Rorate Caeli

Back in Print after Nearly a Century: Cardinal Schuster’s The Sacramentary

Traditional Catholic publisher Arouca Press, based in Ontario, has just released an affordable reprint of Cardinal Ildefons Schuster's classic commentary on the Roman rite, The Sacramentary, in both paperback and hardcover, with discount rates for buying the entire 5-volume set directly from Arouca (US $100 for the complete paperback set, and $140 for the hardcover set).

It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of Schuster's work. He brings a formidable scholarship, an insightful mind, and a Thomistic clarity to bear on the history and meaning of the elaborate network of signs and symbols that make up the classical Roman rite in its millennial development. One would be hard-pressed to find a work comparable to The Sacramentary in richness of detail. It is true that Schuster, like all the members of the Liturgical Movement to one degree or another, sometimes let his scientific theories get the better of him; these theories were later invoked by wrecking-ball reformers. Thus, having his work available again allows for a direct, sympathetic, and critical engagement with one of the giants of the twentieth century. Schuster was, above all, a man of deep prayer and immense love for the inherited liturgy, a fact that radiates from every page and places him in the company of Dom Guéranger.

As far I have been able to ascertain, Schuster's work has been out of print since the late 1920s and the early 1930s when it was first published in English translation. The Arouca edition is a high-quality and crisply legible reproduction of the original, with a new Foreword by Gregory DiPippo.

A brief synopsis of the contents:

The Sacramentary [Liber Sacramentorum]: Historical and Liturgical Notes on the Roman Missal

Volume I
Part I. Songs of Zion Beside the Waters of Redemption: General Conceptions of Sacred Liturgy
Part II. The Inauguration of the Kingdom of the Messiah
- Introduction
- The Sacred Liturgy from Advent to Septuagesima

Volume II
Part III. The New Testament in the Blood of the Redeemer
- Introduction
- The Sacred Liturgy from Septuagesima to Easter
Part IV. Baptism by the Spirit and by Fire
- Introduction
- The Sacred Liturgy During the Easter Cycle
- Euchological Appendix

Volume III
Part V. The Eternal Nuptials of the Lamb
- Introduction
- The Sacred Liturgy from Trinity Sunday to Advent
- Euchological Appendix
Part VI. The Church Triumphant
- Introduction
- The Feasts of the Saints during the Christmas Cycle

Volume IV
Part VII. The Saints in the Mystery of the Redemption
- Introduction
- The Feasts of the Saints in the Paschal Cycle (March to August)
- Euchological Appendix

Volume V
Part VIII. The Saints in the Mystery of the Redemption
- Introduction
- The Feasts of the Saints from August 14 to November 28
- Euchological Appendix

The paperback and hardcover sets may be ordered here; for a listing of individual volumes, see here. The books may also be purchased at Amazon and affiliates.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to mention how many other fine traditional Catholic titles Arouca Press already has in its catalogue. Here's a sampling:

Of particular note is the volume of Patristic Homilies for the Gospels of Sundays and Festivals of the Church Year (in the upper row, second from the right), organized according to the traditional Roman calendar -- a perfect book for individual or family preparation for Sunday Mass, or for personal lectio divina.