Of book burning and burial

The new translation of the Roman Missal has been implemented in most places.  Priests have to decide what to do with those old copies of the Sacramentary.

Clearly some need to be kept in the library or archive: for let us never forget what we endured.

Otherwise, if the book is in bad shape, it can be disposed of.  It would be wrong simply to chuck it into the dustbin.  Instead, old and worn books should be buried or burned.

Fr. Byers of Holy Souls Hermitage posted an entry entitled: “Christmas Eve warmth at the Hermitage: A gift of A. Bugnini

He has photos and explanations.  Here are a couple action shots:

When you drop by at Fr. Byers blog, check his right side-bar.  There is an indication of how you can send him donations.  He also has an Amazon Wishlist, as I do.  His dedicates a lot of his time in prayer for priests.  Give him support in return.

Here is another approach to the old Sacramentary.

A reader alerted me to this interesting story from the Diocese of Wichita.

I picked this up from a Facebook page here.

Bishop Michael O. Jackels and Chris Baalmann, project manager for Simpson & Associates Construction Services, look over outdated Roman Missals, sacramentals, and other blessed items no longer able to be used as they were prepared for a respectful burial. The items are being buried under a concrete slab scheduled to be poured Friday. The items will be under the altar when renovations are complete at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. The burial is an appropriate reflection of Bishop Jackels’ TOGETHER Vision: All the Roman Missals from throughout the Diocese of Wichita used for decades for Masses will be buried under the altar of the mother church of the diocese.


It is a good solution, if you happen to be building something.

But doesn’t it have a rather… science fiction aspect to it?  If we survive the impending economic collapse and pandemics and upheaval, these books will reemerge in the future, strong, angry, hungry, once again committed to dumb-down the faith of Catholics everywhere.


From a priest:

Here is a pic of my book burning on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent. Didn’t have a Sacramentary but I made do. Some would say I did better by adding a Glory and Praise book into the flames!   I know, wishful thinking but …

Here is a pic of my book burning on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent. Didn’t have a Sacramentary but I made do. Some would say I did better by adding a Glory and Praise book into the flames!   I know, wishful thinking but …

glory and praise

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. My brother priests may wish to do as I have done, before disposing of your old missals: I sliced out the appendices with Mass prayers in Latin. As we know, the new, American editions of the Missal essentially have no Latin (apart from a few prayers); and while the old English Mass prayers cannot be used any longer, the Latin prayers are still useful! I’m going to figure out a way to bind them, creating a booklet I can use on the altar, until such time as I find something better.

    By the way, the predicted “train wreck” on Christmas Day, as a result of the new Missal, did not happen here; we made an announcement before Mass, encouraging folks to use the booklets in the pews, and to assist guests in our midst–and at the Masses I offered, the responses were very strong! No “disaster” if one does a little preparation.

    Felix Dies Nativitates!

    Fr Z's Gold Star Award

  2. RichR says:

    Excellent idea, Fr Fox!

  3. skull kid says:

    Better make that re-enforced concrete. Just to be sure.

  4. leonugent2005 says:

    Perhaps the burning of the old Sacramentary should be veiled and not gloated over as a sign of respect that for several decades they were used to offer the Holy sacrifice of the mass. It’s funny that for me when our dear Lord releases me from some sort of suffering it tends to make me feel a little nervous more so than triumphal.

  5. rcg says:

    The Knights of Columbus regularly respectfully destroy retired flags by incineration. Perhaps they can be enlisted to help with this task?

  6. leonugent2005 says:

    Since the New missal is out I’m curious to know if my 1962 missal qualifies for burning complete with action photo’s published on my facebook wall. [That would be stupid for several reasons. First, the 1962 Missale Romanum is not a superseded book.. It is a Missal fully approved for use in the Roman Rite. The now obsolete Sacramentary is not to be used in those places where the new translation has been implemented. If the copy of the 1962 Missal is unusable because it is in bad shape – as I mentioned in the section of the top entry you obviously didn’t read – then it could be buried or burned. Also, the 1962 Missal has a higher value by the fact that it is rarer. There are reprints now, but an actual 1962 Missal has value because of rarity.] I say this fully confident that I could receive forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation if I were to do such a thing. [That smacks of the sin of presumption. Furthermore, it is spiritually deadly to say to yourself “I can commit the sin because I can always go to confession afterwards.” This is a highly imprudent thing to suggest in public even in jest. It is such a contumacious view of the sacrament, as a matter of fact, that it drew this necessary response.]

  7. I can just see a construction worker using a ray gun to demolish an old church 100 years from now when he gets to the spot where these old Sacramentaries are stashed, and all of a sudden they jump out, just like in the 1955 Warner Brothers short “One Froggy Evening.” Hopefully the priests and bishops 100 years from now will be just as stone-faced as the talent agents were when they listened to the singing frog not sing. I cannot imagine these Sacramentaries being strong, though– it was a weak translation when it was first published, and it is now and will always be a weak translation.

  8. Dr Guinness says:

    “That which we held sacred for many years has now simply been tossed out.”

    OH NOES! Where else does that apply, hmm?

  9. A gold star? Aw, golly, thanks!

  10. amsjj1002 says:

    Fr. Z, that comment you made about those books coming back has lingered in my mind, and it’s scary! Will people know what hit them?

    I too thought of that singing frog! :-D

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  12. Denita says:

    I thought of Old Rip, the horny toad here in TX. He eventually died..

  13. schmenz says:

    That missal should have been burned in total on the Monday after the First Sunday in Advent, 1969.

    As for this new version of the new Mass……

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