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Catholic Directories

Catholic Directories

The ecclesiastical sense of the word directory, as will be shown later, has become curiously confused with its secular use, but historically speaking the ecclesiastical sense is the earlier. Directorium simply means guide, but in the later Middle Ages it came to be specially applied to guides for the recitation of Office and Mass. For example, in the early part of the fifteenth century one Clement Maydeston, probably following earlier foreign precedents, adopted the title "Directorium Sacerdotum" for his reorganized Sarium Ordinal. In this way the words "Directorium Sacerdotum" came to stand at the head of a number of books, some of them among the earliest products of the printing press in England, which were issued to instruct the clergy as to the form of Mass and Office to be followed from day to day throughout the year. This employment of the word directorium was by no means peculiar to England. To take one convenient example, though not the earliest that might be chosen, we find a very similar work published at Augsburg in 1501, which bears the title: "Index sive Directorium Missarum Horarumque secundum ritum chori Constanciensis diocesis dicendarumn". As this title suffices to show, a directorium or guide for the recitation of Office and Mass had to be constructed according to the needs of a particular diocese or group of dioceses, for as a rule each diocese has certain saints' days and feasts peculiar to itself, and these have all to be taken account of in regulating the Office, a single change often occasioning much disturbance by the necessity it creates of transferring coincident celebrations to other days. Out of the "Directorium Sacerdotum" which in England was often called the "Pye", and which seems to have come into almost general use about the time of the invention of printing, our present Directory, the "Ordo divini Officii recitandi Sacrique peragendi" has gradually developed. We may note a few of the characteristics both of the actual and the ancient usage.


It is now the custom for every diocese, or, in cases where the calendar followed is substantially identical, for a group of dioceses belonging to the same province or country, to have a "Directory" or "Ordo recitandi" printed each year for the use of all the clergy. It consists simply of a calendar for the year, in which there are printed against each day concise directions concerning the Office and Mass to be said on that day. The calendar is usually provided with some indication of fast days, special indulgences, days of devotion, and other items of information which it may be convenient for the clergy to be reminded of as they occur. This Ordo is issued with the authority of the bishop or bishops concerned, and is binding upon the clergy under their jurisdiction. The religious orders have usually a Directory of their own, which, in the case of the larger orders, often differs according to the country in which they are resident. For the secular clergy the calendar of the Roman Missal and Breviary, apart from special privilege, always forms the basis of the "Ordo recitandi". To this the feasts and saints' days celebrated in the diocese are added, and, as the higher grade of these special celebrations often causes them to take precedence of those in the ordinary calendar, a certain amount of shifting and transposition is inevitable, even apart from the complications introduced by the movable feasts. All this has to be calculated and arranged beforehand in accordance with the rules supplied by the general rubrics of the Missal and Breviary. Even so; the clergy of particular churches have further to provide for the celebration of their own patronal or dedication feasts, and to make such other changes in the Ordo as these insertions may impose. The Ordo is always compiled in Latin, though an exception is sometimes made in the Directories drawn up for nuns who recite the Divine Office, and, as it is often supplemented with a few extra pages of diocesan notices, recent decrees of the Congregation of Rites, regulations for the saying of votive Offices, etc., matters only affecting the clergy, it is apt to acquire a somewhat professional and exclusive character.

How long a separate and annual "Ordo recitandi" has been printed for the use of the English clergy it seems impossible to discover. Possibly Bishop Challoner, Vicar Apostolic from 1741 to 1781, had something to do with its introduction. But in 1759 a Catholic London printer conceived the idea of translating the official "Directorium", or Ordo, issued for the clergy, and accordingly published in that year: "A Lay Directory or a help to find out and assist at Vespers . . . . on Sundays and Holy Days". Strange to say, another Catholic printer, seemingly the publisher of the official Ordo, shortly afterwards, conceiving his privileges invaded, produced a rival publication: "The Laity's Directory or the Order of the (Catholic) Church Service for the year 1764". This "Laity's Directory" was issued year by year for three-quarters of a century, gradually growing in size, but in 1837 it was supplanted by "The Catholic Directory" which since 1855 has been published in London by Messrs. Burns & Lambert, now Burns and Oates. The earliest numbers of the "Laity's Directory" contained nothing save an abbreviated translation of the clerical "Ordo recitandi", but towards the end of the eighteenth century a list of the Catholic chapels in London, advertisements of schools, obituary notices, important ecclesiastical announcements, and other miscellaneous matters began to be added, and at a still later date we find an index of the names and addresses of the Catholic clergy serving the missions in England and Scotland. This feature has been imitated in the "Irish Catholic Director" and in the Catholic Directories of the United States. Hence the widespread idea that Catholic directories are so called because they commonly form an address book for the churches and clergy of a particular country, but an examination of the early numbers of the "Laity's Directory" conclusively shows that it was only to the calendar with its indication of the daily Mass and Office that the name originally applied.


