UPDATE (4 Sept): Be sure to look at “brendan”‘s comment below. He checked on the availability of this Missale.
A while back I wrote that if you were looking for a perfect gift for a traditionally minded priest you might consider this reprint of a travel-sized volume of the 1962 Missale Romanum.
One of you kind readers made a donation through the button on the left side bar so that I could buy one. I am grateful for that.
Here is my review.
First, the details.
It costs $225, without shipping. It is a hard cover in a slip case. The dimensions: 8½” x 6″ x 1½”. Thus, it is really slightly larger than I would consider a true travel-sized volume. I have an old truly portable Missale Romanum printed by Benziger in 1957, which has soft leather cover and is the size of your average smaller format paperback, about half the size of this new book. That is what priests really need. However, none of that takes away from the utility of this new book.
Let’s look at it closely.
These days, in my opinion, the physical construction of liturgical books is terribly deficient. How does this book stack up?
The book is hard bound and covered with a faux leather, which looks good, promises to be durable, is nice and bright in color, but has a slightly plastic feel to the hand.
The gold on the pages is done fairly well. The cover has a nice Cross impression, front and back.
There may be a problem down the line with the binding, as you can see from this closeup of the binding just as the title page.
The paper is very fine, thin and smooth, high quality I believe. It feels good and cool to the touch. It seems durable.
Priests know that ribbons and page turning tabs are very important in a missal. Bad ribbons and bad tabs can make your life miserable.
The ribbons are decent, though a tiny bit stiff. They may loosen up a little with use. They are synthetic. Someone took the time to burn the ends, so they would not start to fray.
There are only five ribbons, but I am not sure how they could have bound in more, given their width. Given how fine the paper is, were the ribbons a little narrower, they might tear the paper rather than turn the grouping of pages.
The tabs are a bit of a problem. They are large enough to get your fingers to grasp. However, when the book was put into the slip case, the tabs obviously pressed against the inside of the slip case and caused havoc with the pages. And since the pages with the tabs those of the Ordinary, this is a problem.
I am not happy about this. I will probably attempt along the line to iron these out. They are on every page where there are tabs. I suggest that the slip cover be altered somehow. I don’t think that making the cover larger in relation to the pages is the way to go.
How are the pages to read? No real problems there. The only observation I have is that the black print doesn’t strike me as truly black, but rather a very dark gray. Also, the red of the rubrics seems a bit on the pale side to me. The print just doesn’t leap off the page at you, which is, I think, desirable.
Just to get your bearings, compare the red of the cover to the red of the print and the black of the tab to the black of the print.
Here is the book in its slip case with a little 6 inch rule, so that you can get an idea of its size.
My bottom line is that this book is still going to be the perfect gift to a traditionally minded priest who does not already own a copy of the 1962 Missale Romanum.
- First, it is a good size, even for travelling, though not perfect. Something even smaller would be great. With a caveat about the binding it should stand up pretty well.
- Second, it is large enough to use on an altar as a regular altar edition. That is an advantage.
- Third, editions of the 1962, a true 1962 edition are really hard to get. One reprint edition on sale for some years now, often called a 1962 is not really a 1962, as I explained elsewhere. Therefore, this book fills an important niche.
- Fourth, the book has some dignity. The color image at the Canon is nice. The font is easy to read.
- Fifth, giving this book to a priest who doesn’t have an older Missal could encourage and support him. I suspect some priests will really only have the chance to say the oler Mass in private when they are travelling or on vacation. Therefore this small format book is very good. Were it any larger, a priest might just not chose to haul it around.
- Sixth, the sales of this book help the community at St. John Cantius in Chicago. A worthy way to help worthy men.
They still need to polish this edition, perhaps in the next printing. Before then they could adjust the slip cases.
It is still, in my estimation, a perfect gift for a traditionally minded priest.
I am very glad to have this book.