“The Sacrifice is celebrated with many solemn rites, none of which should be deemed useless or superfluous. On the contrary, all of them tend to display the majesty of this august sacrifice, and to excite the faithful, when beholding these saving mysteries, to contemplate the divine things which lie concealed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.” — Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566)
It is necessary for the editor of a Traditional Latin hand missal to make many choices. In this article, I shall explain some of the editorial choices made during the creation of the St. Edmund Campion Missal & Hymnal. Considering the renewed interest in the Extraordinary Form, I feel readers might enjoy an article like this.
The Campion Missal was a relatively large project (the pew book alone being 992 pages and the organ accompaniments comprising 762), so even the smallest decision had tremendous ramifications. For instance, should we use the letter “j” or the letter “i” for Latin? Both had advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, the use of “i” was more consistent with Latin spellings in other disciplines and, as a matter of fact, was stipulated [pdf] for official books published after 1961 by the Sacred Congregation of Rites. On the other hand, the Campion Missal was certainly not an official liturgical book, and most traditional missals use the letter “j.” In the end, the letter “j” was chosen, since it helps people unfamiliar with Latin to recognize the meaning of words like “Joseph” and “Jesus” (as opposed to “Ioseph” and “Iesus”).
Even those who attend the Traditional Mass on a regular basis might not be aware of orthographical choices which must be carefully thought through. In English, we know to use “Saviour” in British usage and “Savior” in American usage. But in Latin, it is not always easy to know which form is preferable. For instance, “repulit” and “reppulit” are both acceptable in Latin. “Brachium” or “bracchium” ? “Genitrix” or “genetrix” ? “Eumdem” or “eundem” ? Then, too, one must come to terms with AE, OE, and E. Capitalization and punctuation were subject to great variety (as one might imagine, since ancient Latin uses neither). Great variety also existed with regard to syllabification. To give just one example, some authors break GN, while others consider GN inviolable. As a musician, this was especially difficult for me, because syllabification in the Graduale Romanum is completely different from written Latin. For instance, in the Liber Usualis, “omnium” is divided “o-mni-um,” but written Latin is hyphenated as “om-ni-um.” If these seem to be of minor importance, consider that the very first word of the Communion antiphon for the 4th Sunday after Easter varies from source to source. Some have “Dum venerit Paraclitus” while others have “Cum venerit Paraclitus.” A great deal of time was spent speaking to traditional priests about these issues, and as editor I strove to treat each case with sensitivity. I also spent hours comparing the preferences of different publishers (Schwann, Dessain, Solesmes, Vatican Polyglott, etc.). Above all, we sought consistency, and hope that any errors in this regard will be brought to our attention.
Of course, these orthographical choices are nothing compared to the actual composition of the book itself: what should it contain? Perhaps I can best illustrate by a personal anecdote. For four years, I worked at a major Cathedral with 300+ volunteer singers. As the reader might imagine, my choices were always quite traditional: Mass Propers in Latin, the Gregorian Kyriale, polyphony of Guillaume Du Fay, and so forth. However, printing off xerox copies of the Order of Worship for each Mass was incredibly tedious and almost never satisfactory. I realized the wisdom of that old phrase: “the medium is the message.” In other words, poorly copied xerox handouts were unworthy of the Holy Mass, no matter how beautiful the music printed upon them was. Therefore, I thought it might be quite a powerful thing to create a more worthy printed book for the Traditional Mass communities, which currently rely heavily on photocopies.
Try as I might, I have had limited success in explaining to people what the Campion Missal is all about. Many people still consider it a book for personal use, which is totally fine. However, our book was intended to be a congregational Missal & Hymnal. To my knowledge, no such Missal or Hymnal was available. For instance, the Traditional Roman Hymnal (according to its Preface) was created for use by Religious houses, SATB choirs, Gregorian scholae, and the congregation, and this is reflected in the content. The same is true of Theodore Marier’s Pius X Hymnal (1953). But we wanted to create a book solely for use by the congregation. After all, priests have the Missale Romanum, choirs have the Liber Usualis, and bishops have the Caeremoniale Episcoporum; but the congregation also needs a book so they can follow the advice of Pope Saint Pius X and “pray the Mass” instead of “praying at Mass.” Therefore, all the editorial choices were judged through this prism: “Is this prayer or hymn something the congregation requires to properly assist at Mass?” The 170+ hymns and chants included are all able to be sung well by the congregation.
Some missals contain commentary along with the Ordinarium Missae. The Campion Missal does not, because we feel that commentary: 1.) is often incorrect, imprecise, or becomes outdated; 2.) distracts from praying the Mass; and 3.) needlessly takes up precious space on the page.
