The Modern Roman Missal Traditionally Typeset and Laid Out

Have you ever wondered what a modern Roman missal would look like if it was traditionally typeset in the tradition of the Latin rite missals of old? Being one who is quite interested in book binding and typography I was and when the new English translation of the Missale Romanum was being readied for release some seven years ago, I set out to consider that very question.

I thought it would be interesting to revive my little proposal here on LAJ as many readers today will no doubt have never seen it -- and yet I am sure it will be of interest, at least in principle.

The focus of the original proposal was on the internal layout of the Missal. The design took its inspiration from the traditional layout of Latin rite Missals, applied to the liturgical books of the modern Roman missal. The idea was continuity with the missal tradition but also beautification more generally.

At the time I pointed out that this type of designed would result in a more economic use of the printed page and less page turning on the part of the priest. The design included drop capitals, page borders, full page plates as well as smaller header plates. While not pursuing it in my design (as I was trying to keep the proposal as close as possible to what was actually being released by ICEL) I also suggested the inclusion of the Latin texts in parallel to the English would be advantageous -- and that the double column layout would more practically permit this.

For anyone wondering, such design choices cannot simply be made by a publisher; they would require formal approval from the appropriate ecclesiastical bodies. Still, even after all these years, I continue to think that this design proposal has merit.

By way of comparison, the following is an example of the typesetting of the modern Roman missal as it stands today:

The complete version of my original 2011 proposal can be viewed here:

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