Pope St. Pius X

Our Secondary Patron

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What is the Breviary Online?

 

The Official Prayer of the Church

 

Next to the Holy Mass, the Divine Office (or Breviary) is the most important prayer offered to God.  It is offered by the Church and in the name of the Church, conferring multifold graces and blessings on those who recite it worthily, attentively and devoutly.  Normally the domain of priests and religious, the Church has continued to recommend her official prayer to the faithful.  However, until now, the complexity of the rubrics and a lack of suitable translations has deterred many.

 

Now Accessible to the Layman

 

With the help of modern technology, it has become easier to overcome these problems.  The result is the Roman Breviary published by the Confraternity of Ss. Peter & Paul in both Latin and English.  No knowledge of the liturgy is required.  All you have to do is click on the feastday, and then on the Canonical Hour you want to say.  The rest is just like reading a book—everything is laid out for you in order according to the rubrics of the day.  No more flicking through the ribboned sections of a weighty volume.  No more apprehension that you are forgetting some obscure rubric.  It's all there spelled out, in order, every day.

 

Learn More about the Breviary

 

And if you do want to deepen your knowledge of the Breviary or the Confraternity, this website can help you with that too.  We already provide a short history of the Breviary, instructions on when to recite which Hours, a brief commentary on the psalms, and much more.  And for those who would really like to understand the rubrics in greater depth, we provide in our bookstore a detailed but simply written electronic manual entitled How to Say the Breviary.  We shall be expanding this website regularly with more information, so check back with us frequently.  And may God reward your prayers by bestowing on you all those spiritual favours that come from a devout reading of the Church's Divine Office.

 

Is this Breviary for You?

 

Check out the Features

 

Link to our Features Page to see what a difference our online edition of the traditional Roman Breviary can make in your life.

 

Check out a Sample Day

 

Link to the Office for the Feast of St. Pius X, our secondary patron.  You can browse through the various Hours of the Office and get a feel for what to expect.

 

Check out the artwork, the original photos, play some of the music.  We hope you enjoy the experience.   More importantly do you think this approach to prayer is something that could be spiritually beneficial for you?

How Do I Get Started?

 

Register and Subscribe

 

Register

 

Link to our online Breviary homepage.  Underneath the login form is a box, with the words First-Time User? and Register Here in red letters underlined.  Click on this link and complete the short form.  Click the Sign up link.

 

Subscribe

 

Log in to our webiste using the user name and password you have chosen.  When you first attempt to Recite the Breviary you will be linked to the subscription page.  Here you may choose from our monthly subscription of $2.50 (USD) per month, or $24.00 for an annual subscription.  Or simply send a check to the address provided on our Contacts page.

The Changes

St Pius X's Liturgical Reform

The Reform of the Roman Breviary by Pope St. Pius X was promulgated by that Pope with the Apostolic Constitution Divino Afflatu of 1 November 1911.

 

A minor matter was the printing in a separate section, called the "Ordinary", of those parts of the Psalter that were to be recited frequently, perhaps several times in the same day, such as the invitatory, hymns for the seasons, blessings, absolutions, chapters, suffrages, the Lord's Prayer, Benedictus, Magnificat, Te Deum etc.

 

Much more radical was a completely new arrangement of the psalms, distributing them or, when too long, dividing them so as to have approximately the same number of verses in each day's office. The length of the offices of the Breviary were reduced (for example, Matins went from 18 psalms recited on Sundays and 12 on ferial days, to 9 psalms or parts of psalms, never more, with the result of reaching a fairly equal number of verses for each day - between 360 and 497 - whereas the former office of Saturday contained 792, and that of Sunday, 721).

 

This change, made with a view to restoring the original use of the liturgy, which provided for the chant or recitation of the entire Psalter each week, and the accompanying changes in the rubrics concerning the precedence between saints' days and the Sunday and ferial offices was meant to remedy the situation whereby the multiplication of saints' days had made celebration of Sundays and ferias, and consequently of certain psalms, very rare.

 

With the reform, the Psalter was once again recited integrally each week without suppressing the feasts of saints; the proper liturgy of Sundays and weekdays was restored; the readings of Holy Scripture proper to the seasons of the year were privileged.

