Sunday, 11 January 2009

Calendar Confusion...

I find myself drawn more and more to the Extraordinary Form of Mass, and am also fortunate enough to be able to indulge myself in this respect, as we have a regular Sunday morning Missa Cantata. Saturday morning Mass is also in the Extraordinary Form.

The confusion for me arises with the Calendar of Saints because I also pray the Divine Office... but the Novus Ordo one! I haven't switched to the Old Breviary because my Latin is almost non-existent... though I'm picking it up through typing up the propers for Mass for our choir. 

I'd quite like to pray the Old Rite Breviary, but need a Latin-English version. I understand that Baronius Press are in the process of producing one, though there is, as yet, no publication date. Has anyone got any suggestions...?


Anonymous said...


There are three options, to my mind, two of which may only be possible for you:

1) just swallow it, and pray the Breviary in Latin, even if you don't know what it means [feel free to ask me about the various editions]. You could even use an online Breviary such as, or to check the meaning.

2) Do that but also get your hands on the Collegeville 1943 Breviary, which contained Lauds, Vespers, and I think Compline in English and Latin. That way you would be able to pray the major hours in Latin.

3) Grab a copy of the so-called "Anglican Breviary". It is a faithful translation of the 1911 Breviarium Romanum into exquisite Elizabethan English. The only problem is that it has BCP collects, instead of Roman ones, thus you might not wish to, due to your vows, pursue this option.

Let me know what you think!

Oh, and to answer your question, Baronius do not seem any further forward in producing it. I knew they were going to typesetting, and asked them last year if they needed proofreaders. They responded in the affirmative, but despite reminders nothing has materialised.

God bless you,

Kevin said...

I also wonder how I'd cope if I had an old Breviary. Faced with the old terminology, I should require a (book)guide for a year at least.

Volpius Leonius said...

Get a monastic Diurnal from Saint Michaels Abbey at Farnborough, I have one and it is excellent.

The Monastic Diurnal or the Day Hours of the Monastic Breviary 1963 edition

Ttony said...

Don't touch anything Anglican!

Search instead for "The Little Breviary" published by Burns & Oates in 1957 or 1958. It is the simplified version of all of the offices of the Roman Breviary for lay people with the stunningly wonderful benefit of having the Ronald Knox translation of the Psalter.

Happy New Year, by the way!

Anonymous said...


There is actually a very good guide to the Breviary by Fr Hausmann, SJ.


I'm mildly insulted by that! ;-P
As I indicated it is almost only nominally Anglican, the only Anglican part being the BCP Collects - most of which are incredibly similar, if not the same as the Roman ones!

Mulier Fortis said...

I have to admit, Mark, that I'm with Ttony on this one...


The whole purpose of switching to the Old Breviary (rather than just continuing with the Novus Ordo one) is to get all the saints days and feast days... and since many of them were from the time of the Reformation, I suspect the Anglican breviary won't include them...


But thanks for the suggestion!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that's so, Mac. It includes, for example, the Feast of the Holy Family, instituted in 1893. As I said, it is a faithful translation of the 1911 Breviarium Romanum, save for the BCP Collects. I will show you it some day.

Claire Christina said...

I'm in the same position! I love the integrity of the calendar...

Right now, I've just been taking advantage of the fact that I'm not canonically bound to the Divine Office and pray it devotionally (e.g., pray the office for Holy Family today in my novus ordo breviary, or take the common of virgins and use the collect from my EF missal). It's not a permanent solution, but it works great in a pinch!

I have heard excellent things about the Monastic Diurnal.

Auricularius said...

If you go to and type "The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin" in the title field, you can usually get hold of a copy of the 3 vol Collegville Breviary, published in the early 60s. This is a completely bilingual edition of the 1962 Breviary with English rubrics, with a useful introduction for the novice and a (slightly less useful) commentary on the Psalms by Pius Parsch.

The big disadvantage of this edition is that it uses the new Latin translation of the Psalms promulgated by Pius XII in 1945. Most traditionalists dislike this translation on the grounds that its Latin is more akin to the classical Latin of Cicero and Virgil rather than the ecclesiastical Latin of St Jerome's Vulgate. My own view is that this dislike is overstated, but I recognise that I am in a minority (possibly of one!). However, if your Latin is fairly rudimentary, you might not object to the Pian Psalter all that much, and if you want to get used to the stucture of the traditional breviary and can't read the rubrics of a Latin Breviary, this could be an option for you. A full set will set you back about 300 dollars.

Ttony said...

Sorry, Mark: it was meant to be a gentler wind-up than it came out as.

Anonymous said...

It's okay, Ttony.

Auricularius: no, a minority of at least two!

Adulio said...

