From a reader:
I am hoping to acquire a set of books for saying the office. Looking at the Latin options, there seems to be the Liturgiam Horarium, and the Brevarium Romanum (PPXII and Monastic Use). Which of these three would be the best for a lay person? I’m leaning toward the PPXII Breviary but wanted an opinion. Why is this one one volume and the Monastic Use four volumes?
There are several factors to consider.
If you have the intention at some point to recite any of the hours with others in a parish, get the edition they use: probably the English Liturgy of the Hours, perhaps the one volume that has the major hours.
If you are usually attending Holy Mass in the Ordinary Forum, get the newer books, the Liturgia Horarum or Liturgy of the Hours.
If you are usually attending the traditional form, the Extraordinary Form, use the Breviarium Romanum.
It is good to be on the same page, as it were, with how you hear Mass.
There are also some simple options, such as the Little Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which some people could find useful.
However, if your Latin is not strong, then use English.
Also, there are some editions of the Breviarium Romanum with the "Pius XII psalms" which were in one volume. Very nice books, very convenient…. but I don’t especially like that version of the psalms. There are also editions with the rubrics as they were at the time of the start of the Council in two volumes, with the older psalms. Some older editions of the Breviarum Romanum were divided into four volumes, entitled according to the terrestrial season ("Winter", "Spring", etc.). Many of these older sets will have the older, traditional psalm translation but could pre-date changes to the rubrics in force at the time of the Council.
There are also monastic diurnals in one volume.
Finally, lay people, unless they are professed religious or consecrated virgins, don’t have the obligation to pray the office. You can do as you please in this regard without any constraints. Use this book or that book, Latin or whatever language you want, say it or don’t say it as you please.