Help an inquirer with question about English version of Roman Breviary

I got a question via e-mail.  I bet some of you can help quicker than I can:

Father Z – is there an English language version of the Breviary in force in 1962 that you would recommend?

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26 Responses to Help an inquirer with question about English version of Roman Breviary

  1. danphunter1 says:

    I called Baronius Press and they informed that later this years they will have out an Latin-English breviary.
    God bless you.

  2. Fr Leon says:

    I borrowed one from the local university library: “The Roman Breviary: an approved English translation complete in one volume from the official Text of the Breviarium Romanum authorised by the Holy See”. (Benzinger Brothers: New York, 1964). With an imprimatur from the late Cardinal Spellman.

    I’m waiting to see Baronius Press’s bilingual version when it comes out.

  3. Flambeaux says:

    If you want the Roman Breviary of 1962, complete, and in English, the answer is a qualified no. The qualification is that there may be some versions printed in dual language or in English exclusively dating from 1963-1967 available through Ebay or a used book seller.

    If you want a new book the options are as follows:

    1) The Anglican Breviary — the 1955 Roman Breviary, translated into hieratic English, with some Book of Common Prayer substitutions. Available from Lancelot Andrewes Press. Despite the name, this is a thoroughly Catholic work. The Sedevacantists who run http://www.breviary.net cribbed a lot of their English translations of the Breviary on their site from this work, and the FSSP recommends it for use by those who don’t have sufficient Latin to pray the official Breviarium.

    As a note Lancelot Andrewes Press also offers a fully English Monastic Diurnal, as well as a companion volume pointed for chant should you wish to chant the Office. All in hieratic English.

    2) The Monastic Diurnal — republished starting in 2004, this is a dual language (Latin-English) volume of the Day Hours (Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, & Compline) according to the Benedictine usage of 1962. It has some helpful notes, uses the Vulgate Psalter, fits neatly in the palm of the hand (my palm being about 4 inches/9cm wide), and is well constructed. I will note that the Ferial office is noted in current calendar notation (Monday, Tuesday, etc) rather than the Roman notation of Feria II, Feria III, etc. This makes it easier for the novice user of the Breviary, but can throw those experienced with the more traditional notation. I’ll also point out that while all the day hours for Sunday and Monday are included, The mid-day hours of Terce, Sext, and None for Tuesdays through Saturdays are included only under the heading “Rest of the Week”. I don’t know if this is due to Benedictine usage or not. Also, the Nunc Dimittis is not part of the Benedictine Compline. I got mine through AbbeyShoppe.com.

    3) If you’re SSPX friendly, or at the least not hostile, they offer a volume called Divine Office. It contains all the day hours of Sunday, and Prime, Sext, and Compline of the 1962 Roman Breviary in dual language (Latin-English) for all the other days of the week. I do not have this volume and can make no recommendations. It can be purchased through Angelus Press, and is currently on sale.

    4) Wait for the Baronius Press edition, which has been long promised. Rumor is that it will be 3 volumes, and cost is still unpublished.

    5) Acquire the Little Office of the BVM from Baronius or Angelus Press. This is my wife’s preference, as it is simple enough, and short enough, for her to pray while juggling her other duties. It’s dual language, an approved supplement/variant of the full Breviary, and has a long history of use by the laity.

    I hope this is helpful to your search.

  4. Caeremoniarius says:

    What about the 3-volume bilingual Divine Office published by Collegeville
    in 1963? This was the edition approved (for those who wished to use
    the vernacular) in 1964 by the NCCB.

  5. Caeremoniarius says:

    What about the 3-volume bilingual Divine Office published by Collegeville
    in 1963? This was the edition approved (for those who wished to use
    the vernacular) in 1964 by the NCCB.

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    Flambeaux,
    I might add that the Monastic Diurnal you mention in 2) has the Benedictine arrangement of Psalms rather than that in the Roman Breviary, which limits its verbatim usage by those who prefer the familiar Psalms on the familiar days according to the Roman usage. However, it includes all the same antiphons, chapters, responsories for most days of the year.

    So I use the Monastic Diurnal for the antiphons, etc. together with the Angelus Press Divine Office you mention in 3), perhaps the most beautifully arranged and printed (two-color) of the many liturgical books I possess. In addition to daily Prime, Sext, and Compline, its Sunday Lauds suffices as well for most 1st class feasts of the year (they using the same Psalms). If you have a complete (Angelus or Baronius or older, e.g. St. Andrew) missal then you have there Vespers for first class feasts also.

  7. Asperity Ipswich says:

    Is it permissible for a priest to pray the 1964 breviary in a latin/english trot? I was under the impression that a priest/deacon had to use a latin edition.

  8. Chris T. says:

    Henry –

    It is worth noting that there is no such thing as _the_ Roman usage. The Benedictine arrangement and the Roman arrangement were similar in many ways before the reform of Pius X. They share a common heritage in the ancient Roman Office.