In the Middle Ages, and indeed almost down to the invention of printing, the books used in the service of the Church were much more divided up than they are at present. Instead of one book, our modern Breviary for example, containing the whole Office, we find at least four books — the Psalterium, the Hymnarium, the Antiphonarium, and the Legendarium, or book of lessons, all in separate volumes. Rubrics or ritual directions were rarely written down in connexion with the text to which they belonged (we are speaking here of the Mass and Office, not of the services of rarer occurrence such as those in the Pontifical), but they were probably at first communicated by oral tradition only, and when they began to be recorded they took only such summary form as we find in the "Ordines Romani" of Hittorp and Mabillon. However, about the eleventh century there grew up a tendency towards greater elaboration and precision in rubrical directions for the services, and at the same time we notice the beginning of a more or less strongly marked division of these directions into two classes, which in the case of the Sarum Use are conveniently distinguished as the Customary and the Ordinal. Speaking generally, we may say that the former of these rubrical books contains the principles and the latter their application; the former determines those matters that are constant and primarily the duties of persons, the latter deals with the arrangements which vary from day to day and from year to year. It is out of the latter of these books, i. e. the Ordinal (often called Ordinarium and Liber Ordinarius), that the "Directorium", or "Pye", and eventually also our own modern "Ordo recitandi" were in due time evolved. These distinctions are not clear-cut. The process was a gradual one. But we may distinguish in the English and also in the Continental Ordinals two different stages. We have, first, the type of book in common use from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, and represented by the "Sarum Ordinal" edited by W. H. Frere, or the "Ordinaria of Laon" edited by Chevalier. Here we have a great deal of miscellaneous information respecting feasts, the Office and Mass to be said upon them according to the changes necessitated by the occurrence of Easter and the shifting of the Sundays, as well as the "Incipits" of the details of the service, e. g. of the lessons to be read and the commemorations to be made. The second stage took the form of an adaptation of this Ordinal for ready use, an adaptation with which, in the case of Sarum, the name of Clement Maydeston is prominent connected. This was the "Directorium Sacerdotum" the complete "Pye" (known in Latin as Pica Sarum), abbreviated editions of which were afterwards published in a form which allowed it to be bound up with the respective portions of the Breviary. The idea of this great "Pye" was to give all the thirty-five possible combinations, five to each Dominical litter (q. v.), which the fixed and movable elements of the ecclesiastical year admitted of, assigning a separate calendar to each, more or less corresponding to our present "Ordo recitandi". This arrangement was not peculiar to England.

One of the earliest printed books of the kind was that issued about 1475 for the Diocese of Constance, of which a rubricated copy is to be found in the British Museum. It is a small folio in size, of one hundred and twelve leaves, and after the ordinary calendar it supplies summary rules, under thirty-five heads, for drawing up the special calendar for each year according to the Golden Number and the Dominical Letter. Then the Ordo for each of the thirty-five possible combinations is set out in detail. The name most commonly given to these "Pyes" on the Continent was "Ordinarius", more rarely "Directorium Missæ". For example, the title of such a book printed for the Diocese of Liège in 1492 runs: "In nomine Domini Amen . . . Incipit liber Ordinarius ostendens qualiter legatur et cantetur per totum anni circulum in ecclesia leodiensi tam de tempore quam de festis sanctorum in nocturnis officiis divinis." Such books were also provided for the religious orders. An "Ordinarius Ordinis Præmonstratensis" exists in manuscript at Jesus College, Cambridge, and an early printed one in the British Museum. When the use of printing became universal, the step from these rather copious directories, which served for all possible years, to a shorter guide of the type of our modern "Ordo recitandi", and intended only for one particular year, was a short and easy one. Since, however, such publications are useless after their purpose is once served, they are very liable to destruction, and it seems impossible to say how early we may date the first attempt at producing an Ordo after our modern fashion. The fact that at the Council of Trent (Sess. XXIII, De Reform., cap. xviii) it was thought necessary to urge that ecclesiastical students should be trained in the understanding of the computus, by which they could determine the ordo recitandi in each year for themselves, seems to imply that such Ordos as we now possess were not in familiar use in the middle of the sixteenth century.


