Priests are provided in their text-books of College days with reliable
guides dealing directly and indirectly with liturgy. Hence, some of the
books quoted here may already be favourites with many readers; but,
perhaps, some books in the list may be brought to the notice of
students of liturgy for the first time, and may be useful in
introducing priests and church students to easy, pleasant paths in
liturgical studies. The prices quoted may be useful to book-buyers,
1. Dom Gueranger, The Liturgical Year
(1895, Duffy, Dublin, 16 vols. £3 9s.)–This work is a favourite with
all lovers of liturgy, It studies and comments on the Church's liturgy
day by day, week by week. It gives readers of the Missal and the
Breviary a new interest and an additional fervour in their daily
prayers. It is a standard work and holds its own wonderfully against
2. Cours De Liturgie Romaine Le Breviare,
L'abbe Bernard, Sulpician (Paris. 1887, 2 vols, 7 francs). This is a
text-book written with great care, showing fine scholarship and deep
piety. It is the work of a skilled teacher.
3. Le Breviare Romain, Commente par L'abbe Maugere. Paris. 1887, 6 francs.—A very concise and useful work, which I have used often in compiling my book.
4. The articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia, on the Breviary and liturgy generally.
5. Duchesne, Christian Worship (London. 1904. 10s.). Very readable and serviceable to students of early Church history.
6. Battifol, History of the Roman Breviary. (London, 1912. 15s.)
7. Biron-Baumer, Histoire du Breviaire. (Paris. 2 vols. 11 francs.)
8. Baudot, The Roman Breviary (London. Cath. Truth Society. Price 4s.6d.)
Monsignor Battifol's book is well and favourably known. It is in
English, and has had a large circulation. It received searching and
severe criticism from Dom Baumer, the author of Geschichte des Breviers.
Baumer's work (translated into French by Biron) is a work showing
wonderful industry, learning and critical acumen. The great German
Benedictine was aided in several parts of his work by Mr. E. Bishop,
the English liturgiologist, who intended to translate the work into
English. Dom Baudot's book gives in concise form the results of the
labours of Battifol and Baumer. The book is readable, accurate, and is
excellent value for the price.
9. The Calendar.
The introductory matter given in the Breviary suffices for the wants of
the ordinary student of liturgy. But those who wish for an exhaustive
study of times and seasons may safely read Kalendarium Manuale, Pars I. Festa immobilia, Editio secunda; price 9 lire; and Pars. II. Festa Mobilia, price 13 lire, by Rev. N. Nilles, S.J. Calendar study is highly interesting, and the articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia and Father Thurston's articles in the Month on Calendar affairs are always instructive.
The New Psalter
(Myers and Burton. London. 1915. 3s.6d.) is a very useful and practical
help to the understanding and application of the new rubrics. I have
quoted several times from its pages,
a History of Christian Festivals from their Origin to the Present Day,
by Dr. Kellner, Professor of Catholic Theology in Bonn, is a
translation of a text-book written for German students preparing to
pass Government examinations. It is a fine book, and if a student of
liturgy knew its contents well he would have no poor knowledge of this
and, incidentally, of other questions of liturgy. Gueranger, Duchesne
and Kellner constitute the beginnings of a student's liturgical library
(London, Keegan, Paul. 1908. Price 10s. 6d.). An excellent little
volume by Father McKee, dealing with the same subject, is published by
Catholic Truth Society, London, 2s, 6d. It is introductory and
10. Thousands of works on the Psalms have
been published. But any priest or student who studies Steenkiste's work
on the Psalms learns nearly all that is needed to recite his psalms
digne, attente ac devote. His work is a mine of useful, pious, and, in
the main, accurate comment on the inspired text. Breviary students
studying this commentary need little else to help them to admire, to
understand and to use their psalmody in a prayerful manner. Steenkiste,
Liber Psalmorum (3 vols, Bruges. 1886. Price 15s.).
The New Psalter of the Roman Breviary, by Fillon, S.S. (London, Herder. 1915. Price 6s.).
Father Fillon was consultor to the Biblical Commission. His notes are
short and useful to those who, having studied the psalms, can recall
their meaning by a few brief hints. Its comments are too brief, but it
gives the Latin text, English translation, notes on psalms and newly
added canticles, and is arranged in the order in which they stand in
the Pian psaltery.
Sing Ye to the Lord, by Rev. R. Eaton (London, Catholic Truth Society. 2 vols. 4s. each).
In these books the leading idea or ideas of the Psalms are taken up,
and beautiful explanations and spiritual readings given. The books are
delightful reading, and give Breviary readers, old and young, fresh
thoughts on psalms which through familiarity and constant repetition
may have lost some of their pious meaning and prayerfulness.
