Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guest Post: Rebinding the Catechism

One of my readers, Corey, sent this wonderful guest post in upon the rebinding of his Catechism.  Please enjoy the photos and his testimony on why it was important for him to rebind this book.  



Matt, thank you for asking me to do a write-up regarding my recent re-bind of my full-size copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (hardcover).  Note that I have linked the out-of-print (I think) hardcover version of the CCC.  I'll discuss why shortly.

For the reason that I have had wonderful prior experiences having Leonard's Book Restoration do my prior re-binding work, there was no reason for me to go elsewhere.  I have previously had an RSV-2CE New Testament and Psalms and an RSV-2CE (full Bible) rebound by Leonard's, and I continue to be very pleased.

The specs of this rebind are as follows:
  • Leonard's "18th Century Revivalist Style (Softcover Version)" rebind.
  • Genuine Calf-Skin (my prior Leonard's rebinds were all Goat - a little softer, but the calf feels more durable)
  • Addition of 4, dark-brown, ribbons - a necessity I think for the CCC.
  • Leonard's recommended using the imitation leather end-pages (versus the antique-paper) for durability.  I think Leonard's may start offering leather end pages (I say that only because solicited a survey on that topic on Facebook recently - along with other potential options - leather end pages "won" the survey I believe).
  • I used a somewhat hard to find hardcover, green CCC because it has a "sewn" binding (versus the glued binding of the softcover green CCC).  That cost me about $45 on for a "like new" quality.
  • Price with shipping:  $210 (excluding cost of the CCC)
I am extremely pleased with this product.  I can not say enough about the craftsmanship of Leonard's.  This is real, mom & pop shop, work done by good Christian people up in Indiana.  I have no idea how much time goes into the product, but I'm sure we're talking a number of hours.  That, combined with the quality of the materials, more than justifies the price.  We gave a few NT/Psalms (Ignatius) rebinds from my family to some close priest friends over Christmas and they loved them.  As expected, they have nothing like them.

I was asked "why have the CCC re-bound in not-inexpensive genuine calf-skin by Leonard's?"  The reason is simply this (for me):  After the Bible, the CCC is the most important document in my life.  It is arguably the quintessential document issued by the Catholic Magisterium (the teaching office of the Church).  But as we know well as Catholics, without Sacred Tradition, we (all Christians) have no way of knowing that the Bible, in all its parts, is exactly what it purports to be.  And it is only through the Magisterium that we have the necessarily infallible teaching of what is, and what is not, inspired and actually Sacred Tradition.  The Magisterium is the doctrinal glue.  (If we only rely on what "our heart tells us" is inspired and true, I think we know that the Canon of the New Testament would still be growing today.)

It is true that the CCC is merely a self-professed "compendium," but what a compendium it is!  Our Blessed John Paul the Great provided us the value of the document in the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum (1992) (Deposit of Faith), where the saint explained (in pertinent part):

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the kingdom!
Therefore, I ask the Church's Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life. This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms. It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Jn 8:32). It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the Catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.

What a wonderful and powerful attestation to the importance of this Magisterial document in the lives of all Christians!  

We have all (hopefully) owned the Catechism for years.  But only recently I acquired a used hardcover copy of the Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The book is amazing. [Matt interjects: the companion IS amazing.  Buy one.]  Every single Bible verse, Church Document, Writing of the Saints, etc. that is reference/paraphrased, but not explicitly quoted, in the CCC is found in the Companion.  Merely reading the CCC reflects how soaked in Scripture is the entirety of Catholic doctrine (contrary to popular belief).  But if the Christian would simply crack open the Companion to the CCC, he or she would be amazed at the hundreds and hundreds of specific scriptural references there are in the CCC.  The CCC is truly a symphony of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.  What a blessing for all Christians.

I highlight the intensely Scriptural nature of the CCC (further highlighted by the Companion) because I think that fact needs to, in turn, be related to our non-Catholic brethren, who simply believe the Catholic Faith is not scriptural, when the opposite is true.  The Catholic Church is "full(est) Gospel."  When the CCC was published it was labeled by some left-leaning theologians in the Church as "fundamentalist" because the Church had the audacity to affirm the historicity of the Gospels, including all miracles and prophecy. That sort of criticism of the CCC should actually tend to make many non-Catholics comfortable with picking up the CCC and reading it knowing that it affirms every letter of the (entire) Bible as inspired and inerrant.

As a Catechist myself at my parish, I owe much of my recent "continuing education" to Dr. Brant Pitre at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, La.  His seminarian and graduate level courses on CD (some DVD) are a gold mine for the faithful.  And they are intensely orthodox.  Dr. Pitre is a Catholic Bible scholar who gets his students to love scripture.  But he also bases all of his classes squarely within the authoritative Magisterial teaching found in the CCC - while frequently venturing outside of the confines of the CCC to the very documents referenced in the CCC footnotes.  For those of us who have ample time in the car (or even just a 15-20 minute ride to and from work), I highly recommend anything by Dr. Pitre.  He will lead you to the Bible every day.

Thank you for your patience reading.  The foregoing is why the Bible and the Catechism both justify such a nice rebind and place of prominence in our house before our children.

And may God Bless Pope Francis and you all.  Pax Christi.


Ramil said...

Absolutely beautiful. And you're right: after Sacred Scripture, the Catechism is worthy of such loving work.

If things didn't change so frequently, or be so costly, I'd add: the daily Missal which is our timeless way of worship, and the Liturgy of the Hours.

Fr. Ramil Fajardo

Deep South Reader said...

Fr. Ramil, you are correct. The missal and breviary would be excellent rebound in black calfskin in Leonard's Circuit Rider (protective flap) style.’s-historical-bible-series-2012/

sekman said...

Good Day,
Let me say, what a praiseworthy endeavor to have the catechism finely bound. However, I personally don't care for the choice of color in leather, also rather off-putting is the fact that the page edges are a very stark white color.

I have had a few rebind projects done myself by the wonderful people at Ace Book Binding down in Oklahoma City Oklahoma. While they don't have the sort of pre-made options that Leonard's offers they are capable of far greater works. For example, Leonards can only to blind stamping/tooling they cannot do anything with Gold. Additionally Ace can die your pages edges.

I currently have an old Fr. Lasance hand Missal at Ace that I hope to get back next week in time for Easter. I would be very willing to do a writeup on the results. I also had a small hand-sized copy of the Missal Romanum rebound in beautiful calf leather. While I have no doubts in regards to the quality of the work done by Leonard's I found that their services did not meet my needs.


Deep South Reader said...

Sekman. aka: glass half empty man :). Peace bro.

sekman said...

I apologize if my comment came across negatively. I suppose it is a matter of taste, which can't be legitimately debated.

CitySeminarian said...

Stunning bindings, really stunningly quality work: now that's what you call a book. I keep reading about how books will eventually go out of print...but quite frankly, digital quality is quite simply poorer, which is why I'll stick to my ever-growing physical (real) library. You have motivated me to check out if we have such binders here...

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton