Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Cardinal Schuster’s Masterpiece Back in Print for the First Time in Nearly a Century

I am pleased to share with readers of NLM the excellent news that Arouca Press, a Catholic publisher based in Ontario, has just released an affordable reprint of Cardinal Ildephonse Schuster’s classic commentary on the Roman rite, The Sacramentary, in both paperback and hardcover editions, with discount rates for buying the entire 5-volume set directly from Arouca (US $100 for the complete paperback set, $140 for the hardcover set). As far I have been able to ascertain, Schuster’s work has been out of print since the late 1920s and the early 1930s when it was first published in English translation, and used copies fetch outrageous sums on the used book market. The Arouca edition is a high-quality and crisply legible reproduction of the original, with a new Foreword by NLM’s own Gregory DiPippo, discussing Schuster’s life, career, and publications.

It would be hard to exaggerate the importance and continuing relevance of Schuster’s work. He brings a formidable scholarship, an insightful mind, and a Thomistic clarity to bear on the history and meaning of the elaborate network of signs and symbols that make up the classical Roman rite in its millennial development. One would be hard-pressed to find a work comparable to The Sacramentary in richness of detail. Like all the members of the Liturgical Movement to one degree or another, Schuster sometimes let his theories get the better of him (see herehere, and here for examples), and later wrecking-ball reformers invoked such theories as their warrant. It is all the more important then to bring both the positive contributions and the occasional lapses of this giant figure back into the conversation as we continue to sift through the legacy of the original Liturgical Movement. It deserves to be emphasized that Schuster is, above all, a man of deep prayer and immense love for the liturgy; this radiates from every page, and places him in the company of Dom Guéranger as one from whom tradition-loving Catholics have much to learn today.

A brief synopsis of the contents:

The Sacramentary [Liber Sacramentorum]: Historical and Liturgical Notes on the Roman Missal

Volume I
Part I. Songs of Zion Beside the Waters of Redemption: General Conceptions of Sacred Liturgy
Part II. The Inauguration of the Kingdom of the Messiah
- Introduction
- The Sacred Liturgy from Advent to Septuagesima

Volume II
Part III. The New Testament in the Blood of the Redeemer
- Introduction
- The Sacred Liturgy from Septuagesima to Easter
Part IV. Baptism by the Spirit and by Fire
- Introduction
- The Sacred Liturgy During the Easter Cycle
- Euchological Appendix

Volume III
Part V. The Eternal Nuptials of the Lamb
- Introduction
- The Sacred Liturgy from Trinity Sunday to Advent
- Euchological Appendix
Part VI. The Church Triumphant
- Introduction
- The Feasts of the Saints during the Christmas Cycle

Volume IV
Part VII. The Saints in the Mystery of the Redemption
- Introduction
- The Feasts of the Saints in the Paschal Cycle (March to August)
- Euchological Appendix

Volume V
Part VIII. The Saints in the Mystery of the Redemption
- Introduction
- The Feasts of the Saints from August 14 to November 28
- Euchological Appendix

The paperback and hardcover sets may be ordered here; see here for a listing of individual volumes. The books may also be purchased at Amazon and affiliates.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention how many other fine titles Arouca Press already has in its catalogue. Here’s a sampling:

Of which, particularly notable for NLM readers would be the Patristic Homilies for the Gospels of Sundays and Festivals of the Church Year, organized according to the traditional Roman calendar:

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