The Inside Story – Publishing the Roman Missal, part 2

Mr Fergal Martin holding the CTS Study Missal

In the second part of his interview with Peter Jennings, Mr Fergal Martin talks about technology, trade and re-printing the Chapel Missal.

Peter Jennings: What were the greatest challenges the CTS faced during the project and do you have one or two stories to illustrate them?

Fergal Martin: “It was helpful how technology often came to the rescue. Having chosen the colour pictures for the Altar Missal we were wrestling with what to do with the smaller versions that had to be printed in two-colour. We were not really satisfied with any of the options on the table and were wondering what to do next when we had a phone call from the printers saying, ‘by the way, we’ve just bought some new multi-million pound printing machines which for the first time can print in full colour on thin paper.’ Problem solved!

“You may recall that Paul VI’s Apostolic Constitution which promulgated the Missale Romanum is printed at the beginning of all Missals, and it begins by citing the Council of Trent from 1570.

“Imagine our deep sense of a reconnection with the Church’s history when the CTS were invited to oversee the printing of the text pages of the Missals in the very same Northern Italian town of Trento. 441 years later we were back in Trent continuing the Council’s work.

“When we presented the Missal to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, as he leafed through the book he paused on one of the illustrated pages and commented on how important it was for Liturgical books to be beautiful.”

Peter Jennings: There have been news reports in the Catholic press that other Catholic publishes have been upset that CTS sold copies of the new Roman Missal direct to parishes rather than offering it to the book trade first. What is the background to the CTS decision and in what particular ways does it benefit parishes?

Fergal Martin: “We have always enjoyed good and happy relations with our fellow publishers and bookshops in the Catholic and wider Christian community, here and abroad. It is a pity that some tensions, even misunderstandings, have arisen over this matter.

“There are two interconnected points here: we wanted to keep the price of the Missals down to affordable levels for the primary customers especially parishes, convents, schools, and monasteries; the volumes are very expensive to prepare and manufacture.

“It was felt that if we sold direct to parishes, rather than primarily through ‘the trade’, that is through bookshops, then we would not need to add a further 30% – 40% on to the price of each Missal to accommodate the customary bookshop discount. This was a difficult decision, but given that almost all parishes are our customers we felt this was the safest route, and we still offered bookshops a discounts of 10% on the Altar and Chapel editions – the two expensive editions – and the usual 40% discount on the smallest ‘Study edition’. We wished we could have done more, but on balance we felt it was the right approach.

“For the record, the People’s Sunday and Daily missals do have the discounts that the bookshops require.”

Handing the Missal to the Pope

Peter Jennings: I understand that you have been surprised by the demands for the Chapel edition of the Missal, so much so that stocks are already exhausted. Are you able to assure parish priests and others that CTS will do everything possible to ensure that supplies of all the new translation of the Missal will be available for despatch from now on?


Fergal Martin:
“The Chapel Edition did run out quicker than expected, due to unusually high demand and is being reprinted as we speak. This will only take a little time and CTS plan to despatch copies during February 2012. Our research with parishes and priests clearly indicated that a Chapel edition would be useful and welcome, but there was a strong, clear and marked preference of course for the main Altar Missal as expected, and for the smaller Study edition.

“CTS is delighted that the Chapel edition is in such demand from so many parishes. I want to assure all our customers that as always CTS will fulfil its orders for the Chapel edition as quickly as possible.

“In answer to the last part of your question, CTS will certainly ensure that quantities of the Chapel edition, and all indeed all the editions mentioned in this interview, are kept in stock in our warehouse to meet future orders as they arrive.”

In the last part tomorrow, read about the different members of our team who worked on the project.

The Sunday Missals which were talked about can now be bought from our retail bookshop in Victoria London.

(Invoicing not available)


View CTS bookshop location in a larger map


Of related interest:

RM01 Altar Missal – The standard ritual edition of the Missal for use in England and Wales, Scotland, and Australia.
RM03 Chapel Missal – CURRENTLY REPRINTING, AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 2012 – The standard ritual edition of the Missal for use in England and Wales, Scotland, and Australia, in a reduced size for chapels, use at the chair, etc.
RM02 Study Missal – The standard ritual edition of the Missal for use in England and Wales, Scotland, and Australia, in a scaled-down reference edition for reference, study and liturgical planning.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *