WDTIRS: Universae Ecclesiae 32: Drilling into the Latin and English (reciting the Breviary)

I had a question from a priest about Univerae Ecclesiae on the topic of recitation of the office, and a cleric’s obligation.  I also had conversations with three priests yesterday during which the topic of our daily office came up.

UE 32:

32 – Omnibus clericis conceditur facultas recitandi Breviarium Romanum anni 1962, de quo art. 9, § 3 Litterarum Apostolicarum Summorum Pontificum, et quidem integre et Latino sermone.

LITERAL TRANSLATION:
32. Conceded to all clerics is the faculty of reciting the Breviarium Romanum of the year 1962, dealt with in 9, § 3 of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, and indeed (of reciting it) wholly and in Latin.

RELEASED TRANSLATION:
32. Art. 9 § 3 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum gives clerics the faculty to use the Breviarium Romanum in effect in 1962, which is to be prayed entirely and in the Latin language.

The more you look at the Latin alongside the English, the clearer it is that the document was not composed in Latin.

In any event, the LATIN is what we go by in the case of juridical documents.

For the sake of being complete, SP says: 9 § 3.  It is lawful for clerics in Holy Orders to use also the Breviarium Romanum promulgated in 1962 by Bl, John XXIII.

A first observation.  The Breviarium Romanum is not the Breviarium Monasticum in its various uses (Benedictine, Cistercian & Carthuisian).

My reading of the English suggests that the cleric who reads the Breviarium Romanum has to, must, read the whole of the day’s office and he must read it in Latin, not in an English translation.

My reading of the Latin suggests that the whole of the Breviarium can be read and the Breviary can be read in Latin.

So, in reading the English it seems that once the priest picks up the Roman Breviary for his in the morning, he has to use that book for the rest of the day, instead of switching to the Liturgy of the Hours for, say, Vespers and Compline.

In reading the Latin of UE 32 it seems as if the cleric can read the whole office from the Roman Breviary. That is, he has the faculty to read it wholly and in Latin, not the obligation to read it wholly and in Latin.

Moreover, the law is to be interpreted in such a way that it favors the people to whom favorable things are given. This is one of those cases. Interpret it UE 21 favorably.

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22 Responses to WDTIRS: Universae Ecclesiae 32: Drilling into the Latin and English (reciting the Breviary)

  1. Speravi says:

    I am also wondering how UE 28 applies to this. Obviously we can substitute like hours in one edition for equivalent hours in another. However, is it of moral or legal obligation to complete Compline before midnight? Would it be a violation of the rubrics to omit one of the little hours, not substituting the equivalent from the LOH? (Of course one might try get around this by saying they pray the LOH and substitute the BR.) This question is similar to that regarding the ritual’s rubrics stating that a priest, not a deacon, gives certain blessings (and I have heard, among other better arguments, that some deacons get around this by saying that they are using “these or similar words” from the Book of Blessings, which words happen to be verbatim from RR).

  2. sekman says:

    Ahh, I have my Nova et Vetera Breivary right here beside me. Out of curiosity which version of the Breviarium Romanum do you use Father?

  3. devthakur says:

    But Father! This seems very restrictive because it would require the following:

    1. A priest could not learn the BR gradually by starting with Compling, or just Matins, and incorporate more. He either has to do none of the BR or all of it.

    2. Also a priest, if he was involved public celebration of LOTH Vespers or assisted in choir at Byzantine Vespers or Dominican Rite Vespers … he will still have to recite Vespers from the BR privately if he started with the BR that morning / the night before.

    3. Finally there is the idea that if a priest is too busy for just reasons he can omit hours (e.g. he’s on the scene of a tragedy and must give many people confession and viaticum, or he’s called to the hospital, or the other priest in the parish is sick and he has to suddenly take on extra duties). Is this now superceded by UE which demands the priest say the full BR no matter what?

    4. What about deacons who are not required in Canon Law to say the full Office? They must, if they use the BR, say every single hour?

    These consequences of the provision in UE seem very demanding… is that really what UE implies?

    [You might want to review the top entry, and read my rendering of the Latin of the paragraph.]

  4. devthakur says:

    You can ignore my comment above! I re-read the post more carefully and realize you are saying the English implies what I was worried about, but the Latin does not.

  5. Rellis says:

    Now I’m more confused than ever. @devthakur, what made you feel like your questions were answered by the Latin/literal translation? Fr. Z’s explanation in the post seems to confirm your fears. [No. It doesn’t.]

  6. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    I can’t help but conclude that this is a particularly poorly written item in the new instruction. Indeed, the Latin can be construed to mean that one must use the BR for the whole day, which would represent a change from, say, the rubric in LH that one could use the former BR “in whole or in part” under certain circumstances.

