QUAERITUR: Can I use an Angleus Press prayer book?

From a reader:

I wasn’t sure how to submit this for your column. By chance is there a provision in Canon Law relating to the use of materials put out by the SSPX and their publishing house Angelus Press?

As a gift I received a breviary – abridged 1962 edition. The text does not contain editorial content or other revisions favoring the SSPX, just the prayers for the Divine Office.

The book does not carry an Imprimatur.

Can I good conscience use this text or does it need to be burned?

Any help greatly appreciated.

This is a good question.

Yes, you can used this book.  No, you don’t have to burn it.

To my knowledge, the book doesn’t have anything in it which didn’t have an imprimatur before.

I enlisted the help of a canonist for this.

A breviary would more properly fall under the canons for liturgical books, 826, and 838. Therein we find that it is the prerogative of the Holy see to publish liturgical books. In the 1917 Code this prerogative was exclusive ("unius", c. 1257) and so other publishers needed delegation to do so. This is no longer the case, so Angelus Press, acting under the provisions of the 1983 Code, is perfectly capable of publishing approved liturgical texts – especially those, such as the 1962 breviary which (I believe) do not fall under and copywright law.
You are also right that ecclesiastical approval given to a text retains its force unless and until it’s withdrawn. So, subsequent editions of a text are not required to seek ecclesiastical approbation anew.
However, c. 826, 2 establishes that republishing liturgical books require an attestation by the Ordinary of the place of publication that it accords with the editio typica ("concordat cum originali"). The British commentary notes that a 1966 decree of the Congregation of Rites issued in 1966 gives the detailed regulations on this (AAS 58(1966) 169-171)….
So, you’re right – there’s certainly no need to burn the book, and I would have few qualms about using the texts (particularly if this is coming from someone who is not bound to the recitation of the Office), but at the same time, Angelus Press should not have published this without getting a "concordat" from the local Ordinary (I’m not sure where Angelus Press is actually located – their website gives an office address in Kansas City, MO, so the local ordinary would seem to be Bishop Finn or one of his Vicars General or Episcopal).
I think if I were a priest, deacon or religious bound to the Office, I would write to Bishop Finn, notifying him of this – he might (and Finn would be the right sort of Bishop for this task) be able to have one of his censors review the text and give it a "concordat" now. If Finn is indeed the Ordinary with jurisdiction over Angelus, he might be able to exert some oversight.


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  1. Timothy Clint says:

    I seriously doubt that Bishop Finn would sign a Concordat to allow the Society of St. Pius X to publish anything. This is truly sad given the fact that the Angelus Press is one of the premier Catholic Publishers in the country and very well respected.
    It apperars to me that it is not the Society of St. Pius X which does not want the church but rather the church which does not want the Society. They avoid them like the plague.

  2. dominic1962 says:

    Lots of us traddies us the Angelus missal and I know of a couple FSSP parishes that use the Angelus hymnal and TLM introduction booklet. I see nothing wrong with using these materials. Most Catholics would have no qualms about using Protestant books, I don’t see why they should have a problem with using books that are usually just reprints of pre-Conciliar Catholic texts from a publisher associated with a society that is in a strained relationship with the Church.

  3. Brian Mershon says:

    I certainly hope that we are all just as scrupulous (seriously) about all of our reading material, including the internet, websites, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, music, literature, , hiistroy, non-fiction, fiction, e-mails from friends, etc.

  4. Gravitas says:

    Angelus Press is a Godsend! We use it for almost everything because, unlike Tan or other “traditional” publishers, you know nothing has been retooled since Vatican II. You really need to watch other publishers: the original copywrite may be 1940, but often times they’re “adapted” at a later date. That can be a problem.

    Even our diocian parish has Angelus Press red paperback missals for visitors …

  5. Hugo says:

    That would be a very generous thing for Bsp Finn to do. He doesn’t have to endorse the entire enterprise , just one book.

  6. Matt says:

    It seems to me that we are applying our own version of “relativism” if we simply decide we see “nothing wrong” with using unapproved liturgical texts, when in the pre-Vatican II world we would have been mortified to do so. The correct approach is to examine the canonical principles involved and be scrupulously obedient to the Church.

    It seems the canonist’s guidance is very reasonable. Seeking a concordat would be an excellent opportunity for dialogue with the local ordinary. Since secular publisher’s could receive such a concordat, an outright refusal would be completely unfair. Do I understand correctly that the approval is not of the publisher, but the text itself?

    God Bless,


  7. Gravitas says:

    Matt, have you looked at the “official” 2008 traditional Missal? There are post-1970s prayers in there. [At this point I must advise you that constant and across the board bashing of Vatican II and anything after will prompt me to show you to the door.]

    If neither Rome nor our prelates are willing to give us truly traditional Missals, Breveries or anything else, we have no need to settle for what they’re willing to give us. [The problem here is that you, and others who are not proper authority, don’t get to decide which books those will be.]

    If it was OK 60 years ago, it’s OK now. The Church didn’t error in allowing them back then.

