BOOKS RECEIVED: Breviarium Romanum

As you know, Summorum Pontificum affirms that priests and those obliged to say the Office, can use the traditional, pre-Conciliar Breviarium Romanum.  A while back I answered a query about use of the Breviarium Romanum published by the SSPX.  HERE  I came down on the side “Yes, you can use it.”

In that answer I mentioned that I didn’t have the edition about which I was being queried.

So, turn the clock to the present day and, having returned from Tokyo, I find a box from Angelus Press with – lo and behold – breviaries.  HERE


These volumes are of bible paper, bound imitation black leather. There are four ribbons tops in different colors.  The pages are gilded.

Helpful cards.

Note the publisher, in France.

What edition is this?  This is the last decree included in the front of the first volume.  1960.

By contrast, the three volume, English/Latin facing edition reprinted by Baronius Press is the 1961.

Note that the psalms go across the page.

The appendix has all the bits one expects.

I am very grateful for the set.  I will spend a little time with the present volume, to see how we get along.

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  1. Fr_Andrew says:

    I have used this along with the nova&vetera edition, both at length, so I’m looking forward to what you think, Father.

    I very much like the layout of the Ecône edition, which is based on the Mame edition of 1962 (with the Bea psalms expurgated—good riddance!). It’s easy to read, flows nicely, and when one gets sleepy and loses his place, it’s easy to figure out where he was, verse the wall of text without indents in the nova&vetera. I like two columns, but I’m not a fan of their psalm layout.

    There are also fewer errors than in nova&vetera, which has some major issues. Granted most of those errors are in the headings, or things that are easily spotted, and the few I know of in the Ecône are in the middle of long texts, so harder to see.

    The one thing I absolutely hate about the Ecône edition is the quality of the binding and printing. Such great work was done on preparing and laying out the text, and then it was all undone by poor production quality. The nova&vetera edition is lightyears beyond the Ecône edition in this department, and why I have one of the nova&vetera as my daily driver and have gifted that edition, and not the Ecône to other priests. My Ecône edition is a backup, in case I misplace my n&v.

    The binding is hard plastic, and not leather. It is oversized and hangs out not the standard 1-2mm beyond the edge of the pages but nearly 5-6mm (almost 1/4″). Give it time and it curls over and looks unsightly, and wears badly.

    The paper is thin, but not thinner than the n&v edition, yet Ecône is highly translucent, making reading tiring on the eyes. One can almost read the next page through the one before. The n&v pages are pretty opaque without being totally so.

    The flexible n&v edition is very nice, versus a very stiff Ecône edition which refuses to lay flat, until it finally flexible and starts falling apart.

    I also do not like the font choice in Ecône. I’m not the biggest fan of n&v either, but it’s easier on the eyes. The original Mame had a very nice font which was gentle on the eyes. Ecône seems to have tried to come close, but what they chose is not very aesthetically-pleasing.

    Add to this the last reprint of the Ecône I saw had even poorer-quality production that the one I had. There was and overapplication of glue in the binding process that hardened in visible areas, the ribbons and the decorative edging to which they were attached sticking out above the pages and the plastic guilding of the page edges was a mess. The text blocks were also not centered in the covers. It looked like they switched to an Asian supplier to get the cost down, and the quality dropped down, but the price did not.

    I really want to prefer the Ecône edition, but cannot overlook the poor quality production in order to get a nice layout, especially given that when I bought my Ecône edition it was twice the cost of the n&v (when bought straight from them, as the FSSP bookstore was charging a 50% markup on ordering from n&v at the time). At that discount I can deal with some errors in the text.

    I think it is unfortunate that the Society did not use the same printers and materials that Angelus Press used for their hand missal which is of excellent quality, especially the leather edition they put out. It was pricey, but it is very well done. It is sad that the Breviary did not get this same high-quality treatment. If it had, I would be the first to buy an edition of it, even if it was more expensive, since it really is an investment. Perhaps in the future Angelus Press would take on the reprinting of this Breviary using the company that produced their missal, or consider making their own edition.

  2. Charles Sercer says:

    I don’t have experience with any other versions of the Breviarium Romanum 1960/61/whatever other than this one, and I don’t currently use it since I use Breviarium/Antiphonale Monasticum from 1951. But it seemed to work well for me when I use it. I also used it with a pre-Urban VIII hymn insert – though I don’t know if this this allowed for those bound to used the approved books. I primarily chose this version because it was less expensive than other versions, being only 2 volumes since it has no English translations, and did not have any other criteria for what I wanted.

    I am not too picky with regards to setup/presentation, provided it is a long-lasting set – which it seems this one is – since once one knows how everything works, it will probably be fine. The only other versions I have is a pre-1955 (1930s, I believe) BR which I have never used, but just happen to have since my great-uncle who was a priest had a number of old books in his possession and I siezed this 4-volume set (the Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn division) to get familiar with the older system without having to be glued to a computer screen!

    Anyway, though my experience with versions is limited, for anyone who does not need English translation, this Angelus Press version would get a recommendation from me.

  3. RichR says:

    The Diurnale Romanum (1962BR without Matins) from Preserving Catholic Publications is my go to Divine Office. I’m glad that there is demand enough to support so many versions of the older Office.

  4. Julia_Augusta says:

    I have been using the BrevMeumHD app in my iPad because I travel a lot. The version of the Office I have been praying is the Divino Afflatu (Pius X). Is it okay for me to use this version? I have been using it for over a year.

  5. dbf223 says:

    As a comment on the last post, I said, “tl;dr – Father wants the two volume Breviarium Romanum.” Ha ha – looks like some kind soul got the message! (Full disclosure: wasn’t me.)

  6. Charles Sercer says:

    Lay people may use any form of the office they like. Someone else would probably know the technicalities of this better – but it is my understanding that if one (who is free to do this) uses a non-official version (i.e. the Divino Afflatu version), then he is not praying the prayer of the Church, but is merely praying a private devotion.

    This is relevant to me, since as I noted above I do not use a currently-official version of the office. But it would be interesting to hear an exposition or explanation on what it really means for me that I am not praying the official prayer of the Church. I know that the version I use, for various reasons, is best for my spiritual life at the moment, and so even though it is not the official prayer of the Church, it seems I can still offer my saying of it for the Church and in Union with the Church, though admittedly not in the same way as if I were saying the exact same (official) text as others throughout the Church.

  7. Jesson says:

    I wonder. Why does one help card say CIVITATUM FŒDERATURUM? It should be CIVITATUM FŒDERATARUM.

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