QUAERITUR: clerics fulfilling office obligation with older Office in vernacular

From a priest reader: Twitter

I’m a priest and religious and I’ve wanted to pray the psalter in the traditional way for a long time and while clearing out our library I came across a Breviary in English from 1964, an approved  translation of the official text of the Breviarum Romanum, published by Benziger and with an imprimatur from Cardinal Spellman, all in one volume (one does have to get the Gospel readings from a bible and there’s no text for the martyrology). 
 
My first question is: under Summorum Pontificum do I fulfill my obligation to pray the Divine Office or do I also have to pray the LOTH?  At the moment I am only present for Office with my community on some evenings in the week and at that I use the LOTH and pray vespers from the breviary I found later on.  I enjoy this alternative (even though the translation is a little clunky) and it certainly puts me into more intimate contact with the psalms.  In addition I find the seven hours more effectively sanctifies my day than the LOTH.
 
My second question: which calendar am I to use.  At the  moment I try to follow the revised calendar so that Mass and Office harmonize but I had not realised that the creators of the LOTH and the NO also moved so many feasts around!  It’s a bit of a mess and of course the saints canonized since the 60′s are not there.  I have to admit I miss the readings from the Fathers in the Office of Readings.
 
That said I want to pray with the Church and not at cross-purposes with her and I want to be obedient while praying the psalter.  I am of the generation that was not given the option of learning Latin and as yet I have not the funds to buy a bi-lingual breviary set.  So English is my only medium for using the old form for the present.

Your spiritual adviser/director could be of good use here.  Be sure to include him.

Priests can use the older Breviarium Romanum and fulfill the obligation. 

However, the Breviarium Romanum is in Latin, as is the Liturgia Horarum.  The Council’s document Sacrosanctum Concilium stated that clerics and religious were to say the office in Latin unless they obtained explicit permission from their superior to use the vernacular.  Since then that has been relaxed, but the principle does remain: Latin clerics should use Latin whenever possible and practical.  Of course we now like in an age when clerics – horribile scriptu – are not so well-versed in Latin as they ought to be.  I suppose… suppose that a cleric today with permission to fulfill his obligation using the vernacular (which I think is all clerics these days) could also fulfill his obligation with the English version of the older office.  Odiosa restringenda and all that.

The calendar situation is messy for clerics who use both forms.  That said, I think we have to be flexible and not get overly worked up about it.  I usually suggest that when you use the older form of Holy Mass you might also benefit from the older form of office.  That takes care of the calendar from day to day.  When using votive Masses in the older form, this is obviously less complicated for the office.

There is no reason why you cannot fulfill your obligation with English Liturgia Horarum and then, on your own time as it were, do some hours from the Breviarium Romanum in whatever version to get the feel of it, get used it, get something more out of it, etc.  Time consuming? Yes!

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37 Responses to QUAERITUR: clerics fulfilling office obligation with older Office in vernacular

  1. pberginjr says:

    I know you’ve commented on the unfortunate situation of two calendars before (and I agree, it often gives me a headache keeping it all in order). Is there any work currently being done to reconcile the calendars to one for all liturgies? IS this even possible (I suppose many things can be done by papal decree)? What would the ideal “merged calendar” look like for you Fr. Z?

  2. Oneros says:

    “Is there any work currently being done to reconcile the calendars to one for all liturgies? IS this even possible (I suppose many things can be done by papal decree)?”

    It would defeat the whole purpose of allowing the older liturgy. It would be unnacceptable for traditionalists to touch the Old Calendar except maybe by adding new feasts for new Saints, using the Commons (new Collects would probably be suspect if they were written in the “new style).

    It would be an unworkable half-measure to just try to merge the calendars. If they’re going to ever get back to one Rite…they’re going to have to sit down and fix the liturgy as a whole, which will probably look a lot more like 1962 than 1970. Trying to bring them together piecemeal will please no one and ruin everything.

    There is no need for the two Forms to have the same calendar. The East doesn’t compared to us except for the most major feasts. Even the Apostles are mainly different in the East.

