Review of the Liturgical Press Roman Missal
The new Roman Missals for the altar have started to arrive so as we unpack them we're writing reviews of each one so you can decide which one you really want to get. We have also created a Roman Missal comparison chart that lists EVERY available altar missal and the major features of each. We don't have all the information yet but as the missals arrive we are filling in the blanks.
Liturgical Press has been publishing ritual books and other worship resources for several decades. The ritual books have always had a distinct 1970's styling that they unfortunately have not broken away from with their new altar missal.
To start this review I have to say that as a bookstore I was very happy that the book ships in its own box. Some of the missals we have received only get shrink wrap for protection.
Upon opening the box we were greeted with an...icon? I assume that it is Christ the King but several people commented that it looks like a monkey.
The book appears to be well-bound and the gilding is nice. I also was happy with the size of the tabs. Even on the chapel edition they are large enough to actually use. One of the other missals from a different publisher has tabs that are ridiculously small on the chapel size.
Turning to the inside cover we were greeted with a 1970's stylized Benedictine cross. There's something about that era that always says "dated" instead of "timeless".
Both the Liturgical Press altar and chapel editions appear to be exactly the same except for the size. The altar missal is under eight pounds so it can be held much more easily by smaller altar servers.
The art inside the missal was done by a Benedictine monk. When I first went through the missal I thought that the illustrations were done by a group of artists all trying to stay loosely within the same style.
Some of the illustrations, like the ones for All Saints and the Epiphany look almost like medieval woodcuts while the title page and Roman Canon illustrations look like 1970's missalette covers. It's unfortunate that there wasn't more consistency in the images.
The text in the missal is clear and the pages are thick enough so that you aren't distracted by the text on the back side. Some missals use heavier paper for the ordinary of the Mass but this missal has a heavy paper throughout.
Maybe I've been spoiled by looking at the Magnificat missal first, but the thing that struck me most about the typeset is how plain it is. Apart from some larger drop cap letters at the beginning of some of the major sections (the Sanctus, beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, the Creed, etc.), nothing was done to make the pages of the missal beautiful. I guess on the plus side it is extremely easy to read.
Overall, Several of the other missals are more beautiful but still in the same price range. The one thing that makes this missal especially nice is the weight of the altar edition.