Rorate Caeli

Helping diocesan priests pray the Roman Breviary

Summorum Pontificum made clear that those bound to pray the Divine Office in the Latin Church may do so by using the traditional book, that is, the Breviarium Romanum (Roman Breviary). The German District of the  Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) announced today an admirable initiative: it is inviting all diocesan priests in Germany for a meeting in its seminary in Zaitzkofen, Bavaria, on November 28, which will include both a spiritual introduction to the use of the Breviary and practical instructions for praying the hours of the Traditional Office. (Source.)

The Divinum Officium Project sends us the following note:

"The Divinum Officium Project warmly supports this initiative to assist diocesan priests in praying the Traditional Breviary. If anyone has access to a copyright-free German version of the Psalter, please contact us at canon DOT missae AT gmail DOT com. We would like to make the German psalter available for this important event."


Anonymous said...

New Catholic,

This is welcome news. However, the use of the 1960 Breviary raises the question as to its "reform of the reform" of 1960. Before everyone jumps all over me, I am sure you are aware of how the office of Matins is mutilated. The second and third parts of the patristic reading are gone, and this particularly comes to the fore when we look at the reading that explained the Sunday Gospel. A particularly cogent example is found in the 10th Sunday After Pentecost, the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican. To understand this Sunday gospel, I read the full reading as it is found in the 1950 Benziger Roman Breviary in English. These reading need to be restored.

James I. McAuley

Juventutem London said...

I will be interested to see how criticism of the 1960 breviary is received given the fracare over Divino Afflatu the other day!


TDC said...

Wish someone would teach me the 1960 Breviary here in the USA, even though I'd have to pray it squirreled away from my seminary faculty for fear of being banished. I'm one of those "rigid" ones...

Saint Michael Come To Our Defense said...

This is what I have:

Roman Breviary in English, restored by the Sacred Council of Trent; published by order of the Supreme Pontiff St. Pius V, and carefully revised by other popes.

Reformed by order of Pope Pius X.

According to the Vatican typical edition, with new Psalter of Pope Pius XII; compiled from approved sources.

With "An incentive to prayer" by Francis Cardinal Spellman.

Edited by Father Joseph A. Nelson.

Published/Created: New York, Benziger [1950-51, v. 4, 1950]

Description: 4 v. 18 cm.

Contents: [v. 1] Winter.--[v. 2] Spring--[v. 3] Summer.--[v. 4] Autumn."

I copied the several thousand pages of each book, and now they need to be made into a booklet or book.

Each page is 8 1/2 x 11 with two pages of each book copied onto it.

It needs to be put on a format that can produce books or booklets.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to help produce this book for Priests, free of charge to them.

Serious inquiries only, please.


Anonymous said...

The German district of the FSSPX invited German priests every so many months. This particular time the focus is on learning how to use and pray the Roman Breviary :) Indeed a very welcome and great thing to do!


Anonymous said...

Or you can read it on the internet at Divino Afflatu or 1960 (or 1955 or 1911 or 1570), your choice.


Anonymous said...

The 1960 breviarium is indeed subpar as far as it was changed considerably from what would have been understood to have been the Tridentine breviarium. That said, it is the best thing we have at hand. It is practically the only version of which usable copies can still be obtained and for the layman, there are a couple different versions in English that can still be found.

Knowing full well that the 1960 BR is far from perfect, this is the reason I use it-it at least follows the form of the old Roman breviary enough to get a decent feel for it. After using the LOTH for a year or two, I would never, ever go back to that. While the '60 might be lacking, it is nowhere near as bad as the LOTH. Other than by pure order of law, one can scarcely sense that this is in any way relating to the Roman Office.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful initiative. I began to pray the traditional breviary in December of 2007, during my first year of theology. In the previous years I had transitioned from praying the Novus Ordo breviary 5 time a day in English, to praying it 5 times a day in Latin, to praying it 7 times a day in Latin. I was originally going to wait a while before learning the traditional one, but in Dec 2007, I couldn't wait any longer. From the seminary library, I checked out a copy of the Collegeville English-Latin parallel breviary (on which is based the up and coming Baronius Press Breviary). This edition, (unlike the Baronius) had the Pius XII psalter, but with the directives and rubrics in English, proved very helpful to my learning of the traditional breviary. I had a lot of questions but very few people to ask. I think I even tried to call the sspx chapel (no answer) once for advice on how to deal with local feasts of the archdiocese. The online traditional breviary websites also proved an invaluable tool. When I didn't know which texts to pick, I would get online and check to see which texts they had picked. Also, I found that the PCP/SSPX ordo was very helpful for the breviary. Eventually it all became very natural and easy and I now use an old all-Latin edition with the traditional gallican psalter (identical to the one which Econe just published, but with better binding and paper). I am very happy that I developed the habit while still in seminary. It takes some discipline to pray all 150 psalms each week and to wake up and realize that you have a 3 nocturn Matins that you didn't expect. BUT IT IS WORTH IT. Catholic priests have been praying the whole psalter each week for many centuries. Also, when you say or attend the Novus Ordo each day, the traditional breviary keeps your devotional life centered on the traditional calendar. You are able to observe Septuagesima, the octave of Pentecost etc. You also have all of those beautiful and edifying collects from the traditional missal which have been weakened or removed from the Novus Ordo. It is a lot more involved that the Novus ordo breviary, but secular priests have been praying this way (and it was even more involved before St. Pius X) for a very long time.