  9. Flambeaux says:

    Caeremoniarius

    It is my understanding that the Office you’re referring to is no longer widely available (i.e. not currently in print).

    Henry Edwards and Chris T.,

    Thank you both for the clarification. I also have a copy of the 1962 Breviary in 2 volumes using Pius XII’s Psalter. I had assumed the difference between the two was due to Pius XII’s reforms.

    I will say that I prefer the Monastic Compline to the Roman, but that is personal preference.

  10. Jon says:

    If it’s English you’re looking for, the very best one out there is the edition mentioned by Father Leon. I acquired a copy from Loome several years ago, and had it rebound. I think I paid $75.00 for my copy, but the last time I looked on E-bay, they were going for $150 plus.

    This volume is all in English, no Latin. The Psalms are the Confraternity version. The propers were all translated by the late Dr. Christine Mohrmann, who was a prominent student of the Liturgy in her day. The translation is in modern English, with no “dreaded” archaisms. At the same time it’s very eloquent and very accurate. Had the English-speaking bishops turned to Dr. Mohrmann instead of ICEL, we would all have been better off.

    The title page reads:

    ” An Approved English Translation
    complete in one Volume
    from the official Text
    of the Breviarium Romanum”

    It’s printed by Benziger Brothers, edited by Rev. Bede Babo, OSB, and as Father Leon says, bears the 1964 imprimatur of Cardinal Spellman. It also has the distinction of being the first approved edition of the Breviary for public celebration in English. It reads:

    “At a plenary meeting of the American Bishops
    in Washington, DC, on April 2, 1964,
    their Excellencies,
    among other actions taken, approved the
    ‘Roman Breviary in English,’
    for the recitation of the Divine Office
    in the vernacular.
    The decrees of the American Bishops
    were confirmed by the postconciliar Comission
    for the
    Execution of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,
    dated at Vatican City, May 1, 1964.”

    Imagine that. At a single meeting, only two years after Sacrosanctum Concilium, the bishops of the United States approved an entire liturgical book, translated with eloquence by a single author. Liturgiam Authenticam was when?…

  11. Anonymous in Michigan says:

    Caeremoniarius,
    If I can recall, the Baronius Press will use the 3 volume Collegeville edition (it is indeed out of print with the remaining copies being sold for exuberant prices on Ebay) as the primary model for their version which will hopefully come out this year. The Pius XII psalter will be replaced with the Vulgate one which makes sense since most religious congregations that adhere to the extraordinary form of the Roman-rite use the Vulgate psalms. I am not sure if the BP version will use the English translation from the Collegeville edition or not.

  12. Royce says:

    I heartily endorse the Anglican Breviary. The only thing possibly not to like is that it is not strictly Roman, but incorporates many elements of the Sarum Rite and occassionaly the Mozarbic, and that of Lyons as well. However, instructions are always given as to how to follow the stricter Roman usage. You can also substitute the Book of Common Prayer collects with those of your daily missal, though they are frequently the same. It has been a truly wonderful piece of spiritual nourishment for me lately and I don’t think anyone need worry that they are going to secretly imbibe Protestantism through its use.

  13. Parochus says:

    When, following the prescription of “Sacrosanctum Concilium” 101, §1, bishops in the 1960s started giving permission to their priests to recite the Office in English, there were two approved texts available in the U.S.: a three-volume edition published by The Liturgical Press with the Latin text on one page and the English translation on the opposite page, and a one-volume edition with the English text alone published by Benziger. The hymns in the LP edition are a literal prose translation of the Latin hymns, while the the Benziger edition has a metrical translation that reproduces the meter of the Latin hymns (thus enabling you to sing them to the Gregorian melody). Both of these editions are long out of print, but can be found occasionally in the catalogues of various second-hand book dealers.

  14. Parochus says:

    When, following the prescription of \”Sacrosanctum Concilium\” 101, §1, bishops in the 1960s started giving permission to their priests to recite the Office in English, there were two approved texts available in the U.S.: a three-volume edition published by The Liturgical Press with the Latin text on one page and the English translation on the opposite page, and a one-volume edition with the English text alone published by Benziger. The hymns in the LP edition are a literal prose translation of the Latin hymns, while the Benziger edition has a metrical translation that reproduces the meter of the Latin hymns (thus enabling you to sing them to the Gregorian melody). Both of these editions are long out of print, but can be found occasionally in the catalogues of various second-hand book dealers.

  15. Royce says:

    I just remembered something else about the Anglican Breviary … its calendar has slight, occasional inconguences with the 1962, as it doesn’t use any reforms after Pius X. This can easily be fixed through an ordo from FSSP or Angelus Press, though.

  16. Karen Russell says:

    Jon wrote “If it’s English you’re looking for, the very best one out there is the edition mentioned by Father Leon.”

    Jon, you’ve just made my day! This is the exact edition I have–picked up on a second-hand table for about $10 a couple of years ago. It has obviously been used, but the binding is intact and the pages untorn–in very good condition for a book which receives so much handling. Only the ribbons are worn away to the point of no longer being usable.