I believe Fr. Tim has some views on the Pian Psalter changes of 1945...

I know that John XXIII was less than enthusiastic about them and reverted to the old Vulgate.

Auricularius said...

Mark. Thanks. Its nice to know that I'm not alone in quite liking the Pian Psalter.

I also agree that Anglican Breviary is worth a look. It is not a "Protestant" book in any real sense but is an Anglo-Catholic labour of love, dating from the days when Anglo-Catholicism was plus catholique que le Pape. It is beautifully produced and is not only the only vernacular edition of the Pius X breviary currently available, but is a model of what vernacular liturgy can and should be. To turn from the beautiful phraseology of the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer to the ICEL produced banalities we suffer from every day is like going from caviar and champagne at the Ritz to half a pint of lager and a packet of pork scratchings in a local pub.

It is true that tastes differ, but only a misplaced egalitarianism would maintain that the quality of the latter equals the former. The last place socialism should make an appearance is in the liturgy:)

Anonymous said...

I sometimes do wish I had the 1911 Breviary in Latin... :)

Kate Edwards said...

This will sound strange coming from a traditionalist, but I would think hard before shifting to a traditional breviary - because it takes a lot more time than the LOH, and given that you work that will be an issue!

That is particularly true of the monastic Office if done in full (although I personally love it) if you include Matins (though the Day Office is about the same as the Roman version).

I also don't see much point saying it in Latin if you don't understand really Latin - part of the point after all is spiritual nourishment!

On the Anglican Breviary, I think the problem really is that it isn't an approved Office of the Church. That means saying it is a devotion (albeit a nice one) not liturgy (and saying the Office can be liturgy even when done by lay people on their own these days).

If however you do want to learn Latin (and we all should!) a good way in might be the Little Office of Our Lady, published by Baronius. It was often used by active religious prior to VII and is repetitive enough that you will gradually learn the psalms off by heart and absorb their meaning from the provided translations. It is substantive but not too long as to prevent one saying all the hours including Matins.

The disadvantage of it of course is the limited psalm cycle - but if you start with it, then you can always progress to the Farnborough Diurnal once you have it under your belt. And it is actually a logical progression then onto the full Roman breviary (and who knows, maybe that time in a year or two, the Baronius might even have appeared!), because the Monastic Day Hours are also fairly repetitious, allowing you to continue to gradually build up your latin with the help of a dictionary and a basic grammar...

Adulio said...

I also don't see much point saying it in Latin if you don't understand really Latin - part of the point after all is spiritual nourishment!

Then what would be the point of Roman church having the mass in Latin for over 1500 years?

Anonymous said...


"On the Anglican Breviary, I think the problem really is that it isn't an approved Office of the Church."

Yes, though to make absolutely clear (though I may have said it already), the so-called Anglican Breviary is a translation of the 1911 Roman Breviary, albeit with the addition of BCP Collects, in case anyone is under any misapprehensions. It's as Anglican as a cat in a dog-kennel!


Given you have taken vows to recite the Breviary, I would recommend the Collegeville, if you can find it, or just waiting on Baronius. I'm not sure anything else would do.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, Ottaviani; I would quite agree with these sentiments. I don't understand everything I pray.

I used to think I had to know all the words of the Office, but then started to think differently for a number of reasons. The first was that the Office should not, and cannot, compensate for a lack of person prayer. It is the prayer of the Church, an opus, a work, so one ought to be little concerned about how much of one's self is "in it".

Another reason was, like you say, that I don't know all the words during the Mass. I can look them up, but even then the meaning may be not quite accurate and I may forget instantly. However, as long as my intention is united to that of the Church, then there is little to worry about, and I could easily be illiterate, deaf, whatever... just as long as the intention is there.

I suppose that's how I view it. Knowing, now, a sizeable majority of what I pray is good and all, but it's not the be all.

Kate Edwards said...

I'm not suggesting that one should understand every word of the Office(or Mass). Clearly that is not essential, particularly in the case of the Mass where the main point is uniting ourselves to the sacrifice.

All the same, having some sense of what you are saying seems pretty helpful to me, particularly if you are devoting a couple of hours or more a day to saying it!

While it is true that some have said the office down the centuries without any real understanding of its content (particularly in women's monasteries) the better tradition is surely the idea that we slowly penetrate more and more of the meaning of what we are saying, allowing that understanding to transform us.

Most religious orders of men at least have traditionally required those bound to the Office (ie not laybrothers) to be literate in Latin before entering. Before the wreckovation most Benedictine noviciates for example involved the monks translating all the psalms and hymns of the Office themselves.

I'm all for use of Latin, but surely our cause will be best served by promoting learning it too. Using one of the English-Latin short Offices, or the Monastic Day Office seesm a good way of doing that.

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