Daniel Arseno said...

Can priests fulfil their obligation by praying the Roman breviary in the vernacular?

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

"Can priests fulfil their obligation by praying the Roman breviary in the vernacular?"

No. It must be prayed in Latin.

The Divinum Officium Project said...

For anyone wishing to learn the Traditional Breviary in English and Latin, please come visit The site was founded by the hard work and devotion of the late Laszlo Kiss. We are doing our best to keep the website as accurate as possible for all of the forms of the Office and Mass on the site. We are actively seeking different language translations of the Divine Office, particularly at present a German translation of the psalter for use on the site to aid the efforts in Zaitzkofen to teach the Traditional Breviary to diocesan priests.

The Divinum Officium Project
canon DOT missae AT gmail DOT com

New Catholic said...

We obviously have no problem with the criticism, Juventutem London, but it is frustrating that whenever certain topics are mentioned, some people immediately move to criticism-mode regarding what are, by all means, the psalter order and the rubrics of the Missal and Breviary, according to Summorum Pontificum. Rubrics which were not, of course, even mentioned in the post.

I for one am not entering this debate and all future comments on this thread of this same tenor will be blocked: our lives as Traditional-minded Catholics are already too complex as it is; we will not help make things even more so by raising doubts in readers's minds because of someone's "liturgicist" obsession. If one bound to the use of the Breviary has a problem with current rubrics and psalter, then, by all means, petition Ecclesia Dei asking for an exception and tell us about their response. Otherwise it is just stirring very recently-calmed waters.


Anonymous said...

Anon. 21 October, 2011 01:24,

Thank you so much for your post. It was inspiring and I have also had the same thoughts as yourself in regards to the BR. I got my first BR1962 when I was 20 years old (only the first part) and then gradually was able to get various breviaries over the years. I also have an old one volume translation of the breviary produced by Benzinger in the 1960s. The 'Sancta Missa' blog have various useful things concerning the breviary,and the following guide can be found elsewhere on line :

It can also be purchased in book form :

Fr. A.M.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which...what is (the latest) deal with the Breviary over at Baronius Press? Typhoon should be wrapping up by now.

Anonymous said...

as a priest I have prayed the BR since 1961. Iam well aware of what SP says about saying the office in Latin---however permission was given to clerics in 1964 to say the office in the vernacular when saying the office alone. In English two breviaries were produced. Although I say the office in Latin , if a priest said his office in English, I belive he would have good grounds for doing so.Don't ask any permissions, just get on with it! Much better to say the BR in english than the new office in Latin

Anonymous said...

A very great gesture on the part of the SSPX to hold a Catechetical event and invite the clergy at large to attend. It shows them to be the bigger ones and should lend itself to more cooperatives in the future. It could very well open lines of communication and so deminish the attitude the Society is the "lepers" of the Church.

Regardless of which version one has preference for, it's good all should learn and have an affinity for the Traditional books. In either case, the Books printed today in the 21st-Century should be in Latin and the vernacular as it used to be. There is a definite change in mind-set when reading the Books of yesterday and today. The hermeneutic of rupture is so evident.



Anonymous said...

Anon 21 October 8.58

Actually, Father, clerics are obliged to recite BR 1962 in Latin - if one chooses to use it - according to 'Universae Ecclesiae' (no. 32 ; cf. Summ. Pont., art. 9 (3)), despite what the Vat. II (Sacrosanctum Concilium) said : this permission had be requested by those clerics who found it difficult to recite the Latin breviary. The reason being is that, according to 'Universe Ecclesiae' (no. 28) ‘Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates [that is, ‘sets aside’] from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962’.

