Which traditional Catholic Missal is the best Latin Mass Missal?
These four all generally have used the Douay-Rheims Bible wherever they quote the Bible. Check yours. A good one will use the Douay-Rheims Bible whether it is a Sunday Missal or a Daily Missal.
Think about it. What sense does it make to use an old Missal with new Bible quotes? None.
Being the first Biblical "thought for the day" book, the Missal has scripture readings for every day through the year. It may well be the dearest book you will ever own. Mine is. In general, the Missal is the most used book at our house for sure.
Jump to these sections below for ideas about choosing a Missal:
It depends on which Mass you attend. (I know. That's an awful statement about "the" Mass).
The New Marian Missal, enjoys the most popular support and has the most versions in print. Both the Baronius Press version and the Angelus Press versions of the 1962 Catholic Missal use the New Marian. All three use the Douay Bible for the Sunday and Daily Propers. You will be able to follow along quite well at Fraternal Society of Saint Pius X (FSSPX), Fraternal Society of Saint Peter (FSSP), and other traditional Latin Masses with these books.
Where it gets tricky:
What's the main difference between traditional Missals?
The main difference with the older Missals is that, as early as 1948, Bugnini was busy removing many readings from the Proper of the Day and many ceremonies from the newer and newer Missals. If you own an older Missal, you'll have the right prayers; but you'll have to hop through some - especially during Holy Week because Bugnini and his buddies were busy removing as many prayers as they could as quickly as they could.
In effect, the "official" 1962 is not much different from the 1956 or 1958 versions.
For twenty years an old Missal (1953?) was all that I had had. It had been a gift from my parents, thank God; so I simply learned to navigate through the extra prayers when a priest was using a newer Missal. If I was at a sung Mass I had time to read the extra prayers, which is wonderful! Otherwise, it's fairly simple to skip to wherever the priest is reading if you pay attention to the first words of the next Latin prayer or if you look for proper nouns with their revealing capital letters.
The old New Marian, Lasance, and St. Andrew Missals were wonderful, and the reprints have near zero changes from the versions reprinted from the 1940s and 1950s. The pictures, or images, are lovely and instructive. The Lasance is particularly excellent for boys who want to be altar boys because the pictures in the Ordinary of the Mass show the main action of the server at the correct moments.
Still wondering which Missal to use?
Ask your priest which Missal he uses or recommends so that you can make your decision better. If you go to different Masses due to travel, etc., you might want an older Missal so you would have all, or more, of the prayers. In this case you would not have some of the 1962 (or 1970?!) feast days - I'm not sure which ones these would have been but I think that there are a few like Mother Cabrini's feast day which before 1970 was on the date she died or entered Heaven, December 22. The 1970 calendar moved the date to November 13. I have no idea why. Nor do I know why a "1962" book would use an element from the 1970 Liturgical Calendar.
The main time the different calendars would be a challenge is for daily Masses, or the temporal cycle with its feast days as with St. Frances Cabrini's feast day. If you know the old date you're set; if there is no Mass proper use one of the Common Propers to have most of the prayers. This way, if you already have an older book, you won't need to buy a new version. (It would be a huge study to keep track of the date changes throughout these many years.)
The specifically "1962" Missals with the Douay scripture quotes are the Baronius and the Angelus versions. I share some comparisons between these Missals below.
You'll want to find a Catholic Missal that has a good translation of the Ordinary which is the part often found in the center of a Catholic Missal that is said for every Mass, both Sundays and weekdays.
A clue to a good Ordinary translation is the Judica me, the first prayer. The Douay uses:
If the text reads otherwise, try to source whence it came. Hint: It's likely to be a 1940s Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) or New American Bible (NAB) translation.
Why does the translation matter?
The Catholic Mass encompasses all the basic Catholic beliefs. "Lex orandi, Lex credendi." We believe what we pray, so it is important to buy a Missal that teaches the Catholic Faith using Catholic terms. The Bible is a huge source of what we believe. Beware versions that use unisex language and paraphrases like the CCD and NAB.
There are so many old Missals that it is super hard to compare them all. Even in different editions of the same version there are many un-documented changes. The best place to start is to determine which Bible was used and if the Ordinary prayers are good.
