Saturday, December 14, 2013

What Gives with Online Breviary Discrepancies? Plus Q&A

 This is from alert blog follower Russ Stutler, who lives in Japan, and thus is a day ahead of us.  First he said some very kind things about   The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours. I blushed  modestly and went on to read:
All the navigating between different pages and options during Advent finally convinced me to buy a cheap tablet so I could let iBreviary and/or Divine Office navigate for me. Well, my first day, today has different ending prayers for Evening Prayer (Sunday I -- I live in the future still). iBreviary has prayers about St. John of the Cross while Divine Office talks about Advent. Which is correct?
My answer: iBreviary is pretty clearly wrong this time, which surprises me. Both iBreviary and Divine Office occasionally make mistakes, but my experience is that ibreviary has a slight edge over DivineOffice.org in posting the correct prayers. But the only people who might possibly use prayers for St. John of the Cross this evening are the Carmelites, who might celebrate this saint with a solemnity. No, I take that back! Sundays in Advent (as opposed to those or Ordinary Time) take precedence over solemnities. So yes, iBreviary fail here. 
I'm imagining the webmasters cutting, pasting, and posting these prayers on the sites weeks ahead of time, and just getting a little tired and perhaps looking at the wrong day on the calendar now and then. Or just forgetting some rule about the order of precedence for a given saint's day. It could happen to anyone. 
Now, you will frequently find legitimate discrepancies between these two apps on weekdays.  DivineOffice.org will sometimes choose to run a weekday office without reference to a saint whose memorial is optional. iBreviary usually lets you know about every possible saint's memorial on the universal calendar, but then chooses which one they want to have on the day's page, leaving the reader to go find the commons in the "Prayers" section should he want to choose a different saint. 
Both sites have ways to contact the administrators to let them know when something is incorrect. In fact, they are grateful to have mistakes pointed out. In general, digital breviaries make fewer mistakes than we ribbon flippers normally do, so we should forgive their occasional glitches.
Welcome, new blog followers Andrew and Vicki.
It's Q&A time. Congratulations to any of you, especially mothers, who are keeping up with most of their LOTH routine despite the insane amount of work Christmas preparations  can impose upon us. If  you even have time to think about items in the breviary that confuse you, much less  formulate rational questions about them, then you are REALLY dedicated, and really keeping your mind on prayer and praise during this holy season. 
 I will check back whenever there is no cookie dough on my hands, in case any answers are required.







33 comments:

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    1. Yes, it was also fixed later on my version as well. I guess somebody in the early time zones alerted them to the problem.

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  2. As lovely as these various e-helps are, this issue is but one of the many reasons I've remained a Luddite in terms of the Hours; paper 'n ribbons and at most a St. Joseph's Guide. :D

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  3. Owen, I echo your comment. The e-helps are good, but learning the basic rules, St. Joseph's Yearly Guide book, and five ribbons are more accurate than relying on the e-helps. Today's Sunday morning prayer in Divine Office.org has an error in it. The Canticle from Daniel is correct, but the title is from this past Saturday morning's Canticle from Deuteronomy. I suppose having the correct scripture with the wrong title is not so bad, but it did cause me to pause for a moment to figure out what was going on. Over the years, I've noticed that Divine Office.org often has errors. It's as if no one is proof reading the postings to ensure they are correct. That's why I tried my best to learn the rules for praying the Loth and read from my books when possible. When I do pray from my PC, (I often pray the hours in the dark so I don’t wake up my wife) I compare different web sites to make sure they have the correct readings.

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  4. I agree with you guys that learning and applying the principles of finding one's place in the breviary is the best way to go--even the St. Joseph guide has errors now and then--, but online and especially mobile apps excel in helping newcomers get started, and learning to love the LOTH, so that later they are much more motivated to learn the ribbons and propers. They are also mighty convenient when you are running late and seconds count. And, as Alan points out, they make it possible to pray in bed before dawn without waking up one's spouse. I also like to use it on the Kindle or ipod touch when out walking the dog, or any situation where only one hand is available (nursing infant is another example.) Digital breviaries have really made the LOTH accessible to lots of people. For that I can forgive them the occasional mistake.

