Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Gradual Psalms

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Fifteen psalms — namely, Psalms 119-133 (in Hebrew 120-134) — bear a Hebrew inscription which is rendered in the Vulgate as canticum graduum, and translated in the Douay Version as "a gradual canticle". The Authorized Version calls them "songs of degrees"; the Revised Version, "songs of ascents". Of the various conjectual explanations, the most probable regards them as psalms recited when going up to the annual festivals in Jerusalem, pilgrim-songs (see PSALMS). The days on which the Gradual psalms were formerly recited are still indicated in the Roman Breviary, but the obligation of reciting them was removed by St. Pius V.

JOHN CORBETT