A question for readers about old Breviary rubrics

Folks, I got this question by e-mail (one of the nearly 400 today alone).  I don’t have the energy to respond.

Help this guy out (if you know how).

I am an admirer and loyal reader of your blog. You provide a valuable service. I am very sorry to bother you with a trivial question, and I understand if you do not have time to answer it. But you seem like the right person to ask, so I figured it was worth a shot.

I am teaching myself to pray the 1961 Roman Breviary, and have run into a small issue I cannot solve:

Tomorrow is a feria and the commemoration of SS. Chrysanthus and Daria. My question is about Lauds. The Proprium Sanctorum gives a Benedictus antiphon, a verse and a response, and then the Collect.

From the Rubrics it seems that I should take everything from the Psalter and the Ordinary, but that I should substitute the proper antiphon/verse/response/Collect that are given for the Commemoration, instead of using those in the Psalter.

However, Haussmann’s Learning the New Breviary seems to suggest that I do take the Benedictus antiphon/verse/response from the Psalter, the Collect from the preceding Sunday, and then after this say the proper antiphon/verse/response/Collect, and then conclude the Hour. 

In other words, on commemorations on ferias with nothing else going on, do the propers replace the relevant parts in the Psalter, or are they said in the normal form of commemorations after the main collect (i.e. from the preceding Sunday)?

Which, if any of these, is correct?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. James says:

    What you read in Haussman’s is correct.

  2. eric says:

    An FSSP priest who explained to me how to say the office told me to do it the way Haussman’s tells you.

  3. eric says:

    disclaimer: at least that’s how I remember it!

  4. Yes, I’d have said what Haussmann said. Now I want a copy of Haussmann :-)

  5. pistor says:

    It sounds rather elaborate for a feria, but in my seminary days we did it in the way that Haussmann has described.

  6. Father Bartoloma says:

    maybe some of us priests & clerics should develop an online forum/discssion group to help each other out with the breviary. I have been trying to ‘crack the code’ for a few weeks now but it is difficult when so few priests at my disposal know how to pray the traditional Divine Office.

  7. Henry Edwards says:

    It sounds rather elaborate for a feria …

    Indeed. As a layman not under any obligation, I do what seems sensible to me. Whatever Haussmann or any other source says, tomorrow I will substitute rather than adjoin the Collect, etc for SS. Chrysanthus and Daria.

  8. Joshua says:

    Tomorrow is actually the Feast of St. Isidore, Farmer and Confessor, 3 Cl. in the dioceses of America. This is a feast by indult. At least it is thus in the Missal. How does that affect the Breviary?

  9. jrny says:

    Fr. Bartoloma,

    I am a parishioner of Mater Ecclesiae who is well versed in the Traditional Office, and would eb glad to assist you in any way if you would like. My 10 years in the SSPX did count for something good.

    Anyway, as to the question at hand:

    1. Tomorrow (Oct 25th.) is a particular Third Class Feast here in the United States – that of St. Isidore the Farmer. Before 1962, his feast was observed either on March 22nd. or May 15th. depending on where or when you\’re talking about. Therefore, the Ferial Office is not observed tomorrow unless you\’re outside the US.

    2.After praying the Antiphon from the Psalter of of St. Isidore, the Benedictus, repeating the Antiphon, and then saying the Collect of the Ferial or St. Isidore, the Commemoration of Sts. Chrysanthus & Daria takes place. All commemorations consist of an Antiphon (done once throught), a versicle, and then a Collect. After the second Collect, the Office then concludes as usual.

    I hope this helps.

  10. techno_aesthete says:

    Fr. Finigan and Fr. Bartoloma, Now I want a copy of Haussmann.

    Ask and you shall receive. Learning the New Breviary by Bernard A. Hausmann, S.J. http://www.lulu.com/content/633524

  11. Michael says:

    Everything from the Psalter. Collect of the previous Sunday. Commemoration of SS. Chrysanthus & Daria. Lauds ends in the normal way.

  12. Josh says:

    As said above, Haussmann is correct. The office is of the feria (of St. Isidore in the US) and the saints are commemorated. This is a change from the pre-1956 rubrics; prior to Pius XII’s and John XXIII’s reform, SS Chrysanthus and Daria were of Simple rank, which means they were celebrated from Vespers of the evening before until None. In the reforms, Simples were reduced to Commemorations at Lauds only.

  13. Fr. Anthony Forte says:

    For commemorations, do you repeat “V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam. R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat. Oremus.” before the second Collect or do you go straight from the Versicle to the Collect of the commemoriation?

  14. Father Bartoloma says:

    jrny, give me a call at my parish or contact me through Fr. Pasley if you get a chance. Maybe we can get together for some Q & A. Thanks.

    I just ordered the book from LuLu a couple of days ago. I’ll be waiting by my mailbox with baited breath and breviary in hand until it arrives!