    I had reached a point where I could no longer stomach some of the translations in the modern LOTH, and when the Moto proprio came out, I picked this one up off the shelf and started using it.

    I would love to be able to pray it in Latin, but there is a very steep learning curve in the way and so far I haven’t made much progress up it.

    Glad to hear this one well recommended, and yes, I had noticed the metrical translation of the hymns mentioned by Parochus.

  17. Francis says:

    Don’t know if anyone mentioned this yet, I have not read all the comments but…the NLM sometimes has used, old breviaries on sale. You could write Shawn and ask if he has any right now.

  18. JM says:

    All,

    I too couldn’t stomach the banal translations of the LOTH and tried to find a Latin/English breviary for the longest time. Couldn’t find the strictly Roman, so opted for the Monastic Diurnal from St. Michael’s abbey. I truly love this small (but powerful) way to pray the psalms.

    I think this is the best $70 I’ve ever spent for spiritual reasons.

    Whenever the Roman Breviary comes out, I just may get that too as I’m a bit of a compare/contrast geek.

  19. WFW says:

    I would also reccomend the Anglican Breviary. The website of the gentleman who produced it is here: http://www.anglicanbreviary.net. I think there are a few pictures of what it looks like on the site as well. It is really a nice book although it does have a lot of stuff from Anglican Use in it. It diverges from the 1962 revision, but in many ways that is a good thing especially concerning Matins. In the reform in 1962 the last 2 nocturns were deleted from many of the offices at Matins but the Anglican Breviary keeps them in there so if a sermon by St. Augustine ends in the Roman Breviary with a question?

    I can usually go to the Anglican Breviary and figure out the rest of the sermon. One major problem is that the Sundays after Pentecost are labelled “after Trinity” and so are off from Roman Usage by one Sunday. Also there is an extra BCP office for one Sunday so it throws the whole thing off again. It is, however, a great way, as the FSSP has done, for people to learn the structure of the Office so that the transfer to Latin is smooth.

  20. Fr. WTC says:

    What ever the virtues of the Anglican Breviary may be, and I am sure these are legions unfortunately for clerics the requirement for fulfilling the “obligation” to say the office is that the text of the office and its translation into the vernacular be both approved and official. Christian Prayer is always prayer but for it to be the Liturgy of the Church it must be given by the Church. The Anglican Breviary is not the authentic liturgy of the Latin Church, and now that I think of it, it is not the official liturgy of even the Anglican communion.

    I am not sure what breviary the Anglican Rite (Catholic) clergy uses?

  21. david andrew says:

    I own a like-new copy of the three-volume Collegeville edition from 1963. I bought it back in the mid ’80′s from a pastor who was retiring and “cleaning out his library.” I can’t remember what I paid for it but I assure you it wasn’t anything approaching the $350.00 price tag I just saw over at Abebooks.com.

    I have always wanted to learn how to pray the office from this edition, but I’m not sure how to go about learning. It seems to me that the title of a little book explaining the order of the older forms of the office was mentioned on this blog. Does anyone have the title/author of the book?

  22. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    I would love to buy a Baronius Press version, provided it uses liturgical English and avoids those irritating U.S. spellings. The two editions of the 1962 Missal are generally good. There are a few lapses on liturgical English on a couple of pages. It was well done.

    Peter Karl T. Perkins
    Victoria, Canada

  23. Mark M says:

    Fr. WTC: they use something adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, if memory serves.

    In terms of this question, however, we don’t know why the person wishes to find this. If they do not have an obligation to say it, then they may use whichever translation they want.

    I think it is important to note that by-and-large, the “Anglican” Breviary is a faithful translation of the 1911 Breviarum Romanum.

  24. fr. Raphael Amor says:

    To Flammbeaux and any others who wondered about the Monastic Diurnal.

    As someone else mentioned, it is the “Monastic” office and so follows the benedictine order of psalmody, which is to be found in the Rule of St. Benedict. That holy Father ordered the liturgy for his flock so, and that is the reason for the Rest of the Week rule by terce, sext, and none from Tuesdays to Saturdays. These offices always have the same psalms and readings, and so are only printed once. Of course Compline is also the same every day of the week, in order that we can sing it off by heart without using any lights in the Church.
    I might add that my own cistercian order follows this setting of the psalms according to the Rule of St. Benedict too.

    Fr. Raphael Amor OCist

  25. Flambeaux says:

    Thank you, Father Amor, for answering my question.

  26. Asperity Ipswich says:

    David Andrew –
    There are a few resources out there. The Canons of Saint John Cantius have provided a guide to the breviary on their website – Sancta Missa, which is a transcription of E. J. Quigley’s book. Another resource, Father Hausemann’s “Introduction to the New Breviary” (concerning some rubrical changes in the pre-reform breviary) is often available on used-book websites; PCP is, I believe, reprinting it later this year.