    The best “solution” to the “conflict” I can think of (besides priests using one or the other Forms exclusively, which is really the holistic/purist approach) is for them to conform the major feasts of the New Calendar to the Old (first and second class…definitely. Plus, like, Doctors of the Church, Founders, and Rulers etc)…and then for priests to be allowed to treat the lesser Saints (from either calendar) as purely Votive (a priest is already allowed to say a Saint’s Mass on any free day in the old rite)

  3. Oneros says:

    “I suppose… suppose that a cleric today with permission to fulfill his obligation using the vernacular (which I think is all clerics these days) could also fulfill his obligation with the English version of the older office. Odiosa restringenda and all that.”

    A rather surprising little fatwa (but wonderful if it’s true). I would love to see this vindicated.

    I would love this to be true, though I’m hesitant to believe it. I mean, the Mass has also been allowed in the vernacular now…but that applies to the New Mass. I doubt someone without explicit Vatican permission (I’m hoping some of the Anglican Ordinariates will get it) would be allowed to use even approved translations for parts of the Old Mass (Summorum Pontificum made specific provision only for the Lessons to be in the vernacular).

    Then again…I have heard that permission for vernacular in the Office was allowed even before the Council. Though if we’re going to invoke past practice like that, why couldn’t a priest also use something like the 1967 Ferial Lectionary at the Old Mass?

    I guess the difference is that the Office permissions were for private recitation only (public celebration would still have to be in Latin, I’m assuming).

    It also is a bit odd that Fr. Z is invoking the near-universal permission for vernacular Liturgy of the Hours and applying it to the Old Rite. I’m not sure how the law overlaps here.

    If I were a priest, I’d ask my bishop or superior first. But, at the same time, I wouldn’t have any qualms once my bishop or other superior said it was okay.

  4. Geoffrey says:

    Can someone obligated to pray the Divine Office, who uses the Extraordinary Form, legitimately omit Prime, since it was abolished in “Sacrosanctum Concilium”?

    I think the calendars should somehow be merged. When reading the old Roman Martyrology, I am amazed to see that the new calendar actually tried to restore feast days to the actual “dies natalis ” of a saint.

  5. Oneros says:

    “Can someone obligated to pray the Divine Office, who uses the Extraordinary Form, legitimately omit Prime, since it was abolished in “Sacrosanctum Concilium”?”

    This gets sticky, I would think. Then you miss a whole set of psalms.

    The Office cannot be deconstructed piecemeal like this. Each Form has to be seen as a Whole.

    I mean, SC also called for making Matins an “office of readings” at any time of day, and only requiring one of the Little Hours out of the three…yet I doubt you could apply that to the 1962 books which came BEFORE all those changes.

    Then again, I’m assuming that a priest will use either/or exclusively.

    If all he’s doing is subbing the occasional Hour (I’m thinking Lauds and Vespers especially can “stand on their own” pretty well like that) from the Old Office into a cycle that is predominantly the New LOTH…then, of course, he wouldnt have to do all that goes along with the Old. But I’m not sure that Summorum Pontificum actually allows that (though I know priests do it). I think SP assumes a priest will use one or the other exclusively (in which case, no, you cannot tear-apart the holistic unity of the Old Office).

  6. Oneros says:

    “I think the calendars should somehow be merged. When reading the old Roman Martyrology, I am amazed to see that the new calendar actually tried to restore feast days to the actual “dies natalis ” of a saint.”

    Yes, that’s tricky. Because, when you get rid of certain Saints (like obscure Roman martyrs) in favor of freeing up space and allowing local Saints to take more precedence…it does suddenly allow certain more major figures, whose feast was put on another day…to have their actual dies natalis restored.

    And we need to consider whether that principle (in any reform of either calendar) is worth uprooting the tradition of a feast which has been celebrated on the same day for hundreds of years. For more minor figures it is probably worth it. But for someone like St Dominic? I don’t know.

  7. Fr. A.M. says:

    I think that, as the ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’ stipulations concerning the 1962 office post-date 1962, they therefore – since ‘Summorum Pontificum’ – no longer affect the recitiation of the office according to the 1962 edition of the Breviarium Romanum. As this is the breviary which clerics – secular and religious – may use to fulfil their obligation of reciting the divine office, the Latin text there is the one to be followed, which includes Prime. But I think Fr’s Z suggestion that ‘There is no reason why you cannot fulfill your obligation with English Liturgia Horarum and then, on your own time as it were, do some hours from the Breviarium Romanum in whatever version to get the feel of it, get used it, get something more out of it, etc.’ is a good option, among many, for those who are obliged to recite the office and eventually want to pray the Latin Breviarium Romanum (1962). In short – to fulfil your obligation with the Breviarium Romanum (1962), you must use the Latin text : that is my humble interpretation of the law, ‘saving the judgment of the Church’.

