Pope John Sunday Missal, edited by Mgr Michael Buckley (Kevin Mayhew, £4.50) Even to give an adequate description of this missal would go beyond the limits set for this review. Briefly, it consists of 55 pages of introduction under 10 headings — the Solemnities, Feasts and Sunday Masses for all three years, the Ordinary of the Mass with the Eucharistic Prayers, prefwes and blessings, and a long final section called "Prayers and Devotions". In addition, there are further introductions to the principal seasons and feasts of the year and before each Mass a paragraph of catechesis. In short, no effort has been spared to make the celebration of the Mass both intelligible and prayerful.
The first block of introductory materials deals with the Christian Life, the Sacraments, Liturgy and Renewal, Liturgical Symbols and the Liturgical Year, and, as the title of the first section indicates, it is concerned with Christian living and the liturgy as the means of living the Christian life.
The general quality is good and the editor makes a good use of Holy Scripture and the documents of Vatican II. Quite consciousl, he is aiming at the reconciliation of those who have been disturbed by the "new" liturgy, a sentiment that is echoed by Cardinal Hume in his foreword: "By thus renewing the hallowed and hallowing the new, the Pope John Sunday Mhsal should become . . . a vehicle of reconciliation.
Yet this section is rather long and there are certain repetitions which could have been avoided by a better organisation of the material. Even so, there are one or two omissions: the very important gesture of the laying on of hands is omitted from "Liturgical Symbols" and the Divine Office or Prayer of the
Church deserves more than one en passant remark. The mystery of Christ as celebrated in
the Liturgical Year receives insufficient emphasis.
Liturgically speaking, the layout of the book is very satisfactory, the sense and relative importance of the different parts of the liturgy being indicated by differing type-faces, the use of red and black print and other divices. The appearance of the page is very pleasing, the black being really black, and if the print is very small it is very legible.
The translation is that of ICEL (and for the readings that of the Jerusalem Bible) and it should be noted that the alternative collects of the ICEL missal are included. No doubt opinions will differ about the illustrations; in reproduction they appear to be rather smudgy. The final section consists of prayers drawn from a great variety of sources, Jewish (psalms — but why the Jerusalem Bible translation here with its "Yahweh"?), Christian and nonChristian, Catholic, Anglican and others.
The traditional "Devotions" are here (and the editor is to be commended for including the text of the "Hail Mary") and should reassure those who thought that the Church had abolished them!
Altogether one feels that this book justifies its sub-title "a Treasury of Catholic Sprituality", and it should prove to be a valuable instrument in praying the liturgy.
.1. D. Crichton