  8. Tim says:

    Even if it is OK to use, my understanding has been that a pre-VC II missal or breviary needs to conform to the motu proprio in order to be indulgenced as a valid liturgical prayer of the Church as is, for example, the LOBVM from Baronius Press.

  9. Matt says:


    have you looked at the “official” 2008 traditional Missal? There are post-1970s prayers in there.

    If neither Rome nor our prelates are willing to give us truly traditional Missals, Breveries or anything else, we have no need to settle for what they’re willing to give us.

    If it was OK 60 years ago, it’s OK now. The Church didn’t error in allowing them back then.

    This is exactly my point, you’re saying it’s ok to disobey the living magisterium of the Church on your own authority.

    Even if you couldn’t use the Angelus Press missal/breviary, it would not be hard to find an approved text that is not changed since 1962, or even an older copy, which is what numerous people do. Perform a search and you will find numerous options.

    In any event, the Holy See has authority to add post-1970’s prayers “in there”, we don’t have to like it, and it doesn’t have to be “a good thing” we must obey.

    God Bless,

    ps. I have not looked at the “official” 2008 traditional Missal, perhaps you could point me to the prayers you find objectionable, or is it just a matter of anything post-1970’s is bad?

  10. ED says:

    Many FSSP apostolates sell and use the new Missal put out by Angelus Press

  11. Brian Mershon says:

    Here we go again…

    Let me ask a couple questions to everyone here?

    When was the last time you went to the local movie theater and paid $10 or more to support the culture of death?

    When was the last time you paid for (through your cable service) and watched a movie by HBO or Showtime?

  12. QC says:

    I think may be misinterpreting the issue. It is not one of supporting the SSPX financially or of buying anything from them. The question regards specifically liturgical prayerbooks. Canon law has special rules for them.

  13. Henrici says:

    Q. Can I good conscience use this text or does it need to be burned?

    A. This is a good question.

    Burned? Really, I think it’s objectively a wrong-headed question, however well-intentioned.

    Some of the best “mainstream” Catholics I know — daily OF Mass communicants, ordinary parish pillars in adoration, religious education, pro-life and social welfare activities, etc. — use the Angelus Press 1962 missal when they attend an EF Mass.

    Apart from any question regarding the SSPX itself, the publications of the Angelus Press with which I am familiar provide excellent and much-needed support for the objectives of Summorum Pontificum.

    I myself originally started praying divine office in English with the beautiful little Officium Divinum (EF) published by Angelus, and now (some years later) have progressed in stages to praying it in Latin using the 4-volume Liturgia Horarum (OF). Perhaps a tiny instance of the mutual EF-OF growth envisioned by SP?

  14. I have this version of the Divine Office myself. It is very hard to find a cheap Latin/English copy of the Divine Office, intended for lay use, so it is quite dear to me. I have always been a bit concerned about its canonical status, though.

    I was wondering though… for the morning hour, it has Prime throughout the week. I have read that Prime is usually a minor hour and it is only in the Society that it is treated as a major hour. Any truth to that?

  15. Geoffrey says:

    While the Angelus Press/SSPX “Divine Office” and hand missal are harmless, I would be careful of their other publications, such as “Christian Warfare”. While this book has many wonderful things, it lists attending the new Mass and receiving Holy Communion in the hand as sins that need to be confessed in Confession… big problem there!

  16. Origen Adamantius says:

    There are two separate issues as noted by the canon lawyer. The first is: can a book be used for personal prayer if those who produced it are not in full harmony with Rome? The answer is absolutely as long as the prayer texts are in accord with our tradition– in this case the psalms. Similarly, one can use the RSV translation of the bible for personal prayer.

    The second question is more complex: Can a person who is bound to participate in the official public prayer of the Church use texts that lack official ecclesial attestation? The answer in this area is grayer. Since the prayer is participation in the official public prayer of the Church, using texts in ordinary circumstances that lack some type of formal attestation seems counterintuitive.

  17. Gravitas says:

    Father, Matt et all:

    I am not simply bashing anything after Vatican II and I apologize if that’s how it came off. I am, however, saying traditional Catholics are entitled to traditional missals, breveries, etc.

    I also do not believe I am being disobedient by saying I’d use books once approved by a bishop but no longer. If all of the sudden our diocese, as is happening still in Canada, banned the traditional Mass, I’d go to the SSPX chapel. Does that mean I’m being disobedient to the Magesterium? No, it means the local ordiniary is being disobedient and I’m searching for my salvation through a Mass — and books — that have never been abrogated.

    I won’t fill this box with this argument — it’s not the place for it. [EXACTLY.] I was just trying to illustrate why sometimes things like Angelus Press are essential for traditional Catholics.

  18. I dont use that published copy but I do use the 1962 breviary. If the text is the same there is nothing wrong at all

    As long as the missal holds true to the text, then there really isnt a thing to worry about. Thats like saying on isnt reading scripture because you read it on your PDA (I love my pda rheims bible, its perfect for air carft rides), or the internet. Text is text.

