My issue of Benedictus arrived around the same time Pope Francis dropped the liturgical and canonical bomb called Traditionis Custodes. On seeing TC, I wondered what Sophia Institute Press (the publisher behind the monthly booklet) was going to do. I didn’t have long to wonder. A few days later, Sophia sent out an email to their subscribers.
In the email, they express their sadness at the document and reaffirm what everyone who loves the Latin Mass already knows: it’s here to stay. They quote Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontifucm (the same quote that appears in their booklet):
“What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”
The email from Sophia Institute Press ends with assurances that they will keep publishing and encourages readers to reach out to local clergy to make known their support of the traditional rites.
If you’re familiar with Magnificat, then the layout of Benedictus is also familiar. It contains the prayers of the Mass, the readings, and devotions. Sophia intends to add more as time goes on. However, In the inaugural issue, there are four information sections aside from the Common Prayers: Feast & Feria, Catholic Culture, Living Tradition, and Did You Know? Each section deals with the month’s feasts or some aspect of the Latin Mass and Catholic life. A holy card with the image on the front cover also accompanies the month’s edition.
The booklet is small enough to travel easily inside of a purse (practical sized purses, anyway). The pages of Benedictus are soft and are a pleasure to turn. The layout is easy to read and navigate. The print size is small, which would give trouble to people with vision issues. I don’t know if a large print of Benedictus is being offered but if not, I’m sure one is in the works.
My favorite part is the artistry. Beautiful, traditional woodcut prints and Gothic typeface give the booklet an Old World feel. Sophia also used a dull gold color in places that catches the light when you tilt the book, like real gilt. They took so much care in how Benedictus looks and feels, it’s almost a shame to throw it away. I foresee subscribers hanging onto their old copies or passing them out to friends to encourage new subscriptions.
I found myself using Benedictus in the same way a lot of people probably use Magnificat: during my morning prayer. In fact, the book is meant to be used that way, offering morning and evening devotions drawn from the traditional breviary.
Speaking of subscription, it’s ridiculously cheap. For only $5 a month, a subscriber gets access to a book that, really, is worth thrice that amount. And this is an amazing resource to people who can’t afford expensive hand missals. Once upon a time, a vintage missal could be gotten cheaply on ebay or Etsy. Not anymore, though. Sellers figured out that buyers are desperate. Now, some editions cost almost as much as a new missal from Baronius Press. A $5 a month publication is the perfect solution for people who want a missal but can’t afford the price tag.
Subscribe to Benedictus
I highly recommend that you subscribe to Benedictus. Or, even if you don’t think you’d need it, buy a subscription for a friend as a gift. Or donate to Sophia Institute Press to keep this resource going. It’s publications like these, and the publishers behind them, that will help keep the Mass of the Ages alive.