    I find it hard to believe that a priest would not be allowed to participate in, say, public 1962 Vespers and then have to read LH Vespers on his own to fulfill an obligation, or vice versa. But if the point were to say that one could use the whole BR, that would seem pointless…was there ever a question about that? SP is pretty clear. [Not only that, but there is an old principle, “Officium pro officio stat… An office stands in place of an office”. In other words, if you make a mistake and read the wrong thing, it still counts for your obligation. That said, I can’t see why the office from one book or another wouldn’t satisfy one’s obligation. Besides, the law is to be interpreted in such a way that it favors the people to whom favorable things are given. This is one of those cases. Interpret it favorably.]

    On a side note, this raises interesting questions about Prime, subject of one of the few quite specific remarks in SC.

  7. Rellis says:

    I get it now. But I’m still not entirely sure where that leaves things. The cleric CAN say the B.R. in whole and in Latin. But what must they do to fulfill their Office requirement? CAN they say part of the B.R., provided they correspond with the five LOTH canonical hours?

    What a mess. This requires its own document!

  8. Geoffrey says:

    “On a side note, this raises interesting questions about Prime, subject of one of the few quite specific remarks in SC.”

    Because SC expressly suppresses Prime, I’ve always wondered if members of orders such as the FSSP could safely omit Prime from their daily office?

  9. robtbrown says:

    sekman says:

    Ahh, I have my Nova et Vetera Breivary right here beside me. Out of curiosity which version of the Breviarium Romanum do you use Father?

    The new breviary is called Liturgia Horarum, not Breviarium Romanum.

  10. Anonymous Seminarian says:

    I believe the Latin version (and Fr. Z’s interpretation) must be the correct one. I have always seen it done/been instructed that a priest who participates in, say, a religious order’s hours (which may have a very different psalter, etc.), he fulfills his obligation. The only argument I see to the contrary is that the LOTH is designed in such a way that the psalter is spread out over 4 weeks (even then omitting two psalms entirely and chunks of many others), whereas if the cleric were to only pray the 5 hours required in the LOTH but out of the BR (that is, omitting prime, terce, and none), his factual psalter would omit far many more psalms than the LOTH does. If he were regularly substituting hours from the LOTH, that complicates things further, as the psalter is so messed up, he could be duplicating psalms he said in the BR earlier, and thus losing even more from his weekly/monthly psalter.

    I have this to say to SC89d: Priii-ii-ii-iiime, it’s on my side!

  11. devthakur says:

    sekman says:

    Ahh, I have my Nova et Vetera Breivary right here beside me. Out of curiosity which version of the Breviarium Romanum do you use Father?

    robtbrown replies:

    The new breviary is called Liturgia Horarum, not Breviarium Romanum.

    I ask: what is your point? sekman was asking Fr. Z about which version of the BR he was using, which refers to the pre-Liturgia Horarum breviary. Nova et Vetera published a great version as it was used in 1962 in accordance with SP.

  12. Fr. A.M. says:

    Dear Fr. Z, having read your post, and re-read the Latin text again, I have much sympathy for what you say. ‘Integre’ can also be translated as ‘even’. [Um… quidem… et quidem integre et Latino sermone … and indeed (of reciting it) wholly and in Latin. “Wholly” is integre. “Quidem” is “indeed, forsooth, certainly”.] However I contacted the judicial vicar of a neighbouring diocese yesterday about the same question – he is an excellent Latinist and also quite expert on canon law issues concerning Sum.Pont. and BR1962 and the obligation of clerics and the divine office question. He agreed with my interpretation of the Latin text (yesterday), that one was bound to recite the office in its entirety and in Latin ! The English translation of UE no. 32 would also suggest this interpretation, as do, in fact, ALL the other official translations : have all the translators got it wrong ? Anymore canonists care to comment ? Perhaps it is the use of ‘et quidem’ which needs to be established, though it seems simple enough on the surface – indeed/even – (someone wrote an entire book on the adverb ‘quidem’ in 1978 !).

  13. robtbrown says:

    I ask: what is your point? sekman was asking Fr. Z about which version of the BR he was using, which refers to the pre-Liturgia Horarum breviary. Nova et Vetera published a great version as it was used in 1962 in accordance with SP.

    My mistake.

  14. totustuusmaria says:

    When I first read the passage under consideration, it seemed to me that it meant that no hour of the day could be normatively omitted, e.g. to conform with the Liturgia Horarum. This interpretation would take it to mean that, if a cleric praying the old Breviary, he must not omit hours or pray it in the vernacular. It would, then, have nothing to do at all with whether he can substitute hours from other licit offices for the hours in the Breviarium Romanum. Since this question is not under consideration in the document, the assumption would have to be that he is permitted to.

