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Thursday, December 5, 2013
Book Review: St. Edmund Campion Missal
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I use Grammarly - the best plagiarism checker out there - because a true work of art is truly one-of-a-kind.


Each and everyday countless books are sold in the world and new books are being published for the first time.  With the advent of Lulu.com and other self-publishing platforms, there are thousands of books introduced into the world each year.  For a Catholic trying to navigate the narrow road, he will find many books that are neither beautiful nor spiritually enriching.  And once in a while he will find a book that is either very beautifully designed or one that is truly spiritually enriching and enduring.  It is a gem to find a book that has both characteristics.  I’m glad that I have found such a one in the St. Edmund Campion Missal.

The St. Edmund Campion Missal is more than a standard Missal.  There are plenty of great Missals for the Traditional Latin Mass in the marketplace.  What separates this Missal from other is its sheer beauty. 

The proponents of the Traditional Latin Mass often call it "The Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven."  It's fitting that there is now a Missal that seeks to showcase the beauty of the Mass in the Missal.
Contained in the Missal is over 75 traditional line art illustrations collected from a special Benedictine archive and carefully digitally-enhanced. The pictures were carefully placed according to the liturgical year and feast within the Missal.  [Sample]

Yet most is most striking is the stunningly beautiful step-by-step photos of the Mass.  Where most missals fall short is clearly showing the steps of the Mass.  And if they are shown, they are usually tailored either to the Low Mass or to the Solemn  High Mass.  The St. Edmund Campion Missal does most. Some of these photos are included in the CatechismClass.com Course on the Mass.

As the publisher states: "A distinguishing feature of our book is the inclusion of the complete Ordo Missae for both Solemn and Low Mass, along with 100+ color photographs, made possible by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, to help the congregation follow the prayers and ceremonies. All vestments used were 200+ years old."

For those concerned with the music included in the Missal, this is a gem indeed.  Again from the publisher: "For the first time since the 1950s, all eighteen Gregorian chant Masses from the Kyriale (Vatican Edition with Solesmes rythmic signs) and all six versions of the Credo have been carefully typeset and printed in a book for the congregation. The scores are presented in a large size, to facilitate congregational singing, and they are printed with amazing precision and clarity."  In addition, the Missal contains 150 elegant, enduring, traditional, Catholic hymns in English for the congregation.


For those who know me, I do not assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the same location each week.  I am known to alternate between a few locations: two served by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, one by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, one by the Society of St. Pius X, and a Byzantine Divine Liturgy Parish. 

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter recently moved into St. Joseph's Church in the area and it was there that I came in contact with the St. Edmund Campion Missal.  In this case, the parish was given by the Diocese to the Fraternity and the congregation was undergoing a great change.  The Missal undoubtedly has helped the remaining members of the parish to familiarize themselves with the Traditional Mass, understand it, and love it. 

Simply put, this Missal is a must-have.  It is a work of art and deserving to be used for decades by its owner. This is a book that will proudly sit on my shelf next to the Sacred Scriptures.

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