Pope St. Pius X
Our Secondary Patron
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?
Link to our Features Page to see what a difference our online edition of the traditional Roman Breviary can make in your life.
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
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.
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.
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.
Use of the St. Pius X Rubrics
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
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.
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How to Say the Breviary
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How to Say the Breviary
Pius X, Pope, Servant of the Servants of God, For an Everlasting Memorial
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).