New altar edition of the 1962 Missale Romanum now available

It takes a short time to tear down a mighty, ancient and beautiful structure. 

It can take decades to rebuild it.

We will now have a new tool for the reconstruction which I believe His Holiness Pope Benedict desires in what I term his "Marshall Plan" for the Church.

Preserving Christian Publications has produced a reprint of the 1962 Missale Romanum in the Benziger Brothers’ edition… a classic.

The price: US$ 450

If you are not in the USA…

NON-USA CUSTOMERS Please contact us by telephone, fax or e-mail to purchase a missal.  We will need to determine the shipping costs based upon your region.

I have used the old-time Benzinger editions many times and they are legible and well-planned. 

They bill this as:

…the ONLY reprinted missal available in complete conformity with the   final revisions made by the Holy See in 1962 to the traditional Roman Missal.

I haven’t seen one yet, so I will believe that when I have a copy in my hands or I hear from other sources.

The volume is 1290 pages, and measures 83/8” x 11¼” (approximately 2¾” thick).

It seems to have good ribbons and page markers.

There are interesting photos of the printing process and assembly of the book here.

In case you are wondering what it has:

  • St. Joseph’s name in the Canon (added in November 1962)
  • ad libitum prefaces (added in April 1963 and which includes the restored Advent preface)
  • pro aliquibus locis (for some places) section specifically for the USA dioceses (added in December 1962)
  • imprimatur by Cardinal Spellman

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. 

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.

Nevertheless, there ought to be also the addition of a letter from ecclesiastical authority that this volume conforms to the original.  We recently had a question addressing that elsewhere.

In any event, they are taking great pains to differentiate their volume from another book published at the "1962" Missale,…

So unlike the other “1962” missal being offered in the USA

It is offered in both a red binding and green.  I have seen both colors of the original editions and the older timers are both handsome.  It remains to be seen what hues of red and green this new volume has.  I suppose the photos of the construction process on their site are to show us also how sturdy the binding is, which is a critical point for an altar missal.

It comes with a slip cover.

I am delighted that this new tool for the "Marshall Plan" exists.

In order to help revitalize our Catholic identity in every sphere of our lives, we must revitalize our worship.  Celebrations of the older form of Mass will exert a powerful "gravitational pull" on the way the newer forms of worship are conducted. 

Younger priests and laypeople especially will be on the forefront of this great undertaking.

But they need mentors.

They need training.

And they need books.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Wonderful. But does it carry the approval of the local ordinary ?

  2. prof. basto says:

    Excellent, but I have a question:

    What about the 2008 amendment to the Good Friday rite? Is it included in this Missal? Or in any other known Missal?

  3. Phil (NL) says:

    @ a religious:
    The interesting thing is that the publisher is located in New York. The Imprimatur is from cardinal Spellman, of New York. I assume that covers the “concordat cum originali” that canon law requires as well- see a few posts below this one where something similar popped up. Looking at the definitions it would be theoretically possible to have an Imprimatur (which concerns moral and doctrinal error) while still deviating from the original version, but since we’re talking about a missal, that would be ridiculous.
    The question is thus if a new edition would have to seek a renewal from cardinal Egan (the current archbishop). I’m no canonist, but the argument that an exact reprint doesn’t need a renewal makes sense.

    It gets a tad more complex if we tie in prof. Basto’s point: if they indeed included the admendment to the Good Friday rite, would that be reason to ask for a new approval? presumably it would.

  4. Bob K. says:

    Very beautiful edition!. To bad many Catholics in this country and the UK will never see it on their parish altars. Any word when the new Novus Ordo Missal will be published. I thought it was going to be this year some time. Will the rubrics be changing any?.

  5. Rico says:

    Father, the parish I attend uses the 1952 Missal: is it disrespectful to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum to use this version?

  6. Very nice indeed.

    If I was a priest or one who purchases such things, and being part irish, I would be partial to the green myself. Though the red is just as nice

  7. Bob K. says:

    Would be nice if some company (Catholic Book Publishing Company cough…) could start offering the 1962 altar missal for parishes on a budget. Their NO altar missals are way cheaper than $400.00 dollars.

  8. Berthold says:

    Given the price of this Missal one should point out that for most purposes an older Missal is equally satisfying. With the exception of Holy Week and some Saints (which probably will not come up outside places with a daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form) the 20th-century Reforms primarily did cut out elements; so omitting commemorations etc not required by a modern Ordo is enough.
    The only additions of practical importance are probably the Common of Popes introduced by Pius XII (Si diligis me …), the new Prefaces and the name of St Joseph in the Canon. The latter can easily be added by hand (also for the Proper Communicantes!), and for the Prefaces (which are only ad-lib) and the Common of Popes one could insert some leaves (maybe someone could make them available for download).

  9. wsxyz says:

    Bob K:

    Appearing just yesterday at Fr. Z:
    New edition of the Missale Romanum (2002) on sale

    A reader then gave us this link for a $499 NO Altar Missal:
    Missale Romanum Editio iuxta typicam tertiam

  10. Bob K. says:

    I talking about a cheaper 1962 Missalle Romanum altar missal.

