Saturday, March 23, 2019

Re re-print: the Parish Ritual

Cross-posted from Rorate Caeli.

Preserving Christian Publications has brought out a beautiful reprint of a book once almost as essential to the work of a priest as the Missal or Breviary: the Parish Ritual.

Published in the USA in 1962, it is the equivalent to the Small Ritual published in England in 1964. It is an extract from the Missal and the Roman Ritual, containing the texts needed by a priest for weddings, baptisms, and funerals, Extreme Unction, receptions of converts, and a large number of blessings (of Rosaries, the Miraculous Medal, Holy Water, etc. etc.), all in a handy format worthy of use in the liturgy itself.


One of the useful features of the book is that although all the Latin texts have a translation on the same page, a clear distinction is made between what, under the rules in force in 1962, must be said in Latin, and what can be said in English.

Preserving Christian Publications has not just scanned in an old copy. The whole book is reset, including the chants where applicable, bound in strong but flexible leatherette, with a reading ribbon and gilt pages, with good quality paper and rounded corners.

Even more important, they have replaced the Pian psalms with the ancient psalter wherever necessary. The Pian Psalter, created by Augusin (later, Cardinal) Bea, was a Latin translation of the Psalter in a supposedly more Classical Latin style. The whole idea was absurd, and unnecessarily distances the user from the words used by the Fathers and Doctors. It was criticised, implicitly, by the Second Vatican Council (for more on all this see here). But it was officially endorsed when it came out in 1945, and started appearing in liturgical books, though never made compulsory in the Office or the Roman Ritual.

In my copy of the Small Ritual the older psalms are given as an option, in an appendix. This is obviously far from convenient, and Preserving Christian Publications has simply put them back into the main text.

This book makes an ideal present for priests. If they are working outside the United States, they will need to be aware of US-specific customs in a few places, but notwithstanding that the book will be useful throughout the English-speaking world.

Since all priests have the right to use the blessings and sacramental forms in this book, it could even be of interest to a priest does does not yet celebrate the Traditional Mass, but would like to put a toe in the water with a legitimate alternative to the much-criticised post Vatican II 'Book of Blessings'.

You can buy it direct from the publishers here or from Amazon.com here.
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