QUAERITUR: Which ’62 altar missal should I buy?

La BefanaFrom a priest reader:

Fr. Z, I’ve decided to take the plunge and use my Christmas money to
buy a 1962 Missale Romanum for the altar, so I can get up to speed on the EF in the next year. Any thoughts on which one to buy? I know of these three: PCP reprint, $400, which looks great, but I’ve heard it suggested they’re schismatics and they don’t have proper permission to publish; Roman Catholic Books, $110, which is a good price but I understand it’s really a ’61, so you need to use a sticker to insert St. Joseph in the Canon, etc.; and LEV, $334 plus shipping from Rome, in theory it’s nice to buy it right from the Vatican publisher, but considering how hideous their 2002 MR is, I don’t know if it’s a good idea. Do you have any thoughts on those three, or know of any others?

I wrote about the LEV edition here.

I wrote about the PCP edition here.  (The old Benziger edition.)

I wrote about the Roman Catholic Books edition here. [JUST SAY NO!]

I have been able to use both editions now.   I will also switch back and forth during this week and be able to give you a better assessment in a few days.

My immediate observation is that the edition of the LEV I have been using this week in NYC doesn’t lie open as well as the LEV edition I used another time elsewhere.  The PCP edition seems to lie open well.  It could be simply a matter of the binding.   Also, there is a page arrangement issue.

The LEV edition has the Canon across the whole page, instead of in columns.  Some priests may not like that.  I know the Canon well, and the page layout doesn’t make much difference to me.

The ribbons on the LEV are all the same color.  The PCP edition has different color ribbons.

The PCP, being the Benziger, has if I recall and appendix with feasts for the USA.  LEV doesn’t.

La BefanaPCP has more traditional art and it is available in either green or red.  You can get the LEV edition in any color you want, as long as it is red.

PCP has a slip cover case.  LEV doesn’t.

I would not object at all if on Epiphany La Befana were to zoom in on her broom to bring me a PCP edition of the Benziger reprint.

I don’t know if that helps you with the decision.

As far as the non-Catholic publisher, or “schismatic” question is concerned, it seems to me that at the time Benziger printed the original, it was a good edition.  That is what the PCP edition contains.  Also, while I would prefer to hire all practicing Catholics to, say, sew my cassocks, vestments, and build my church, I will sometimes have to hire non-Catholics.  I would rather have daily Communicants singing as soloists in a polyphonic choir, but that isn’t always possible.  But I always would want good music.  So, I hire someone who can do the job I want done.

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26 Responses to QUAERITUR: Which ’62 altar missal should I buy?

  1. mike cliffson says:

    FR
    Magi are right and proper giftbringers, but the befana?

  2. Jack007 says:

    Besides Father’s already quite erudite comments, I might add that I’ve known the PCP people for some 25 years and can attest that they are some of the NICEST people around!

    I have bought tons of old books from them over the years and wish that I could afford to buy more.

    Jack in KC

  3. digdigby says:

    ” I know the Canon well, and the page layout doesn’t make much difference to me.”
    Understatement of the year. Thank you for so much for sharing so much with your readers.

  4. mike cliffson: Magi are right and proper giftbringers, but the befana?

    Of course, La Befana!

    You see, the Magi are all male. We mustn’t exclude women from participation.

    I have a delightful image of someone who looks like your typical liberal woman religious swoop in on her broomstick because she has to bring me a brand-new 1962 altar missal.

    (Shall we start the countdown before a certain person known to us all posts a photoshopped image of that?)

  5. mike cliffson says:

    COR! Ive got a loverly lovuly mental picture!Made my day!

  6. mike: COR! Ive got a loverly lovuly mental picture!

    Crikey! Then my work here is done!

  7. mattwcu says:

    The PCP folks are NOT schismatics.

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    As far as the non-Catholic publisher, or “schismatic” question is concerned

    This sounds peculiar. Like something floated with a hidden motive. Our TLM community is proud of the one we pre-ordered upon first hearing that the magnificent original Benziger edition was being reprinted by PCP. In addition to being a genuine 1962 altar missal with the late additions, it’s as beautifully and sumptuously printed and (especially) bound as any book I’ve seen recently. If I were a young altar boy, just transferring this glorious volume from the Epistle to the Gospel side might be enough to bring to mind at least a thought of vocation.

  9. ipadre says:

    I rescued on the of the original Benziger years ago and purchased a reprint last year. It is absolutely beautiful. My Missal of choice.

  10. Henry: If I were a young altar boy, just transferring this glorious volume from the Epistle to the Gospel side might be enough to bring to mind at least a thought of vocation.

    Good point. The book itself gives you the impression that what is inside is important.

  11. Mike says:

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a modern roman missal in English with similar “traditional” beauty or a printer of liturgical books other than Catholic Book Publishing Co.’s ritual books.