    Fr.’s point about the Latin of the text is very interesting. At the same time, I think the agreement of all the translations indicates that the intention of the lawmaker is not to permit that the licit 1962 office can be prayed in Latin, but to restrict it to being prayed in Latin. Similarly, it is not to permit one to not skip hours, but it demands that the one not skip ours. To repeat what I said above, I don’t see why this would mean that one could not substitute hours (e.g. “daytime prayer” for Prime, Terce, Sext, and None).

  15. Fr. A.M. says:

    Fr. Z, OOPs ! Yes, quidem = even/indeed etc. (yes, I know this actually, see the last sentence of my post). Thank you for your charitable correction (its been a long day, my excuse at least). But still… have ALL the translators got ‘et quidem integre et Latino sermone’ horribly wrong ? The rubrics of BR 1962 do indicate what the daily office to be recited is (Matins-Compline), and Univ. Eccl. does insist on the fulfillment of the rubrics, even to the point of saying that subsequent liturgical laws not compatible with them are derogated. Could the Latin text be at fault here (perish the thought, but it has happened before).

  16. Fr. A.M.: I think when we look at juridical documents, we should give preference to the Latin text.

    If we have the faculty to read the office in its entirety, does that mean that to fulfill our obligation, once we have to do either one or the other, Ordinary or Extraordinary, completely? That’s possible. We are not supposed to mix the Ordinary and Extraordinary rubrics for Mass.

    This needs some sorting.

  17. boko fittleworth says:

    Father, my reading of your literal translation of the Latin, and my own attempt at the Latin, gives me the understanding that a priest MAY pray the 1962 Breviary, AND he MAY pray it wholly (meaning he may pray only the 1962 Breviary for a day or week or month or life; I find it hard to believe the thought of praying one of the hours partially in forma 1962 and partially in forma nova (the readings, perhaps?) is meant or even considered), AND he MAY pray any hour, in whole or in part, in Latin. From where is derived the idea that a priest who prays the 1962 Breviary MUST pray only from that Breviary for the whole day and MUST pray it only in Latin? That’s what the English says, but is that contained in the Latin? Might not the “et quidem” clause expand upon and add to, rather than limit, the “conceditur” clause?

  18. Fr. A.M. says:

    Fr. Z / I think when we look at juridical documents, we should give preference to the Latin text.

    I agree, and your thoughts concerning the use of one or the other ‘usus’ are interesting and point to the heart of the matter, possibly. Yes, this does require some sorting.

  19. Trisagion says:

    I wonder whether the meaning of ‘quidem integre’ is to answer those who say that since the Council mandated the abolition of Prime, then those who pray the BR1962 must omit it too.

    I am a permanent deacon and in my country we are only bound to Lauds and Vespers in the LOTH. The implication of the English translation of UE32 is that if, as I have done since 14 September 2007, one chooses to use the BR1962, then one is bound to the whole shebang. The Latin seems much less clear that this is the case….I feel a dubium to PCED coming on.

  20. I think that there is perhaps a little too much “legalism” going on in these interpretations. Reading the passage for sense, rather than grammatical technicality, I would think that the point made is that a priest may choose: as his usual office he can use the Liturgia Horarum or the Breviarium Romanum. If he chooses one or the other he should use it “integre.” That is, not switch back and forth from one to the other (e.g. a priest using the BR should not regularly substitute Hora media from the LH for the Little Hours so as to shorten his obligation.

    But there is the principle of Officium pro officio sufficit. In the old days, that meant that, if a Roman priest attended an hour chanted or recited in the Dominican or Monastic rites, he did not have to repeat it again using his own Breviary. (It also meant that if he said the wrong office of the day he did not have to reread the right one — but that is not at issue here). So if a priest using the BR attends LH, Dominican, Benedictine, etc., Vespers, he does not have to repeat BR Vespers; and, I would say, in the odd case he attends LH Hora Media, he need not say the Little Hours, since HM replaces them. But that is an odd situation and will probably almost never happen.

    As to Latin. The permission to recite the Office in vernacular is post-1962. What is certainly intended here is that this norm be followed. So the BR must be recited in Latin by those with a Breviary obligation. It makes very little sense to grant faculties to the priests to use RB and then add the unnecessary proviso that the MAY do it in Latin. Such a proviso is redundant: anyone can say any office (LH, RB, Dominican, Benedictine) in Latin without any permission.

    Sometimes logic is more helpful than grammar, especially when grammar ends up with odd results. Remember that the text of Lateran IV “utriusque sexus” literally means “a person of both sexes” not a person of “either sex.” And no one ever thought that the Easter Duty only applied to hermaphrodites. (Although medieval canonists joked about it …)

  21. Fr. A.M. says:

    I concur with Fr. Augustine, O.P. – I submitted the same viewpoint to a canon lawyer last Friday, and he also concurred with this interpretation of no. 32 of Univ.Eccl. Thank you Father.

  22. bourgja says:

    This still does not address the question of what is permitted for lay brothers of religious orders, or lay members of third orders, who are obligated by their rule to pray the Office or part of it.