At the present day it may be said that in every part of the world not only is a printed Ordo provided for the clergy of every diocese and religious institute, but that almost everywhere some adaptation of this is available for the use of the laity. The earliest English attempt at anything of the sort seems to have been a little "Catholic Almanac", which appeared for three or four years in the reign of James II (see The Month, vol. CXI, 1908). But this was a mere calendar of feasts without any directions for the Office and Mass. In Ireland the work which at present appears under the title "The Irish Catholic Directory and Almanac for 1909, with a complete Directory in English" seems to have existed under various names since 1837 or earlier. It was first called "A Complete Catholic Directory", and then, in 1846, "Battersby's Registry", from the name of the publisher. For Scotland, though the Scottish missions are included in the "Catholic Directory" published in London, there is also a separate "Catholic Directory for the Clergy and Laity of Scotland" which began under a slightly different name in 1868. Catholic Directories also exist for the Australian and Canadian provinces, and occasionally for separate dioceses, e. g. the Diocese of Birmingham, England, possesses an "Official Directory" of its own. Attention may briefly be called, also, to two Roman handbooks of a character somewhat analogous to our Directories, which supply names and details regarding the Catholic hierarchy throughout the world and especially regarding the cardinals, the Roman Congregations and their personnel, the prelates and camerieri, etc., in attendance upon the papal court. The first of these, called since 1872 "La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia", was first published in 1716 and was long familiarly known as "Cracas" from the name of the publisher. Officially, the early numbers were simply called "Notizie per l'Anno 1716, etc." (see Moroni, Dizionario, XX, 26 sqq.). The other work, which is very similar in character, but somewhat more ample in its information, has appeared since 1898 under the title "Annuario Ecclesiastico". Finally we notice the existence of the "Directorium Chori", a work originally compiled by Guidetti in 1582, possessing a quasi-official character and often reprinted since. It is intended for the use of the hebdomadarius and cantors in collegiate churches, and is quite different in character from the works considered above.


These publications begin in the United States with an "Ordo Divini Officii Recitandi", published at Baltimore, in 1801, by John Hayes. It had none of the directory or almanac features. "The Catholic Laity's Directory to the Church Service with an Almanac for the year", an imitation of the English enterprise, was the next, in 1817. It was published in New York with the "permission of the Right Rev. Bishop Connolly" by Mathew Field, who was born in England of an Irish Catholic family and left there for New York in 1815. He died at Baltimore, 1832. His son, Joseph M. Field, was six years old when he arrived in New York, and became a prolific and brilliant writer, dying at Mobile in 1856. Joseph's daughter, Kate Field, was later the well-known author and lecturer. Though both were baptized, neither was a professed Catholic. This Field production, in addition to the ordinary almanac calendars, had a variety of pious and instructive reading-matter with an account of the churches, colleges, seminaries, and institutions of the United States. It made up a small 32mo book of sixty-eight pages. Among other things, it promised the preparation of a Catholic magazine which, however, was never started. Only one issue of this almanac was made. The next effort in the same direction, and on practically the same lines, was also at New York, in 1822, by W. H. Creagh. It was edited by the Rev. Dr. John Power, rector of St. Peter's church, and says in the preface that it was "intended to accompany the Missal with a view to facilitate the use of the same". The contents include "Brief Account of the Establishment of the Episcopacy in the United States"; "Present Status of religion in the respective Dioceses"; "A short account of the present State of the Society of Jesus in the U. S.", and obituaries of priests who had died from 1814 to 1821. This was the only number of this almanac.