  19. Woody Jones says:

    With respect to “Christian Warfare” I assume that one could pretty easily filter out the particular items that are inconsistent with complete loyalty to the Holy Father, acceptance of the Council and the Ordinary Form. As I recall, that book is a translation of the famous (in France) Blue Book, which for years has been the SSPX retreat manual there, focusing on the Spiritual Execises (as does the English version). I recall buying a copy of the Blue Book in Paris at the Librarie St Nicholas some 10 years ago, and it looked as if it had been in print for a while before that, so I surmise that some of the kind of thing that Geoffrey was fretting about might have come from “back in the day” in the progression of these things. One unfortunate omission from the English language version, for some reason, is a “Litany for Holy Priests” that is in the Blue Book. I think you can find it on the net if you Google for it in French, though.

    In general, I agree with what I think Brian was saying, that since we all buy books from secular publishers who may very well have political and religious views we do not agree (at all) with, it is hard to justify recoiling from Angelus. I don’t know about other places, but even the most, how shall we say strictly conservative (I was going to say: “Wanderer style”), Catholic bookstore here in Houston carries works by the Church Fathers published by St Vladimir’s Seminary Press (that’s Orthodox Church in America for those who don’t know). Am I going to have to buy the CUA version or New City Press version, with its inclusive language translations of the Fathers, instead of SVS because of the affiliation? I don’t think so!

  20. Tim Ferguson says:

    It should also be noted that the concordat cum originali that would be sought from the local Ordinary is not permission, since no permission is required. What a concordat is is a statement saying that what is in this book is the exact same thing that is in the book which, earlier, received approval. It’s not an endorsement of the work of Angelus Press, it’s not any sort of authorization to publish – it’s a simple statement from the competent ecclesiastical authority saying, “yep, them’s the same words alrighty.”

    To confuse the issue by bringing up scrupulosity regarding fiction, or movies, or the like is ridiculous. The Church has every right to ensure consistency in liturgical prayer and the faithful have the right to expect that consistency from their books and their shepherds- the fact that such consistency has not been equally enforced, everywhere, does not make the goal of consistency a foolish one.

  21. Jeremy says:

    It might be a good idea for Father Z to elaborate even further apropos of the specific canonical issues (under the 1983 code) related to using liturgical books that haven’t been given — upon republication — due ecclesial authorization.

    The reason for this is that, thus far, Father Z has only written of the issues related to a republished traditional **Breviary**, and its licit use by someone who isn’t, after all, bound to use *any* Breviary. But that begs the question (as various comments of the people above indicate) about whether there is something untoward with the *very common practice* among otherwise obedient, docile traditional Catholics of using the traditional **Missals** recently republished by companies (such as Angelus) that have *not* received a correspondingly renewed ecclesial endorsement.

    As for me, while I would be obedient it were indeed an issue, I would be surprised (and somewhat disturbed) to learn that this was indeed a substantive canonical worry for the everyday Catholic.

    Take the case of the Angelus 1962 Daily Missal. Excepting the inclusion of the Motu Proprio, the revised prayer for the Jews, and a few otherwise non-liturgical extras in the latter instance, the Angelus 1962 Daily Missal is identical in terms of content with that Missal published with ecclesial approval by Baronius Press. _Unfortunately_, the Angelus edition appears, at least to me, to be somewhat superior in terms of binding and overall aesthetics to that of the Baronius Press edition (at least when the Angelus Missal is compared to the somewhat earlier version of the Baronius Missal that I myself have).

    There would also be the worry about those Catholics who have already spent what little money they have on one of these traditional Missals _sans_ contemporary ecclesial approval. Would they thereby be forced to purchase another Missal if they are to use one at all when participating in the EF of the Mass?

    Given the foregoing concerns, I very much hope that Father Z will further clarify on what the lay Catholic’s precise obligations are in this regard.

  22. I think though, if its a 1962 text, its accurate. Just like the form of Mass the Society celebrates. What gets the society into the trouble its in is its commentary on the Papacy. Not the fact they use older texts.

    Remember, the old mass and prayers were never officially removed. Just as good as ever. Unless they start having a forward from Bishop Fellay bashing the pope, the angelus breviary is perfectly good.

  23. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    IMHO there is nothing wrong with EF liturgical aids that contain more recent additions. The EF is not some fossil but a living and, yes, developing, part of our worship. Baronius Press publishes a fabulous missal with Pope John Paul II’s Luminous Mysteries, and their most recent edition included Summorum Pontificum. (And Archbp Burke gave his imprimatur, so if it’s good enough for him then it’s good enough for me :) ) That doesn’t mean one has to use these additions. I’m all for wider use of the EF, don’t get me wrong, but its organic development can only be a blessing for the Church.

    I haven’t seen the Angelus edition but if it only seeks to preserve a fossilised version of the EF then, perhaps, it is not the best option when others are available.

  24. Matt says:


    I also do not believe I am being disobedient by saying I’d use books once approved by a bishop but no longer.

