Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A look inside the Liturgia Horarum

I purchased this a few weeks ago and have had a chance to use it quite a bit. So I am ready to take you on a short tour around Volume IV of the Liturgia Horarum. But before I do there are a few things I would like to say.

First, and I mentioned this in my previous post, I get the impression this edition was not meant to be used so much as it was to be a reference text. Either that is the case or it was surmised that much effort should not be put into it because of limited demand. Unlike other all-latin editions of the Divine Office this one doesn't have a spec of beauty in it. They printed the text, formatted it and slapped a leather semi-hardcover on it. Then they stamped a weird harp with star and clouds on the front cover. No gilt edges. Price: $200 per volume.

The insides are nearly identical to the english Liturgy of the Hours. Even the fonts look the same. That is a good thing for those who would like to make the jump to the official Liturgia Horarum. Switching to the Latin version is a breeze and getting around is no problem whatsoever. I have been keeping my english edition handy during the Office of Readings to use for the readings themselves but use the Latin one for the psalms, canticles, and prayers.

By the way, it is true that there are moments one will wonder what the heck ICEL was thinking during translation. Even if you don't read latin at all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the english edition can be ...lacking... .

Here we can see the text of Psalm 117. The Psalms are counted in the Vulgate numberings unlike the english version. It is interesting how quickly the Church abandoned the polarizing Pius XII neo-psalter in favor of the more traditional Nova Vulgata Psalms. This is one example of restoring tradition after Vatican II. (Yes, I typed that. It happened and we should be grateful.)

Below we see next Sunday's place in the Liturgia Horarum. Newer editions have 3 antiphons for the Magnificat on Sundays for years A B & C which match the Gospel reading that day. I believe that is a mixed bag but I will leave it be. Notice what happens with ribbons after 30 years. You can see a red stain going across the page. Cheap ribbons?

This is an atrocious picture of one of the card inserts. Again, it is identical to the ones provided in the English version.

The Benedictus and Magnificat are in the traditional renderings, and not taken directly from the Nova Vulgata or the Pius XII edition. Also, by praying the Latin version, one doesn't have to use the awful "My soul PROCAIMS..." text of the Magnificat.

One thing that is missing in this text are the "extras" that traditionally come in a breviary. Those would be the parts of the Rituale Romanum for use by priests (or its modern counterpart), thanksgiving before and after Mass, and litanies.

This is a $40 book with a $200 price tag that despite some issues is a joy to use if you don't mind saying the modern office. It is better in Latin even if you don't have a firm grasp on the language or are a beginning Latin student like myself.

We need more publishers of this work to come out with nice, decently priced editions made for general use. Ignatius? OSV? CPB? Scepter? Anyone out there? Hello?


Rich said...

I am so happy to have found this blog. I am in the midst of trying to decide which version of the Office to use, and your site is a big help.

After it is all said and done, what version are you using on a daily basis? I am not able to do Matins/Office of Readings because of my family and work, but I would like to squeeze in a few of the daily hours in if I could.

Your comments seem to reflect my own tastes, so I am curious which version is your favorite.

Monastic Diurnal
Diurnale Romanum
Anglican Breviary
Breviarium Romanum
Liturgy of the Hours (ICEL)
Liturgia Horarum

I, too, am awaiting the Baronius Press BR, but I have a feeling it will be too expensive to justify (especially since I won't be doing Matins).

Thanks for your response.


Matt said...

Hi Rich - glad you enjoy the blog! After all is said and done, the Office version I use is frankly the one that suits me that day, week, or month. There are strengths in all of them and weakness and difficulties in all of them.

Most often though I now switch between the 1962 Breviary (Either English or Latin) and the LOTH (English or Latin).

Usually I switch for certain feast days.

Honestly, as to which you should use it depends on your state in life. I want to write more on this, so how about I flesh out the different versions and put it up as a new post? That way more people can see it and we can start a discussion.

Ramil said...

Midwest Theological Forum have released the Liturgia Horarum in 6 volumes, but is rather expensive in the leather, slipcased edition.

They also list a hardcover set for $450.00 (an 'editio economica'?)

Supposedly there were plans by the Concilium to publish two additional volumes with Patristic readings for Matins/Office of Readings (at least, that is what I gathered from 'The Reform of the Roman Liturgy' by Annibale Bugnini).

I believe the 'Christian Readings' volumes by Catholic Book Publishing Company (the 6 paperback books still in print) were those planned readings.

There isn't much detail on the website, but just f.y.i.

Matt said...

Hi Ramil,

Thanks for the tip! I have contacted MTF for a review copy or any information they can give me about it and I am still waiting to hear back.

Michael Demers said...

Still waiting?

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton