Day 6 Tabbies’ Bible Indexing Tabs – Camo series

We are half through this year’s 12 Days of Christmas Gift ideas! For day 6 I am writing another comparison post, this time for the camo series of the Tabbies Bible indexing tabs. Vincent has done a review Tabbie’s Bible indexing tabs before, and the claims made in that review still stand. In today’s review, I’m going to make a couple more points in addition to what Vincent said in that review and do a deeper dive into the camo series specifically. I’ve added some pictures of fully installed tabs below.

Ease of use is one of the claims for this product. There are a couple of features that I think support this claim:

  • The tabs are scored so that you could easily bend the backing and peel the tab that you want
  • The page is designed a bit like a sticker sheet, as in the tabs don’t start right at the edge of the page so it’s easier to peel the tab without ruining/fraying its edge
  • The instructions are are detailed enough to follow and also have accompanying pictures
  • The backing on the tabs have the instructions included (with the pictures!); so you are never without them
  • The pages with the tabs are numbered and the books are arranged in order, so there’s no guessing which tab goes where or how far along you are in the process of sticking them into your Bible
  • There is a practice tab

I tried to photograph all these features for your viewing interest.

Another feature I appreciate is how thin the clear sticky portion is. The tab itself is made of paper that feels a little thicker than regular paper, and its going to double up as well when you install (not quite the right word but it gets the point across) the tabs. The clear portion however, is a very thin plastic. It feels quite durable nonetheless. I appreciate this because it does the job of sticking the tabs in well without adding thickness to the Bible.

The camo series can give your Bible a unique look, and for that reason, I think it caters to a rather specific consumer pool. For someone who reads the Bible and likes camo pattern, this could be the best of both worlds for them. There a variety of colour ways; I received the forest tabs, which are your typical camo colours. There are pros and cons to this particular design.

I think the camo pattern is interesting, and not commonly seen, especially not for a religious product. The font chosen suits the pattern quite well. The overall design would go really well with more “rustic” Bibles. I’m thinking something along the lines of brown pebble leather cover. I also think the white font with the olive green outline is a good choice. I like the trapezoid shape the tabs have rather than the usual rectangle; its something a little different.

The biggest qualm I have with this design is the way it is printed gives it a slightly “speckled” look which I think works with the pattern, but it interferes with the readability of the text since the edges of the letters aren’t crisp. It seems to just be the coloured regions since anything that is black (the bottom edge of the tab, the practice tab) doesn’t have this. That is the one thing I think could be improved. While the words are still fairly legible, if the person you are thinking of gifting these to has trouble reading, I think a different design would be a better option. Another smaller gripe I have is there are blank tabs for the user to write whatever they wish, but I wish they were olive green rather than white. I understand why they are white, but I think they would fit in with the rest of the tabs better if they shared a colour with the rest of the camo pattern.

And that is all I have for today! I hope you are looking forward to the rest of the series!

Disclaimer: The Catholic Man Reviews was provided these Bible indexing tabs for an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Tabbies for the opportunity for us to review these items on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.

Day 5: Mystery of the Altar, daily Catholic devotional

One of the things that people all around the world have been deprived of at various stages of the COVID-19 is the gift of celebrating the Eucharist around the altar of the Lord. Such memories of “attending” livestream Mass is all too fresh in the minds of many. I think for many, including myself, there have been a renewed sense of appreciation and devotion to the Eucharist. Yet, if the Eucharist is such a great, beautiful gift given to us by Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and continued to be made available to humanity in every generation, what have the saints, Church Fathers, Popes and lay people said about it in general?

Mystery of the Altar is a new daily Catholic devotional, recently published in January 2021, which contains meditations on the Eucharist from ancient and modern Catholic sources from the ‘classics’ like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to the ‘newer’ figures like St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. There are also several figures whom I have not heard of before, such as Maximus of Turin, Columbia Marmion, Jacobus da Varagine… and many more. Kenneth Howell and Joseph Crownwood really put in a lot of time of and effort to compile a wide variety of credible Catholic voices. The extent and diversity of reflections on the Eucharist honestly surprised me, about how many people have written and reflected upon the Eucharist throughout 2000-years of Church history. At the same time, it should not be surprising because “[t]he Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.”” (CCC 1324) Due to its centrality of the liturgical mysteries we celebrate, it has therefore deserved much attention, reflection and contemplation.

