Monday, July 12, 2021

First Issue of Sophia Press’ Benedictus (August 2021) Now Available

A surprise greeted me in my mailbox last week on July 7 (an auspicious date, to be sure): the first-ever full issue of Benedictus, the new daily Latin Mass companion published by Sophia Institute Press. This issue covers the whole month of August. Readers may recall that this initiative was announced at NLM on February 10.

My hopes were already high, given the short sample that was mailed out during Lent and the detailed advertising, but I have to say that the first issue exceeds all my expectations. It is an absolutely gorgeous publication. I will share now some photos along with brief comments. (If any of the images are blurry, that’s the fault of my bucket-o’-bolts camera; make due allowances.)

For the sake of scale (it’s a compact book that would fit in a purse or a jacket pocket, but not a pants pocket; a bit larger than Magnificat):

The two-tone artwork (black and gold) with gray shading is more elegant by far than anything I’ve seen in a missallette like this; the layout is handsome, the font easy on the eye; the meditations and features are exquisitely chosen from traditional sources, which will be one of the great benefits Benedictus bestows on its users.

First, for the layout of the Order of Mass, which is repeated with full Propers and Ordinary for each Sunday and Holy Day (so, no page turns in those cases):

Well-chosen artwork complements the texts:

All the Commemorations are in place, as here with the Commemoration of St. Romanus: 

The meditations and commentaries are drawn from a wide variety of sound traditional writers:

Dom Prosper Guéranger on St. Lawrence

Pope Pius XII on the Assumption

Fr James Meagher, Teaching Truth by Signs and Ceremonies (1882)

Fr Francis X. Weiser, Religious Customs in the Family (1956)

The index at the back indicates in order the sources of the meditations and commentaries, with their publication data for those who may wish to follow up. We see in this inaugural issue a good many saints: Francis de Sales, Pius X, Alphonsus Liguori, Gregory Nazianzen, Louis de Montfort, John Henry Newman, Thomas Aquinas, Gregory the Great, Clare of Assisi, Bede the Venerable, John Eudes, Bernard of Clairvaux, Jane Frances de Chantal, Theophylact, and Augustine. They are joined by others: Dom Guéranger, Frederick Faber, Bede Jarrett, Patrick Augustine Sheehan, Nathaniel Bacon, André Jean Hamon, Bruno Vercruysse, Eleanor Downing, Ildefonso Schuster, Louis De Goesbriand, James Meagher, John Shea, Alban Butler, Leonard Goffine, Pierre Chaignon, Benedict Baur, John Procter, Francis X. Weiser, and Eugene Boylan.

Each issue is rounded out with a selection of popular Votive Masses, e.g., that of the Sacred Heart:
On days when there is no saint, a simple Feria repeats in English the Propers of the preceding Sunday, with a note directing the reader to the Votive Mass section as an alternative. Masses pro aliquibus locis will be handled in the same way. The goal is to provide a handy reference that will cover 99% of the situations likely to arise.

I am told that Sophia has by now over 8,000 subscriptions, well beyond the minimum 5,000 that they needed for a successful launch of the publication. However, if you haven’t subscribed yet, give it serious consideration. For $5 per month, you can get a nearly 400-page guide for yourself, a spouse or child or other relative; it can be primarily for use in church or for your prayer and spiritual reading and/or devotions at home, etc. (particularly in situations where a daily TLM is unavailable or practically impossible).

For full disclosure, I’m not paid anything to promote Benedictus; I’m just gushing with my own enthusiasm. This is a first-class resource for which we have been waiting a long time, and it arrives at exactly the right time. When people ask me, “What do you think about the upcoming restrictions on the Latin Mass?,” I want to reply, “Vatican Shmatican. We keep praying as our forefathers prayed, and we pay no heed to the dying modernists.” That’s the way forward: the way of tradition. Benedictus is yet another beautiful sign of the burgeoning vitality and institutional permanence of the classical Roman Rite.

To subscribe, visit the Benedictus website.

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