 

Each day, therefore, had its own psalms, as arranged in the new Psalter, except certain feast days, about 125 in number, viz., all those of Christ and their octaves, the Sundays within the octaves of the Nativity, Epiphany, Ascension, Corpus Christi, the vigil of the Epiphany, and the day after the octave of the Ascension, when the office is of these days; the Vigil of the Nativity from Lauds to None and the Vigil of Pentecost; all the feasts of the Blessed Virgin, of the Angels, St John the Baptist, St Joseph and the Apostles, as well as doubles of the first and second class and their entire octaves. The office for the last three days of Holy Week remained unchanged, except that the psalms for Lauds were from the corresponding days of the week in the Psalter, and for Compline those of Sunday. For all other feasts and for ferias in Eastertide the psalms were those of the new Psalter, while the rest of the office was from the Proper or Common. When a feast has special antiphons for any of the major hours, it retained them with its own psalms. Except for certain feasts, the lessons of the first nocturn were to be the current lessons from Scripture, though the responsories were to be taken from the Common or Proper. Any feast that had its own proper lessons retained them; for feasts with their own responsories, those with the common lessons were to be read.

 

Pope Pius X ordered that these changes, proposed by a committee of liturgists appointed by him, and adopted by the Congregation of Rites, be put into effect, at latest, on 1 January 1913.

 

By the motu proprio Ab hinc duos annos of 23 October 1913, Pope Pius X added to his reform of 1 November 1911: no feast was to be fixed to a Sunday except the Holy Name of Jesus and the Blessed Trinity - later, the feasts of the Holy Family and of Christ the King would be added. The octaves were equally simplified.

 

These changes made it necessary to modify the Roman Missal also. This was effected in the 1920 typical edition of the Missal promulgated by Pius X's successor, Pope Benedict XV.

 

Confraternity Practice

Use of the St. Pius X Rubrics

 

St. Pius X

 

The last reform of the Breviary motivated by true liturgical principles

The single most important principle shaping the liturgy of the Catholic Church is Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.  The way we pray reflects what we believe.  What do we believe?  That God is Creator and our Last End, and that the greatest action we can perform is to adore Him.  St. Pius X's reform of the Breviary continued the traditions of the Apostles with the worship of God as the centre and driving force of the Liturgy.

 

 

Later reforms betrayed these liturgical principles

With the greater incursion of modernists into the Church after the death of St. Pius X, we saw more and more attacks upon our sacred liturgy.  The modernists were quite aware of the Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi adage, and saw liturgical reform as a way to undermine the actual Faith of the Church.  The complete upset of Holy Week and then the suppression of many of the church's great feastdays, vigils and octaves was just the beginning.  The overall result has been a reversal of a liturgy focused on God to one whose driving force has become the instruction of the people, and worse, their gratification.  Making things simpler, shorter, easier to understand — all this resulted inevitably in the reduction of ritual and ceremony, the loss of Latin, and the replacement of the spiritual with the entertaining.

 

It is our apostolate to maintain the pristine liturgy of the Church and preserve it for future generations of Catholics.

 

 

Manual on the Rubrics

E-Book Available

 

Since Fr. Bernard Hausmann, S.J. first wrote this definitive set of instructions for the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church has seen a gradual onslaught by her enemies that has resulted in the almost complete obliteration of the Catholic Breviary. Later substitutes such as the greatly reduced 1962 breviary and its successor The Liturgy of The Hours bear little if any resemblance to the true Catholic liturgy used before the modernist "reforms" of the 1950s and 60s.

Addressing this lack of true Catholic liturgical books, the Confraternity of Ss. Peter & Paul was founded in September 2001, just a few weeks before the Islamic attack on the United States.  Since then, the Confraternity has laboured relentlessly to provide Catholics with a complete online source for the Roman Catholic Breviary, not only in Latin, but with an accurate and dignified English translation.

The founder of the Confraternity, Father Bernard Hall, has now taken Father Hausmann's original instructions on how to say the Breviary, and updated it using the resources of modern word-processing technology. Over a hundred color diagrams and illustrations result is an exhaustive, yet easy-to-read description of the Breviary and the rubrics you will need to begin reciting it. If you're already familiar with the Breviary, it provides a useful reference manual which will help you check any of the more obscure rubrics. And if, like many, you have been drawn closer to the truth by exposure to the pseudo-traditional 1962 liturgy, you should now take a little time to examine the real Breviary which Catholics prayed in the years before Vatican II.