The devotional tries its best to align the feasts and memorials (that have fixed dates) with the writing of the respective saint of the day, or at least a meditation on the Eucharist which in some way relates to the mystery celebrated that day. For example, August 19 is the memorial of St. John Eudes and so the meditation contains a meditation on the Eucharist written by Eudes. September 18 is the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and so the meditation of that day contains a meditation from Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich which highlights “Mary’s priority in receiving Holy Communion” in her vision of the Last Supper. You are then not only able to meditate on the Eucharist, but you have the opportunity to do so in communion with the Saint whose feast/memorial the Church celebrates on a specific day.

However, judging by what I have written so far, I hope you are not instilled with the thought that it is just day after day of excerpts of writings of Catholic figures on the Eucharist. It is not that at all. Howell and Crownwood have put together such eloquent but concise introduction for every meditation. These serve to provide some context for what you are to read. I think the two authors put this best in their Preface:

Introductions are affixed to each passage to provide necessary background information and to highlight the prevailing Eucharistic theme.

Just like any primary source of the Catholic Church, even with the Vatican II documents, it is always good to have some introduction, at least some historical, theological context to what you are reading. It helps you to become informed about the background of what you are reading. More importantly, I think it also helps one to not form opinions or thoughts that may distort the meaning of the text being read. People nowadays I think need such introductions to what they read. A scroll on social media makes this clear – people say and form thoughts that lack background knowledge that in turn causes misundertandings among others. Therefore, just like Howell and Crownwood, if you are considering publishing a devotional with primary sources, please take that effort to not only compile material well, but also provide short introductions – it helps readers tremendously.

Speaking about compiling material well, it is very well worth noting that much time and effort was spent to provide quality content, especially in terms of its readability. I quote again from the Preface:

Many of the quoted texts have been newly translated, while others represent fitting English editions. In most cases, familiar poems and hymns have been retranslated with an eye toward the literal, avoiding poetic renderings that distort the original meaning.

Expect then, literal translations, not dynamic equivalence that would fit a certain tune. I think a prime example of this is on June 11 which features the Pange Lingua of St. Thomas Aquinas. Most people would be familiar with the hymn’s last two stanzas, commonly referred to as Tantum Ergo or Down in Adoration Falling, often sung at the start of Benediction. I provide here a side-by-side view of the poetic version, often sung at Benediction and the one provided in this devotional.

Poetic version
(commonly sung at Benediction)
Literal version
(used in Mystery of the Altar)
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the Sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o’er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To the Everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honour, blessing,
Might, and endless majesty.
Therefore, so great a Sacrament,
let us afore in prostration,
and the old rites
give way to the new.
Let faith give strength
where the senses fail.

To the Begetter and the Begotten
be praise and jubilation,
reverence, honor, and might,
and blessings,
And to the one who proceeds from both,
may equal praise be.

Interesting comparison, right? I think it is interesting to read a literal translation of such an ancient and seemingly familiar hymn, which then doesn’t seem familar when you read the literal translation.

What do you get out of this devotional? Is it merely just reading as a spiritual practice? Well maybe, but the authors have something a bit more than that, as they end the Preface:

In these pages, one finds endless apologetics, exegetical insights, and miraculous works in confirmation of the faith. It is the hope of the authors that this volume may stir hearts to an ever more profound devotion to that love of loves, Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Therefore, Mystery of the Altar would be more than just a spiritual read for every day of the year. It would become a “school” of the Eucharist, where one will have the opportuntiy to see different viewpoints of the Eucharist, in a apologetical lens, from an exegetical theological point of view but also learn of the miracles that confirm this great Mystery of our Faith.

The book comes in two versions: an eBook and a hardcopy with imitation leather cover. The copy I am reviewing from is a hardcopy and it is indeed quite a handsome volume in the hand. The hardcopy comes in imitation leather, with gilded edges, and a white stain ribbon. It is indeed a book that you would want to pick up in hardcopy, in my opinion. However, an eBook for those on the go would be equally beneficial as well. Either version will serve as a great tool for your spiritual life.

Mystery of the Altar is a great resource to start the year off right. It will give you a sense of deeper appreciation and renewed insight on the Eucharist that you may not want to take for granted such a wonderful gift. This is beautiful volume that will serve as a companion for Eucharistic renewal for many, many years to come, especially as the church in the United States of America, in particular, begin their plan for Eucharistic Revival.

You can purchase an eBook or hardcopy of Mystery of the Altar here from St. Paul Centre for Biblical Theology.

May be an image of book and text that says 'Mystery of the Altar DAILY MEDITATIONS ON THE EUCHARIST KENET.Hwo HOWELL ฺ "I know of no better resource for deepening our personal devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This book is truly one of Mystery ofthe of the Altar kind!" -Scott Hahn DAILY MEDITATIONS ON THE ÛHUS EUCHARIST Pre-order today at EMMAUS ROAD PUBLISHING'

Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a review copy of Mystery of the Altar to provide an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks St. Paul Centre for Biblical Theology for the opportunity for us to review this title on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.

Day 4: Vatican Gift miraculous medal & rosaries

Welcome to my second review of 12 Days of Christmas season 3! Today, we have a series classic: rosaries. Not only that, they are rosaries from Vatican Gift, a company you may be familiar with if you followed the series last year. Vatican Gift has been kind enough to let us take a look at what a bigger budget can get you from their lineup. If you are not familiar with Vatican Gift, last year’s review may be a good place to start.

Let’s start today’s review with the not a rosary, but a miraculous medal, which is a product not mentioned in last year’s review. It comes in the typical blue Vatican Gift box. There is a little hook in which the medal is hooked onto. It is perfectly shaped so that together with the plush board the hook is attached to, the medal is held firmly in place but can still be removed without damage to the medal itself. The overall presentation is impressive.

The level of detail on the medal is also quite high. The etchings that form the letters, Mary’s facial features and the folds of her clothing look very clean and intentional. It is clear that care was taken when choosing what details to include and where they should be placed.

If you checked out the website, you would have noticed that the price (starting at $22) is quite a bit higher than what you may typically find at a Catholic shop or a shrine gift shop. This higher price is not only a result of the nice packaging and attention to detail, but also because this medal is made of sterling silver, made evident by the “925” marking on the back.

The perks of ordering such an item from Vatican gift is that, as detailed, it is much nicer than the miraculous medals you can buy for 50 cents to a dollar at a shrine souvenir shop for example, both in the etchings and the material quality. It also comes with packaging – nice packaging, might I add. The final perk is that there are a variety of sizes to choose from (please note that each size is priced differently). I think the price tag is justified when all these benefits are listed, but if you choose to gift this medal, the person receiving it may not be familiar with Vatican Gift and/or have read this post. Therefore, the person receiving the gift may not understand that this miraculous medal is indeed of higher quality (and price tag) and value it the way you hope they would. I think this is best gifted in addition to a rosary or given to someone who is familiar with medals and is fond of collecting those of higher quality.

Moving on to the rosaries, the first one I want to discuss is the Hematite rosary. The beads are made of hematite as the name implies and they all seem well made and very reflective, a quality that is noted on the web page. They also have quite a bit of weight to them which contributes to a luxurious feel. Upon close inspection, I noticed that not all of the beads have a perfectly smooth surface, which I think is a quality of the mineral. The crucifix and center piece of this rosary is also sterling silver and like the miraculous medal, do not have a high shine finish which is an interesting contrast to the rest of the rosary. I expected them to be heavier considering the weight of the beads, but these components are actually quite lightweight. The links between the beads feel sturdy, are all well shaped and appear to be the same size. The consistency between the links is an indicator of good quality.

The second rosary is from the Gratia Plena series. Rosaries in this series are “[d]esigned by Italian stylists, with the best raw materials, they are precious and elegant Rosaries.” This rosary is called the Emerald Swarovski Crystals And Murano Glass Rosary Necklace. It’s a rather long name but all the rosaries in this series are named like this. I suspect it is so that all the specifications of the rosaries are listed in the name and there is no need for a long description, and shoppers know exactly what they’re getting just by reading the name. It also makes my life easier; now I don’t have to list the materials for you. All the beads look really well cut/shaped; there aren’t any jagged edges or oddly sized beads. The beads flanking the larger Our Father beads have little crystals embedded which all seem well secured. According to the description, the crucifix is 24K gold plated sterling silver. Like the other rosary, this crucifix is also quite lightweight. The details in this crucifix aren’t very well defined; I think it may be a result of the plating process. Also, a very specific note, but I found Jesus’ feet to be painfully pointy. I think it could scratch someone given enough force. I know that not every one cares about that level of detail and it is also possible that that is a quality specific to the rosary I received, but it was something that stuck out to me. One final detail I want to note is the lobster claw clasp. I have never seen this feature in a rosary, but I think this is more geared toward the necklace aspect as the name details. I find that it works well and none of the links surrounding it feel loose. I think the jump between the Hail Mary beads may bother some people considering it is in the middle of a decade, so it is something to consider while shopping.