    But we’re not talking about old books, we’re talking about new books that do not have approval, even if they are re-published from older texts, they apparently require approval for “official” use. If it’s a case of unofficial use, it appears that there is no problem, but simply saying you don’t care either way if it’s approved is what I’m objecting to.

    If all of the sudden our diocese, as is happening still in Canada, banned the traditional Mass, I’d go to the SSPX chapel.

    This is actually not true in every place, Edmonton and Calgary both have regular Traditional Mass available, I’m sure there are many places that have it. I know Winnipeg does not (strong SSPX presence there).

    Does that mean I’m being disobedient to the Magesterium? No, it means the local ordinary is being disobedient and I’m searching for my salvation through a Mass—and books—that have never been abrogated.

    Your salvation is through the CHURCH, which head on earth is the Holy Father Benedict XVI. So, if you disobey the pope’s legitimate authority it does not help your salvation. Having said that, going to Mass at an SSPX chapel is not in and of itself disobedient (see statements by Ecclesia Dei regarding this), but certainly requires caution.

    I’d still like to know your issues with the post-1970’s changes to the 2008 Missal… Honestly I’m unaware aside from the Holy Father’s new Good Friday prayer.


  25. Brian Mershon says:

    Ridiculous? OK Tim. Ridiculous.

    I am all for adhering strictly to the Index of Forbidden Books. How about it? The church is going to be spending an awful lot of time now trying to ready all the books, websitese, media outlets and movies that are available.

    Children’s brains are being rotted all around us from excessive use of the internet, TV and video games and we are going to be scrupulous because something is published by Angelus Press?

    OK. I’ll play the game. Let’s all strictly adhere to the USCCB’s rankings and ratings for movies, shall we? Come on… Let’s do it. The reviewer has consistently given positive reviews to such things as Brokeback Mountain, but don’t let that dissuade you.

    We should be “obedient,” after all, shouldn’t we?

    Go to the movies. Pay $10 (no matter WHAT the movie is) and support the culture of death. But whatever you do, do NOT read anything or pay ANYTHING to Angelus Press.

    Until of course the excommunications are lifted. Then, VOILA! everything will be OK>

  26. Gravitas says:

    Matt, the new missal “includes as an Appendix a selection of Prefaces from the 1970 Missal … [the] Preface of the Baptism of the Lord, Preface of Saint John the Baptist, Preface of the Annunciation, Preface of the Angels, Preface of Pentecost, Preface of Pastors, Preface of the Transfiguration, Preface of Martyrs, Preface of the Assumption, Preface of Religious & Holy Virgins, Preface of the Immaculate Conception, Preface of Matrimony, Preface of the Apostles Peter & Paul.”

    I’m not saying anything about this other than my family and I want a truly traditional missal. That’s it.

  27. Geo F. says:

    I’ve bought several books from Angelus press and am satisfied with this publisher.

    A good source of traditional books are tag sales at liberal catholic parishes. I “scored” a copy of what have must have been the prototype for the SSPX daily missal for 50¢. The missal was printed in Montreal and features excellent woodcuts.

    Unless the Holy Father explicitly forbids books from Angelus (and I don’t see how he wouldsince the index librorum prohibitorum was abandoned in 1966) I am okay with books from the SSPX. If I were a cleric and bound to recite the office, I would do as Fr. Z suggests and seek my local ordinary.

  28. IS says:

    I would suggest Michael Sternbeck’s Order of the Mass for visitors to the
    parish…have a pile of them at the door. It was written and published post-SP
    so has handy explanations in it.


    Unlike previous versions I’ve seen which are written for a Low Mass (with
    exceptions for a High Mass), this is written with High Mass as the normal form
    and rubrics for Low Mass as the exception.

  29. Willebrord says:

    I never really thought about any potential problems with using a breviary that isn’t approved by a modern bishop. Such as the Angelus Press breviary, for instance. This begs the question: can you participate in the official prayer of the Church by using a pre-62 breviary? I know of a number of Catholics that pray to older editions of the Breviarium Romanum, some wanting the Vulgate Psalter (and some wanting pre-Pius X Psalm order), and others finding an older breviary cheaper. Would a person be participating in the official prayer of the Church in the Breviary if they were using an older edition? I found an inexpensive set myself, printed in 1853. Though as my Latin isn’t strong, I stick to my Monastic Diurnal from Farnborough (at least for now). Would it be worse for me to start praying that older Breviary? I do know that on occasion the Institute of Christ the King have celebrated Mass according to pre-62 rubrics, and many churches add the Second Confiteor. Can you stretch that reasoning to the Breviary?

  30. Geo F. says:

    Willebrord : From what I understand, the old brevaries cover all 150 paslms in a week (if you were to say all 7 offices each day), whereas, the new Liturgy of the Hours covers almost all 150 paslms in a month (since they are on a 4 week cycle and the middle-of-the-night [matins and prime] hours have been eliminated).

    Likewise, my Latin is rusty and although I opt for the new office when I pray the hours.

    A good traditional brievary link is:
    The Roman Breviary

  31. Matt says:


    I’m not saying anything about this other than my family and I want a truly traditional missal. That’s it.

    What year of the Church’s development do you consider the frozen perfection you’re striving for? Why 1962? How about 1563? 338? 50? or even 33AD?

    The problem is that the Church is never frozen in it’s development, properly understood, traditional does not mean “older” it is far more complex.


    why do you refuse to understand that this discussion is not about which books we can read but which texts can be accepted for liturgical actions? The Church (sadly, IMHO) has not deigned to enforce a list of forbidden books, so there’s really no question of that, the point is that the Church DOES exercise authority over liturgical texts approved for use in celebrating Mass (but, apparently not in “assisting”) and required exercise of the office.

    God Bless,


  32. The 1962 missals published by Angelus Press and Baronius Press are re-typeset printings of the very same original 1962 missal — with a few very tiny additions, like the Baronius insertion of the 5 luminous mysteries on the Rosary page and the Angelus insertion of the 1983 code regulations on its Eucharistic Fast page.

    Loving them both, and not being able to distinguish substantively between them, I have adopted a very pragmatic solution. I take the Angelus missal to the weekly evening low Mass that is available locally, because it feels a bit more solid and serviceable. I take the Baronius missal to our Sunday high Mass, because it feels a bit more elegant and sumptuous.

    As for the 90-page booklet “The Order of Mass: The Missal of Blessed John XXIII” edited by Michael Sternbeck and published by Ignatius Press, its fine translation based on that of the great English convert Msgr. Ronald Knox seems a bit more contemporary (if not “novus”), so for a time I took it to the OF Mass that I attend each morning except Sunday.

  33. Bob says:

    I was surprised to read that burning the book was a serious thought. Do people still consider the SSPX to be heretical schismatic sedevacantist Protestants? Sounds kind of reactionary to me.

  34. Chris says:

    Matt: the Church is never frozen in it’s development …

    Tell Pope Pius V that. He did free the missal regardless of whether the post-concilliar popes paid any attention.

    Stop with the “living and breathing” stuff. Yes, the Church changes — but She was never to change the missal that was codified into law for eternity.

  35. “some wanting the Vulgate Psalter”

    I believe the legistlation revising the Psalter permitted the continued use of the Vulgate Psalter.

    “I was wondering though… for the morning hour, it has Prime throughout the week. I have read that Prime is usually a minor hour and it is only in the Society that it is treated as a major hour. Any truth to that?”

    A common pre-revision of the Divine Office practice was to recommend the recitation of prime sext and compline for laymen, because they coordinated with morning, noon, and night, while being shorter than Lauds and Vespers. They’re not treating it as a major hour, but recommending the minor hour for laymen.

    While there’s no problem with using Angelus press books for private devotion, there are two other related problems. First, I’ve commonly seen them for sale in Catholic Churches, which, especially when they’re not just the text of the rite, but include catechetical or other matter (such as explications of the traditional practice on fasting, would seem to run afoul of this canon:

    Can. 827 §4. Books or other writings dealing with questions of religion or morals cannot be exhibited, sold, or distributed in churches or oratories unless they have been published with the permission of competent ecclesiastical authority or approved by it subsequently.

    (This would seem to be a widespread problem regarding books from other publishers as well.)

    Second, there would seem to be the moral problem of supporting the SSPX in their publishing apostolate when there are other alternatives available. Though it’s hard to maintain that this is wrong given the letter permitting giving in SSPX collections at Mass.

  36. Brian Mershon says:

    Matt, I get it just fine. I’m trying to make a broader point to put this question into context, but apparently am doing a poor job of that.

    If you are not a priest, it appears you can use whatever private devotions you want as long as they are Catholic.

    Seems pretty simple to me.

    My point is that many things we read or view through our senses affect (positively or negatively) our formation.

    That is my point. Apparently, it has not been communicated well.

  37. Chris: Stop with the “living and breathing” stuff. Yes, the Church changes—but She was never to change the missal that was codified into law for eternity.

    This is absurd. Bibliolatry does nothing to advance our discussion here.

  38. Tim Ferguson says:

    Brian, I’m all for adhering to the Index librorum prohibitorum, which was abrogated by the legitimate authority on June 14, 1966 – therefore, adhering to Peter, there’s nothing to adhere to – there’s no there there.

    As for adhering to the USCCB movie ratings, those ratings are not binding on the faithful – they are there as guides for the faithful, nothing more, nothing less. So yes, I adhere to those ratings insofaras the Church demands that I adhere to them – I take them into consideration when making my choices about what movies to see.

    You’re comparing apples and oranges when you compare the Church’s liturgy to the Church’s recommendations about fiction books, movies and other amusements. Surely you can see a difference there.

    I fail to see what is so objectionable about a diocesan bishop, in union with Peter, having some oversight over the publication of liturgical books in his diocese. If the text is copied faithfully, and I have no reason to think it’s not been, there should be no problem whatsoever with asking the Local Ordinary to check the matter out.

