by Jeffrey Mark Ostrowski
A grown tree looks different from a seedling yet remains the same tree. Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, there have been developments, but the fundamental dogmas never change. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us in a 2003 interview (without a translator): "We are today not another Church as five hundred years ago. It is always the same the Church. What is one time holy for the Church is always holy for the Church and is not in another time an impossible thing." Four years later, in the letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict echoed his earlier statement: "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful."
The Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566) had this to say about the ceremonies of the Mass: "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."
It can be difficult for those of us living in the year 2013 to understand the precise way our ancestors in the faith participated in the Latin Mass. The Romance languages underwent long periods of development and instability. Latin, on the other hand, was quite stable and allowed priests from all over the world to communicate with ease. Furthermore, its clarity was helpful in codifying precise doctrinal statements. It might be helpful to remember that any literate man in the middle ages could read Latin. If a man could not read Latin, he could not read at all. Around the time of the Council of Trent, the Church had certain concerns about vernacular translations of the Roman Canon. As Fr. Giles Dimock, O.P., has written: "The Tridentine Fathers encouraged the printing of prayer books to follow the Mass as long as the canon was not printed." A century later, in 1661, Alexander VII would place rather strong restrictions on vernacular translations of the Mass, presumably out of a sense of reverence for the most sacred Canon (c.f. Joseph Jungmann, Missarum Sollemnia, Vol. I, 143).
On the other hand, Jungmann cites numerous early vernacular translations, such as Burchard's Order of Mass (1502) and a handbook on how to properly assist at Mass by Volusius (1660). He continues (p. 143): "Even in the late Middle Ages, translations of the missal, with or without the canon, appeared. Vehlen, p. 89, mentions two manuscripts and one printed translation from the century before Trent. The little exposition of the Mass published in 1480, Messen singen oder lesen, included the canon; later editions left out just the words of consecration." Many readers know that as time went on a desire arose for the congregation to participate with ever greater understanding at Mass, and Pope Saint Pius X was a major catalyst. This is generally referred to as "The Liturgical Movement."
It always struck me as odd that in the 21st century, with so many advances in technology, we could not do a better job of presenting participation materials for Catholics attending the Extraordinary Form. For this reason, Corpus Christi Watershed created the St. Edmund Campion Missal & Hymnal for the Traditional Latin Mass (ccwatershed.org/Campion).
We are grateful to our Saviour, because so far the reactions to our book have been overwhelmingly positive. As a matter of fact, we have received literally hundreds of encouraging comments. Here are a few examples:
"Greetings! About a week ago, I took a chance and ordered the St. Edmund Campion Missal & Hymnal. I say, 'took a chance' because I couldn't imagine how it was possible to produce a book of this length for such a ridiculously affordable price, let alone one that would prove to be so well-made, sturdy and, most of all, beautiful! Your choice of a clear, large font is sure to make many an eye grateful! Thank you so much for all you do!" (Portland, Oregon)
"I had a lovely surprise last week when a friend of mine gave me a copy. It's a wonderful book, so beautiful to behold, a real labour of love and faith. Many congratulations on such an incredible achievement: you have given the Church a great gift." (England)
"We used it for the first time on the First Sunday in Lent; a wonderful expericence for all. Everything was sung from it. Asperges, Mass XVII first Kyrie, Credo IV, Throughout These Forty Days, Attende Domine, Parce Domine, Ave Regina Caelorum, Forty Days and Forty Nights. Thank you for this!" (Canada)
"I have just received your beautiful St Edmund Campion Missal. Sincere congratulations on a magnificent book. How you have produced this Missal at the price you are asking is beyond me. Best wishes!" (New Zealand)
"Got the hymnal. Just fabulous! And what a bargain. I'm putting an announcement in the bulletin and will mention it from the pulpit. A great achievement. God bless." (Rev. Fr. M.)
"I just received my two copies of this amazing and beautiful Missal & Hymnal. Every Roman Catholic should have the opportunity to experience the Mass in its Extraordinary Form, particularly a High Mass. This book not only allows the congregation to fully participate in the Extraordinary Form, it will make visitors feel less intimidated and learn about the rich legacy of their tradition." (R.G.)
The Campion Missal & Hymnal was designed for use by congregations, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of individuals who have purchased it for personal use. People have also written to us claiming the Campion Missal is a wonderful way to "evangelize" with regard to the Extraordinary Form. Not a few Churches have purchased additional copies for their bookstores and report that almost immediately they have completely sold out. A priest from another country told me, "Your book is so beautiful, it would be an insult to the contents to sell it for less than $50.00 each." He then ordered a whole bunch of copies and payed $50.00 each (instead of $17.99) because he insisted that anything less would be an insult. We've also had reports that people find the books so beautiful they are stealing them from the pews . . . but I'm never quite sure what to say about those instances!