You may wonder how these rosaries, which are from the line of Precious Rosaries, differ from other rosaries, particularly the Vatican Gift rosaries we have previously reviewed. I think there are two main differences. The first is packaging. If you go back to the first Vatican Gift review we wrote, you will see that the first few rosaries we reviewed came in a little velvety pouch. These rosaries come in a very sturdy box. The exterior is a faux snake skin and the inside has a fuzzy spongey material. The hinges aren’t loose and feel very high quality. I also, however, would not be surprised if the faux snake skin layer eventually cracks or tears along the hinge given time. I will say I think it will take quite a bit of time and use before that might occur. The rosaries are then wrapped in two more layers of packaging before they are tucked into the box. The second major difference is the materials used to make the rosaries. These rosaries are made of very high quality precious stones, minerals, metals and glasses, not seen in the other lines. A common point I think worth mentioning is, as detailed in our previous review, you can have these rosaries blessed by the Pope. We provide more details in that review; please check it out if you are curious about this.

As I noted with the medal, these rosaries, too, are expensive, and it may be difficult for someone who is not familiar with the materials used to comprehend just how expensive they are and appreciate the craftmanship. I would only recommend these rosaries if you intend on purchasing one for someone who has been looking for more of a luxury rosary and likes the materials used to make the rosary you intend on purchasing. Otherwise, if you were attracted idea of purchasing a rosary that is then blessed by the Pope, I would recommend a rosary from one of Vatican Gift’s more affordable lines, which also have beautiful pieces.

And this concludes day 4! I hope you will look forward to the rest of the series for some (not quite as expensive) gift ideas!

Disclaimer: The Catholic Man Reviews was provided these rosaries and the miraculous medals for an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Vatican Gift for the opportunity for us to review these items on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.

Day 3: NRSV-CE Leathersoft Thinline Edition

Last year in the 12-days of Christmas series, we reviewed a copy of the NRSV Catholic Bible Personal Size Standard Edition from Catholic Bible Press. This year, we wanted to present something newer, but of the same line. Catholic Bible Press has really been expanding their line of offerings of the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE). I have honestly been jealous for quite some years how Protestant translations have had many beautiful volumes of their Bibles, while Catholics had a very limited line of Bibles. However, I have been proven wrong as in recent years, many beautiful and practical editions of the Catholic Bible have been printed, an number of which have been featured on this blog.

Unlike the Personal Size edition last year, I will not be going through the content because I have found the content of both Bibles to be nearly exactly the same, except for one feature that I will speak of later. Many of its exterior qualities are the same, thankfully, with the handsome leathersoft synthetic leather materials, and with the hallmark of Catholic Bible Press… two ribbon markers!

The main thing I will look at the NRSV-CE Thinline Bible is its size, in comparion with the Personal Size Standard Edition that we reviewed last year. By the end of the review, I will have provided you the pros and cons of each, and which ones would be more ideal for which type of people.

Thinline Edition in the bottom; Personal Sized Standard Edition on the top

Before I dive deeper into the review, here are some of the specifications of the Thinline Bible and the Personal Size Standard edition:

Thinline BiblePersonal Size
Standard Edition
Number of Pages1232 pgs.1472 pgs.
Book Size (inches)10.25 x 7.3 x 1.389.5 x 6.25 x 1.5
Font Size (point)109.5

Probably one of the biggest surprises for me upon comparing the Thinline Bible is that compared to the Personal Size Standard Edition, it is indeed thinner, but it is not exactly smaller. My conception was that the Thinline Bible was going to be the same length and width as the Personal Size Standard Edition, while only being thinner than the Personal Size Standard Edition by about 0.12″. Is that a trade-off? I asked a friend that: Would you prefer a thinner Bible with larger length and width? Or a thicker Bible with smaller length and width? He didn’t have an immediate answer, simply because they are both trade-offs: You want thinner, have larger length and width; You want smaller length and width, have a thicker Bible.

The font size between the two Editions, with 0.5pt difference (this is in terms of the main, body text) is not too much of a difference for me, but might be so for someone with not the best eyesight.

Thinline Edition below; Personal Size Standard Edition on top

A plus side of the Thinline Edition is that, at least for me, it seems more “spacious” in terms of the layout. When putting the Bible side by side, it seems that the Thinline Edition has a bit more white space in between the lines than the Personal Size Standard Edition. The latter Edition seems like the lines are more condensed. If you prefer the more white-space, that makes the text easier to read, or more “approachable,” then the Thineline edition might be for you.