  8. ljc says:

    I’m praying that Vox Clara takes on the LOTH as their next project. That would really improve things.

  9. Dear Father A.M.,

    I don’t think that is right. In my Western Dominican Province we have friars who have been saying the old Dominican Rite Office since before the Council and some who have taken it up since. All follow the discipline of Breviary obligations for that office as they were in the mid-1960s. They may select one of the day offices each day and omit the others. The normal way of doing this is to say the 4 little hours on a four week cycle.

    Like the fasting laws and the Leonine prayers, the Breviary obligation is a matter of church law, not liturgy. SP restored the use of the 1962 liturgical books, not the 1962 law. It think it admirable to say all the little hours, but the law did not (and so still does not) require it. And it would be sad if a cleric decided not to use the old office because they were concerned that they could not fit the four little hours in without a high failure rate.

  10. Rellis says:

    The solution to the calendar issue is pretty simple, if the Church ever got around to merging the two forms of the Roman Rite:

    1. Use the EF Proper of Time. This gives you back all the “lost” things like Septuagesima, Ember Days, Rogation Days, etc.

    2. Use the OF Proper of Saints. This pares down the minor saints from 1962, adds in the new saints since, and (as has been pointed out above) does the right thing by restoring saints to their “dies natale,” WHERE THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALL ALONG

    3. Sundays are trickier. You would want the Gospel antiphons and (in the BR) homily to match up with the Mass. But which Lectionary?

    The way forward, in the broad brush, is clear.

  11. Rellis says:

    Fr. Thompson:

    You’re the first credible source that sees the 1960s revisions questions the same way that I do. There were actually several sets of changes to the old Breviary law (Tres Abhinc Annos, and one other instruction). To be clear, here’s what they would amalgamate to. I’d be interested to see if you think a cleric could redact the following from 1962BR and fulfill his Office:

    1. Only use one nocturn with three psalms and three lessons at Matins on I and II class feasts
    2. Omit the absolutions and blessings in private recitation of Matins
    3. Suppress Prime entirely
    4. Pick from one of Terce, Sext, and None, depending on time of day, three-week cycle, etc.

    That is the complied set of changes made in the 1960s immediately prior to the LOTH being promulgated.

    If priests, deacons, and obligated religious could follow that regimen legally, the “time argument” goes away entirely. That BR is just about the same length as the LOTH.

  12. johnworster says:

    Fr. Thompson: As an Army Chaplain I’d say that “it’s not what shining the boots does to the boots; it’s what shining the boots does to the soldier.” For years now I’ve switched off between English translations, the LH in Latin, and now a Spanish Liturgia de las Horas. There are subtle spiritual and psychic results to be achieved. Some experts are praising the arrangement of psalms in the BR, and highlighting the shortcomings imposed by what the “reform” of the Liturgy did to the psalm arrangements (how they were distributed between the hours). I’d have to say the optimal solution for recovering the riches of the Liturgy for the current generation of believers is the BR.

  13. robtbrown says:

    2. Use the OF Proper of Saints. This pares down the minor saints from 1962, adds in the new saints since, and (as has been pointed out above) does the right thing by restoring saints to their “dies natale,” WHERE THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALL ALONG
    Comment by Rellis

    St Thomas’ feast in the new calendar is Jan 28th. In the old it is Mar 7th, the day he died.

  14. Geoffrey says:

    “St Thomas’ feast in the new calendar is Jan 28th. In the old it is Mar 7th, the day he died.”

    Good point. I think the reason for that move was so that Lent wouldn’t “bump” his feast day almost every year.

  15. Rellis says:

    @rotbrown, St. Thomas Aquinas’ feastday move is unique. Overwhelmingly, the saints who got moved (dozens of them) got moved to their dies natale (where they should have been all along in the first place).

    Call me a convert to the calendar changes here. Getting rid of legendary or very minor saints, and freeing things up for local calendar saints and dies natale integrity is a good thing.

    I have a few objections here, but I’m 95% happy with the new sanctoral calendar. I’m only 80% happy with the new seasonal calendar.

