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.”
THE CANONICAL HOURS.