Rorate Caeli

Sophia Institute Press releases new deluxe hardcover edition of the Catechism of Trent, along with catechisms by Aquinas, Pius X, and others

Back in March 2020, I announced at Rorate that an initiative called Tradivox had launched an ambitious project to make a new uniform edition of a large number of classic Catholic catechisms from across the centuries, not only because they are inherently beautiful and worthy of study and re-use, but also to demonstrate the continuity of the unversal ordinary Magisterium on such topics as indissolubility of marriage, conditions for reception of Communion, the legitimacy of the death penalty, and many others.

Well, a great deal has happened in the past two years. The burgeoning Sophia Institute Press took up the responsibility for publishing the volumes, which form a handsome series of burgundy-colored volumes, now at volume VIII. There will be 20 volumes in total, which will include over thirty individual catechisms from the 1200s to the mid-1900s. The best of the best in English. Volume 20 will be the “golden key”: a book-length Index, cross-referencing the entire series (a nigh-stupendous feat of editorial prowess).

This catechism restoration project is under episcopal advisement of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who says: “I invite the faithful of the entire world to support this historic effort, as we seek to restore the perennial Catechism of the Church.” It’s been endorsed by all the usual figures (see here).

You may find links to all volume thumbnails here. Readers can obtain the volumes at discount (and immediately as they print) if they subscribe here. The subscription is a stellar deal: enter payment info once, get auto-charged $25 every three months until the series is complete… and you end up with a shelf full of the best traditional catechisms, all in gorgeous hardback, newly typeset, often with illustrations, directly delivered to your mailbox. (Also, if you purchase the subscription, you may buy the previous volumes, if you wish, at the same price of $25 instead of $29.95.)

Tradivox is a tremendous resource for parishes, schools, libraries, and families—especially those that don’t want to see the catechetical manuscript tradition go down the ol’ memory hole, thanks to the “weaponized catechisms” of today.

Some information on the latest volumes:

VOLUME 6 — “The Medievals” (Aquinas, Pecham, Pagula, etc.)

Medieval catechisms! What’s not to love? Explodes the myth of Luther inventing the genre. Gives us a window into medieval catechesis before the chaos, and a neat view of contemporary moral concerns—e.g., don’t sleep with newborn in bed lest you suffocate them, don’t use parish beer parties for extortion, etc.

This volume contains the Creed of Athanasius, Aquinas’ Catechism from his Opuscula (the only complete reproduction of Collins’ 1939 translation), John Pecham’s Ignorantia Sacerdotum (one of the early “bookends” of the genre, which, among other things, calls out priestly error and ecclesiastical corruption), William of Pagula’s mini-catechism, and a last by an anonymous English scribe, with illuminated incipits from the original manuscripts included.

VOLUME 7 — Council of Trent

Still the most authoritative catechism ever issued, now in its definitive English edition, which (apart from the special subscription deal mentioned above) is available for only $29.95, which is much less than competing hardcover editions.

This new edition features painstakingly corrected citations, an updated and expanded scholarly apparatus, restored 1566 artwork, and several cross-references to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, a feature unique to this volume in the interests of making it the best critical study edition of this monument of tradition. (Photos below.)

VOLUME 8 - Frassinetti, Pius X

Two of the most famous Italian catechisms in history: Frassinetti’s 1872 Dogmatic Catechism and the 1905 Catechism of Pius X. Frassinetti, an author known as “the Italian Curé of Ars,” offers us an extremely thorough look at Catholic teaching and anticipates emerging errors of modernist philosophy and theology. As for Pius X’s, it remains one of  the most beloved “short catechisms.” Tradivox has gone the extra mile by faithfully reproducing the original English translation (the Preface explains why), as opposed to the incorrect translations available elsewhere. Once again, the definitive English edition of Pius X's catechism.