Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Dominican Breviary & The Reforms Of St. Pius X

The Tablet, the Catholic weekly newspaper published in England, has been digitizing their archives of past issues.  There are many good articles to be found among these pages.  I found this article regarding the effect of St. Pius X reform of the Breviary and Psalter on the Breviarium S.O.P..

It is interesting to read this piece, which was written only three (3) years after the reforms went into effect, in the form of the 1924 Breviarium S.O.P..  The author doesn't dwell on what was lost in the revision, like Father Bonniwell does in "A History of the Dominican Liturgy"; rather he describes those characteristics and practices which distinguish the Dominican from the Roman Breviary.  Sadly, many of those characteristics, practices and feasts that did survive were gradually removed by the time the 1962 Breviarium S.O.P. was published.

The article can be found here at The Tablet website.

 September 3, 1927


 The revision of the Breviary of the Order of Preachers, carried out in 1924, has not deprived this rite of any of its essential and distinguishing features, though a few of the changes made in consequence of Divino Afflatu have removed certain old-established details of the office, particularly the rhymed antiphons which were formerly used with the Psalms at Matins on ordinary Sundays.

One result of the revision is the introduction of a rank of feasts new to this use—the semi-double. Most of the feasts of beati of the Order, which were formerly doubles, have been given this rank. The classification of feasts is now as follows: tota duplicia, divided into three classes, of which the lowest are known as communia: these correspond respectively to the doubles of the first class, doubles of the second class, and greater doubles of the Roman use; doubles, corresponding to Roman lesser doubles; semi-doubles and simples, answering to Roman semi-doubles; feasts of three lessons, which equal Roman simples; and "feasts of memorial only," or commemorations. Many of the octaves, once so numerous among the Dominicans, have been abolished; the feasts which retain them are, besides all those to which the Roman Breviary assigns octaves, those of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Rosary, St. Dominic, St. Andrew, St. Augustine and St. Martin. The three last, with those of St. Lawrence and our Lady's Nativity are "of memorial only," and have nothing in the office save a commemoration at Lauds and First Vespers on their octave-day. The octaves of St. Stephen, St. John and the Holy Innocents are "Octaves of three lessons," being only commemorated on days within the octave, and enjoying a simple office on the octave-day. Those of the Epiphany, the Dedication of the Church, and St. John Baptist are "simple "; they have an office of three lessons on days within the octave, and one of nine lessons on the octave day. The other octaves, of which those of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Corpus Christi are "most solemn," and the remainder solemn," have likewise office of three lessons on days within the octave. The six Roman privileged octaves are likewise privileged in the Dominican use.

The office of a feast of three lessons begins with the Capitulum at first Vespers, and ends at None on the following day. It has one nocturn with nine (or in Paschal Time three) Psalms, three lessons and three responsories at Matins; the Te Deum is not said. A simple feast is celebrated at Vespers in like manner, but has (except in Eastertide) three nocturns at Matins. The Te Deum is said, except after Septuagesima. A semi-double has a similar office, save that a responsory is said after the capitulum of First Vespers. On doubles the Te Deum is always said; and there are no preces at Prime or Compline, as there are on feasts of lower rank.

On all tota duplicia, even those of "common" rank, except the Compassion of our Lady, Easter and Pentecost, five fixed Psalms 112, 116, 145, 146 and 147 are said at First Vespers, always, except at Christmas Eve, under one antiphon. The antiphons to Magnificat and Benedictus are doubled (antiphons other than these are never doubled in this use)' and the responsories at the Little Hours are said with a twofold alleluia, as during Paschal Time in the Roman use. This, of course, does not apply after Septuagesima. When the three lessons from the homily on the Sunday Gospel cannot for any reason be read upon their proper day, they must find a place on some vacant day within the week, either a common to turn duplex or some feast of lower rank which has not a proper homily of its own. If a common totum duplex or a lower feast which has no proper gospel falls on a greater feria which has a special gospel and homily, the Lessons of the ferial homily are read in place of those of the feast.There is no Suffrage of the Saints in the daily office; a commemoration of Our Lady is made daily from the Octave of St. Stephen to the Octave of the Epiphany, and on all Sundays throughout the year whereon the office is of Sunday. There is a daily commemoration of the Cross (except on doubles) from Easter to the Ascension.

The Dominican use has no "absolutions" at Matins ; there is a special set of Benedictions for feasts and Offices of Our Lady. A sacerdotal versicle after the Te Deum, as in the Premonstratensian use, connects Matins with Lauds.

The old versions of the hymns are retained, and their assignment differs somewhat from that of the Roman Breviary. The ferial hymns given in the latter for Matins, Lauds and Vespers after Epiphany and Pentecost are unknown in the Dominican books, which give Nocte surgentes, Ecce jam noctis and Lucis Creator for use every day, save at Saturday Vespers, when 0 lux beata Trinitas is sung. Among the hymns lost to the Roman rite which the Dominican Breviary has retained are Veni Redemptor for Christmas ; A Patre Unigenitus for the Epiphany; Summi largitor prcemii for Lent (in place of Ex more docti mystico), and Adesto sancta Trinitas for Trinity Sunday. There are also, of course, a number of proper hymns for Dominican saints.

The Sundays per annum are numbered not from Epiphany and Pentecost, but from the Octave of Epiphany and the Octave of Trinity. Besides the ordinary collect at Prime, Domine Deus omnipotens, there is an alternative prayer, In hac hora, used in its place on Sundays and feasts. Compline varies much more than in the Roman use. There is a special responsory, In pace in idipsum, for Saturdays, Sundays and doubles during the first four weeks of Lent; special hymns for Lent and for Eastertide; and proper antiphons to Nunc dimittis for the various seasons of the year. On feasts of Our Lady the antiphons to the Psalms and to the Nunc dimittis both vary. The Salve is said daily throughout the year after Compline, and on Saturdays it is usually followed in choir by the Litany of Our Lady, and the Inviolata with a collect.

There are a few peculiarities in the Proper of the Season. On Christmas Day the genealogy of Our Lord according to St. Matthew is read after the ninth responsory at Matins, and before the Te Deum; and there is no little chapter, hymn or V. at Lauds. When the Midnight Mass is said immediately after Matins, Lauds are introduced into the Mass after the Communion; the collect of the office coalescing with the Postcommunion of the Mass, as at Vespers on Easter Eve. In Holy Week Lauds include the farced Kyries as they were sung before the Reformation in our English churches. Vespers on Easter Day and throughout the week have three Psalms only, and after the Magnificat is sung the V. Christus resurgens, and the antiphon of our Lady Regina caeli. This practice has in turn influenced the first and second Vespers of Pentecost, which have likewise only three Psalms. Throughout Eastertide, on ferias and feasts of whatever rank, three Psalms only are said at Matins daily. The Commune Sanctorum includes a part of the Common of Evangelists found in the Sarum and Braga books, i.e., the Canticle antiphons, invitatory and capitula. The special antiphons which the Roman Breviary assigns to apostles and martyrs in Paschal Time are here extended to Confessors also; on the other hand there is no distinction between Confessor Bishops and other Confessors save in the Lessons.

The Common of non-Virgins does not include the late Roman hymn Fortem virili pectore, but has a special set of antiphons at Lauds. The Litany of the Saints, besides invoking all the canonised saints of the Order, differs both in its petitions and in its concluding prayers from the Roman form.