  16. robtbrown says:

    3. Suppress Prime entirely
    Comment by Rellis

    So what happens with those using Benedict’s Rule, which prescribes the Hour of Prime? And what happens with, say, the Dominicans, whose traditions prescribe the same?

  17. Rellis says:

    @robtbrown, the suppression of Prime was a rather terse directive from the Council Fathers. Presumably, they did not intend for it to apply to religious communities with their own rites and rules. For those bound by Roman law, though, it is one of those post-1962/pre-LOTH rules.

    If I might speculate on the “spirit of Vatican II” here (ha!) I think there were probably two motivations for this rash evisceration of an entire canonical hour:

    1. To make Lauds the first waking hour of the day. This is a bit of antiquarianism, as well as a break from the fact that Lauds was a night office with Matins for the longest time, and

    2. To shorten the entire Office obligation, especially by getting rid of Prime’s “chapter office.”

    It would be totally in keeping with the 1960s redactions to rotate the psalms prayed at Prime/Terce/Sext/None, pick a hymn according to time of day, and do a four-week cycle. This is what Fr. Thompson seems to be describing.

  18. Sedgwick says:

    According to this website

    http://www.roman-breviary.org/

    there are only, as of yet, second-hand copies of the bi-lingual Breviary available. So: what if this priest chose the set he wanted from the links on that site, and we took up a collection to help him buy it? I would gladly contribute.

  19. Oneros says:

    “Like the fasting laws and the Leonine prayers, the Breviary obligation is a matter of church law, not liturgy. SP restored the use of the 1962 liturgical books, not the 1962 law. It think it admirable to say all the little hours, but the law did not (and so still does not) require it.”

    Relevant texts:

    § 3 Clerics ordained “in sacris constitutis” may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.

    Can. 1174 §1. Clerics are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours according to the norm of ? can. 276, §2, n. 3; members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, however, are bound according to the norm of their constitutions.

    Can. 276 §2 3/ priests and deacons aspiring to the presbyterate are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily according to the proper and approved liturgical books; permanent deacons, however, are to carry out the same to the extent defined by the conference of bishops;

    The question of the Little Hours etc…is one internal to the Books you choose to use. Canon Law says merely that the liturgy of the hours is to be prayed daily “according to the proper and approved liturgical books.” Summorum Pontificum makes the Breviarium Romanum (1962) one of these books.

    The obligation is to pray it according to the books. The obligation is NOT phrased in terms of specific hours. It does NOT say, “The priest is to pray the Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, a Day Hour, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer”. This is implied for those using the LOTH from the rubrics WITHIN the book itself. But for those using a different approved book for the Office, the rubrics internal to THAT Book are to be followed.

    No where does Canon Law, in establishing the obligation, directly dispense from Prime or say that only one Little Hour must be prayed. These facts follow only indirectly, from the fact that LOTH does not have Prime and that its rubrics specify the thing about picking one Day Hour. But if one is not using the LOTH books with their rubrics, there is nothing to indicate that one for some reason gets to use those rubrics.

    In other-words the Old Office is to be taken as a whole with internal consistency just as the LOTH is.

    The Dominican superiors may have decided something different for those under their jurisdiction, according to their power.

    But let’s remember that Sacrosanctum Consilium is not binding law. Rather, it was a set of liturgical “suggestions,” as it were, that it was left to Paul VI to then enact (and in some cases modify) in making the Novus Ordo. It’s prescriptions (regarding the abolition of Prime, the choice of one Day Hour, the Office of Readings being moveable, etc) are manifested in this Novus Ordo LOTH.

    This has nothing to do intrinsically with the question of the obligation, which canon law describes merely as saying the Office “according to” an approved book. Now, indeed, according to the LOTH you can pick just one Day Hour from it, and it doesn’t have Prime.

    But the Breviarium Romanum is a DIFFERENT approved book, with different internal rules. It makes no such provisions, so if you choose to meet your obligation by doing the Office according to the older book…you have to use the older rubrics. There is no tearing-apart the internal holism of the Old Breviary conceived by Summorum Pontificum. It foresees priests using either LOTH or BR in toto.

  20. Oneros says:

    “there are only, as of yet, second-hand copies of the bi-lingual Breviary available. So: what if this priest chose the set he wanted from the links on that site, and we took up a collection to help him buy it? I would gladly contribute.”