Here is a spread from The Ideal Missal (1962) by Fr. Sylvester Juergens:
Several possible criticisms strike me: 1.) One can “see through” the super thin pages [neither beautiful nor durable]; 2.) Drop Caps were not placed with care [collisions on “T” and “M”]; 3.) the font size of this most important part of the Mass is tiny; and 4.) there are massive “chunks” of white space that are being wasted. Let us now examine the commentary on the right side of the page:
Immediately, we read in this commentary, “From all time, the Canon has been recited silently,” which many readers probably know is completely erroneous. As Fortescue says (pp. 325-326, The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, 1912):
All the Canon (except its ekphonesis at the end) is said silently. This is already in Ordo Rom. II; it has been so ever since. It is difficult to say when that custom began or what was its original reason. Undoubtedly during the first three centuries the people heard the consecration-prayer. The fact that the old Roman offertory-prayers are called Secrets because they are not heard shows that there was a time when this was the special note of them alone. The mediaeval and most modern commentators on the Mass find a mystic reason for this. It is done from reverence, to shield the sacred text from the vulgar, because it is a priestly prayer only. On the other hand, it is not easy to see why a silent prayer should be more reverent than one heard; the vulgar are already supposed to be excluded, the faithful who will receive Communion are surely not unworthy to hear the consecration, although they do not join in the priestly prayer. A story is told by John Moschos (d. 619), often repeated, as the reason for our silent Canon, which, were it the true reason, would fix the date of this rule. The story is that some boys in Palestine were playing at church and repeated the words of the anaphora which they had heard, when fire came from heaven, destroyed their altar and nearly killed them. Recovering they told the bishop of the place what had happened; from that time the custom began of saying the consecration prayer silently, to shield it from such profanation. Cardinal Bona, on the other hand, thinks it was not till the Xth century that this custom began. Benedict XIV considers it quite early and connects the silent recitation with the disciplina arcani. This is certainly a wrong idea. The arcanum hid the mysteries from the uninitiated; but at the Liturgy of the Faithful, for that very reason, only the initiated were present. Once more, a man who could receive Communion could hear any prayer. We notice first that to say prayers secretly began as a tendency rather than a rule. In the VIth century the Emperor Justinian I (527-565) published a law commanding bishops and priests to “make the divine oblation and the prayer which is said in holy baptism not secretly, but with a voice that may be heard by the faithful people.” So secret praying had already begun. [Fortescue’s footnotes have been omitted here for want of space.]
As a young altar boy serving at the Traditional Mass, I wondered why sometimes the “Per omnia saecula saeculorum” is said in a loud voice but the rest of the prayer is silent. According to Fr. Jungmann, the concluding “Amen” formerly was said by the people, so after the Canon became silent (over the centuries) they still kept the “Per omnia” audible, so the people could hear their “cue” and respond “Amen.”
Returning to the Commentary mentioned above (“From all time, the Canon has been recited silently”), we saw from Fr. Fortescue this is false. However, for the sake of argument, let us pretend the sentence were true. How many times should one read such commentary? Each time one attends Mass? Surely not. Twice, perhaps? Thrice? Would it not be better to leave such commentary to a separate devotional book? Does it make sense to include it? By the way, a little later, the commentary claims that the initial three Crosses represent “Christ’s betrayal, which was the work of God, of Judas, and of the Jews.” Is this statement, in fact, true? How many priests are aware of this? Let me be blunt: is it not the case that this is actually but one man’s private interpretation of those three Crosses? If so, does its inclusion on pages which will be read and prayed more than any others not elevate it to a status of undeserved importance? There are other criticisms that could be brought up if space allowed. Now, Fr. Juergens’ Missal is hardly alone in providing commentary: as a matter of fact, most missals do. To give one final example of erroneous or outdated commentary, please view the following page from Mass & Vespers (Solesmes, 1957).
What is said about the “three readings” having chants in between them is not the current scholarly consensus (c.f. William Mahrt, The Musical Shape of the Liturgy, pp. 43-44). I am afraid they got caught up in the spirit of the age, which “had all the answers” regarding liturgy. Once scholarly consensus changed, however, the faulty commentary remains, and taints an otherwise beautiful missal.
The Depth of the Mass Prayers & Sacred Scripture
For those who might not be aware, the 1970s ICEL Mass translation of the Novus Ordo was not only wildly inaccurate: it frequently imposed a particular “interpretation” on the prayers (sometimes even a theologically questionable one) due to the “agenda” of the translators. It will be remembered that this was all done prior to ICEL’s complete overhaul by Rome a few years ago. Monsignor Richard J. Schuler (a founding member of the Latin Liturgy Association) was one of many who thoroughly documented ICEL’s actions in the Sacred Music Journal. For instance, here [pdf] is one of his many articles on the subject.