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  5. I was using the Kenyan Breviary, and there was no St. Joseph guide for it (as far as I know). Ordinary Time was smooth sailing, but Advent got me into white water real fast. Even now I'm using the tablet with the Revised Grail Psalter in one hand, partly for the new translation and partly because I want to spare my eyes the torture of staring at a screen the whole time.

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  6. Oops, I was going to ask a question at the end of my remarks: It seems that Divine Office uses the NAB for the reading while iBreviary apparently uses the Jerusalem Bible. Is this correct?

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    1. My Jerusalem Bible is AWOL right now so I can't compare. I thought it was NAB for Divine Office and NAB-Revised Edition for iBreviary, but I could be wrong. There's another digital breviary, Univeralis.com, which offers its own copyright-free version in the free app, and offers a choice of Jerusalem, NAB, and maybe others in the paid version. This is the digital breviary that most British folks use.

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    2. Divine Office and iBreviary seem to go back and forth between the NAB and NABRE; they haven't been really consistent. It's a lot of work just to update everything at once.
      Universalis uses the Jerusalem Bible [and their own version of the Psalms] online.

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  7. Happy Advent, Daria!

    As I was praying Sunday Evening prayer last night out of Vol. I of the 4-volume set (you converted me), I came across something that confused me in the red.

    At the end of Evening Prayer II (p. 269), it says: "On the weekdays from December 17 to December 23 inclusive, everything designated for Week III is omitted; invitatory, hyms, readings, responsories, verses, prayers, and the intercessions for Morning and Evening Prayer are said, 318ff."

    So my question is: Buh? What's this mean - it doesn't make much sense to me. Second, 318ff is obviously a reference to something, but I can't tell what; I assumed it was a reference to the General Instruction, but the GI only has something like 249 paragraphs, so it's obviously like that.

    Hmm. so, that's actually two questions. "Among my questions are..."

    This is starting to feel like a Monty Python skit...

    Thanks for any clarification you can get!

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    1. 318ff means "Page 318 and the pages thereafter". This is because on December 17th we enter the Christmas novena, and rather than "Third week of advent, Tuesday" on p 277 we use the December 17th stuff on page 318. You still use week II of the psalter, but substitute the Dec.17-23 antiphons which are printed right after the regular ones. Oh, and for your INvitatory antiphon you will see in the ordinary (p 647) that we now switch to "The Lord is at hand, Come let us worship him", and that there are specific hymn listed for these days on pp. 132-136. I should probably write a post about this soon because others may be confused as well.

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    2. Yes I was wondering which reading is for Morning Prayer? And which ending prayer? In the 4 vol it is either page 313 for 4th sun Advent or 365 for Dec 22.

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  8. ...and as I re-reread my original question, sorry for all the typo's!

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  9. The eBreviaries are good for this time of year (and Lent). It's a tough time to start in Volume I ! I still get confused!

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  10. Dear Daria (and commentators),

    Our sincere apologies for the mix-up over the past weekend with the iBreviary. The way our current set up works is that each day is entered in full in the database - however, it is coded to allow First Vespers of Sunday to take precedence over the preceding Saturday (whatever it might be - unless it's a Feast of the Lord, or Solemnity or some special case). Unfortunately, a code mixup resulted in the error for this past Sunday.

    With regard to the Bible version: we try and follow that of the breviary which is the NAB (NAB 1970). The exception is when passages (like Gospel readings, or Easter Vigil) are taken from a lectionary. This is how it is supposed to be: however, occasionally we still suffer from the effects of a few years ago when our texts were inclusivised and some arbitrary editorial decisions were made. The new staff, particularly Fr. PB and myself, have tried hard to eliminate all of them, but they crop up now and then. We are, of course, always grateful for correction suggestions - which you can be assured will be taken into account even if you do not receive a speedy reply.

