I have been meaning to sit down and write some posts for the blog, but, professional commitments have prevented me from doing so. Nonetheless, I am grateful to my friend Paco for spurring me on to write, since I did promise to post my Roman Missal rankings as soon as possible.
It was not an easy thing to sort through eight different versions of the Roman Missal. Special thanks does go to "chonak" from the MusicaSacra forum for informing me that WLP is also publishing its own version of the Roman Missal. I had originally reviewed seven, but, the WLP addition bumped the number to eight.
The criteria that I used was based on what had been given in Liturgiam Authenticam:
120. The books from which the liturgical texts are recited in the vernacular with or on behalf of the people should be marked by such a dignity that the exterior appearance of the book itself will lead the faithful to a greater reverence for the word of God and for sacred realities.83
Thus it is necessary as soon as possible to move beyond the temporary phase characterized by leaflets or fascicles, wherever these exist. All books intended for the liturgical use of priest or deacon celebrants are to be of a size sufficient to distinguish them from the books intended for the personal use of the faithful. To be avoided in them is any extravagance which would necessarily lead to costs that would be unaffordable for some. Pictures or images on the cover and in the pages of the book should be characterized by a certain noble simplicity and by the use of only those styles that have a universal and perennial appeal in the cultural context.
The versions that I reviewed came from: Catholic Books, Magnificat, Liturgical Press, Liturgical Training Press, the Catholic Truth Society, the Midwest Theological Forum, the USCCB and WLP. Of these, seven are stateside publishers, while the Catholic Truth Society hails from the United Kingdom.
While price was a very important determining factor, I also looked at the quality of the art as well as the type-set. Here are my rankings:
1. Catholic Truth Society (United Kingdom)
4. Midwest Theological Forum
6. Liturgical Training Publications
7. Catholic Books
8. Liturgical Press
In a subsequent post, I will go into greater detail regarding the reasons behind my rankings. Suffice to say that the CTS artwork, culled from England's rich treasury of Sacred Art, really takes into account the full intention behind Liturgiam Authenticam's mandate. The price is set at $370 for the Altar Missal while the Chapel edition is $185. However, the overall quality of the Roman Missal is superb. The reason why Liturgical Press ranks at the bottom is the lack of quality in the art. The artwork strikes me as too angular, too stark and not at all in keeping with the beauty envisioned by Liturgiam Authenticam.