E HAVE OBTAINED permission from Sophia Institute Press to release some details about the (forthcoming) third edition of the Saint Edmund Campion Missal. I’m part of a team that’s been working on this for about four years. Every page has been completely overhauled, using suggestions received since the book was first released nine years ago. This is not an “adjustment”—it’s a complete renovation.
The third edition is much thinner (50% less heavy), and the typesetting is breathtaking. The 2nd edition was also a gorgeous book:
I’ve seen drafts of the forthcoming edition: the improvements are spectacular!
Want to help proofread? Write to email@example.com.
What Are The Improvements?
Some improvements have already been revealed: The Pre-1955 Holy Week (in addition to the 1962), the seven optional Prefaces added 22 February 2020, and so forth. But something which has not been revealed has to do with the communion antiphons, and today I’ll be explaining that. It’s hard to know where to begin, so let me say that in 1953, Pope Pius XII changed the fasting rules—with a document called “CHRISTUS DOMINUS”—making it a lot easier to receive Holy Communion. Previously, Holy Communion for the Faithful had mainly been distributed outside of Mass, or even during Mass (!) at a side altar. In 1958, five years later, Pope Pius XII quoted the Council of Trent in De Musica Sacra Et Sacra Liturgia. Specifically, he quoted S. Conc. Trent Session 22, chapter 6: “It is very fitting and is in fact established by the liturgy, that the people should present themselves at the communion rail after the priest has consumed the sacred species on the altar.”
Versus Ad Communionem: In that same 1958 document, Pope Pius XII declared (§27c): “If the faithful are to communicate, the singing of the Communion antiphon is to begin when the priest distributes Holy Communion. If this Communion antiphon has been taken from some psalm, the other verses of the same psalm may be sung, in which case the antiphon may be repeated after every one or two verses and, the Communion over, the psalm should be concluded with the Gloria Patri and the repeated antiphon. But if the antiphon is not taken from a psalm, one may choose a psalm fitting to the solemnity of the liturgical action.”
Where Did Pius XII Get That? Many people already knew the Offertory had “extra verses”—mysteriously eliminated about 700 years ago—but what about the communion antiphons? Did Pius XII just make that up? It turns out, all the communion antiphons had “extra verses” about a millennium ago. (There are various theories as to why these fell by the wayside.) You can download a very interesting publication by Solesmes Abbey which appeared before the 1958 document of Pope Pius XII:
* PDF Download • “Communion Verses” (22 August 1957)
—Published by the Abbey of Solesmes before the 1958 document of Pius XII.
Other Publications: More publications would follow, containing these “extra verses” for Communion. On 17 January 1962, Solesmes Abbey published Versus Psalmorum Et Canticorum, which Jeffrey Tucker scanned and placed online. In 2010, Mr. Richard Rice—who assisted Dr. Ruth Steiner with the CANTUS database at CUA—compiled a collection of these extra verses for Communion, and this was also placed online. JUSTITIAS BOOKS (under the guidance of Mr. Kyle Lartigue) published a collection called “Ad Communionem” in 2017, and you can view a sample page. Mr. Anton Stingl of Freiburg created a book called “Versus Ad Communionem” which follows in the footsteps of Father Michael Hermesdorff of Trier, placing adiastematic notation (written inexactly) above the box notation. You can view a sample page of Stingl’s oeuvre. The 1974 edition of the Graduale Romanum also indicates extra communion verses by means of tiny numbers which were copied from the 1970 Ordo Cantus Missæ.
Are These Publications Identical? Unlike the “extra verses” for the Offertories, the additional verses for Communion show occasional diversity. That’s where we come to the third edition of the Campion Missal, which chose a noteworthy path. The Campion editorial team has included the ancient communion verses—in italics, because they are not obligatory—and has taken them from the full repertoire, demonstrating how universal this practice was. A major problem with certain Gregorian publications has been a failure to take into consideration the entire repertoire. Too many authors decide which manuscript is “the best” or “most authentic specimen” based upon which MS is the cleanest or most accessible. But clever people realize that one should never determine the value of a particular MS based on “how clean it is.” For example, Chartres 47 is not as beautiful as other MSS, but it’s still incredibly valuable.