    It’s probably better to wait for Baronius (hopefully sometime this year?!) because the old Bilingual set does not use the Vulgate psalms, but rather the ugly “Pius XII” Psalms.

  21. Oneros says:

    “Use the OF Proper of Saints. This pares down the minor saints from 1962, adds in the new saints since, and (as has been pointed out above) does the right thing by restoring saints to their “dies natale,” WHERE THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALL ALONG”

    But one thing a lot of trads like in the Old Rite is the old Roman martyrs.

    Hence why I suggested making most Saints beyond the major ones…simply “votive” somehow. Then a priest who wanted to follow the Old Calendar could do that, or the New Calendar, or a priest who liked just doing ferial Masses on those days could do that too.

  22. Oneros says:

    It should also be noted that most people would not be that bothered if the Old Rite had a feast that was simply ABSENT on the New Calendar. In other words, if the Old Rite had a feast on a day that was otherwise a feria in the New, and which never occurred on the calendar of the New anywhere else. I doubt that would bother people, as that would feel just sort of like a Votive Mass for that Saint (and no one would have to worry about it fitting with the LOTH ferial Office or anything).

    I think what disturbs people is when two different feasts conflict on the same day, or when someone has to do the Feast in one Form one day…only to have the redundancy of it occurring AGAIN later in the week (or even the next day, as often happened with the question of dies natales) in the other Form.

    For example, on August 4th is the Feast of St John Vianney in the new rite, but St. Dominic in the old. Then, on August 8th, it is the feast of St. Dominic in the new, but St. John Vianney in the old. I think this is the sort of thing that annoys people. Or when St. Francis de Salles is said on January 24th in the new only to be said in the old 5 days later.

    On the other hand, I don’t think people would mind if, say, there was an empty feria on New Calendar with the Old retaining something. In other words, I think CONFLICT between feasts and REDUNDANCY annoy people. I don’t think the mere fact of the Old Calendar having MORE feasts would bug people, as long as the ones that WERE also on the New Calendar had the same date.

  23. robtbrown says:

    @robtbrown, the suppression of Prime was a rather terse directive from the Council Fathers. Presumably, they did not intend for it to apply to religious communities with their own rites and rules. For those bound by Roman law, though, it is one of those post-1962/pre-LOTH rules.

    If they didn’t intend it after all the meetings and voting on the text, then they were incompetent. And I don’t think incompetence is the reason the text was written that way. See below.

    If I might speculate on the “spirit of Vatican II” here (ha!) I think there were probably two motivations for this rash evisceration of an entire canonical hour:

    1. To make Lauds the first waking hour of the day. This is a bit of antiquarianism, as well as a break from the fact that Lauds was a night office with Matins for the longest time, and

    2. To shorten the entire Office obligation, especially by getting rid of Prime’s “chapter office.”

    It would be totally in keeping with the 1960s redactions to rotate the psalms prayed at Prime/Terce/Sext/None, pick a hymn according to time of day, and do a four-week cycle. This is what Fr. Thompson seems to be describing.
    Comment by Rellis

    Your description is fine, but it doesn’t address the situation–that a globally written text of Vat II is not to be adequate to describe the Divine Office for not only diocesan priests but also for those in vows.

    IMHO, there was a movement at Vat II to homogenize the priesthood, producing an overly pastoral concept of it that the Protestants could accept. That meant suppressing monastic (read: contemplative) elements as well as medieval theology–both specifically Catholic.

    The incompetence was from those who took it for granted (a tendency continued after the Council) that certain very important components of the Church would remain untouched.

  24. robtbrown says:

    @rotbrown, St. Thomas Aquinas’ feastday move is unique. Overwhelmingly, the saints who got moved (dozens of them) got moved to their dies natale (where they should have been all along in the first place).

    And St Christopher?

    Call me a convert to the calendar changes here. Getting rid of legendary or very minor saints, and freeing things up for local calendar saints and dies natale integrity is a good thing.

    By definition, local saints are Beati. And for saints who are more important to one region than another, there was the option to celebrate their feast.

    I have a few objections here, but I’m 95% happy with the new sanctoral calendar. I’m only 80% happy with the new seasonal calendar.
    Comment by Rellis

    I’m not terribly unhappy with it, but I reckon that the increase in ferial days was a gesture to the Protestants.