There is actually some irony here. The “traditional” missals achieved great success in part because they provided accurate translations of the Mass prayers. Rather than imposing an “interpretation,” these old hand missals (such as the St. Joseph Daily Missal) “allowed the prayers speak for themselves.” However, by adding copious commentary, such missals ended up falling into the “old ICEL trap” — that is, giving a personal “take” or “interpretation” of the Mass prayers that can never equal the prayers themselves. The prayers of the Mass are akin to Sacred Scripture: incredibly deep, they can be interpreted on many different levels. For myself, every time I read certain Gospel passages, they reveal different “secrets” — but, of course, the Scripture passages have not changed. I am the one who has changed. The same is true of the Holy Mass.
I have already mentioned that “the medium is the message.” Carefully examining some of the early attempts by Catholic publishers, I noticed that “pixelated” (low resolution) artwork had a negative effect on the overall value of the book. Here is an example from the famous “Red Missal”:
I wondered whether we could do better in the year 2013 than publishers could do in the late 1980s, when many of these appeared. Here is an article detailing our efforts at restoring more than 300 line art images for the Campion Missal. Furthermore, we are releasing all these images to the public on our blog.
Different Parts of the Mass
With the various drawings, photographs, decorated letters, and other items, we have attempted to differentiate the various parts of the Mass. In many missals, the entire Mass Ordinary looks identical: the same type, the same Drop Caps, the same spacing, and so on. This can easily lead to misunderstandings. For instance, a Catholic might be led to believe that the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are on the same level as the Roman Canon. The Ideal Missal by Fr. Juergens follows the tradition of many other missals and prints all the Proper (“special”) Prefaces right in the center of the Mass Ordinary:
Therefore, each time one arrives at the Preface, he must turn past thirteen (13) pages to continue on with Mass. As an editor, I placed the “special” Prefaces in a different place, because they are used infrequently. Indeed, some might never be used at all, such as the “Preface for the Dedication of a Church.” Fr. Juergens’ Missal, like so many others, “breaks up” prayers onto different pages (i.e. requires a page turn) and leaves much white space due to the commentary:
The result is very lopsided, whereas I would argue the layout ought to look balanced, just as the Sacred Liturgy is balanced. The 2011 edition of the Adoremus Hymnal takes the same approach as Fr. Juergens regarding wasted “white” space (in my humble opinion):
The Mass Ordinary in the Adoremus Hymnal is a total of 137 pages. From my perspective, such formatting would be unthinkable. After all, just imagine all the noise from people turning 137 pages every Mass! However, these are the choices editors must make, and each choice has advantages and disadvantages. As might be imagined, calculating exactly where each picture, diagram, prayer, Drop Cap, rubric, and so forth would “fall” in the Campion Latin/English Mass Ordinary took many months of painstaking work.
Since we have been discussing layouts, I have included two more (below) mainly because they are interesting from a historical perspective:
Judging by the poor quality of artwork starting to be accepted in 1966, which I personally find disgusting, clever people must have known the Church was in for “rough waters” ahead:
Size of the Book
When I was young, I had excellent eyesight and could read extremely small type. With the passage of time, I have come to realize that “older eyes” appreciate a larger font. No effort was spared to make sure the entire book had the largest possible typeface, and I feel we were quite successful in this area. The challenge was that creating too many pages would create a very heavy book. In the end, our book ended up being more or less the same size as “typical” Catholic hymnals, as the following picture illustrates:
A liturgist whom I respect wrote to me soon after the publication of the Campion Missal saying, “One hundred years after Pius X, you have accomplished what that saintly Pope pined for.” These words moved me deeply, since Pius X is my confirmation saint. I do think it is good to remember what Pius X did for the Church. For centuries, there had been suspicion about publishing vernacular translations of the Mass for the congregation (especially the Canon). For example, in 1661, Alexander VII placed rather strong restrictions on vernacular translations of the Mass. Blessed Pope Pius IX also forbade such translations, but reversed his decision in 1877. On the other hand, vernacular translations (even of the Consecration itself) had always existed in various places, going back at least to the 14th century. Pope Pius X changed all this, and I think he was probably right to do so. One can still see remnants of the hesitancy to translate the most solemn parts of the Mass in remarkable documents like this:
[As a typesetter, I can say that I am always in awe of documents like that 1903 Solesmes one. The painstaking work they put into making the text look beautiful on the page is simply remarkable.]
In conclusion, as editor of the Campion Missal & Hymnal, I felt it was my duty to carefully examine as many hand missals as possible, attempting to improve anything I could, especially by taking advantage of technology available to us in the year 2013. Our prayer is that people who use our book will come to a more profound appreciation of the Holy Mass and a greater love for our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
Jeff Ostrowski lives with his wife and two children in Texas.