Manuscripts: the More the Merrier!
Each MS is a little different, so it’s necessary to calibrate for each one. For instance, Einsiedeln 121 (from approximately 961AD) uses vowels to notate the psalms, so one must possess a good working knowledge of the Psalter to decipher it:
San Gall #381—created sometime around 928AD—was described by Dr. Peter Wagner as follows: “This manuscript contains, among other things, the complete Introit and Communion verses of the liturgical year, expressed with neumes.” This MS, which Dr. Wagner correctly calls “a precious memorial,” also appeared in the Jogues Illuminated Missal, Gradual, and Lectionary on page 270—and you will definitely want to check this out:
* PDF Download • Jogues Missal (Pages 270-271)
—Nicene Creed in Latin and Greek in San Gall 381.
When most people want communion verses, they go straight to San Gall #381 because it’s incredibly clean. Here’s the Communion Antiphon Cantábo Dómino paired with Psalm 12 (“Úsquequo Dómine Oblivísceris Me”):
But the Campion editors believe it’s a mistake to grab only the easiest, cleanest, most accessible MSS.
To Give An Example
I could easily provide 1,000 examples where all the various MSS match—even “Old Roman” manuscripts! Generally speaking, they match whenever the Communion Antiphon is taken from a Psalm. But you know I’m not the type of person who would take the easy route! Let’s examine a Communion Antiphon that doesn’t come from a Psalm: Qui Manducat from the 9th Sunday after Pentecost. The text is John 6:57. Before I go any further, I must mention something funky: In many ancient MSS, this Communion Antiphon was assigned to the 15th Sunday after Pentecost. (That’s important to remember if you’re trying to search for it.) “Qui Manducat” is identical to the Communion Antiphon for Thursday in the 2nd Week of Lent. 1
A manuscript from Toulouse, created about 1128AD, matches “Qui Manducat” with John 6:52 (Panis quem ego dabo, caro mea est pro mundi vita), which is from the New Testament:
Other ancient MSS follow the (ancient and very common) practice of taking the verses from the Introit—and we observe that they all take from Thursday in the 2nd Week of Lent, not the Sunday after Pentecost…which is remarkable. The following MS, created circa 905AD just north of Nuremberg (Germany), takes from the Introit itself:
San Gall #376, created in Switzerland approximately 1052AD, takes from the Introit itself:
This French manuscript, created circa 1079AD about eight miles from Paris, takes from the Introit verses, not the antiphon:
Chartres 47, created around 957AD, indicates the Introit verses, not the antiphon:
A manuscript created in North Rhine-Westphalia (North Germany) around the year 1026AD takes the verses from both the Introit’s antiphon and the Introit’s verses:
Other ancient MSS follow a different practice (which was also common) where Psalm 33 is used when the Communion Antiphon is not derived from a psalm. An example would be the Saint Denis Missal, created around 988AD, which has verse 12 from Psalm 33:
A manuscript from Noyon (France) created circa 965AD also has verse 12 from Psalm 33:
Einsiedeln 121—created around 961AD in Einsiedeln (Switzerland)—also has verse 12 from psalm 33:
But there are still more options. For example, San Gall #381 provides a variety of different psalms from which to choose.
The third edition of the Campion Missal contains powerful and ancient “extra verses” for Communion. It carefully prints—in a very small font—the name of the manuscript chosen, allowing the Faithful to know that this is not a hypothetical exercise. I have shown (above) an example where there are different options. Nevertheless, as Father Adrian Fortescue wrote: “It remains, of course, true that any part of Scripture may be read with profit on any day.”
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Some scholars believe the Thursday Mass stole its Proprum Missæ from the Sunday after Pentecost, but there’s evidence the reverse is true. We’re not going to spend time arguing about that, because much of the ancient liturgy is shrouded in mystery. But there is evidence which challenges the conventional wisdom.