Now to add to this difficulty. Try helping different children with different Missals! 'Kind of tricky. . . . Here are some suggestions:
First, let's talk about finding a child's Catholic Missal. There are many and they often have a child's version of the Ordinary.
What I like about My Mass Book as published by Neumann Press is that the one published in the 1990s had the exact same English prayers as the adult Missal.
You'll love this book as it skips the fluff in other books. I hope that current or future editions remain the same.
My Mass Book was an excellent book for boys hoping to become altar servers because they could see what the priest and altar boys are doing in the pictures. The pictures help them see and follow the Mass.
During Mass the children often cannot see over adults to see what is happening, yet when they hear the bell they could go to the picture of the server ringing the bell.
Also, the pictures are fairly well spaced for matching the speed at which a priest goes through a Low Mass.
One drawback is that My Mass Book can be a bit long lengthwise when shorter children are kneeling as the book hits the pew in front of them; yet the better text was worth it for our family.
You may like giving your children a smaller book till the time when they can handle a larger "real" Missal and they are better ready to read the text.
TAN Books now sells My Mass Book by Neumann Press at Amazon.
The Fr. Lasance Missal is an excellent Catholic book for children due to the wonderful pictures of the Mass, although it is best for older children who can handle a nearly Bible sized book. See its description below.
My first experience using a Missal was with a New Marian Daily Missal.
It remains my favorite, because it uses the Douay translation, has beautiful prayers, and is easy to read - especially for sung Masses or dialog Masses. The Gloria and Credo are easy to "answer" in the New Marian and Baronius as the phrases are divided in the correct places. The St. Andrew and Lasance do not have this format because it is new for the Catholic laity to sing or dialog the Mass responses.
When I first read the opening prayer, "Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man." I was in love with the Mass. My heart rejoiced, "This is beautiful!" For years it was the line I used to judge whether a Missal was good or not. Some newer versions' text reads like a spoiled brat wrote the paraphrase, "Do me justice...."
I find that the New Marian Missal has as good or better a layout than the Lasance, is much easier to hold, and does not have some of the changes that the Angelus Press version has. Catholic Free Shipping and Loreto Publications have been alternative sources for the New Marian, too. Just recently in 2019 I was able to buy a nearly unused copy for half the price of a new Missal. Keep searching! :-)
Other features of the New Marian are:
I have used all of the above Missals and treasure the New Marian Missal most. The oldest one we own is an early 1950s version. I would love to have the original 1947 New Marian Missal from before Bugnini's 1948 changes. I hope these notes help you to find one.
There are many reprints and publications of The New Marian Missal, so shop around and keep the observations from this page in mind.
The New Roman Missal by Fr. Lasance that I own is a reprint of a 1945 Catholic Missal by Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance and has wonderful prayers in the back. Some of my favorite features are that it uses:
A major consideration, though, is how heavy the book is. It is also so large that it can be hard for small children and oldsters to handle. For those of us in between, it is an excellent choice in spite of being a bit awkward.
You can buy the Lasance Missal at Amazon.
Refuge of Sinners publishing has a version, too.
Winter 2019: A reader was kind to write to let me know that Amazon was out of Lasance Missals. I was glad she wrote. A very popular blogger (Dr. Taylor Marshall) promoted it recently which is possibly why there's been a rush of people buying the Lasance Missal.
I've spent quite a bit of time searching the internet and am finding that it is sold out in over five regular places outside Amazon and Ebay (OLVS, St. Bonaventure, El Camino Real, and others).
I am seeing that the publisher expects to publish it again soon, so I think you'll be able to get the Lasance soon.
Spring 2019: Yea! It's back in publication.
The Baronius Press Catholic Missal uses a similar text as above. It is based on the New Marian Missal by Sylvester Juergens, S. M.
Baronius newly added the Kyriale in the back as the congregation had not joined in singing the Liturgical hymns until the days of the Dialog Mass in the 1940s.
One thing you'll really like is the soft thin ribbons as they are not so likely to cut your pages as quickly as the thicker ribbons of most newly published Missals - especially if you use a Missal cover that zips tightly.
