Thursday, September 04, 2014

A New Proposed Layout for the Roman Missal

The other day, I was browsing through the archives, and I happened across an old post from the then-editor, Shawn Tribe, where he typeset mockups of the new missal (which at that time, was still not in liturgical use) using the traditional typographic design principles that altar missals in the Roman Rite have typically followed (see his full post HERE). Below, I have included examples of his suggested design ideas from his post, and below that, the design of the current missal (not all publishers are the same, but they all follow generally the same design). Admittedly, I have a bias toward traditional things, but I must say, I find the traditional design much, much easier to read, and much more beautiful as well, and notably, much more efficient at using the space on the page. 

Before you think I am coming up with this opinion out of thin air, I act as Master of Ceremonies most weekends in the ordinary form at my parish, which includes, as many of you know, managing the missal for the celebrant, so I am very familiar with the Ordinary Form missal, it's layout, and it's use in the context of an actual Mass, not just in some dry, controlled academic environment.

I'd encourage you to go back to the original post to view his proposal in full to understand some of the rationale behind his design choices, as well as additional choices that he did not display, but may be advantageous to consider. I would assume that as a part of this design, it would also be assumed that neumes would be used for all of the musical notation throughout the missal. I think there is real merit to this design, and I am wondering if it could become a real possibility that an altar missal be released with it, and I would imagine that just among priest-readers of this blog along, perhaps there would be considerable interest.

Does anyone know the steps required for this to happen? Would it need USCCB approval? Would that be difficult, since they are deviating drastically from the standard design? I would be willing to assist in this process in any way I could.

I welcome your thoughts below. Could we make this happen? Could NLM come out with it's own missal, as another one of the CMAA publications?

Here are a few of his design examples for the proposed "traditional typesetting" as well as the current designs of the roman missal currently in use. As always, click to enlarge and view more detail.
One Proposed Missal Design
First words of the Canon, Eucharistic Prayer I
An example of how the proper of time could be formatted
Current missal design

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