  25. smad0142 says:

    In a related vein, if it is licit to use the older Office in the vernacular would it also be licit to use the older Missal in the vernacular, i.e. could a Priest offer the Mass using a reverent vernaular translation of the older Missal?

  26. gilisme says:

    Check out the below developed by the FSSP with wide choices.

    http://divinumofficium.com/

  27. Dear Rellis,

    I am not so inclined as you are to consider most changes in the mid-1960s “legal” as opposed to “rubrical.” Things like dropping the blessings, changing the number of nocturns, etc., seem like “liturgical” or rubrical changes to me. I would put the suppression of Prime into that category too. They didn’t say “you are no longer obliged to say prime to fulfill your Breviary obligation” they abolished it (a liturgical, not legal obligation change). SP restored the texts and rubrics of 1962, so those kinds of changes should not be imported into the current use of the 1962 Office.

    I know that this opens a snake pit, but “custom is the best interpreter of law” (a canon law maxim since Gratian), and those of my province who taught me the Dominican Rite — and remember mine is the ONLY Province in the entire Dominican order were permission to use the old Dominican Rite was given to all who asked, and these were not few — and the understanding of the good number of priests saying the old office and Mass (both privately and publicly) was that the requirement to say office allowed a rotation of little hours, but no other reduction in obligation.

    So, I don’t think I can follow you to where you want to go. But why not send a dubium to the Sacred Congregation?

  28. Dear “johnworster,”

    Father (?), I don’t think that I ever said that one should not say the office. What I said was that if the problem of having to say four little hours meant that a priest would decide not to use the old office at all, then it seems sad that this sould be the result: since it is not required by law.

    Having used both the 1959 Dominican Office, and the current Liturgy of the Hours, AND the 1909 Medieval Dominican Office (about 30% longer than the 1962 Roman), I value a longer office for the discipline it imposes, but the best should not be enemy of the good.

  29. LawrenceK says:

    In my many years of reading blogs, including this one, this is the first time I have encountered the supine in a blog post. It made my day!

    :)

  30. LawrenceK,

    Was it the accusative or ablative supine? Sorry I was skimming …

  31. Sixupman says:

    Regarding the Novus Ordo Lectionary, my view is unprintable! The new calaendar had the sole aim, of disenfranchising all the TLM Missals, the disorientation of the congregations, and, increasing the bank balances of printers. Reorientation enriched the architectural profession and their favourite suppliers.

    Very recently, we have witnessed both implicit and explicit denial of Transubstantion from clerics, all the fruit of the foregoing. Such forewarned by the likes of Fr. Oswald Baker, in th UK, Msgr. Lefebvre and countless others. And where, in all Charity, can Mother Church apparatchicks justify the treatment of those souls’ defence of The Blessed Sacrament. It cannot be justified and is an absolute disgrace.

    If the vernacular was the issue, no change whatsoever was required, therefore, some alternative agenda was present and we now know what it was.

  32. Fr. A.M. says:

    Thank you Fr. Augustine and Oneros etc. for your comments (I’m inclined to Oneros opinion, but will consider everything that has been said carefully – I haven’t time now, as I must make my preparation for the Mass !). However I’d be very interested to hear from FSSP and Christ the King priests for their opinons on this important subject and what is taught in their seminaries about this matter.

  33. Fr. A.M. says:

    Having thought about it again, I think that what Oneros said is nearer the mark concerning the obligation to recite all the hours of the BR (1962). Summ. Pont. is quite clearly ‘positive law’. Without ignoring the issue of ‘custom’/’immemorial custom’ and BR (customary law is too readily forgotten these days), and indults for persons and religious congregations etc., Summ. Pont. changes the following from the point of written law :

    ‘For those however who, because of advanced age or for special reasons, experience serious difficulties in observing the new rite (LOTH) it is lawful to continue to use the former Roman Breviary, in whole or in part, with the consent of their Ordinary, and exclusively in individual recitation.’ (Pope Paul VI, Laudis Canticum (1970)).

