Every US Catholic book publisher should look at this missal, and then hang their heads in shame.
The Catholic Truth Society Sunday Missal cost me less to have it shipped from England than it would to buy an American one, either online or in a brick and mortar store. And it’s much, much nicer than anything I’ve seen in the bookstores. It arrived on Good Friday, just in time for the Easter Vigil.
Things I like:
1. Save the readings, the missal provides everything in Latin alongside the new English translation. I’m not a big demander of Latin, but I do think it’s eminently appropriate that the Latin be provided next to its English translation. Also, it might come in handy some day.
2. This missal has real sacred art. There is, admittedly, not a large quantity, only five plates. But they are full color, gorgeous reproductions from the Ingeborg Psalter. I will happily accept quality over quantity.
3. Most Sundays and feasts begin with a short introduction by either Pope Benedict XVI or Pope John Paul II.
4. It’s sturdily and attractively bound for such an inexpensive volume. It lays open very nicely, although it is a little stiff in the front and back at first. The pages aren’t gilded, so the red stripe that marks the Ordinary shows up clearly, making it very easy to find.
5. Before and after the Ordinary are brief sections on Preparation for Mass and Thanksgiving after Mass. My last missal had these sections so buried I didn’t even know they were there till I checked just now.
6. Reading this missal is extremely easy on the eyes. This seems to be a combination of a variety of variables, such as the font, the page layout, the color of paper and print. My poor eyes are extremely grateful.
Things I don’t like:
1. That’s it’s not approved for use here in the US. It wouldn’t be fair to hold that against it, though. All it seems to be missing are the US patronal feasts, and since that’s only Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th, a small insert in the back will fix it.
2. The other impediment to using this missal in the US is that the lectionary readings are from the Jerusalem Bible, which isn’t approved for liturgical use here. This isn’t a huge issue for me, as I prefer to read either ahead of time or afterwards and listen to the readings and Gospel as they are proclaimed in Mass. I have found no other differences between the CTS Sunday Missal and the texts in the US missal.
3. Would it have killed them to add just one more ribbon? (Yellow, to balance the red and blue, please.) While we’re on the subject of ribbons, the ribbons are my only qualm about the missal’s quality. They look like they will fall out, and sooner rather than later. I guess when they do, I can add my yellow ribbon.
Verdict: 5 stars if you don’t care about the lectionary accuracy. 4 stars if you do.
CTS has a similar Daily Missal as well, but that missal would be missing a substantially greater amount of material, and so I probably won’t splurge on it. I do wish someone could publish something this nice for the US though.