  15. Scott Smith says:

    I believe that for the commemoration one goes from the versicle to the Oremus without the intervening “Domine, exaudi…” or “Dominus vobiscum” and its response, just as it is omitted in Compline after the versicle following the Marian Antiphon before the “Oremus”. And as a side note, just as the common commemorations of the Saints or of the Holy Cross were made in times now past.

  16. Josh says:

    For commemorations, after the collect of the office, you say the antiphon, the versicle, then “Oremus” and the collect of the commemoration. If there are two commemorations (the maximum allowed under the ’61 rubrics), you say it the same way, except that the conclusion is omitted from the collect in the middle:

    Collect of office with conclusion
    Antiphon 1st comm.
    Versicle 1st comm.
    Collect 1st comm. WITHOUT conclusion
    Antiphon 2nd comm.
    Versicle 2nd comm.
    Collect 2nd comm. WITH conclusion.

  17. Ruben says:

    God does not really care what antiphon you recite. He is glad that we pray “with our hearts and not with our lips.”

  18. ALL: Does Haussmann really treat the 1962 rubrics? The website says: “This book will prove to be an indispensable tool for anyone, priest, religious, or laity, who desires to learn how to pray the hours of the Divine Office according to the 1962 Rubrics. Laid out in a clear and logical manner, this book will provide the information needed to properly say all of the hours. Even though references to the Roman Breviary are given in Latin, this book will help you to pray the hours whether you use a Latin or English translation of the Roman Breviary (with a minimum knowledge of Latin, of course). All of the instructions are in English.”

    I am skeptical.

  19. jrny says:

    Fr. Bartomola,

    I’ll be in touch. By the way, which set of Breviaries do you have? Is it the set put out by the FSSP, or another? Is it 1961/1962 with the Vulgate Psalter or the Pius XII Psalter?


    The Divine Office is, together with the Mass, the actual Liturgy of the Church. While your comment is very laudable and holds true, we must also remember that God expects us (in this case those bound to the Office) to be obedient to the rubrics that are enacted by the competent church authority regarding anything to do with the Liturgy itself.

  20. techno_aesthete says:

    Fr. Z., If you follow the “Preview this book” link, you will see that the book was originally published by Benziger Brothers in 1961 with an Imprimatur by Cardinal Spellman.

  21. Father Bartoloma says:

    I just recently bought the 2 volume Preserving Christian Publications reprint it has the Vulgate psalter. I avoided the FSSP edition because I know that it has many errors and there has not yet been a revised 2nd edition published. I also have the 3 vol. Latin/English Collegevile edition but that, of course, has the Pius XII/Bea psalter.

  22. Ben D. says:

    Please excuse a noob question in the midst of this fairly technical discussion, but I’ve been wondering: In the pre-Vatican-II Breviary is there some latitude permitted in the choice of Psalter? I.e., could one use the Pius XII edition if one so desired, or another if one did not care for the Pius XII edition? That’s the impression I’m getting.

    I’m also wondering just how many Latin Psalters there are? Is that even a question that can be answered? I get the impression from things I’ve read here and there that there are quite a few.

  23. Joshua says:

    The 1962 Breviary comes in two editions – one with the Vulgate Psalms, the other with the Psalms in the version approved by Pius XII. Both are equally allowed for use.

    From what I understand, the Vulgate Psalms are the so-called Psalterium Gallicanum, which is thought to be St Jerome’s fairly conservative revision of the old Roman Psalter (google the latter, it’s online – you’ll see, comparing it to the Vulgate text, also online, that there is little difference between them).

    The Roman Psalter was still used in Milan and at St John Lateran until the 1960’s; the Gallican psalter first caught on for liturgical use in Gaul back in the fifth century or so, and spread into Italy and the rest of the West later – Pius V adopted it for his Breviary.

    St Jerome also made a literal translation of the Psalms from the Hebrew, but this never caught on for liturgical use. The old Latin version came via the Septuagint, and even in Jerome’s revision was glorious in its obscurity (e.g. “Vox tonitrui tui in rota” – “the voice of thy thunder in a wheel”, i.e. God’s thunder rolls round the sky) and its Christian reading of the psalms.

    Likewise, the Pius XII-sponsored Psalm version translated in the 1940’s – was it under the aegis of Cardinal Bea and the Benedictines? – proved unpopular, though it had been intended as a help to the clergy by providing a clearer rendering of the psalms. Apparently, while hypercorrect in rendering the Hebrew, it was so Ciceronian in its Latin as to sound quite unpleasant. It’s not singable and I don’t like it.

    The Neo-Vulgate Psalter, so far as I can tell – which is used in the modern Latin edition of the Liturgy of the Hours – seems to be a marriage of the Vulgate and the Pius XII psalters, maintaining the beauty of the former while emending its more obscure phrases by the latter. It’s available on the Vatican website. I must say it seems quite good.

    I have with me at present the 2 volumes of the 1962 Breviary – Volume I, the FSSP reprint with the Vulgate Psalter, and Volume II, a edition published in France with the Pius XII Psalter (bought secondhand). In order to recite the more traditional Vulgate Psalms, while in the 2nd half of the year I have to carry about both volumes.

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