In 1834 Fielding Lucas of Baltimore took up the idea and brought out "The Metropolitan Catholic Calendar and Laity's Directory" for that year, to be published annually. He said in it that he had "intended to present it in 1832 but from circumstances over which he had no control it has been delayed to the present period". It prints a list of the hierarchy and the priests of the several dioceses, with their stations. In this publication and its various successors the title Directory is used in its purely secular meaning, as the issues include no ecclesiastical calendar or Ordo. James Meyers "at the Cathedral" is the publisher of the subsequent volumes until 1838, when Fielding Lucas, Jr., took hold and changed the name "U. S. Catholic Almanac", that Meyers had given it, back to "Metropolitan Catholic Almanac". In the issue of 1845 there is inserted a map of the United States, "prepared at much expense to exhibit at a glance the extent and relative situation of the different dioceses", with a table of comparative statistics, 1835 to 1845. A list of the clergy in England and Ireland was added in the volume for 1850. "Lucas Brothers" is the imprint on the almanac for 1856-57, and the Baltimore publication then ceased, to be taken up in 1858 by Edward Dunigan and Brother of New York, as "Dunigan's American Catholic Almanac and List of the Clergy". All general reading-matter was omitted in this almanac, publication of which was stopped the following year when John Murphy and Co. of Baltimore resumed there the compilation of the "Metropolitan Catholic Almanac". Owing to the Civil War no almanacs were printed during 1862 or 1863. In 1864 D. and J. Sadlier of New York started "Sadlier's Catholic Directory, Almanac and Ordo", which John Gilmary Shea compiled and edited for them. It made a volume of more than 600 pages and gave lists of the clergy in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and Australasia, with diocesan statistics. This publication continued alone in the field until 1886, when Hoffman Brothers, a German firm of publishers of Milwaukee, brought out "Hoffman's Catholic Directory", which the Rev. James Fagan, a Milwaukee priest, compiled for them. In contents it was similar to the New York publication. This directory continued until 1896, when the Hoffman Company failed, and their plant was purchased by the Wiltzius Company, which has since continued the directory. The Sadlier "Directory" ceased publication in 1895.

The Wiltzius "Catholic Directory, Almanac and Clergy List" has reports for all dioceses in the United States, Canada, Alaska, Cuba, Sandwich Islands, Porto Rico, Philippine Islands, Newfoundland, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, together with statistics of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Belgium, Costa Rica, Guatemala, British Honduras, Nicaragua, San Salvador, German Empire, Japan, Luxemburg, The United States of Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Oceanica, South Africa, The United States of Brazil, Curaçao, Dutch Guiana, Switzerland, and the West Indies. It contains also an alphabetical list of all clergymen in the United States and Canada, as well as a map of the ecclesiastical provinces in the United States. It gives a list of English-speaking confessors abroad, American colleges in Europe, and the leading Catholic societies; statistics of the Catholic Indian and Negro missions, and a list of Catholic papers and periodicals in the United States and Canada.

In the almanac for 1837 it is noted, concerning the statistics, that "the numbers marked with an asterisk are not given as strictly exact, though it is believed they approximate to the truth, and are as accurate as could be ascertained from the statements forwarded to the editor from the several dioceses". On the same topic "Hoffman's Directory" for 1890 says: "It is much to be regretted that the statistics are not more carefully kept. In every diocese there are parishes that fail to report and many dioceses report statistics only partially, so that any general summary that can be made up at best is only an approximation." Dealing with this long-standing and well-founded complaint of inaccurate Catholic statistics, the archbishops of the United States, at their annual conference in 1907, resolved to co-operate with the United States Census Bureau in an effort to collect correct figures. Archbishop Glennon of St. Louis was appointed a special census official by the Government for this purpose, and under his direction an enumeration of the Catholics of every parish in the United States was made. The figures thus obtained were used in the "Directory" for 1909. It is the first, therefore, of these publications giving statistics of population on which any reliance can be placed in respect to accuracy of detail.


In 1886 "Le Canada Ecclésiastique, Almanach Annuaire du clergé Canadien", printed in French. was begun in Montreal. The contents are similar to those of the directories in English. Recent issues have a number of illustrations of local and historical interest, such as a series of portraits of the Bishops of Quebec in the issue for 1908, in commemoration of the centenary celebrations. The Rev. Charles P. Beaubien edited the publication.

See SCHROD in Kirchenlexikon, s. v. Directorium. For the Pye and Ordinal see especially FRERE, The Use of Sarum (Cambridge. 1901), II, Introduction; WORDSWORTH, The Directorium Sacerdotum of Clement Maydeston (Henry Bradshaw Society, London, 1902), especially the Appendixes to vol. II; and also, in the same series, The Tracts of Clement Maydeston (London, 1894); CHEVALIER, Bibliothèque liturgique (Paris, 1897-), in which series the editor has printed the Ordinaria of Laon, Reims, Bayeux, etc. On English directories, see THURSTON, An Old-Established Periodical in The Month (London, Feb., 1882).

Files of these various publications; FINOTTI, Bibliographia Catholica Americana (New York, 1872).


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