The use of a bi-lingual breviary, such as that which will eventually see the light of day with Baronius Press, would seem to be a solution where Latin poses a problem. Of course lay people and others who are not obliged to recite the breviary, and choose to do so, may pray it in any language.

Fr. A.M.

Anonymous said...

New Catholic,

I applaud the training of Priests in the traditional Breviary. However, and with all due respect, I believe a couple of points needs to be made.
1.) Criticism of the 1960 Breviary is not necessarily someone's "liturgicist" obsession. I am not a liturgist, but even after the 1960 reform, there were those who, in the early 1960's seriously questioned the nature of the change to the office of Matins. This commentary is nothing new.
2.) Anyone who has prayed the office as long as I have (since the fall of 1986) with the aid of Pius Parsch' The Church's Year of Grace, will inevitably run into this issue regarding the Office of Matins.
3.) Inevitably, as more priests and laity use the 1960 breviary, this question will continue to come forward.
4.) Criticism should be constructive, so we should review the options that can be helpful, though many are hard to find:
For the 1960 Breviary:
a.) Divine Office 1964 Liturgical Press, Latin-English.
b.) Roman Breviary Benziger 1964 English only.
c.) Day Hours of the Roman Breviary, Burns Oates 1967 - uses Grail psalms, all in English, Office of Prime is removed
d.) Lauds, Vespers and Compline Liturgical Press 1965, hours are from 1964 Divine Office, English only
e.) Prayer, Benziger 1965 contains Lauds, Vespers and Compline from 1964 Benziger Breviary, English only
For the 1955 Breviary:
Diurnal, Day Hours of the Roman Breviary 1956 Desclee Latin-English
For the pre-1955 Breviary
Roman Breviary in English Benziger 1950, English only.
Other Options, which are not the Roman Breviary, but either a good introduction or an abbreviated form:
a.) A Short Breviary 1940-51, 1954 and 1962 All in English, complete edition has a full psalter, first edition 1940-1951 uses Vulgate psalms, Third edition 1962 has psalm tones, music for hymns, and can be found with various supplements, such as Franciscan or Benedictine for material proper to those orders, complete edition also provides a year round lectionary
b.) The Little Breviary 1957, all in English, Knox psalms
c.) Book of Hours 1956 from En Calcat Abbey, Latin-English - full psalter over 5 weeks, and has a year round lectionary and a martyrology -- I am using this book presently
d.)Little Office of Our Lady 1962 En Calcat Abbey, Latin-English -- has a year round lectionary and a 2 week cycle with the full psalter
e.) Liturgical Readings 1943 Grail Press provides the complete readings for the office of Matins for Sundays, and feasts, English only
f.) I would recommend to all Pius Parsch's The Breviary Explained and the Church's Year of Grace. This latter book set is phenomenal and fully explains the Missal and Breviary throughout the Church year.
5.) I do heartily encourage folks to pray the 1960 office, if they can. Using this office exposes one to the wonderful office of Prime, which consecrates the workday. Prime was suppressed with the Council, and the more folks are exposed to it, the more, I hope, people will clamor for its restoration.
6.)Finally, I put my money where my mouth is. I want people to pray the office. I have given away many copies of the old office and the other books to priests, seminarians and laity. If I had the money, I would republish some of the above books.

In the end, God bless the SSPX for this initiative. Nothing but good can come from it.

James Ignatius McAuley

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of ministry I imagine the SSPX would have focused on if they had not run into trouble with ecclesiastical authorities and hopefully this aspect of their mission will grow and gain the approbation of Rome.

They could be similar to the Theatines who during the Counter-Reformation went around teaching priests how to actually live and act like priests. As much as having chapels here and there provides an oasis for the laity, I feel it is this kind of ministry where true reform will actually come from.

CDN_priest said...

If I, as a secular priest who is bound to the recitation of the Office daily, were to use a pre-1960 breviary (in Latin, of course), would that fulfil my canonical obligation?

Also, what about the usage of the traditional Benedictine breviary (which, of course, is pre-1960)?

I think that the latter would, if for example I were to assist at an Office chanted in a traditional Benedictine monastery...but what if I were to recite the traditional Benedictine Office in private? Would that fulfil the obligation, or merely be considered to be a "private devotion"?

Thanks for any answers anyone may be able to provide.