    I generally appreciate and agree with a good deal of what you write, but I fail to see what’s got you in such high dudgeon over this.

  39. David says:

    There’s a lot of confusion in this discussion thread.

    The original question and answer is about a breviary published by Angelus Press, yet I see a lot of comments about their missal. The canonist’s response has nothing to do with a missal.

  40. Derik says:

    Dear all.

    From the Apostolic Constitution Laudis Canticum: the 2nd 3rd-to-last paragraphs (promulgation of LH):

    Beginning on the effective date for use of these versions in
    vernacular celebrations, only the revised form of the liturgy of the hours is to be followed, even by those who continue to use Latin.

    For those however who, because of advanced age or for special reasons, experience serious difficulties in observing the new rite 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.

  41. Ian says:

    Let’s take a step back and look at the law and the spirit of the law (its purpose for existence).

    If the law says that any publisher may republish liturgical books, but they are required to seek a certificate of concordance of the local Ordinary, then the purpose for this is clearly not to put people through lots of legal hoops, put into question the validity of a Mass using an unapproved Missal, or question whether it is licit to use an unapproved Breviary or excerpt from such for the Office. The reason the law exists is to ensure that the text conforms to the official text.

    Clearly, it is not a serious issue to use, especially when another good resource is not conveniently available, an unapproved version of the Breviary. Fr. Z, recently wrote about his use of an electronic Breviary on his phone. Clearly the program did not come with a certificate of concordance, in fact as I remember he said that there were plenty of typographical errors.

    Various authors on moral theology write about the obligation of reciting the Breviary and allow that a priest substitute various generic offices if he is unable to say the day’s office for some reason. The spirit of that law is that a priest should use the approved books and correct prayers, but when he does not have access to his Breviary he can fulfill his obligation through other means. Electronic versions of the Breviary are excellent for this.

    Regarding Angelus Press, the chancery has been less than cordial with the SSPX organizations in Kansas City. When asked about the church the SSPX uses, they refer to it only by its address, never by name. I simply don’t think that Bishop Finn would be interested in approving of such texts at all. I’m not sure what Bishop would actually do that. Were there to be a Bishop who would, I am certain that the SSPX would be very happy to submit their texts for approval. That they could have some of their books given an Imprimatur would be very welcome, I am certain.

    Finally, to echo Brian, it is odd to see people so scrupulous about whether one can use what amounts to a republished copy of parts of the Breviary, yet at the same time very likely to lack serious scruples about other things what we read, view or do. It’s not apples and oranges because we’re talking about private recitation. Arguably it might be a bit different for the clergy, but honestly, then we have to look at why the law exists in the first place. Since the texts of the Angelus Press edition is accurate (though hardly complete), while it would be good to have the certificate, certainly the spirit of the law has been fulfilled.

  42. Derik,
    Of course, that citation from the promulgation of LH has now been vitiated by Summorum Pontificum, which now allows either Liturgia Horarum or the 1962 Breviarium Romanum, either Latin or vernacular.

  43. Tim Ferguson says:

    Again, Ian, we’re not talking about the Bishop approving anything. The local ordinary need not approve a republished liturgical work, but merely determine whether or not the text has been faithfully reproduced. To say that the publisher has been treated “less than cordially” in the past doesn’t absolve the publisher from adhering to the law.

    This law exists to ensure that the liturgy of the Church is faithfully reproduced, and that those involved in such reproduction are reminded of their need to be in communion with, and under the pastoral care of their lawful superiors.

    Using a book that has been faithfully reproduced, even if that book has not gotten the required concordat is not a big deal – there is no law regarding that. Being a publisher of liturgical books and ignoring legitimate (and truly, not onerous) oversight – I would say that is a big deal.

  44. dcs says:

    Derik writes:
    From the Apostolic Constitution Laudis Canticum: the 2nd 3rd-to-last paragraphs (promulgation of LH):

    Beginning on the effective date for use of these versions in vernacular celebrations, only the revised form of the liturgy of the hours is to be followed, even by those who continue to use Latin.

    Summorum Pontificum Art. 9 §3: Clerics ordained “in sacris constitutis” may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.

    Hope this helps.

  45. Derik says:

    Henry Edwards, dcs.

    Many Thanks. Can lay people benefit from SP and use the Breviary if they wish?

  46. Mark says:

    Quaecumque vero a Nobis hisce Litteris Apostolicis Motu proprio datis decreta sunt, ea omnia firma ac rata esse et a die decima quarta Septembris huius anni, in festo Exaltationis Sanctae Crucis, servari iubemus, contrariis quibuslibet rebus non obstantibus.

    We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as “established and decreed”, and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

    from S.P.

  47. Mark says:

    Laity can pray the breviary, joining themselves to the prayer of the Church. (Though I don’t think they would need permission from S.P. in the first place, as they are not concerned with satisfying a canonical obligation to say the office).

