Thursday, 7 January 2010

The New new missal

So, the CTS have been awarded the contract to print the new missals here in the UK once the recognitio has been granted by Rome. I find that encouraging. The only rivals, apparently, were St Paul's, themselves no slouches in the Catholic printing business. CTS have really got their act together in recent years; their pamphlets are incomparably better than in the not-too-distant past; not just being good in content and reasonable in price, but even looking good—something very important in an altar missal. And recently, they have shown themselves capable of mass-producing a good Bible which again looks and feels good. I do not underestimate the importance of a good-looking missal: like all other things for the Mass, it needs to look fit for purpose and itself beautiful.
In particular I am pleased that the bishops have gone for a Catholic publishing house, rather than one that has simply commercial concerns. The last contract went to Collins, who lost interest in religious publishing some fifteen or more years ago, and who were therefore not prepared to invest time and money in producing the necessary updates to the Missal that changes in the sanctoral over this period required. I am still very annoyed (though unquestionably others were to blame also) that even now we do not have propers in English made available for any saints canonized since 1975.
Somebody Who Knows quietly told me that one of the examples produced by the two competitors is 'absolutely beautiful'. I hope it is the CTS version. I gather that there are to be three sizes; big altar-size, small altar-size, and hand-size. That should suit most liturgical needs.
Kevin Mayhew, according to The Tablet, is annoyed that he was not invited to put a tender in to the bishops' conference to print the new missal. He apparently thought that he was an obvious candidate, given all his experience in producing hymn books. I guess no more needs to be added to that!
I would like to think that with modern typographical resources, it should not be impossible to tailor the new missal to each diocese, including, in other words, national and diocesan propers. If Lulu.com can produce hardback books at a reasonable price from a pdf, (even one single copy), then there is no reason why CTS could not produce batches of, say, 200 or so altar missals with diocesan propers included. My own diocese is one of the few that ever took the trouble (in recent times) to produce its own propers, and we do use them here. Other dioceses would need to get to work pronto, of course.

6 comments:

Mark M said...

Hurrah, thank Heavens it's not Collins!

And I agree with you about all the Propers, Father.

Fr William R. Young said...

Will the music be in square notation on no more than a four-line stave? Texts set for singing do not need more than four lines. Will it look like (or better than) the Latin Missal?

Pastor in Valle said...

As yet, I don't know whether the approved edition was the one described by my source as beautiful. And I know nothing about the chant, I'm afraid. If I hear more, I'll mention it.

Rubricarius said...

Not a scientific analysis but one cannot help noticing that the production of liturgical books took a nose dive from the 1960s onwards.

Liturgical books used to be beautiful in themseleves for no purpose other than the printers obviously took great pride in their art. Years ago I was struck by a Missal in the British Library (c. 1576) that although a printed book had a series of hand-painted pages that were simply exquisite - not that they would be seen by anyone but the celebrant.

Moving to more recent times books produced by the Society of St. John the Evangelist and Ratibon were superb creations. Even a very beligerent Greek priest I know had to admire an early nineteenth century Canon I have and said "At least the Roman Church knows how to print a book." O that were true today.

In contrast the modern editions are ugly and uninspiring. The new Latin editio typica is very much of the stable of the 1975 and 1970 editions. The claim that the books are somehow more practical cannot be made as most of them in daily use fall apart after ten years or so.

dillydaydream said...

Which hymnbook publisher was responsible for the disgusting pc bowdlerisation and gender-neutering of the hymnbooks a few years ago? I still wake up in a cold sweat occasionally, when I recall what they did to "I'll sing a hymn to Mary".

Luckily I am of an age where I can feasibly be thought to wear reading glasses - so I belt out the old words from memory, while ! pretend to squint. I know it's naughty - but I don't get out much.

At the Birmingham Oratory in the 80's, the "Celebration Hymnal" was referred to as the "Criminal Hymnal".

A wandering monk said...

I'm afraid the musical notation in the drafts is five line and 'round' notes without stems. From memory a few quilisma crept in!