On calendars and ordos...


For those wanting to say some form of the Benedictine Office in 2012, I thought it might be helpful to include links to various online Ordos and calendars.

There are essentially three (licit) choices as far as calendars and ordos go, but quite a few variants to them, so herewith a guide!

Why calendars and rubrics are important

Once upon a time (essentially between Trent and Vatican II) the delegation to say the Divine Office on behalf of the Church was restricted to priests and religious. 

Current Church law opens up the Office to the laity as well, but that brings with it great responsibility.

The Office is not just some other prayer that you can just toss off - even when said by one person alone, the presumption will normally be that it is part of the official public, liturgical prayer of the Church.   Thus it must be said in line with the rules that go with it.

That means paying attention to the rubrics, and using an approved calendar.

Benedictine 1963 (EF)

The first and easiest approach, open to any Benedictine Oblate, is to use the Benedictine universal calendar for 1963, adding in any local feasts for your region, country, diocese, monastery and parish church.

This calendar is pretty similar to the 1962 Extraordinary Form one, though there are some variations in the number and level of feasts.

The Farnborough Diurnal is keyed to this calendar, and the monthly Ordo on this blog (or if you want it by emails/word file, join the tradben yahoo group) should help you find the appropriate pages in the book.

Adapting the Benedictine to the Extraordinary From calendar

If you are attending daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form some place that is not a Benedictine monastery, you may want to adapt the Office you say to reflect the Mass of the day.  That is actually pretty easy to do, and I think it can be argued, perfectly licit - the liturgical seasons and major feasts are mostly identical; just make use of the 'Commons' of the appropriate type of saint and, if desired, use the collect of the day from your missal.  Some traditional monasteries actually do more or less follow the EF calendar appropriate to their country, one of which is Le Barroux.

Novus Ordo/Ordinary Form calendar

It is of course possible to adapt the traditional Office to one or more variants of the Novus Ordo calendar, and indeed the monastery of Solesmes has published a series of volumes doing just that, including canticle antiphons and collects linked to the novus ordo three year lectionary.  The problem for many is that these volumes are in Latin only, and there are as far as I can discover no authorised English translations.  There are, however, an unauthorized set of translations you could use for study purposes here.

One solution for those praying the Office devotionally rather than liturgically if you want to stick with the traditional psalter but don't have enough Latin (and aren't prepared to learn a little!), would be to start from the Farnborough Diurnal but take the collects and Sunday canticle antiphons, etc from a current edition of the Liturgy of the Hours.

To that you could add the list of the standard Novus Ordo Benedictine feasts for the Order as a whole here.

Note that you will need to be very familiar with the traditional Office though to find the right parts!

Calendars and rubrics for individual monasteries/congregations

As the Benedictine "order' is very loosely connected indeed, most monasteries (or groups of monasteries) actually have the authority (within limits) to set up own calendars and often variants to the rubrics - Le Barroux for example, retains I Vespers for Class II feasts; and some traditional monasteries use the 1963 Office but with what is (more or less) the Novus Ordo calendar.

So if you are an Oblate, try and obtain the Ordo of the monastery you are affiliated to, and adapt the Office accordingly.

Or, if you are affiliated with a monastery of a particular Congregation, use their Ordo in association with the 'Commons of Saints':
  • Norcia in Italy provides a weekly ordo to go along with their broadcasts of the Office;
  • a calendar for the monasteries of the English Congregation is available online;
  • so too, the American Cassinese (note large file).
There may be others, if so do let me know.

Older calendars...

There are of course many older Diurnals and Breviaries around, and so many do use the older calendar that comes with them.

My personal view is that while studying these older variations can be helpful, actually using them is a form of liturgical abuse, an example of the liturgical creativity of recent decades infecting even traditionalists.

It isn't at all hard, after all, to use these older books but apply the 1963 calendar and rubrics.

Still, if you must, you can buy calendars for the Western or Orthodox rites over at Lancelot Andrewes Press...

4 comments:

Ben Dunlap said...

I'm a little confused -- on the one hand you recommend combining the modern calendar with the traditional Office, but on the other hand suggest that it is a liturgical abuse to use a pre-1963 calendar.

Can you expound a little bit or point me to an older post that might help me understand your principles of liceity/abuse?

At any rate thanks so much for all the wonderfully helpful information on this blog!

Kate said...

It is actually pretty straightforward Ben - just as for the Mass liceity depends on what the rules set out by the proper liturgical authorities say.

Use of the modern calendar with the traditional psalm schema was explicitly approved by the Benedictine Confederation in its 1979 Thesaurus, and the Solesmes books published over the last few years to facilitate this have been published with all of the proper imprimateurs and authorizations.

Permission for the use of the 1963 books and calendar flows now from Summorum Pontificum.

But there is no general authorization in place that I'm aware of to use an older calendar and books (though some individual monks may have such permissions from their bishops).

So just as Pius X suppressed the use of pre-Tridentine Missals (subject to some limited exceptions), the pre-1962 calendar and rubrics have generally been suppressed.

In principle it could be possible for amonastery (or congregation) to ask for and receive such a permission, and then for its oblates to follow that calendar, but so far as I am aware, none have done so.

Similarly, individual monasteries could, subject to having the authority to set their own calendar (which within limits many do) include some of the older feasts and even octaves in their updated calendars, but I'm only aware of a very few examples of a few individual feasts receiving this treatment.

Ben Dunlap said...

Thanks Kate -- just to clarify, is it your opinion that the use of, say, a late-19th-century breviary is an abuse as such -- or are you simply saying that someone who prefers to pray from an older breviary ought to make an effort to do so with a currently-approved calendar and set of rubrics?

Kate said...

Using an older book is ok in principle - in many cases older books contain some of the chants etc that are needed (many monasteries use the 1925 Antiphonale Monasticism for example). But yes, app;y current rules to it!