Reprinting liturgical books, market forces and… unity with Rome

This is in from CFSfaT. This concerns how Angelus Press (operated by the SSPX – which at the least in very questional unity with Rome) is reprinting older liturgical books.

My emphases and comments:

More From Angelus Press

I thought this was interesting. In response to his appeal for donations so that they could reprint certain books which had sold out due to the advent of Summorum pontificum, Fr. Novak of the SSPX sent out a ‘thank you’ email via Angelus Press. Part of it:

I want to give you three numbers. The first is zero. This is the number of 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missals we currently have in stock. The second number is 700. This is the number of our daily hand-missals sold last Friday to a church in the Chicago Archdiocese celebrating the Mass of the Extraordinary Form (a.k.a., the Latin Mass of 1962). The third number is 105,650. [ka-ching] This is the number of dollars contributed in September by our apostolate partners allowing Angelus Press to amp up its revised production schedule for the rest of 2007.

On behalf of Angelus Press and the Society of St. Pius X for which it publishes, I thank you for putting your money where your prayers are in response to our Emergency Reprint appeal. If I throw out the highest and lowest contributions, the average donation came to $382.52.  [Pretty impressive.]

Ambrosius had the right question – I still can’t figure why they needed these donations when they were selling books like crazy, but apparently, many other people didn’t have this concern and donated abundantly.

Yes, that is a good question.  Why do they need donations if they sell so many books?

Printing books is pretty expensive.  I suspect the sales of the books hardly covers the expense of printing and distributing.

Market forces will help these things iron out.

Despite the questionable unity of Angelus Press, I am pleased that books are being made available.

This whole thing reminds me of a rather unpleasant exchange with a prelate of a large city in the USA many years ago when I still worked for the first president of Ecclesia Dei.  This bishop claimed that that nobody in the diocese was interested in the older Mass.  I produced from our correspondence copies of petitions sent to him with hundreds of signatures.  He said that he never saw them.  I showed him a copy of a letter he sent back to the person who had sent him a petition.  He said that the separated chapel in his city was of no consequence.  I showed him copies of the "parish bulletins" we had received… with the weekly amounts of contributions tallied for him with a bottom line.  [The bottom line was pretty impressive.] His response?  He got angry.  With us.   He said that we didn’t know what was going on in his local church.   That was true.  We didn’t in fact know what was going on. 

I know now, however, that "market forces" drive many different facets of people’s choices.  People with vote with their cars and their feet and they will take the weekly contributions with them.

I think we who are not in questionable unity should do something to provide resources for the older Mass.

With all the other liturgical books the liturgy offices of bishops’ conferences pushes out, could they print also Missals for the older Mass?

Would it be better to leave this in the hands of private companies and simply support those who are going to be reprinting them, even if they are maybe not in clear unity?

Market forces will work this out too.  People want the books.  Money is to be made and demand satisfied.  The cause is good.  The opportunity is there. 

Those who produce good books will do a great service and, I hope, everyone will profit.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. John Eakins says:

    “his whole thing reminds me of a rather unpleasant exchange with a prelate of a large city in the USA many years ago when I still worked for the first president of Ecclesia Dei.”

    That’s so typical, but its unusual that somebody can call them on it. If for no other reason than to protect the dozen or so bishops that I could imagine doing exactly that, I wish you would name the perp.

    BTW: My sixteen year old daughter saw ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the Globe in London on, I think, the same evening you were there. She was on the right side, third level, and she said it was freezing! She took a bunch of pix and when we get then downloaded I’ll look for a Roman collar!

  2. JPM says:

    Here is one resource for a Sunday hand missal. It’s a reprint of pre-1962 in
    the original format, nicely bound.

    I have used an old copy of this edition from time to time when I don’t have my daily missal. It’s
    compact and easy to carry with you. I suppose it’d be a good way to get a
    teenager started on using the missal and referring the prayers proper to the
    particular Sunday

  3. William says:

    The local bookstore managed to order a supply of Angelus missals before they sold out, which is good because they didn’t manage to get any of the Baronius missals. They are also sold out.

    I bought one of the Angelus and gave it to an old acquaintance of mine who is now a priest. I had no idea what his opinion of the Traditional Latin Mass is, I just thought it might be useful for him, no matter what.

  4. danphunter1 says:

    You mention the editor of the Angelus Press,Father Novak.
    He is one of the holiest priests I have ever met.
    Along with his duties at Angelus he fly’s from Kansas City, every Friday night to Charlotte North Carolina where he offers Holy Mass at St Anthony of Padua, Charlotte on Saturday and Sunday morn.
    He then drives three and a half to five hours to either Wake Forest Holy Redeemer church, or St Marys church in Goldsbourogh.
    He has also driven five hours in the dead of night to give Extreme Unction to the sick.
    He is the pastor of the FSSPX churchs in North Carolina and he does the work of God.
    Please support him, everyone.
    God bless you.

  5. joe says:


    Your exchange reminds me of the response given by Roger Cardinal Mahony when asked about his feelings for the then-imminent MP. His Eminence, basically, said he couldn’t be bothered to worry about the “1%” who wanted the TLM. This prelate, sadly, seems cut from the same bolt.

    How they can square their mindset with, say, Luke 15:4 or Matthew 18:12, is something that lies far afield of my capacity to explain charitably.



  6. Well. folks… a few of those who commented pretty much ruined this entry with their bitchy comments and whining. I get a little tired of that sometimes, and this is one of those moments.

    So, I will close down this com-box.

    Some of you … I say this with concern… It is time to get over the anger and nastiness.

    The traditional “thing” has been a matter of frustration and sadness for decades, but it is time to move on now. Don’t prove the old axiom that the traditionalist Catholic thing attracts people who are happy only when they are unhappy.

    Before I close this, however, with great disappointment, I will share this note from a regular reader on a much more positive note.

    This is about the very same letter from The Angelus at the top of the entry:

    As I recall from the solicitation, they needed to pay up front for the expensive special paper to print the missals. But note that last line below:

    Please, you can stop sending money for now. You’ve made it possible for us to get over the money crunch and catch up with escalating demand.

    This illustrates the honesty and forthrightness of their operation. You certainly know that I hold no brief for or with the SSPX. But Angelus Press, like the SSPX itself, did a certain necessary job when no one else was doing it. Using their 1962 Daily Missal and also their Divine Office daily, I owe them a great personal debt.

    I was very glad to read this extra information.   The one who sent this to me is right.

    As I said at the top, no matter what else, the Angelus Press undoubtedly did a good service in providing the books.   The fact that they frankly said that the emergency was over, when it was over, shows integrity in that matter.

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