    Furthermore, does there exist a missal with Latin and the approved English translation side-by-side?

  12. Charles E Flynn says:

    Try searching for the title “Missale Romanum” and various other specifications at http://www.abebooks.com . You can find original copies of the edition in question, and one antique from 1508 with a price of US$ 60,867.17.

  13. becket1 says:

    I wonder if the Catholic Book Publishing Company will ever again publish a 1962 Missal?. Or is that a stupid question worth a big laugh .

  14. Supertradmum says:

    mike cliffson,

    La Befana has to be kind to all children until the Second Coming, as she refused to offer hospitality and also, go with the Magi when asked. So, her purgatorial action of giving to all children, in case one is The Christ, would be to bring a beautiful PCP edition to all here, including me, so that we could give these to our favorite TLM priests.

  15. AnAmericanMother says:

    Supertradmum,

    Or, possibly, to our favorite young NO priests, to encourage them?

  16. Supertradmum: Don’t you think it would be an interesting, Dante-esque contrapasso were Sr. Joan Chittister be required to deliver 1962 Missals to every (male) priest in the USA?

  17. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Not to be crabby here or anything, but the reprint (and original 1962) edition of the Benzinger Bros. Missale has always seemed to me to be one of the most typographically “clunky” liturgical books out there. Compared to the Vatican’s LEV it is decidedly inferior in visual design. For example, the initial caps (in red) in the Benzinger’s are in the same typeface as the body type, just larger, and add no variety to the page. The Vatican’s edition, on the other hand, has some beautiful Goudy Old Style (or similar) initials that add movement and varitety to the (very nice) Italian Garamond of the body text. What’s more, the white space in the Benzinger’s is poorly distributed. There is too much space between paragraphs and sections while –and this is the worst visual feature, imo — the page margins are unpleasantly narrow. As for bindings, both editions have good quality bindings. If the book isn’t lying open flat, it’s probably because it has not yet been opened correctly (systematically and incrementally from each board a few pages at a time).

    That’ll be $0.02, please.

    [Well! That sounds like a 'no' vote.]

  18. Charles E Flynn says:

    Denis Crnkovic: Will you be putting the $0.02 towards the purchase of Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk, so you can stop using Helvetica?

  19. You can get some really good older ones from the ‘Bay. I have a St Joseph’s ‘Continuous Missal’ from 1958 I got from eBay seller avemariamaterdei58.

  20. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Mr Flynn: Merry Christmas! If I get enough 2 cents I will put them toward some Simoncini Garamond, with its beautifully scooped serifs. I almost always post in Roman faces – but my computer sometimes shows strange admixtures of typefaces on the WDTPRS pages. I hardly ever use Helvetica. The shop is full of faces like Italian Old Style and Arrighi and Roman Cyrillic. Berthold’s Akzidenz Grotesque looks better condensed and semibold, but I would probably only use it for headlines announcing events by the folk choir (it’s plain and uninspiring enough). And, if La Befana would care to bring me some nice new foundry type, anything but Helvetica …

  21. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    This is a nice post for the priests father, but perhaps you can do a Quaeritur for the laity TLM missals. Maybe you have done a comparison in the past? The two most common ones I’ve seen mentioned in other sites are Baronius press and Angelus press (however one of them is closely tied to the SSPX).

    Also perhaps a Quaeritur on resources for learning/re-learning Latin? Mind you Catholic Answers has covered this quite well on a few posts in their traditional Catholicism forum area.

  22. James Joseph says:

    You said, ” I would prefer to hire all practicing Catholics to, say, sew my cassocks, vestments, and build my church, I will sometimes have to hire non-Catholics. I would rather have daily Communicants singing as soloists in a polyphonic choir, but that isn’t always possible. But I always would want good music. So, I hire someone who can do the job I want done.”

    Indeed! You can’t give what you don’t have in you, namely ‘the Substance of things hoped for.”

    I digress. But keeping that in mind… The production of handwritten prayer-texts by holy men and women have far more spiritual potency.

    +++
    alms. fasting. prayer.

  23. Young Canadian: I have done that. You can find my reviews and comparisons under the category “Reviews”

  24. jbas says:

    I got the impression from the December 3rd interview with the head of the Ecclesia Dei Commission on the New Liturgical Movement blog that there may be a new missal soon. I know nothing happens quickly in Rome, but it may be better to buy the cheaper version for now in case a new one is released “soon”.

  25. Charles E Flynn says:

    Denis Crnkovic,

    Merry Christmas! (a season, not a day) and thanks for your comments about various typefaces. I will have to take a look at Simoncini Garamond, which is available from both Adobe and Linotype.

  26. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Thank you Father. I haven’t investigated every nook and cranny yet of your site, so your direction is helpful.