6 June 2011

Is this book authorised for liturgical use?

There seems to be a lot of excitement abroad about Biretta Books' newly published Canticum Clericorum Romanorum which contains the Epistles, Gospels and orations for Sundays and major feasts in chant notation. What has appeared is volume I. Details of "further volumes" seem a bit unclear.

Sure, this is a good new resource. Those responsible have produced a useful and very good looking book.

It might have been a good idea to think a bit more before publishing it though. After all, it is a bit hard to give the subdeacon the book containing the Epistle during the conclusion of the collect when the celebrant is singing the collect from the book containing the Epistle. Or is that why there is a discount for two copies? But buying two copies of this and of the "addtional volumes to be released" might get a little expensive.

No, Biretta Books would have done better to put all the orations in one volume and all the Epistles and Gospels in another. Maybe they would have had to wait a little longer, but the result would have been better, and less expensive.

It might also have been useful for them to have checked the Code of Canon Law. You can't just publish a book for liturgical use without auhorisation. Whose authorisation is needed is a good question: probably that of the Ecclesia Dei Commission. So where is the book's authorisation, its imprimatur or concordat cum originali or whatever the relevent approbation is? Seems as if Biretta Books was in a bit too much of a hurry to publish to follow proper procedure.

Without authorisation, folks, Canticum Clericorum Romanorum probably ain't allowed for liturgical use. Better save your money until they've put all the orations and Epistles and Gospels into sensible volumes, and submitted them for approval. Let's hope they do this quickly. Then they will have done something great in honour of the Sacred Liturgy.


  1. It would make even more sense to put the Epistles and Gospels in separate volumes, and leave the collects in the Altar Missal. Since the Gospel book is carried to the place where it is sung, why should the Epistles be bound with it?
    That is the way it is done in the Eastern Rite: Apostolos (epistle) and Evangelion (Gospel) are bound separately. Makes sense to me, even though I'm Orthodox.

    rdr. James Morgan

  2. This book is a beautiful repackaging of Mr. Michel Ozorak's Chant Sheets, which have been available on-line for a few years at http://www.windsorlatinmass.org/latin/chant.htm

    The deacon and subdeacon could use the book, while separate Chant Sheets from our web site are pasted into the altar missal.

    The realities of a limited market and the cost of producing such a book prevented the creation of separate volumes. We are grateful that the Society of St. John Canties thought enough of this work to do what they have.

    As for authorization, as one of the collaborators on this project and the creator of the Propers Handouts that are also on our web site, I can assure you that the quality of proofreading of both the Chant Sheets and the Propers Handouts exceeds that of any altar missal or hand missal we have seen. Authorization would indeed be a nice thing, and perhaps it will be obtained down the road, but accuracy has its own merits, and that has been accomplished to a level not yet seen in any authorized books.

  3. "Authorization would indeed be a nice thing, and perhaps it will be obtained down the road..."

    Sorry but that attitude is just not good enough and it is certainly not the stance of a Catholic faithful to the tradition. Authorisation is neccessary, not "a nice thing" that is optional, even if the product is perfect.

  4. I agree with the caveats presented by the owner of this Blog. This book is NOT approved for liturgical use and its degree of accuracy is certainly no justification for not waiting to obtain permission for its publication. There is no permission whatever to produce a book for use at the altar, other than the Altar Missal.

    And is it not quite impractical to have to change the books at the Collect and Postcommunio in order to have a notated book placed before the celebrant? This is not admitted by the rubrics. As for pasting notation into the Altar Missal, as Alex B suggests, what an unworthy treatment of a Liturgical Book that would be!

    I have read the excited reviews about this book with scepticism. It is not so difficult to learn the paradigms and sing them, as has been done for hundreds of years. A well-produced notated Book of Gospels would have been a worthy project. But here we have another book which combines both Epistles and Gospels: utility being a substitute for the great Symbolism of a Book of the Gospels, traditional in the East and the West.

    No thank you.

    What would have been quite useful is if the publishers of this work had produced a book the size of the Liber Usualis, which ministers could practice the Chants with, but NOT use during Mass.

    Catholic Voice.

  5. Some people will never be satisfied ... As far as I can see, if the texts are faithful to those found in the Altar Missal, and the melodies are authentic, then this is ipso facto ecclesiastical approbation. It seems to me, that Charity, understanding, thankfulness, and truth to the spirit rather than to the letter of the aw, are the true stance of a Catholic faithful to Tradition ...

  6. wow , cranky people

    the book will work fine for those who use it to practice .

    if as the clergy use this text at mass for a few months until they grow accustomed to these chants , few canonists would be alarmed

    the lack of gratitude for those who worked so carefully is striking and discouraging .

    as the young people say " get a life "

  7. So Albertus and Anonymous 7/13, Canon Law counts for nothing?