Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/855

This page needs to be proofread.


BREVIARY


775


BREVIARY


iis felicitously arranged. But in the light of tradition and of liturgical principles the only possible verdict is that Quignonez' Breviarj-, being constructed on a priori principles, violating most of the liturgical rules, must be condenuied. The author starts with the theorj', contrar)' to all tradition, that an essential difference exists between the public celebration of the Office and its private recitation. For private recitation, therefore, all such portions as antiphons. responsories. versicles, little chapters, even hymns may be ehminated. as. according to Quignonez. these are meant solely for choir use. According to his arrangement, the entire Psalter was to be re- cited once a week — an excellent idea, in consonance with primitive practice; but it was apphed too rigidly and narrowl}', for no attention was paid to the suitability of certain p.saLms to special feasts. Feasts were never to change the order of the psalms, which were to be recited successively from i to cl.

Everj' hour had three psalms; and in consequence of this severe regularity, there disappeared the deep and historical motive which gave to each hour its o\\ii characteristics. The legends of the saints and the hjTiuis underwent drastic, but designed, revision. Another principle, which would be deserving of all praise had it not been applied too rigorouslj-, was that the entire Scriptures ,should be read through everj' year. Quignonez' Breviarj-, as might be ex- pected, met both with enthusiastic approval and with determined opposition. Its success may be judged from the number of editions through which it passed. The Sorbonne criticized it severely, and other ex- perts declared against Quignonez and attacked his work mercilessly. In the end. opposition proved the tronger, and even popes rejected it. Moreover, it nas supplanted by other revisions made on more orthodox liturgical lines, less ambitious in scope, nd more in accordance vrith tradition. The newly ounded Congregation of Tlieatines applied itself o this task with energj' and enthusiasm. Caraffa, jne of its founders, took a share in the work, and vhen he became pope under the name of Paul IV 15.5.5-.59), he continued his labours but died before leeing their completion, and it was thus reserved o others to bring them to a successful issue.

The Council of Trent, which effected reforms in so nany directions, also took up the idea of revising the 3reviarj'; a commission was appointed concerning hose deliberations we have not much information, 5Ut it began to make definite inquiries about the ubject entrusted to it. The council separated be- ore these preliminaries could be concluded: so it was cided to leave the task of editing a new Breviarj' n the pope's own hands. The commission appointed the coimcil was not dissolved, and continued its n\e.stigations. St. Pius V, at the beginning of his )ontificate (1.566), appointed new members to it nd otherwi.se stimulated its activity, with the result hal a Breviary appeared in 1568, prefaced by the nioiLs Bull, "Quod a nobis". The commission had dopted wise and rea-sonable principles: not to in- nt a new Breviary and a new LiHirgj'; to stand by radition; to keep all that was worth keeping, but t the same time to correct the multitude of errors .hich had crept into the Breviaries and to weigh ist demands and complaints. Following these lines, hey corrected the le.s.sons, or legends, of the saints nd revi.sed the Calendar; and while respecting ncient liturgical formularies such as the collects, hey introduced needful changes in certain details, lore intimate accounts of this revision should be udied at length in the approved authorities on the istorj' of the Breviary. Here it will \x enough to ive a short sketch of the chief points affecting this ireviary, as it is substantially the .same as that used t this date. The celebrated Bull of approval, "Quod nobis" (9 July, 1568), which prefaced it, exulains


the reasons which had weighed with Rome in putting forth an official text of public prayer, and gives an account of the labours which had been undertaken to ensure its correction; it withdrew the papal ap- probation from all Breviaries which could not show a prescriptive right of at least two centuries of ex- istence. Any Church which had not such an ancient Breviary was bound to adopt that of Rome. The new Calendar was freed from a large number of feasts, so that the ferial Office was once more accorded a chance of occupying a less obscure position than of late it had. At the same time the real foundation of the Breviary — the Psalter — was respected, the principal alterations made being in the lessons. The legends of the saints were carefully revised, as also the homilies. The work was one not only of critical revision, but also of discriminating conser- vatism, and was received with general approval. The greater number of the Churches of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, England, and, generally, aU the Catholic States, accepted tins Breviarj', saving only certain districts, as Milan and Toledo, where ancient Rites were retained.

This Pian Breviarj- (Breviarium Pianum), while still remaining the official praj-er book of the Universal Church, has undergone certain slight alterations in the course of time, and these must here be noted, but without reference to the new feasts of saints which have been added to the Calendar centmy by centurj-, even though the}' occupj' a not inconsider- able space in the ecclesiastical disposition of the j'ear. The chiefest and most important changes were made tmder Si.xtus V. At first the text of the ver- sions of the Bible used in the Liturgj' was altered. As soon as the revision of the Vulgate undertaken during this pontificate was completed, the new text replaced the old one in all official books, particularlj- in the Breviarj' and the Missal. Sixtus V instituted a new Congregation — that of Rites — in 15S8, charg- ing it with a studj' of the reforms contemplated in the Pian Breviary, which had then been in use more than twentj' j'ears. To him is due the honour of this revision of the Breviars', although till lately it had been ascribed to Clement VII (1592-1605). Although the first suggestion came from Sixtus V, nevertheless it was onlj' under Clement VTI that the work was reallj' vigorouslj- pushed forward and brought to a conclusion. The revising committee had as its members such men as Baronius, Bellarmine, and Gavanti. The first-named especially plaj'ed a most important part in this revision, and the report which he drew up has recently been published. The emendations bore especially on the rubrics: to the Common of Saints was added that of Holj' Women not Virgins; the rite of certain feasts was altered; and some new feasts were added. The Bull of Clement VII, "Cum in Ecclesia", enjoining the ob- servance of these alterations, is dated 10 Maj', 1602.

Further changes were made bj' Urban VIII (1623- 44). The commission appointed bj' him was content to correct the lessons and some of the homilies, in the sense of making the text correspond more closely with the oldest manuscripts. There would therefore be no call to treat of this revision under Urban VIII at greater length but for the fact that, outside the work of this commission, he effected a still more important reform, over which even now discussion has not ceased to make itself heard. It affected the hymns. Urban VIII, being himself a Humanist, and no mean poet, as witness the hj'mns of St. Martin and of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, which are of his own composition, desired that the Breviarj' hj'mns which it must be admitted are sometimes trivial in stj'le and irregular in their prosodj', should be corrected according to grammatical rules and put into true metre. To this end he called in the aid of certain Jesuits of distinguished literary attainments. The