I have an ongoing interest in Liturgy (it goes with the job) and in Church History. The changes to the Liturgy made after the Second Vatican Council have been much debated in the last sixty years. Most of the attention has gone to the changes in the Mass. Much neglected, though it impacted on the clergy as much as the changes in the Mass, has been the Divine Office and its vehicle, the Breviary. Before the Council, for all but those with special permission to recite the Office in the vernacular, the Office was prayed in Latin so the most obvious change was in language and therefore accessibility. One of the advantages of the changes has been the number of laypeople reciting the Divine Office. But the changes did not stop there. Many of the old, theologically rich, Roman hymns were chopped or dumped and replaced with hymns largely from the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century as well as optional poems (I am of course referring to the Breviary I use which is for Britain and Ireland). The revision of the Liturgical calendar also affected the Divine Office. The cycle of the saint's feasts was changed beyond recognition. Most significant though was the shifting of the psalms over to the monthly format. The psalter, the arrangement of the 150 psalms plus the canticles from the Old Testament, was completely rearranged as the psalms were spread our over four weeks. Previously anyone reciting the whole Divine Office would cover all the psalms over one week. So were on an average day anyone reciting the old Office would recite a total of thirty four 'psalms' (many psalms are stretched divided into smaller parts separated by antiphons and canticles are counted as psalms) in the new Office he would recite only thirteen 'psalms.' Psalm 118, for instance, the longest in the psalter by far was taken from its traditional place on a Sunday and chopped up, spread over the Month. Some psalms, such 108, are not recited at all and psalm 117 crops up all over the place.
That is all beside the point. Laslo Dobzay (you can get some of his books here and here) has covered this area in ample detail. I am writing this because a thought was rolling around my empty head. In addition to my three volume Divine Office, visible on the left above and below, (which will cost you €483 for the set or €61 each from Veritas here in Ireland) I also have a single volume breviary on the right in each picture. It's in English but not it is not the edition that priests and religious are obligated to use. I found it one of our houses along with a three volume Latin and English edition of the pre-Conciliar breviary and three of the four volumes of the Capuchin version of the same (all in Latin of course). This single volume uses an earlier version of the Grail Psalms that we normally use. This single volume from 1965 contains the entire pre-Conciliar Divine Office except the Gospel readings and the Martyrology which was usually separate anyway. It's all in there.
I use it as a sumplementary 'devotional' and praying all the psalms over the week has really helped my prayer and it sanctifies my day. I've been using it consistently for at least five years. The reason I am posting abour this is not to blow my own trumpet - I need those psalms to keep me on the right track and I enjoy praying them! I am posting this to query aloud: 'how can you call a reform successful and yet go from a single volume to three large volumes? That single volume is lighter and thinner than the thinest of the other three! Vatican II has been accused of verbosity but this takes it to a new level. There is needless repetition here. Cui bono?
I supply a side by side comparison below so you can compare the size of the text. It has a very different 'feel' to the post-Conciliar breviary.
Anyway 'just saying...'