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    1. I read somewhere that LOTH (USA) uses the NAB OT (1970) and the NABRE NT (1986). Whew, what a mess!

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    2. I mean the 2nd ed. of the NAB NT, not the NABRE (2010).

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  11. Wow, I have new respect for iBreviary! They actually read this blog and answer our questions and address our concerns!

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  12. It's easy to compare breviaries side by side on Maxthon Cloud Browser split screen option.

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  13. Being new to the world of tablets, every day has been an adventure this week! I've just discovered the wonderful combination of listening to the prayers on Praystation Portable while reading them on iBreviary. I also have Divine Office, but I prefer the combination of other two.

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  14. I don't know what's going on but the divineoffice.org and ibreviary .com don't agree on the the readings in the OOR. universalis.com agrees with divineoffice.org. I checked my book and I think ibreviary got it wrong.

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    1. It looks like ibreviary printed tomorrow's readings for the OOR today.

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    2. I saw the corrrect OOR reading on Sunday morning on the mobile app. Maybe the internet version is different?

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    3. I wonder how complicated can this get?

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  15. I love the Loth and think it’s a great way for priests, religious, and laity to daily read and pray the Scriptures. On the other hand, they have over complicated the Loth and I can’t help but wonder what Jesus would say if he were here in the flesh. I don’t think he would be impressed and I think his words to the powers that be would be something similar to the words spoken in Matthew chapter 23. Although I’m not aware of Pope Francis commenting on Loth, I do think his style of simplicity is a breath of fresh air for the church in particular and the world in general.

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    1. Good point and I wouldn't be too surprised if LOTH will be overhauled again soon.

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  16. Well, they are in the process of revising the Loth, addressing some of translation issues for the prayers and the biblical texts. I think they will be deleting the psalm prayers (the little prayers at the end of the psalms) and replacing some of the modern 1970’s hymns with more orthodox ones. These changes are definitely a step in the right direction and I am looking forward to the new Loth. However, I don’t think it’s their goal to simplify the structure or the rules. They will most likely remain the same with perhaps some minor changes. But I would like to see it simplified and easier to follow, especially for the holy seasons. There is nothing wrong with having different prayers and readings for the holy seasons; in fact, that is a good thing. However, it should be easy enough for a fifth grader to figure it out. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he gave them the “Our Father”. This is something I love about our present Pope: he wants to bring us back to the simplicity of the Gospel. It wasn’t meant to be intelligible only for doctors and scholars of religion. It’s for everyone. “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes ” (Matt 11:25). My point is this: prayer shouldn't be stressful and keep it simple.

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    1. Check these out; they're based on the Book of Common Prayer:
      http://bookofhours.org/
      http://haligweorc.org/breviary/

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    2. THank you, Michael. I especially like the haligweorc one (St. Bede's Breviary). I'm an Episcopalian who loves the BCP Daily Office and thinks Anglicans and Roman Catholics should pray the hours together more, whether the BCP or LOTH. And I sometimes wonder if what is needed for RC parishes to be able to pray the LOTH more easily is a differently formatted LOTH book that could be printed affordably and made available in pews like our BCP is. Maybe this book would have to lack some elements like responsories in order to make it less flippy to use. Perhaps the Shorter Christian Prayer is a workable model. Maybe the Psalter could be printed in 1 to 150 order and some alternative psalter schemes approved. Anyway, the RC cathedral here (Holy Name in Chicago) has Vespers every day from the Pauline Books edition of Christian Prayer, and the officiants have to give a lot of guidance to make sure everyone flips to the right pages. The books are wheeled in on a library cart for those who don't bring their own.

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    3. Amen!
      Check this out: http://www.fatherchristopher.org/?p=399

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