You can buy the Baronius Missal at Amazon.
What's nice for gifts is that Baronius offers both black and white Missals. The white is especially nice for girls and as First Communion, Confirmation, and wedding gifts.
Angelus Press' Catholic Missal also uses what used to be in the 1940s and 50s The New Marian Missal by Sylvester Juergens, S. M.
Again, like the Baronius, Angelus Press added the Kyriale to the back pages and is very similar to the Baronius (above).
In comparison, I think that the current publication has a nice binding that makes it easy to handle at Mass.
I would prefer that they would have put the English translation on the outside because it is harder to read down in the spline of the book. Perhaps it is designed for priests and religious who may appreciate the Latin being easier to read.
The same goes for the Ordinary. They could have put the commentary in the center leaving the prayers easier to read and to pray.
More importantly, there are surprising changes as in the rubrical notes in the first pages of the Mass and other places as compared to the 1953 Juergens version (see below):
Anyway, these are just some things to consider if you buy the Angelus 1962 Catholic Missal at Amazon.
You'll want to protect your investment in your Catholic Missal. How?
The Sisters who taught our children recommended that we use Missal covers on the children's Missals and we are so glad we followed their advice. Covers help protect from water damage and breakage.
Hint: Be sure to give the ladies the exact measurements of your particular Missal, as the Missal companies change sizes from year to year and different publishers' Missal versions are sized differently.
We are so glad we listened to the Sisters because our Missals are lasting through years of sometimes daily use.
Another benefit is that differently colored covers help each of us find our own as we get ready for Mass. Here are my favorites:
If you find these old Catholic Missals online, or at bookstores, thrift shops, and yard sales; you'll be glad to know that they have the Douay Bible references, too. They're full of wonderful pictures, timely quotes, and descriptions of the Mass ceremonies.
These are getting harder to find every day, but you might be able to find them at a more discounted price than before the publishers began publishing Missals.
The Saint Andrew Daily Missal from 1945 by Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, was a staple amongst traditional Catholics for many years until publishers began re-typesetting Missals in the 1990s.
You'll love their guarantee for the sake of certitude:
"Please note, when we reprint a book, the content of the book is unchanged, it is printed exactly as it was when originally printed. The only change we make is the first page, which contains our publishing information."
Do beware that there are at least two versions of the St. Andrew's Missal:
The Missal in the pictures above used the Douay translation, which is why it has been so well trusted. It has:
You might prefer the newer Missals as there is a lot of page turning between Propers in this book as not all of the Epistles and Gospels are spelled out for each day. This is very confusing for younger children and can be noisy in church. Not to mention that some of the feasts are different.
The Saint Andrew Daily Missal is still in publication by St. Bonaventure Publications at Libers.com.
Here's an oldie but goodie: The New Marian Missal For Daily Mass was first published in 1947 and bears a 1953 Imprimatur by Frances Cardinal Spellman.
You might want to peruse the interior pages before you buy a Missal, so I have included pictures below. The first one is a photo of an actual old Catholic Missal (1953). You can click on the small Missal images to go to a gallery of large photos.
Most of the daily Missals on this page have similar features. A Missal for children or a Sunday Missal will not have the daily propers. For adults I recommend the larger daily Missals as, even though you might only go to Mass on Sundays now, you might someday have the opportunity to go more often. Retirement anyone?
On many days there are several choices for the daily readings (Proper of the Season or the saints feast days) depending whether the day is in a season like
Latin Mass Missals help you follow the Mass and they sometimes explain the Liturgy. They usually have the main Catholic prayers. You can also learn about the holy days and the feast days. Some even include short Lives of the Saints.
What's wonderful is that you can use these Missals year after year as the traditional Liturgical Calendar does not change much. Certainly no figuring whether you're on Year A, B, or C.
A Missal is also an excellent Confirmation gift for children who are old enough to have the responsibility of using such an important book, and for converts who are entering the Church as adults.
If you're comparing Missals, you can find the widest selection at Amazon including the 1945 Fr. Lasance New Roman Catholic Missal, The New Marian Daily Missal, and the 1962 Baronius and Angelus Missals. Each of them is a Daily Missal and has the info you would want in a Sunday Missal because it is a subset of the daily.