  48. Breier says:


    I think you’re missing the point. You’re putting out the purpose of rule, assuring a faithful copy, and totally ignoring the possible politics in the application of it. What Ian was saying is that it’s very likely that the chancery would refuse to affirm the authenticity of an Angelus publication, even if there was perfect conformity with the original, simply because they don’t want to support the SSPX.

    Similarly, orthodox Catholic books have been denied imprimaturs because chanceries do not approve of them; even though technically an imprimatur is not supposed to convey approval or disapproval.

    You can’t look at the situation assuming everyone is a perfect actor, or that rules are applied perfectly. We don’t know the circumstances of the events; perhaps Angelus has been told, or learned from experience, not to both submitting things to the diocesan censor. Or maybe not. But nothing can be setting by setting forth how the law should be applied, and then assuming the law is applied that way.

    Certainly politics with ecclesiastical regulation of books is nothing new.

  49. ssoldie says:

    enough, enough already,,,,,,,,’What was sacred then is sacred now’, I was told by a very holy priest that I could still teach from the “Baltimore Catechism” & also from Bishop Louis Morrows “My Catholic Faith’and both of the editions are pre Vatican II, both contain and teach the truths of the Catholic faith. Check into them you might learn something, what is it Christ said ‘seek and you shall find’

  50. a religious says:

    Canon 826 s. 2 : yes, it concerns the attestation of the local ordinary that a reprinted liturgical text conforms (has been verified as accurate)to the original text. If this has not been sought then there MAY be a prudent doubt that one is using an authorized text and therefore – in the case of a cleric – a doubt concerning whether one is fully fulfilling the obligation of reciting the divine office. However if it is clear, for example, that such a text is clearly ‘photo-reproduced’ (i.e. it is not a resetting of the text but a faithful reproduction of the texts of an older liturgical book) then one should not have doubts about using it in fulfilling one’s obligation to recite the office. The obligation is to use ‘approved’ liturgical texts, and if it is clear that they carry an original attestation, then one should have no scruples.

  51. Tim Ferguson says:

    Breier, what I’m saying is that just because it may be “very likely that the chancery would refuse to affirm the authenticity of an Angelus publication” does not absolve the publisher from at least attempting to do so. Have they approached Bishop Finn (if indeed he is the local ordinary in question) for any “concordats” since he became the diocesan bishop in 2005? Has he refused? I don’t know the answers to these questions. If the current Ordinary has refused to cooperate, then there might be a case – but in that situation, the publisher always has the option of recourse to the Holy See.

    My suspicion (and I am very open to the possibility of being wrong here) is that they have not ever approached the current Ordinary for a “concordat” on a reprint of a liturgical book. They might be acting on a rejection by past Ordinary, or merely out of a general presumption.

  52. Jim Dorchak says:

    How dare those SSPX /Angelus Press print somthing for their own people, or for those who could not find old Church documents that are no longer avaialble or possibly out of the $$ reach of some people?

    I think that the DEATH PENALTY should be used in this case with the SSPX. Maybe crucifixion? Maybe death on the Rack?

    Who is up to the task?

    NOT ME!

    One over reaction deserves another.

    Stupid argument from the beginnig.

    If you do not like or want what they sell then do not buy it. The Anglus press is no financial pot of gold, but I hear they can not keep up with the Diocicean orders. Feel free to return the offending book back to them in Kansas and go back to reading the Jesuit trash you have been reading.

    If you return the book keep in mind that they will be praying for you before and after you send it. We you be praying for them and the Church as a whole?

    Jim Dorchak

  53. Matt says:


    My point is that many things we read or view through our senses affect (positively or negatively) our formation.”…”et at the same time very likely to lack serious scruples about other things what we read, view or do.

    Sounds a little presumptuous to me. I suspect that Fr. Z’s readers are probably particularly scrupulous about how material they read or view affects their formation. This partly the reason why many would stay away from publishers of Catholic materials who are known for problematic materials such as Paulist Press, and Angelus Press. Re-prints of known orthodox materials are fine, but I don’t think I would trust the orthodoxy of modern writers that Angelus would publish.

    When it comes to entertainment, I have to confess that I am not so cautious, perhaps this is a fault, I do think one has to be more careful when it comes to studying their Catholic faith.

    As to the USCCB movie reviews? I wouldn’t even bother, perhaps someone here could recommend a better source?

    God Bless,


  54. Clavem Abyssi asked about Prime as a major office. Prime is a minor office, but it is particularly well suited for laypeople, especially workers, as a morning prayer. In the EF, both Lauds and Vespers are longer offices, and while they are the true “hinges” of the liturgical day (in the language of the OF Liturgy of the Hours instruction), they can be a bit long for many. I recall Dorothy Day writing that the Catholic Workers in NYC prayed Prime and Compline daily, using those offices because they better suited the work done there. I haven’t picked up this edition by Angelus, but think it would be especially useful, to use either on the commuter train or in the office. I use the daily offices from the Book of Divine Worship most days, but having the smaller edition would be a good companion.

