Review: CTS Sunday Missal

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.


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2 Responses to Review: CTS Sunday Missal

  1. melaniebett says:

    Have you checked out the Daily Roman Missal from Midwest Theological Forum? I don’t have it in the new translation yet; but I absolutely adore this book and don’t know why more people aren’t aware of it or why more Catholic stores don’t stock it. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous. No full color plates but black and white fine art throughout. If you want I can snap some photos for you because the website doesn’t seem to preview the art.

    It has the order of the Mass in Latin and English side by side. (Mine is very easy to find with red markings on the binding.

    It has both Sunday (A, B,C) and daily Mass (1, 2) cycles of readings.

    It has the entrance antiphon in Latin and English.

    On Sundays it has an excerpt from the Catechism

    Mine has six colored ribbons and they are very sturdy. The cover fell off my husband’s old edition and it has to be held together with tape; but the ribbons are still there. That doesn’t mean it isn’t well bound, by the way, just that my husband was very hard on it.

    It has a great section of devotions and prayers at the end including a “How to be a better Catholic that is a great summary of the basics of living the faith, which sounds like it could be cheesy but trust me isn’t. The preparation for Mass and prayers after Mass section is tucked away there at the back; but with six ribbons you can just keep one there to find it easily. It has a good Guide to a Good Confession and beautifully illustrated Stations of the Cross and mysteries of the Rosary. The prayers section is extensive and includes First Friday Devotions, Divine Mercy Devotions, Ten Day Devotion to the Holy Spirit, novenas to the Immaculate Conception and St Jospeh.

    I really should repost this as a separate review on my blog. And I really should get a new missal with the new translation.

    • GeekLady says:

      The MTF daily missal was my old missal, actually. I have the 4th edition from 1998. I haven’t been able to actually look through any of these yet because when I see one in a store, it’s always shrink wrapped, but the online previews indicate the things that bother me haven’t improved. I agree that it’s a nice missal, although I didn’t know they made it in a cheaper hardback. I saved my pennies in college for over a year to afford the only one the local bookstore sold, which was the bonded leather. It does have nice art though, it reminds me of Pauline Baynes’ style. The color art in the CTS missal is a huge draw for me, though. I could look at this forever, or at least for a very long time.

      All that being said, there are some things I just don’t like about the MTF daily missal. First being the print. It was well enough 12 years ago, but my eyes have gotten substantially worse since then, and it’s just too tough to read now. The pages are very busy, and not very orderly, so eyestrain is significant.

      Second, I’ve never seen another missal that does it this way, but I really like the way CTS organizes the seasons, Advent Year A, then B, then C, then Christmas which is always the same, etc. I think I like this because it’s similar to the way I use ribbons to move through my breviary. The organization of the MTF missal feels clunky now.

      Third, it doesn’t have the collects in Latin. This just irritates my OCD, it’s not a rational reason. I guess that makes it an oxymoron. 🙂

      Fourth, they don’t produce a Sunday missal. I don’t get to attend Mass on weekdays very much, and so I flinch at spending so much on a book that I can’t put to full use. The only Sunday missal I’ve seen is the Saint Joseph missal, and I was not impressed.

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