    Now since Summ. Pont. every cleric, religious or secular, may use BR – and not any BR but BR 1962. Priests, under the conditions mentioned in Summ.Pont. may celebrate MR – not any MR (e.g. 1964) but MR 1962 (of course recently one may use vernacular readings etc. This is clearly stated in the law given in Summ.Pont.). You are obliged to follow the rubrics of BR if you freely choose to use it. ‘Liturgical law’ and rubrics also have the force of law (see Canon 2 ). Changes made to BR 1962 from 1964 and before Summ.Pont. are no longer applicable. Summ. Pont. does not indicate that modifications can or must be made to the rubrics of BR 1962 along those lines. Nothing of the kind was specified by the legislator. This is quite clear. We are entitled, and indeed should, interpret the law strictly.

    It is not as difficult as one thinks to recite BR 1962 in its entirety – perhaps a bit more time spent in prayer is a good thing ? As Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta said ‘if you want to work another hour pray another hour’. Moral theology actually allows missing some of the office in certain circumstances / e.g. if one had lots of confessions to hear etc. (some of the old theologians were quite liberal of this point !). One has to weigh-up factors with prudence, of course. It is also not unreasonable to suppose that, in certain circumstances, a cleric can fulfil his obligation by reciting sections from BOTH BR 1962 and LOTH. For example, if a priest were to say ‘Office of Readings’ and ‘Morning Prayer’ with fellow priests, then he is not obliged to recite Matins and Lauds BR 1962 as he has already recited the office in an approved form. If a priest visited a monastery and recited/sung the hours there (say a house that uses the Psalterium Monasticum – 1981 ?), he would not be obliged to repeat them again privately from BR). These examples could be multiplied. Thank you for this interesting discussion, and God bless.

  34. Soukup says:

    I am a layman who is not strictly bound to recite the Divine Office, though I generally say at least Lauds, Vespers and Compline. I assist at Masses offered by the Institute of Chrsti the King, thus the TLM, and I use the 1962 BR. I am not academically trained in liturgical matters, but it seems to me that the “calendrical reconciliation” is a weighty matter without a perfect solution. If the reconciliation is ever attempted or forced upon us, it is my great hope that it is more like the 1962 calendar than like the new calendar for a variety of reasons. In fact, I wish it would be more like the one in place before the reduction of octaves in 1955.

    I have frequently heard suggestions for “calendrical reconciliation” along the same lines as Rellis above. That is, use the TLM’s temporal cycle and the new sanctoral cycle. I can think of a few problems with this, but since I am not well versed in the new calendar I will stick to one problematic area. The new calendar dislocated, removed and combined feasts at an astonishing rate so that the sanctoral cycle is incredibly impoverished with the only improvement of some new saints added to it. For example, the Visitation was moved from July 2 to May 31 in the new calendar; this left a feria on July 2 and displaced the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The feast of St. Joachim was moved from August 16 (which is a nice relation to teh Assumption) to July 26; this left a feria on August 16 and created a combined feast of SS. Joachim and Anne on July 26 (which originally had only St. Anne). The Archangels’ feasts were combined into one feast on September 29, thus displacing the Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel as well as leaving a feria on March 24 (the old feast of St. Gabriel, which had a great connection to the Annunciation).

  35. LawrenceK says:

    Fr. Thompson: it was the ablative in Fr. Z’s “horribile scriptu”.

  36. Oneros says:

    Actually, if they were looking to strip the calendar down to allow dioceses or nations to make there own calendars more specific to them…the Calendar of Pius V, the one implemented after Trent, might be a good traditional starting point.

    Remove the martyrs specific to Rome (except at Rome and its environs), move Saints back to their actual dies natales inasmuch as it is considered prudent and not too uprooting of tradition (and at this point, the cat is out of that bag; originally I might have been inclined to keep traditional feasts for tradition’s sake…but that tradition is largely gone, so the “theory” might be given more precedent now), and then add some more local and modern Saints.

    The Tridentine calendar is significantly less cluttered than the way the calendar had become by the 50′s.

  37. johnworster says:

    Fr. Thompson. I certainly agree with you that the “the best should not be the enemy of the good.” That is indeed a lovely way to put it. More remarkable still is that we can have this blog stream that so handily allows us to get so quickly to the “best” and make it so widely know. When I was ordained 23 years ago for a rural, Western diocese, I did not imagine that we’d have at our hands to means to have this erudite discussion. Better still we’ll be able to discern and share our own personal experiences of this rich tradition of prayer.