Some years ago a very kind person gave me an edition of a reprinted Missale Romanum supposed to be the 1962 edition. It even has 1962 printed on the cover, as the photo shows here.
This is NOT an edition of the 1962 Missal.
If you have this or just bought it, DON’T PANIC.
“But Father! But Father!” you may be saying, as sweat breaks out on your forehead. “The cover says 1962! Surely you’re wrong about this. It must be the 1962 edition! That’s what I paid for!”
Au contraire, my sweaty friend. But, again, do not panic. You have not bought a useless book.
“But Father! But Father! &%$^#!!”, you continue. “How do I know that the edition I have is really a 1962 edition?”
Many of you will have old editions of the Missale Romanum. Very few of you will actually have a 1962 edition. In that case, to use it at all, first, you will have to make sure you are following the rubrics established by John XXIII in 1960 and tweaked in 1962.
The fastest way to see if your edition is really a 1962 edition is to check the Roman Canon to see if the name of St. Joseph is included. This was a change made by Bl. Pope John XXIII for the 1962 edition. St. Joseph’s name was not in the Canon before the 1962 edition. Not even in the 1960 edition, which is picture above despite the bold “1962” on the cover.
Here is a photo of the page of the Roman Canon in this supposedly “1962” reprint editon pictured above. Notice that St. Joseph’s name is not there. I marked the spot where it should be.
To find out what edition you actually have, you can look at the “legal” documents at the beginning of any Missal. A Missal always includes the texts of the documents which promulgate the edition. Remember, back in the day publishing houses were given permission by the Holy See to print liturgical books. So, the publication date of an edition printed in the USA might actually be after the year of the edition.
In the reprint edition in question here, you can see that this is NOT the 1962 edition of the Missal by checking the documents. Here are shots of the documents in the supposedly “1962” edition that interest us.
Here is the General Decree of promulgation Novum rubricarum dated 1960. This tells you that what is decreed in John XXIII’s Rubricarum instructum of 1960, which made all sorts of changes the rubrics, is duly promulgated and that the new rubrics went into force on 1 January 1961. It also talks about the Breviary and Martyrology, but they don’t interest us here.
It is small, but you can see the date is 1960. I circled it.
Here is the other document, Pope John XXIII’s Rubricarum Instructum which made all the significant changes to the rubrics of the Mass. Click on it for a larger image.
The date is clearly 1960.
“But Father! Bu…” Yes, I know. What is the difference?
First, the documents. In an edition of the 1962 Missal, this is the document you would find. This is the Decree Novo rubricarum corpore of
The 1962 typical edition will have the two documents I included above. But it will also include this, which shows that it is the “typical” edition, that is, it is the edition to which all subsequent editions and approved reprints must conform.
Why is this important? After all, you can simply write in the name of St. Joseph between the lines pretty easily. And, the rubrical changes such as the removal of the so-called “Second Confiteor” occured with John XXIII’s document of 1960 called Rubricarum instructum (pictured above).
I think people ought to know what they are getting. What is advertised is the 1962 edition. That is not what you get. You get something very similar, but it isn’t the 1962 edition.
On a side note, in the chapel of The Sabine Farm, I use a 1962 Missal, in an edition called the “editio prima iuxta typicam“, the first edition printed according to the typical edition. It was printed in Italy for a Spanish publisher, probably for use in Latin American countries. I imagine it was distributed to missions and dioceses straight from Rome by the organization that had it made.
In order to reprint the 1962 typical the publisher had to have permission of the Holy See. So, here you find not the decree that what you have in your hands is the very typical edition itself, but rather a different decree saying that what you have in your hands conforms exactly to the 1962 typical edition. Here is the decree.
You can see that this is the according to the 1962 book. And sure enough, unlike the 1960 edition (on sale with the cover I showed you at the top of this entry) in the hallowed pages of this edition I use in The Sabine Chapel, you find the name of St. Joseph in the Roman Canon. This is what it looks like.
So, older Missals can be used, but you have to be aware that changes need to be made if they are editions before 1962. Whatever book you use, the 1962 edition’s rubrics and calendar are permitted, not those of earlier editions.
You can double check what you are doing in the useful 1962 edition, a reprint, of Fortescue and O’Connell The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, (hard to get right now, I think) which has a page of helpful corrections at the beginning. Also, the new edition of Trimeloni is useful, if you know Italian and can get it.