    Buying both is fairly inexpensive for a parish on a budget. Now if we could have a 1962 Missalle Romanum as inexpensive. This is what I’m really looking for in the future.

  11. wsxyz says:

    After buying all of those different lectionaries, sacramentaries, and supplements for the various days, years and feasts, you’ll surely have spent more than $450.

  12. Fr. BJ says:

    A few things.

    prof. basto: No, it does not have the new Good Friday prayer. It is just a reprint of the late-1962 Benzinger edition. One would have to perhaps paste in the one prayer within the series of GF prayers that was changed.

    Rico: It has always been considered acceptable to use older editions for reasons of paupertate, so I have been told. However, if your parish or the priest can afford it, it would be a good idea to get the correct edition so that you have access to all the saints propers, the prefaces, etc.

    Bob K.: The Novus Ordo editions produced by Catholic Book Publishing company are very poor indeed. Their more recent printings have been of slightly better quality, but on the whole their books fall apart quickly, are poorly formatted, have terrible art, bad layout, etc. I wish that someone would print a Novus Ordo Missal that has the text in two-column format like the old Missals. The Midwest Theological Forum Latin Novus Ordo Missal is extremely nice, very well made. But the price is prohibitive. The smaller “study edition” is perfectly usable for the altar — but you have to install the tabs yourself, and it is very tedious work.

    With regard to the green Missale, someone told me that the green ones were for bishops, and that everyone else used red. Anyone heard that? I find the green one attractive, but I ordered the red one, on the basis of the above claim.

  13. dcs says:

    Bob K: If you will notice you need quite a few of them to make a complete set. It looked to me like there were four lectionary volumes for weekdays and three for Sundays, for a total of seven which multiplied by the price is over $400. Add the cost of the Sacramentaries to that and – as wsxyz writes, you’ve already spent more than $450.00. If you want something really inexpensive, there is a study edition of the 1962 Missale Romanum available that could serve as an altar missal in a pinch (I believe it is a softcover). Or you could buy a used altar missal and make the changes for 1962 (if necessary) yourself.

  14. booklover says:

    Roman Catholic Books has been publishing an equally deluxe edition of the ’62 Missale Romanum for well over a decade. With Imprimatur. It’s current price is $310, although I have seen it on sale for $200.
    So I fail to see what all the fuss is about.

  15. Fr. BJ: With regard to the green Missale, someone told me that the green ones were for bishops, and that everyone else used red.

    Our Latin Mass community pre-ordered this missal almost a year ago — to replace our current 1962 missal which Father Z obstinately insists on calling a 1961 missal (as I understand him)at which time only the red missal had been publicized. When the green one was announced later, I called PCP to mention that we preferred the red one, and was assured that’s what we’d get unless we specified otherwise, because (ditto) the green one was really intended mainly for bishops.

    However, I’ve never heard of the color of an altar missal being any sort of rubrical matter, and obviously on their order page anyone who can pay the price can order whichever color they prefer.

  16. This new reprint of the Missale looks beautiful and I’m sure that a great deal of work went into it. Also, it should be noted that Preserving Christian Publications has done a magnificent job with all of hte others books that they have reprinted including “The Raccolta” and Denzinger’s encyclopedia of dogmatic documents.

  17. … to replace our current 1962 missal which Father Z obstinately insists on calling a 1961 missal

    Tongue in cheek, of course (regarding Father Z). It\’s true that the previous recently reprinted so-called 1962 altar missals must have St. Joseph pasted into the Canon, and lack the five ad libitum Gallican prefaces (which are very beautiful and are said to date back to the 8th century or so). So, for instance, this past Advent we slipped the added Preface for Advent into our \”obsolete\” altar missal as an insert.

    As I understand it, the classic Benziger altar missal actually appeared in 1964, and therefore was able to include the 1963 insertions in the officially 1962 missal.

  18. Berthold says:

    I am never that convinced about the Gallican Prefaces. They are beautiful texts, but they are much longer than the Roman Prefaces and have a different form, so they seem to be somewhat alien.

    May I, somewhat off-topic – smuggle in a question for those better with rubrics than I am. In the Pre-1962 Missals the Preface for Corpus Christi is that of the Nativity (which fits thematically), and the 1962 edition gives the Gallican Preface of the Blessed Sacrament as an ad-lib. However, if one cannot use that (e.g. not having an altar-missal containing it), which one can one use then? Theoretically, it would be the Common Preface as nothing else is indicated, but that sounds absurd for a feast-day.

  19. Berthold: Of course the Gallican prefaces are different, being Gallican rather than Roman in origin. Vive l’difference!

    If your altar missal does not contain the Preface of the Blessed Sacrament (for Corpus Christi) — and you agree that the Common Preface is inadequate to such a liturgical highpoint of the whole year (thereby suggesting that perhaps the pre-conciliar missal may not have been quite ready for amber, after all) — why not prepare a one-sheet preface altar missal insert for the occasion? As we did last Corpus Christi, and similarly last November 9 for the Dedication of St. John Lateran (using the Gallican preface for the Dedication of a Church).