 

 
For more information and
to purchase E-Book

How to Say the Breviary

click here

Divino Afflatu

Pius X, Pope, Servant of the Servants of God, For an Everlasting Memorial

 

Arms of Pope St. Pius X

It is beyond question that the psalms composed under divine inspiration, which are collected in the sacred books, have from the beginning of the Church not only contributed wonderfully to foster the piety of the faithful offering the sacrifice of praise always to God, that is to say, the fruit of lips confessing to his name (Heb 13:15), but have also had a conspicuous part, from custom introduced under the old law, in the sacred liturgy itself and in the divine office. Hence, as Basil says, that natural voice of the Church (Homil. In Ps. I, no. 2,) and the psalmody called by our predecessor Urban VIII (in Divinam psalmodiam) the daughter of her hymnody which is constantly sung before the throne of God and the Lamb, and which, according to Athanasius, teaches the men whose chief care is the divine worship the manner in which God is to be praised and the words in which they are fitly to confess him (Epist. Ad Marcellinum in interpret. Psalmor no. 10). Augustine beautifully says on the subject: “That God may be praised well by man, God himself has praised himself; and since he has been pleased to praise himself man has found the way to praise him (In Psalm. Cxliv. No. 1).

Besides, there is in the Psalms a certain wonderful power for stimulating zeal in men’s minds for all the virtues. For although all our Scripture, both the Old and New, is divinely inspired and useful for doctrine, as it is written, the Book of Psalms, like a paradise containing in itself (the fruits) all the others, gives forth songs, and with them also shows its own songs in psalmody (cantus edit, et proprios insuper cum ipsis inter psallendum exhibet). Such are the words of Athanasius (Epist. Ad Marcell. Op. cit. no. 2), who rightly adds in the same place: “To me it seems that the psalms for him who sings them are as a mirror in which he may contemplate himself and the movements of his soul and, under this influence, recite them” (op. cit. no. 12). Hence, Augustine says in his Confessions: “How I wept in hymns and canticles, deeply moved by the voices of your sweetly sounding Church! These voices poured into my ears and truth became clear in my heart and then feelings of piety grew warm within me and my tears flowed and it was well with me for them” (book IX, ch. 6). For who can fail to be stirred by the numerous passages of the psalms which proclaim so loudly the immense majesty of God, his ominipotence, his ineffable justice or goodness or clemency, and his other infinite praises? Who can fail to be inspired with similar feelings by those thanksgivings for benefits received from God, or by those trustful prayers for benefits desired, or those cries of the penitent soul for its sins? Who is not stirred to admiration by the Psalmist as he recounts the acts of divine goodness toward the people of Israel and the whole race of man and when he hands down the picture of Christ the Redeemer lovingly shadowed forth whose voice Augustine heard in all the psalms, praising or mourning, rejoicing in hope or yearning for accomplishment? (In Ps. Xlii., no. 1).

With good reason was provision made long ago, by decrees of the Roman Pontiffs, by canons of the councils, and by monastic laws, that members of both branches of the clergy should chant or recite the entire psaltery every week. And this same law, handed down from antiquity, our predecessors St. Pius V, Clement VIII and Urban VIII religiously observed in revising the Roman breviary. Even at present the psaltery should be recited in its entirety within the week were it not that owing to the changed condition of things such recitation is frequently hindered.

For in the course of time there has been a constant increase among the faithful in the number of those whom the Church, after their mortal life, has been accustomed to count among the denizens of heaven and to set before the Christian people as patrons and models. In their honor the offices of the saints began to be gradually extended until it has come about that the offices of the Sundays and ferias are hardly ever heard, and thus neglect has fallen on not a few Psalms, albeit these are, no less than the others, as Ambrose says (Enarrat. In Ps. I., no. 9), “the benediction of the people, the praise of God, the praising of the multitude, the rejoicing of all, the speech of all, the voice of the Church, the resounding confession of faith, the full devotion of authority, the joy of liberty, the cry of gladness, the echo of joy.” More than once serious complaints have been made by prudent and pious men about this omission, on the ground that owing to it those in sacred orders have been deprived of so many admirable aids for praising the Lord and expressing the inmost feelings of the soul, and that it has left them without that desirable variety in praying so highly necessary for our weakness in supplicating worthily, attentively, and devoutly. For, as Basil has it, “the soul, in some strange way, frequently grows torpid in sameness, and what should be present to it becomes absent; whereas by changing and varying the psalmody and the chant for the different hours, its desire is renewed and its attention restored (Regulae fusius tractatae, q.37, no. 5).

