Rorate Caeli

Traditionalist publishing renaissance (4): Sophia Institute Press releases book-length interview with Bishop Schneider, and more

Sophia Institute Press continues to bring out books of great interest to traditionalists. Today I would like to comment on three recent releases.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The Springtime that Never Came. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2022. Hardcover $21.95. eBook $9.99.

Having had the privilege of reading the manuscript prior to publication, I eagerly awaited the release of The Springtime that Never Came, the most recent work by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, champion and defender of the faith. Written in conversation with eminent Polish journalist Paweł Lisicki, this authoritative book challenges an array of dominant narratives in the Church, many which are lamentably leading the faithful astray.

Growing up in the 1960s in the former Soviet Union, Bishop Athanasius Schneider experienced the horrors of totalitarianism which are beginning to sprout again in the secularized West. In The Springtime that Never Came, he tackles some of the most pivotal, controversial issues of our time. We hear the truth about Church closings and God’s intervention during Covid-19, and a dizzying host of moral issues on which most bishops remain silent, from the “gender agenda” and homosexuality to priestly celibacy and the abuse scandals. With charity, wisdom, and occasional humor, Bishop Schneider provides straightforward answers to questions on ecumenism, ecology, liberation theology, liberalism, papal primacy, the collegiality of bishops, and the immutability of faith. Bishop Schneider calls for a new and more realistic form of apologetics that recognizes the constitutive role of tradition. He lays out how to avoid the “mental gymnastics” caused by theological confusion and shares stories of his own journey to a robustly traditional Catholicism.

Readers will be both inspired and comforted as Bishop Schneider testifies his experience of souls returning to the Church through the reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, Eucharistic Adoration, Confession, and the Holy Rosary. Following Our Lord, he speaks authoritatively on heaven, hell, purgatory, sin, and mercy. Readers will also learn about Mass reforms, the history of priestly celibacy, roles of women in the Church, and why a return to the traditional liturgy is absolutely necessary. He underscores God’s “appeal for a true Eucharistic conversion of the whole Church.”

I was happy to see, among other endorsements, that of Edward Pentin, author of The Next Pope, who enthused: “Exemplifying the bishop’s acuity and wisdom, The Springtime that Never Came provides an authoritative and much-needed spiritual corrective to our deeply troubled and rudderless post-conciliar era.” And Dr. Janet Smith, American philosopher and author, who stated: “Bishop Athanasius Schneider provides a dazzling display of knowledge of theology, the liturgy, Church history and the problems of the modern world and the Church all in service of explaining complicated issues with a rare and wonderful clarity.”

One could sum it up best by saying that this book is in every way the worthy successor of the same bishop’s deservedly popular Christus Vincit, which has nearly 1,000 reviews at Amazon. Those who have savored the riches of that first book-length interview will definitely want to get a copy of this one, which so far from being redundant has the character of a sequel.

Fr. Armand de Malleray, FSSP.
Ego Eimi: It Is I. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2022. Paperback $17.95. Ebook $9.99.

Since the time I promoted a first edition of Ego Eimi: It Is I in 2018, I have considered it one of the more original books on its subject, a fresh look at a mystery the Church has venerated for two thousand years. This is why it is great news that Sophia has released a new edition of it. Fr. Armand de Malleray FSSP aims to restore love of the Holy Eucharist through the Traditional Latin Mass. A renowned member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, Fr. de Malleray explains the meaning behind the sacred mysteries and stirs up devotion to our Lord.

It’s no secret that belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist has declined drastically. Fr. de Malleray challenges us with the question: for the love of our Lord and the good of souls, how can we help reverse this trend? In these pages, the author explores Church teachings on the Holy Eucharist through the lens of Scripture and philosophy, with the time-tested Latin Mass as a backdrop. Replete with real-life stories, modern-day references, and cultural and historical reflections, this book orients readers to the invisible realities occurring at Mass.

Fr. de Malleray explains the significance of each precious detail of the traditional Eucharistic liturgy, from the opening words of the Preparatory Prayers, “Judge me, O God,” to the importance of how the words of Consecration are punctuated, to the meaning of the celebrant’s genuflections before and after the elevation. Readers will learn to treasure the Holy Eucharist more deeply as they gain knowledge about essential doctrines, such as transubstantiation, the concomitant presence of Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under each species, and the nature of the Eucharistic fragments. Readers discover how the Real Presence surpasses other forms of God’s presence and how to make our worship conform to our belief in the sacred mysteries. Moreover, Fr. de Malleray reveals how the Holy Eucharist manifests God’s divine mercy, trains us in contrition, and prepares us for a favorable eternal judgment—as reflected in the prayers of the traditional Mass.