  20. Sacristan Aleixo says:

    The colour of the Missal being green for Bishops has some truth to it but I belive it is more of a custom than a rule…

    Among our previous Archbishop’s Pontificals (now retired) I remember seeing his personal Missal that his MC would bring to use when he celebrated Mass at our church.

    His personal Missal custom deluxe edtion made of Green Leather with his personal coat of arms impaled(sp?) with those of the diocese on the Missal covers…later on when he was made a Cardinal, he got another Missal…the boards now being red with the coat of arms upon the boards…

  21. W. Schrift says:

    Prof. Basto: The Baronius Press 1962 Missal comes with an errata sheet to insert in place of the old Good Friday prayer.

  22. Fr A says:

    Younger priests and laypeople especially will be on the forefront of this great undertaking.

    But they need mentors.

    They need training.

    And they need books.

    …and they need lots of money, too, it seems.

    Don’t these publishers realize just how little is the actual monthly salary of a priest?

  23. These missals are outrageously expensive. I work in publishing and I can’t believe it costs this much to print.

  24. Greg and Fr A,
    Do you suppose they\’re simply pegging the price to the monthly salary of a young priest, figuring a fine altar missal would be no less important than this to him?

    Actually, I wonder how many priests buy personally their own altar missals. If parishes don’t pay for most of them, our TLM community has a standing offer of a 1962 missal to any local priest who needs one and will use it. Hmm … Perhaps we’d better hope the Marshall Plan is not too successful, lest it bankrupt us.

  25. dcs says:

    These missals are outrageously expensive. I work in publishing and I can’t believe it costs this much to print.

    How much do you think they should cost, especially given the manual intervention necessary (for example, to fix the tabs in place)?

  26. Fr. BJ says:

    The local Una Voce folks were kind enough to foot the bill of my order for a Missal from PCP Books. I am sure that Fr. A. will find ready and willing help from his local Traditional Community or Una Voce as well.

    I don’t think the price is inflated, when one considers the quality of the materials and the amount of manual labor involved. Think about the hours that they must have spent carefully scanning in all the pages and touching them up on the computer before even getting to the printing stage; then the printing itself on the highest quality materials, as they advertise; then all the manual work such as installing the tabs.

    It is an investment. This book should last longer than I do.

  27. Bob K. says:

    I wish Baronius and Angelus would make some large print editions of their 1962 missals.

  28. REF says:

    Where can I find ‘true’ missal replacement tabs? My Missale is an original 1962 Benziger but the some of the tabs have literally disintegrated.

  29. Roman Catholic Books has been publishing an equally deluxe edition of the ‘62 Missale Romanum for well over a decade. With Imprimatur. It’s current price is $310, although I have seen it on sale for $200…. So I fail to see what all the fuss is about.

    Roman Catholic Books rendered an important and valuable service by keeping a traditional Latin altar missal alive when it would not ordinarily been readily available in indult and early SP days. Our local TLM community has purchased several of them for local priests, at least one (as I recall) at $155, half the listed price.

    However, this RCB altar missal, fully adequate for heavenly liturgy as it is, is not as “deluxe” as the new PCP Missale Romanum, which purportedly is a reprinting that preserves every detail of the sumptuous Benziger “Cadillac” of TLM altar missals. And, as Father Z has correctly pointed out, the RCB missal is not a copy of the final authorized version of the 1962 MR (e.g., lacking St. Joseph in the canon).

    So we were happy to fork over $410 in advance for this PCP reprint. (Admittedly, we did so with the expectation of its first use being at our first solemn high Mass — last April 20 — but it only now is allegedly “in the mail”.)

  30. Louis Tofari says:

    I was the reprint manager for Benziger Brothers’ 1962 Missale Romanum which was reprinted by the Society of St. Pius X, not PCP (though they helped to financially underwrite through some advance sales). I began work on the project in 2003.

    As for the quality of the binding; it’s superb and is comparable to the same binding that Benziger used. In fact, you can open the missal up (splay it open) and then turn the cover face up and shake the book and nothing will happen. That’s because, there’s a matrix (like very strong cheesecloth) that runs from several inches under the endsheets and encasing the spine of the book block (the paper) to the cover boards. Hence, if treated properly (with respect as a missal should), the missal should last a “lifetime” just as has been seen with originally produced missals.

    As for the production cost, we attempted to keep the missal under $200, but that simply was not possible. $400 is actually a VERY GOOD PRICE when you consider all of the quality features that went into the missal, especially the ribbons (which was the most labor intensive element of the entire project; the ribbons should last the life time of the book instead of fraying within the next 10 years) and the tabs. Also the covers were manually bound to the book block and the spine was given a special reinforcement (not usually seen on Sacramentaries) which included decorative hubs and special gilding (identical to what Benziger had classically done), not too mention the copious amount of gilding on BOTH cover boards. Finally, when Benziger sold this standard edition brand new in early 1963 (when it was finally published), it sold for about $36; take an inflation calculator and add what today’s materials and labor costs (then add the 15% increase that the printing industry experience during mid-production) and you’ll get around $400; so very near to the selling price of the missal from our distributors (who also had to tag on freight shipping, etc.).

    Any production questions can be directed to me at:

    Hope this helps. Louis J. Tofari

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