[Footnote 45: In the third century, in the time of Pope Cornelius there were priests appointed to absolve those who had fallen into idolatry; and they were called Presbyteri Paenitentium. S. Marcellus also, according to Anastasius, after the persecution raised by Diocletian, appointed in Rome titular churches, in which penance as well as baptism were administered by priests, the former sacrament is conferred by the minor penitentiaries. Pope Simplicius in fine, as we learn from the same author, destined fixed weeks at S. Peter’s, S. Paul’s, and S. Laurence’s, to receive penitents and administer baptism. From the usual custom of Rome in such matters, Zaccaria argues that during the first five or six centuries, according to the general custom proved by Thomassin, the great penitentiary was the bishop himself of the city in which they resided. It is however certain, that in the 4th century from the numerous priests of Constantinople one was selected called a penitentiary, who took cognisance of crimes, to which public penance was annexed by the canons. At Rome also there was a cardinal penitentiary long before the fourth council of Lateran, which in 1215 prescribed that bishops should appoint penitentiaries, for Berthod priest of Constance relates in his chronicle, that in the year 1084 he was promoted to the dignity of cardinal-priest and penitentiary of the Roman church.]
ON THE DIVINE OFFICE, AND THE OFFICE OF TENEBRAE IN PARTICULAR.
PART 1. Introductory. Breviary—Divine office, its origin—performed by the early Christians—ancient and modern editions of the breviary. PART 2. Descriptive. Office of Tenebrae—Matins and Lauds—extinction of the lights—meaning of this ceremony—chant, lamentations—conclusions of the office—Miserere, its music—Card. Penitentiary at S. Mary Major’s. Trinita dei Pellegrini.
“I will bless the
Lord at all times: his praise shall
always be in my mouth”. Ps. XXXIII, 2.
“He humbled himself,
becoming obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross”. Phil. II, 8.
[Sidenote: P. I. Breviary.]
We shall not hesitate to borrow the following account of the church office contained in the Roman Breviary from a Protestant divine (Tracts of the Times no. 75). “The word Breviarum first occurs in the work of an author of the eleventh century (Micrologus) and it is used to denote a compendium or systematic arrangement of the devotional offices of the church. Till that time they were contained in several independent volumes, according to the nature of each. Such, for instance, were the Psalteria, Homilaria, Hymnaria, and the like, to be used in the service in due course. But at his memorable era, and under the auspices of the Pontiff who makes it memorable, Gregory VII, an Order was drawn up, for the use of the Roman church, containing in one all these different collections, introducing the separate members of each in its proper place, and harmonising them together by the use of rubrics.