Finding the best Catholic Missal, a Daily Missal, Sunday Missal, or 1962 Missal, can be a real trick since most publishers or bookstores do not sell a variety of Missals. They find a version they like, usually the best that they could find, and they print a reproduction of it.
Then they want to recoup their money.
Are you choosy?
As long as they printed the prayers and readings intact there are several easy litmus test questions to consider in selecting a Catholic Missal (there's no way to catch all the revisions, omissions, and insertions - someone would have to fess up or two astute proof readers would have to compare the texts of thousands of pages):
See more on these issues below:
The Vulgate by St. Jerome is still the only "official" Catholic Bible. The Douay-Rheims version is the closest version in English and it's been in use for centuries and was the only "version" till the 1930s and 40s.
There are many places where paraphrased Bible versions like the Confraternity version (Confraternity for Christian Doctrine, CCD) contradict or diminish the words' meanings from the readings in the Douay. Comparing Bible verses is a helpful test in finding a good Missal (or Lectionary for that matter).
The Douay-Rheims Bible uses the word "man" in the classic manner meaning the universal "mankind" (which includes all those with an intellect or will: young or old, male or female, propertied or not, etc.).
The Catechism of the Bible says that the Latin variation of a word should be retained in the Bible rather than an Anglicization, for example:
The easiest Bible verse to find is the first prayer of the Mass. Check it to compare.
If one can prove there is no change in meaning in the second, one cannot prove that the demeanor of it is more humble. The better translation retains the Catholic disposition in a petition and offers a better reading experience through the year.
Keep these thoughts in mind as you search the Missal prayers to weigh which has the better version.
Another Missal prayer to check is the The Prayer before a Crucifix. The Fr. Lasance Catholic Missal uses the better word contrition instead of repentance as found in some Missals.
The Adoro Te Devote by St. Thomas Aquinas as found on the Feast of Corpus Christi is another good place to look. Some versions use more sensual words in the prayers.
If the words of the prayers betray the sense of the Faith, beware the book.
This is one reason it is so important to learn the best Catholic answers to the catechism. We need to have a way to tell the good books from the bad and the catechism is the best place to start.
The catechism teaches the Apostle's Creed, the Sacraments, the Catholic Ten Commandments and the virtues. If the sense of a text concurs with these then you can have more certitude that the Missal teaches the Faith and prayers well.
Many times a book that is published by a well financed institutional publisher uses poor artwork. Be on your guard. This is a red flag waving.
Haggard or ugly faces, magic-marker art, or indecent and unusual presentations that distort the Catholic message in the picture, usually indicate a lack of discernment, or a deliberate misstatement about the Faith on the publisher's part. [I don't mean those publishers who are struggling to revive the Faith who in good faith did not know that there is a wealth of Catholic art now in the public domain.]
It is well known that there are publishers who have purposely published bad books, and often times bad artwork is a red flag waving to help you discern.
A new trick since the turn of this century is to restore some Catholic elements while removing others. This is exhausting. To wit: the old, the medium, and the new Confiteor - in English, of course.
A Catholic Missal uses:
Truth is the most important thing to consider. Truth first. Do the words themselves reflect the Word of God, or are they paraphrases?
Translations of prayers in a good Catholic Missal do have some room for legitimate variety, especially if the translator comes from a different country, for example: England, France, Germany or Spain.
You'll probably agree that there is no room for purposefully different "versions".
See my list of red-flag catechism sightings to see how "minor" revisions and omissions are not required by law to be marked or to have the copyright and publication information changed. In this day of easy electronic manipulation one needs to be able to compare against the standard of Catholic principles: truth, beauty, modesty (in words as well as in images).
Here's an interesting overview of Dr. Marshall's reason for preferring a Fr. Lasance Missal to the Angelus. He acknowledges that the Lasance is not updated, but shows that it's not too hard to stay with the priest on most days.
Keep true Catholic principles in mind when you're searching for a Catholic Missal.
Then say a prayer to Saint Anthony. :-)
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