of an indulgence." In a very long reply Dr. John M. Harty sums
up, "For our part we adhere to the view which says that the efficacy of
the privilege annexed by Leo X. and Pius X. to the Sacro-sanctae
is derived from an indulgence. At the same time we think that these
prayers are also sacramentals, since they are official prayers of the
Church. Under this aspect, they obtain the ordinary benefits which are
attached to sacramentals, and, accordingly lead to a remission of sin
and temporal punishment by means of sorrow and satisfaction, which are
elicited under the influence of the abundant graces given by God,
through the intercession of the Church. They also placate God, so as to
render Him willing to grant His favours even though defects exist in
the recitation of the Office.... Though these defects are not produced ex opere operato,
they nevertheless are real, and are an encouragement to priests, whose
human frailty prevents the perfect performance even of the most sacred
functions of their priestly office."
SECTION: Chapter I. Matins. (Title XIII)
Article III.—Aids During The Recit…