QUAERITUR: Advise on missalettes, booklets for the Extraordinary Form

I had a telephone call from a friend with a question about missalettes or booklets for use by congregants who attend the Roman Rite’s Extraordinary Form of Mass.

He explained that, at his church, they use the commonly found red booklet put out by the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei (3rd edition, 1999).

BTW… maybe they should consider changing Ecclesia Dei to Summorum Pontificum, but I digress.

The questioner was asking about alternatives to the red booklet because, as he explained, on more than one occasion visitors to the church – interested in seeing what the TLM is all about – went away angry about something they found in the back of the booklet.

Turning to the back of the red booklet, in a helpful section of basic catechetical lists and prayers, on page 60, you find “The Six Commandments of the Church“, the sixth of which (in this booklet) reads:

Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us within the third degree of kindred, nor privately without witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.”

The problem is, that should probably read “Not to marry without a dispensation persons who are not Catholics… etc.”.

It is not unlawful for Catholics to marry non-Catholics, provided the Catholic party has obtained a dispensation to do so.

Of course it is arguably better to marry a co-religionist.  It is better not to have a household divided by religion, or raise children in a house wherein the parents don’t share the same faith.  But it is not forbidden by the Church do to so, provided the couple follows the Church’s well-thought through and time-tested laws concerning marriage.

Therefore, my questioner will replace the red booklet with some alternative which will not offend on this point…. which could be easily corrected in a new edition of the red booklet.

Sadly, I saw one recently – put together by an acquaintance – intended for children – truly beautiful with fine art and good translation… but when he submitted it to the the local bishop for an imprimatur he refused to give permission (not being a fan of the older Mass).

Or perhaps a sticker could be placed over that area with a better text?


Nota bene:

  • I don’t think an Angelus Press booklet would be accepted in this particular situation, though it would be good to know what they have.
  • A personal handmissal, such as the beautiful Baronius Press missal or the equally well-bound Angelus Press missal is great for regular attendees.  We are looking for something for visitors or people who don’t yet have one.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Shellynna says:

    A sticker over the offending text (or an asterisk next to the text and a sticker at the bottom of the page) is a good short-term solution. As for a long-term solution, perhaps the pastor or chaplain could exhort the regular congregants to donate toward a congregational set of hand missals published by a publishing house not affiliated with an irregular group (I’d strongly argue against purchasing from Angelus). Once the congregational set was purchased, a sticker could be placed in those copies gently reminding visitors that these belong to the congregation and are for use during Mass.

  2. Lucas says:

    Personally I like the Angelus Press version, its well done and cheap.

    Ignatius Press has a Order of the Mass of John the XXIII that has the order of the mass for the EF. It’s nice, but more expensive at 9.95.

  3. benedetta says:

    Sad to hear the one intended for children with lovely art couldn’t get the go-ahead. Does anyone know of anything else for children to learn the prayers?

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    The best bargain among TLM missalettes–nothing else comparable pricewise–is the Latin-English Sunday Missal at $4.50 each for a 180-page booklet, printed in two colors, with beautiful full-color classical art that you can sample by clicking the link.

    Includes not only the “ordinary” Tridentine Mass, but also the Traditional Nuptial Mass, the Requiem Mass, and the traditional rite of Baptism.

    “As beautiful a Sunday missal for the old Latin Mass as has ever been published.”
    – Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, Rome

  5. MichaelJ says:

    Or perhaps a sticker could be placed over that area with a better text?

    This seems reasonable to me. Wonder why it was not suggested as a short-term solution for the period between when the new translations were approved and the “publishing industry” could come up to speed…

  6. APX says:

    The sticker makes the most sense and is the most cost efficient way to go. I don’t really think it’s worth spending the money to replace the missals if their still good otherwise.

  7. AvantiBev says:

    I know Ms. Mary Krachy founder of the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei and I am sure she would be happy to hear from you, Father Z. She and her staff have labored long and hard for over 20 years among much stiff-necked resistance by our “betters” who were positive the Tridentine Mass was for old ladies in sensible shoes. [In Chicago, you find the latter frequent the OF / English Mass almost exclusively humming Bob Dylan tunes to themselves no doubt.] Anyway, Mary would be happy to receive your comments prior to the next printing, I am sure. She wants to put out the best and most accurate materials for the EF Mass goers.

    As the granddaughter of two loving grandparents in a 62 year long Lutheran/Catholic marriage, I find those who would go away “in a huff” about the wording to be ridiculous. Of course this is a ridiculous, overly sensitive era.

    As an office manager in a law firm that does divorce/paternity/child custody work under the euphemistic title of “Family Law”, I found my grandparents devotion to God, each other, their children and grandchildren far more inspirational than the so-called “Catholic couples” we see in our offices eager to “get this over with” (the THIS being a sacrament they regard not as a covenant but rather a contract). And no comments about me being judgmental. I have labored here 15 years and will put my Grandparents’ love and commitment up against what passes for a “marriage” these days.

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    My TLM community makes available both the Ecclesiae Dei Coalition missalette and the comparable Angelus Press missalette, which are more convenient in size and feel than the lavish book mentioned (if an alternative is needed) in my previous post above @12:46 pm.