Books of Scripture commentary by non-Catholic writers should be read
with caution, and often ecclesiastical permission for their perusal
must be sought. Neale and Littledale's Commentary on the Psalms
(6 vols. London. 1867) is a compilation by two Anglican scholars, from
the commentators of the Middle Ages. The wonderful piety of these men
of old, saints and scholars, their beautiful comments, their glowing
fervour, and above all their knowledge and love of the Bible text,
surprise us all. Sometimes, of course, these mediaevalists run into
far-fetched, outlandish comments, but the compilers give always the
comments of the Masters, St. Thomas, St. Bede, etc.
many metrical arrangements of the Psalms by non-Catholic authors exist
in English. Most of these metrical efforts are very poor, unreliable in
giving the sense, and awkward and ungainly in poetic forms. An
interesting book is Prothero's Psalms in Human Life. The author was a Protestant, hence his numbering of the Psalms may at first sight be confusing,
Sermons fresh and beautiful, full of unction, and full of texts,
sublime and practical, are to be found in the Psalms. A work, little
known in our islands, is Monsignor Doublet's fine work, Psaumes etudies en vue de la Predication (3 vols. 8th Edition. 12s.).
A charming booklet, dealing chiefly with the Psalms as prayers, is Rolland Gosselin's Prieres et Meditations bibliques (Paris. 1917. Bauchesne. 3s.).
10. Hymns. Immense labour has been devoted to the study of Latin sacred poetry. The Analecta Hymnica
in 60 huge volumes testifies to the learning and zeal of its Jesuit
authors. Ordinary mortals content themselves with lesser works, such as
Pimont's Hymnes du Breviare Romain (Paris Poussielgne. 2 vols, 12-1/2 francs), or with La Poesie du Breviaire, Les Hymns,
by l'abbe C. Albin. Price 6 francs. The opinions and judgments in
neither book are infallible; and some of Pimont's findings have been
roughly criticised and sometimes rejected. But both books give good,
sound knowledge of Breviary hymns and thus help to make their
recitation a pious and a rational exercise, not a mechanical, soulless
Translation of poetry has ever been a study and
a pastime. Every cleric is familiar with the prose translations which
aided his boyhood's labours in rendering the poetry of Horace and
Euripides into modern speech. But prose efforts are one thing, and
poetical efforts are another, and just as many have laboured to present
Virgil and Homer in modern language, in metre, in rhyme, in rhythm; so,
many poets and verse-makers, in different ages and in different climes,
have laboured to turn into modern poetic form and into their own
national tongue the poems of the Breviary. The Breviary hymns have met
with several good, kind, translating poets; but very often they have
been rudely handled by well-meaning verse builders. Passing over in
charitable silence the indifferent efforts of those people, it may
interest some students of the Breviary to read the efforts of
well-known authors to translate the liturgy, its anthems, responses,
collects, hymns, into good English.
(1) The Day Hours of the Church.—A
translation of the Horae Diurnae, with the psalms, etc., arranged
according to the reform of Pope Pius X. This is a good book, giving in
parallel columns on the same page, Latin and English translations. It
includes the very best hymn translations by Catholic authors, John
Dryden, Cardinal Newman, Father Caswall, etc. (Burns & Gates. 8s.).
This book is intended for the use of the laity, and, owing to the
strict regulations issued for the printing of the new Roman Breviary,
this book may not lawfully be used to replace the Breviarium Romanum.
But, as it is a complete translation of the little Hours of the Church,
it is a very useful aid to the attentive and devout recitation of the
Hours. A look at its pages before each hour's recitation, or a glance
to see the meaning of some verse of psalm or hymn will repay anyone. It
is a wonderfully careful production, has a beautiful format, and is good value at the price marked.
(2) Annus Sanctus,
by Orby Shipley (Burns & Oates. 1884). This book contains the work
of many Catholic translators, and their translations of Breviary hymns
vary in merit. It contains a good introduction, the translations
attributed to Dryden, and it gives some things which are always
interesting, the efforts of several minds, poets and verse-makers, to
render the same Latin hymn into English verse. It includes verses from
(3) Hymns from the Roman Breviary,
translated (Catholic Truth Society, London. Price 1s. 6d). A good
selection from Catholic and non-Catholic translators. The translations
of Dr. Neale, Anglican—held to be superior in fidelity and in poetic
form to that of any English translator—are given in this booklet.
Neale's Collected Hymns (Hodder & Stoughton, 6s.) are
useful for translators and composers of vernacular hymns. But his work
is, I think, over-rated.
(4) Other translations of Breviary hymns are found in the collections of hymns used in Anglican churches: Hymns, Ancient and Modern; The English Hymnal; The Hymner from the Sarum Breviary (Plain-song and Mediaeval Society, London); Songs of Sion, by Woodward, etc.
For advanced study of liturgy, Dom Cabrol's Dictionaire D'Archeologie Chrietienne Et Liturgie (Paris: Letouzey et Ane) is indispensable. Its study delights and consoles those who possess it.
Note B. Particular Examen On The R…