July 23, 2016

Latin Doubts Changing World Ramble

There are those who like to think that liturgical Latin has been making comeback. Not that it needs to of course; as goes the oft quoted section 36 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II, Linguae latinae usus, salvo particulari iure, in Ritibus latinis servetur. "Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites."

Recent experience has made me doubt, however.

A while back a friar approached me looking for advice about finding a set of the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin for a confrere in his home province. So we went to the website and then to the print catalog of the Libreria editrice vaticana, where I was surprised--and a little scandalized--to see that their typical edition of the 2000 Liturgia Horarum is out print.

(So maybe if I'm ever desperate I can get a lot for my set on eBay... complete with once-re-superglued "Luigi Casini Roma" zippered cover with "LATINO" branded into the snap tab--a steal for €10 at the Libreria Leoniana back in 2007. I have read that in earlier days of the Franciscan Order, the hoarding of books--as a form of wealth--was an occult means of trying to maintain one's personal worldly security, against, of course, both the spirit and letter of the Rule))

Now if the liturgical books for the practice of the ordinary, official prayer of the Church are out of print in the ordinary liturgical language of said Church at the official publishing house of its central administration, I don't think this is a good sign for any of these things.

My confrere eventually found his way to the six-volume Liturgia Horarum published by the trustworthy Midwest Theological Forum. Here in Rome if you can get a friend price or a religious discount, you might be able to pick it up for €400. ($434.94 on Amazon) So no small investment. I've never seen or handled it, but the reviewers on Amazon seem like they know what they're talking about.

Someone else asked me if there was a Latin version of something like our American English Shorter Christian Prayer, the sort of little book that has various names in different languages, with the four-week psalter and cycle of prayer, Night Prayer (usually) and abridged propers of seasons and saints. I thought that certainly such a book ought to exist! What a nice, portable, and affordable resource for someone interested in praying in Latin or learning to. But as far as I can tell, no such book exists. Strange.

Perhaps a lot of folks who might be interested in praying in Latin are also the sort of folks who go for the Extraordinary Form, so if they're going to pray the Divine Office they would do so not from the Liturgy of the Hours but from the Breviarium Romanum. In fact, some nice new editions of the old BR have appeared recently. Priests, of course, can fulfill their obligation to pray the Divine Office either way, but only one way or the other. No mixing and matching, sorry. (cf. Universae ecclesiae 32)

And also perhaps all printed breviaries have suffered somewhat from the rise of smartphones and tablets. Certainly Paolo Padrini has done a great service to the Church with iBreviary. The Italian Bishops' Conference has put out a Liturgy of the Hours app which is really quite elegant and very functional. (Search for CEI Liturgia delle ore in your app store.) They were fairly quick to address issues in later releases, like the attachment of Evening Prayer I and Night Prayer following on days with vigils to the day proper. But none of these apps are yet at the point of fully accommodating someone who lives in multiple layers of particular calendar, someone like myself for example--living in the proper Franciscan and Capuchin calendars, plus the proper calendar of the diocese of Rome. Of course every diocese has a particular calendar, but most are thinner than this one in which so many of our former local bishops have been canonized!

Deus, in adiutorium meum intende.
Domine, ad adiuvandum me festina.


From George said...

http://www.almudi.org/ this is a site that has Latin for the breviary

fra.giles said...

Check out Universalis - you can even have Latin & English side-by-side as in an old Missal.

fra.giles said...

Check out Universalis in which it is possible to view the Hours in both English & Latin, or in either alone. There are various Calendars too, however the English antiphons, etc, seem to be for USA & Canada and vary slightly from the breviaries for Australia, NZ, UK, Ireland, India, etc, which makes it problematic for public use in these regions.

LAlvarez said...

The iBreviary app also has the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin among other languages.

Marc said...

It has galled me for lo! these 40+ years that instead of saying Vespers we are meant to say Evening Prayer: why reform 'Vespers'? It is the entire post-conciliar nonsense in microcosm, so far as I'm concerned. As you suggest, the use of the traditional Rite spares me the having to face this irritant day after day. :-)

Having written that, I will confess to having been surprised to discover that 'Vespers' in our sense is cited in the OED only to the late date of 1611.

A peaceful and happy Advent to you!