The Holy Eucharist is the central mystery of our faith: how can we better adore Our Lord and how can we share this Eucharistic Fire with others? Ego Eimi: It Is I will deepen your love for the Holy Eucharist so that each time you worship will be like your first, last, and only Mass.

Fr. de Malleray further elaborates on why he wrote the book and on Eucharistic devotion in a recent Catholic Family News interview.  

Jeffrey M. Ostrowski, editor.
Saint Jean de Brebeuf Hymnal Pew Edition. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2022. Hardcover $29.99. 

Sophia Press is issuing several traditional hymnals this spring by editor Jeffrey M. Ostrowski. This traditional hymnal is unique since it was designed by and for priests and musicians serving in parishes worldwide, and contains three times as many hymns as its competitors. The series also features a Choral Supplement and an Organ Accompaniment.

Mr. Ostrowski’s scholarship has focused on the historical performance of plainsong and polyphony of the High Renaissance, resulting in several early music CDs and an internationally broadcast television, including the Sacred Music Colloquium “Sacred, Beautiful, and Universal” (CMAA) documentary. Additionally, Mr. Ostrowski has been frequently chosen as presenter for national Musica Sacra gatherings. He founded—and still oversees—the Sacred Music Symposium, which promotes authentic church music at the grass roots level.

The Brébeuf Hymnal continues the tradition of books such as the New Westminster Hymnal, the New Saint Basil Hymnal, and the Saint Gregory Choirbook. Drawn exclusively from the authentic Catholic treasury, the Saint Jean de Brebeuf Hymnal stands alone among church hymn books by neither mimicking nor building upon popular Protestant versions. So unlike other Catholic hymnals which simply strive to avoid heresy and eliminate undignified melodies, the Saint Jean de Brebeuf Hymnal is Catholic to the core, containing countless traditional hymns steeped in deep theology. This elegant hardcover pew edition contains more Catholic metrical hymns than any other collection. The melodies are beautiful and dignified; its hymns are timeless and eminently choral for the congregation. 

The dazzling array of melodies—some of which are unusually rare—have been carefully sorted according to meter. The Pew edition offers exceptional translations of the authentic Catholic hymns, painstakingly wedded to simple-yet-sublime melodies. A member of the Catholic Organist Group wrote: “I have never encountered such a prolific and astoundingly interesting hymnal; I just read it for an hour and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m hanging on every word. It’s just as much a lesson in theology, Christian tradition, the history of sacred hymnody, and inspiring Christian bio-epic of the North American martyrs as it is a hymnal.” A Sensus Fidelium interview with Mr. Ostrowski relates more about his inspiration in editing the hymnal.

Corpus Christi Watershed’s site includes a resources section with rehearsal videos to help volunteer choirs learn to sing in parts: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass. Too many Catholic choirs refrain from singing hymns in parts! These clips make it easy to learn. Priests who don’t read music can sample the YouTube files and see for themselves how the Saint Jean de Brebeuf Hymnal melodies are well within reach of their congregations—especially because these YouTube videos were not produced by professional singers.

It is worth pointing out that while the cover describes the hymnal as useful for "both forms" of the Roman rite, there is in fact nothing in it that is specific to the Novus Ordo; all of the content is much older and suits the traditional liturgy perfectly, since that was the origin of the texts (often by way of the divine office) and melodies. Now that Francis has put aside the legal fiction of "two forms," we can all get back to the real work of restoring the one and only Roman Rite there is, namely, the traditional one. This hymnal does not contain Gregorian chant, and therefore has to be supplemented by other books like The Parish Book of Chant; but on the side of hymnody it has no parallel and not even any close competitor.

[ADDENDUM 6/13/22: I should note that this hymnal, as wide-ranging and groundbreaking as it is, does not contain some of the more familiar melodies and texts that Catholics have grown accustomed to, and for this purpose I recommend consulting another recent publication, A Catholic Book of Hymns, part of the Sacred Music Library, Augusta, Kentucky. Read more here.]