    In addition to and separate from these missalettes, we have also purchased a supply of a beautiful and inviting (and inexpensive) little 45-page booklet entitled For the Visitor at Mass.

    From the blurb:

    Intended primarily for new-comers (Catholic or not) to the Tridentine Mass. Forty-seven striking color photos accompany the explanations of every major part of the Mass.

    The photographs are mini-meditations in themselves, clearly evoking the nature of the liturgical actions taking place. The explanations are rich in concise spiritual, doctrinal, liturgical and historical insights.

    Can be read before the Mass as a preparation or read at Mass as you follow along. Priced inexpensively so that they can be freely given to anyone new to this form of the Mass.

  9. ajbasso says:

    If any amendment is made for the sake of sensitivity to non-Catholics, it might be a good idea to refer to these as Precepts (which I’ve always known them as) rather than Commandments, which might give the impression that these Six somehow supplant the Ten Commandments. We already take enough heat over not using the same version as many Protestants.

  10. I had a note from priest who is a canonist:

    “The revised code repeats the traditional prohibition of marriages between Catholics and baptized member of non-Catholic Christian churches and ecclesial communities. In fact the language of the code (‘is prohibited’) seems somewhat stronger than that used by Paul VI in Matrimonia mixta.” New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law. Beal, etc… (Not, btw, a publication known for being particularly “conservative.”)

    Canon Law states general principles and then gives the exceptions. Parallel example: You cannot marry your first cousin. This is a true statement, even if consanguinity can be dispensed.

    I personally am not bothered by the language… even if such permissions are (lamentably) a rubber stamp process.

  11. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Father, how is the bishop’s refusal to give an imprimatur to the children’s booklet to be interpreted? That he finds doctrinal or moral error in it?

    That’s what scares me about anti-TLM liberals. They seem to find the ancient Mass “theologically dubious.” I am reminded of the letter to the editor of the Bitter Pill that you just posted.

    Could these bishops loathe the traditional Mass because it is….unambiguously Catholic?

  12. Ef-lover says:

    “Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us within the third degree of kindred, nor privately without witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.”

    That is the way the above precept is written in the Baltimore Catechism No. 4 — Thomas Kinkead
    and most likely why it is repeated that way in the “Red missalett”

  13. There would be a number of issues to sort out here, including: how these booklets pass muster under c. 826, [concerning approval of books to be published] how the “Commandments of the Church” are to be understood (and even reckoned) at any given time, [They have shifted over the years.] why an old system for calculating kinship is being used here, [Right!] and why some other obvious caveats (such as FrZ suggested) have not been included in the text.

    [Thanks for chiming in. I noticed that issue of affinity but did not raise it since it was not the primary objection raise at the top. But it is a good one. That whole section, if the booklet is printed, must be addressed.]

  14. jlmorrell says:

    I think the text should remain the same and the (offended) faithful should be educated. [After they storm out never to be seen again?]

    With the reasoning given, it seems like an argument could be made to remove/revise the obligation of Catholics to abstain from meat on the appointed days. After all, this obligation can be dispensed as well.

  15. Joan A. says:

    Here’s a solution I do NOT recommend, but have seen in several newer “Catholic” prayer books, study guides, educational leaflets, etc. Apparently because that marriage issue is bothersome, some publishers or writers have decided to just chuck it. We no longer have “Six Precepts of the Church” folks; we have “Five Precepts of the Church”! I kid you not, I have seen this several times, and in each case it is the marriage precept that has – poof! – disappeared.

    One thing that might work which I have seen in a Missalette where they did (in hidebound and prehistoric fashion) include all six precepts, was to simplify that annoying one to “Obey all the rules of the Church concerning marriage.” That gives the commandment, but doesn’t get into a confusing and controversial stipulation of details.

  16. wolfeken says:

    Ah, the challenge of applying post-Vatican II rules to a traditional Latin Mass publication.

    The same question has been asked of the Communion fast, which was from midnight for centuries, for three hours in the 1950s, and after Vatican II it was watered down to, essentially, don’t eat in the car on the way to Mass.

    I think just stating the discipline in place during 1962 (the year of the most recent TLM missal) and leaving it at that is the way to go. Not everything is binding by the new Canon Law, of course, but it’s a lot more logical to state the 1962 discipline en bloc than to attempt to explain all of the downright silly post-Vatican II loopholes and relaxations which are often in direct conflict with the traditional Latin Mass’s missal.

    (For instance, today’s TLM collect speaks of the 40 day Lenten fast, which was whittled down to a whopping 2 days after Vatican II.)

  17. Henry Edwards says:

    Ken Wolfe: . . . all of the downright silly post-Vatican II loopholes and relaxations . . .

    The problem is that when these silly things are grafted into a TLM missalette, the whole thing looks silly–since TLM folks don’t go for silly loopholes anyway–and who wants a silly-looking missalette in the pew with them at a TLM.

  18. dans0622 says:

    The FSSP parish in Ottawa had nice booklets they had put together themselves (or someone at the parish did it). It had the whole Mass–including proper parts–in Latin, French and English. With the exception of a few typos, it was very good. It was not for sale, though.

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