    Geo F., when you wrote, ” the middle-of-the-night [matins and prime] hours have been eliminated” you are partly right: prime was eliminated in the OF Liturgy of the Hours (although Prime was not a middle-of-the-night office, it comes between Lauds and Tierce) but Matins was not eliminated. It was renamed the Office of Readings, and is not tied to any particular hour. It can still be used as a night office, and there are canticles and Gospel readings appointed for its use as a vigil office for Sundays and Solemnities; but it can also be used at any time of the day, and remains part of the obligation for diocesan priests.

  55. Michael J says:

    Matt and others:

    On what authority did Baronius Press include the 1970 prefaces? As far as I know, SP indicated that the issue would be studied, but so far, they have not been approved for use.

  56. Geoffrey says:

    Michael J:

    The Baronius Press missal does not contain the 1970 prefaces, but rather the “Gallican Prefaces”. However, I have heard that the Ecclesia Dei Commission has allowed some of the 1970 prefaces to be used. I don’t have the list in front of me just now.

  57. matt says:

    Michael J,

    On what authority did Baronius Press include the 1970 prefaces

    Bishop Fabian Wendelin Bruskewitz

    God Bless,


  58. Michael J says:


    Would you mind providing more details about Bishop Bruskewitz’ apprroval for Baronius to include these prefaces (whichever they are, the 1970 or Gallican )?

  59. Michael J,

    If I understand your question correctly, you seem to have the impression that the Baronius missal contains some prefaces that were not approved in the 1962 typical edition.

    Not so! The so-called Gallican prefaces were added in July 1962. They date back to around the 8th century, and are among the many then existing prefaces — at one time, virtually every day had its own preface — that Pope Pius V eliminated (along with a large number of sequences) in his simplification of the missal to codify it on Roman lines.

    In short, neither Bp. Bruskewitz nor anyone else approved the addition of any new prefaces to the Baronius missal, nor to the Angelus missal, which also contains these 4 or 5 Gallican prefaces.

  60. To comment on the original subject matter, the Divinum Officium by Angelus Press. I just received a copy last night.

    I was disappointed about a few things in this edition:

    1) Despite the advertising that the book contains “Melodies in Gregorian notation for those who chant the office in common.”, the only melodies are for Compline, not for Lauds or Vespers on Sunday, nor for Prime or Sext;
    2) There is no calendar (which would be very useful when traveling, something a book this size would lend itself to);
    3) There are no collects for Sunday, nor for saints’ days. I’m not sure if the day’s collects are supposed to be used at Prime and Sext, but certainly they are for Lauds and Vespers on Sundays (this was also a complaint I had about the original volume Lauds & Vespers in Latin/English according to the modern rite that Fr. Stravinskas edited-no collects);
    4) An integral part of the office of Prime is the reading from the Martyrology. That, of course, is a very large book, and the readings are not included in this edition;
    5) Some of the typesetting is awkward…the leading is too small for the size type (sorry, I work for a publisher, this stuff stands out).

    That said, the volume is not difficult to navigate if a person’s had any experience with an office book. The type within the office is clear. The book came with an insert with the movable feast days up to 2045, along with prayers for after Mass, Benediction, etc.

  61. Steve,

    It was this Angelus Press Latin-English Divinum Officium with which I started the Divine Office some years ago, and though I no longer use it, I still think it’s a marvelous and beautiful little volume. (I also have some experience in publishing.) In particular, I believe it is the ideal way for beginners to start praying some of the Office in Latin.

    In regard to the collects, one should use the DO in conjunction with a traditional daily hand missal. The collect for each day’s Mass is the collect for Lauds, Sext, and Vespers. (Prime and Compline do not use these variable daily collects.)

    In regard to the Martyrology, I have never seen any kind of divine office book that included the martyrology entries for Prime. However, Angelus Press publishes “The Roman Martyrology” (1956 English only) for the relatively inexpensive (for this genre) price of $35, a reasonably small 6″x9″ book of 412 pages — in comparison with the new Martyrology, which is a massive and prohibitively expensive Latin-only volume. Keep it (together with your missal) beside your DO and you’re good to go.

    I might mention that I have recommended this Divine Office book to people who pray the (new) Liturgy, just for the Prime that is nicely complementary to Lauds.

    Finally, a remark about Fr. Stravinsky’s wonderful Latin-English “Lauds and Vespers”, which (for its excellent English translations) I am now using as an aid in praying the LOH from the 4-volume Latin Liturgia Horarum. The 2006 “Enlarged Edition” does contain the collects which I take from your remark to have been missing from the original edition.

  62. Thanks, Henry, for your reply. Thinking that Prime would be a good complement to Lauds was exactly why I purchased the volume, which lets me start the day at home with Lauds and then pray Prime in the morning after arriving at work at break time. Knowing that I don’t need to cast around for the day’s collect for that office is helpful…

    I did know that Fr. Stravinsky’s enlarged edition had all the Sunday collects; it was the original edition which did not have any of the seasonal collects. I think that the enlarged edition still does not have the festal collects from the Proper of Saints (?).

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