UPDATE: Our friends at the USCCB have informed Pray Tell that this item, hymns in the Liturgy of the Hours, was not accepted for the agenda of the USCCB meeting in November. The bishops are addressing more urgent matters. – awr
As reported in the Catholic Herald, this November the U.S. the Bishops will begin voting on English translations of hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours. It will be interesting to see how those who recite the Office on a regular basis will react to the inclusion of translations of the traditional Latin hymns, rather than the rather odd assortment of hymns that we currently have, many of which seem to be songs from the late 60s or early 70s that never quite caught on among the faithful (at least I have never heard them used anywhere). Will they actually “learn to taste and appreciate the native sobriety of the Latin hymns”?
Certainly many of the traditional hymns, while sober, are richer in theological content that what is currently in the Office, and might better lend themselves to private recitation when the office is not sung. The plan to translate most of the hymns as long meter texts will certainly facilitate singing them, though I wonder about the potential monotony of having so many of them in the same meter. It might also be a good idea to have a selection of well-known hymns of more recent vintage (i.e. post-1500) in an appendix for optional use in communal celebrations.