No wonder, then, that a great many bishops in various parts of the world have sent expressions of their opinions on this matter to the Apostolic See, and especially in the Vatican Council when they asked, among other things, that the ancient custom of reciting the whole psaltery within the week might be restored as far as possible, but in such a way that the burden should not be made any heavier for the clergy, whose labors in the vineyard of the sacred ministry are now increased owing to the diminution in the number of laborers. These petitions and wishes, which were our own, too, before we assumed the pontificate, and also the appeals which have since come from others of our venerable brothers and from pious men, we have decided should be granted – but with care, so that from the reciting of the entire psaltery within the week no diminution in the cultus of saints may follow, on the one hand, and on the other, that the burden of the divine office may become not more oppressive, but actually lighter. Wherefore, after having suppliantly implored the Father of lights and asked for the assistance of holy prayers on the matter, following in the footsteps of our predecessor, we chose a number of learned and active men with the task of studying and consulting together in order to find some way, which might meet our wishes, for putting the idea into execution. In fulfillment of the charge entrusted to them they elaborated a new arrangement of the psaltery, and this having been approved by the cardinals of H.R.C. belonging to the Congregation of Sacred Rites, we have ratified it as being in entire harmony with our own mind, in all things, that is, as regards the order and partition of the psalms, the antiphons, versicles, hymns with their rubrics and rules, and we have ordered an authentic edition of it to be set up in our Vatican printing press and then published.

As the arrangement of the psaltery has a certain intimate connection with all the divine office and the liturgy, it will be clear to everybody that by what we have here decreed we have taken the first step to the emendation of the Roman breviary and the missal, but for this we shall appoint shortly a special council or commission. Meanwhile, now that the occasion presents itself, we have decided to make some changes at present, as is prescribed in the accompanying rubrics; and first among them that in the recitation of the divine office due honor, by their more frequent use, be restored to the appointed lessons of sacred Scripture with the responsories of the season, and, second, that in the sacred liturgy those most ancient Masses of the Sundays during the year and of the ferias, especially those of Lent, recover their rightful place.

Therefore, by the authority of these letters, we first of all abolish the order of the psaltery as it is at present in the Roman breviary, and we absolutely forbid the use of it after the 1st day of January of the year 1913. From that day in all the churches of secular and regular clergy, in the monasteries, orders, congregations and institutes of religious, by all and several who by office or custom recite the canonical hours according to the Roman breviary issued by St. Pius V and revised by Clement VIII, Urban VIII and Leo XIII, we order the religious observance of the new arrangement of the psaltery in the form in which we have approved it and decreed its publication by the Vatican printing press. At the same time we proclaim the penalties prescribed in law against all who fail in their office of reciting the canonical hours everyday; all such are to know that they will not be satisfying this grave duty unless they use this our disposition of the psaltery.

We command, therefore, all the patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots and other prelates of the church, not excepting even the cardinal archpriests of the patriarchal basilicas of the city, to take care to introduce at the appointed time into their respective dioceses, churches or monasteries, the psaltery with the rules and rubrics as arranged by us; and the psaltery and these rules and rubrics we order to be also inviolately used and observed by all others who are under the obligation of reciting or chanting the canonical hours. In the meanwhile it shall be lawful for everybody and for the chapters themselves, provided the majority of the chapter be in favor, to use duly the new order of the psaltery immediately after its publication.

This we publish, declare, sanction, decreeing that these our letters always are and shall be valid and effective, notwithstanding apostolic constitutions and ordinances, general and special, and everything else whatsoever to the contrary. Wherefore, let nobody infringe or temerariously oppose this page of our abolition, revocation, permission, ordinance, precept, statue, indult, mandate and will. But if anybody shall presume to attempt this let him know that he will incur the indignation of almighty God and of his apostles the blessed Peter and Paul.

Given at Rome at St. Peter’s in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 1911, on November the first, the feast of All Saints, in the ninth year of our pontificate.