One of the downsides of the Thinline Edition is that despite its more spaciousness in the pages, unlike the Personal Size Standard Edition, it eliminates all the notes at the beginning of all the books. The Personal Size Standard Edition contains a good paragraph of notes that would introduce the reader to the book. An introduction to the book of the Bible is important, especially for someone approaching the Bible for the first time. These notes I have found to be helpful as it frames the Bible in its historical context, and helps inform the reader on how the book is meant to be read.

Where do I stand on the Thinline Edition? Just like my friend I recalled earlier, there are trade offs between the two Bibles: You gain something, but you lose some other features. However, upon careful contemplation, I thought of the following: Personally, for me, as someone who travels with a backpack, I prefer the Personal Sized Standard Edition. I like it not just because of the notes for each book, but also in terms of practicality. I prefer a smaller length and width, but thicker book. However, I would assume teachers, lecturers or Catholic speakers would prefer the Thinline. I notice that many of those who work in these professions have a laptop sleeve. I can imagine the Thinline slipping well into some laptop sleeves. Also, the larger font size, though not larger substantially, will help ease the reading. In other words, if you have larger surface area to cover in your bag, but need to make things as thin as possible, the Thinline Edition is the most ideal for you. If you want a smaller Bible, but don’t mind the 0.12″ thickness difference, then you might want to with the Personal Sized Standard Editions.

Nevertheless, Catholic Bible Press has here two handsome editions of the NRSV-CE, that I think every Catholic should get a hold of to not only have, but actually read.

You can check out the NRSV-CE Thinline Edition here.

Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a review copy of the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Bible Thinline Edition for an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Catholic Bible Press for the opportunity for us to review this Bible on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.

Day 2: Tyndale Inspire Catholic Bible – NLT translation

It is Day 2 of our 12 Days of Christmas Gift ideas with Ivy! Today, I am presenting what I consider the sibling of something I have brought to you in a previous season. It is the Tyndale’s Inspire Catholic Bible for “coloring and creative journaling”. I have reviewed one of these before, but I was lucky enough to receive a copy of a slightly different version. I’m going to shake things up a little and do more of a comparison post rather than what we usually do.

This version has a brown imitation leather softcover. It doesn’t have the elastic that the other version I reviewed has to keep the book shut. The softcover probably wouldn’t fare very well with it anyway. The front cover has the same design save for the copper lettering and the lack of the dove. The edges have copper gilding to match the cover text instead of the flower and butterflies design. The gilding is very even and does look nice, but as most if not all gilding does, it gets all over my hands when I touch it. You’ll be left with a bunch of shimmer flecks on your hands, and a bunch less on the Bible (not that you could see it disappearing; it’s a pretty gradual process). For this reason, I prefer the design for the edges on the other version, but I can see how the gilding would be more appealing to some people.

One thing that is unique to this softcover version is it has the beatitudes etched onto the back. I think it serves as a nice reminder and could be a reason to pick this version over the other. The font matches that of the rest of the Bible so it fits right in with the rest of the theming. The spines are also different to match the differences in theming for each version. This soft cover version has a cardstock container rather than just a sleeve, which I think is nice. It still has the flexibility of the sleeve for easy removal, but is a bit more protective. The information printed on it is the same as the other version, only the font is a little bigger.

As for the inside, both versions are identical. This goes for the fonts, illustrations, the paper used. For this reason, everything I wrote regarding the previous version also applies to this one. That being said, I noticed that the product code on the inside of this Bible is the code for the other version I reviewed, not this one. I don’t know if this a just a printing error or if it changes anything for the rest of the book. Considering how the outer packaging and description are identical, I suspect that the inside would be as well, however this is not something I can guarantee. I am nonetheless writing this review under the assumption that the content of the Bibles were intended to be the same. This also means that I don’t think one person needs both. Based off the overall outer design, I think it was designed to be a more traditionally masculine version of the other version I reviewed. If that was the case however, I don’t think they were very successful with that because the inner content and design is identical. Most of the illustrations can be considered more traditionally feminine. For this reason, I think when deciding if this is a good gift for someone, I would not recommend looking at it from a masculine vs. feminine angle, but to instead first consider if the illustrations inside are something that the person you would gift it to would like. If you think yes, that is when I would consider which colour and/or cover type they would prefer.

Because there are two versions with identical interiors, I think these Bibles would be a good way to get someone to read the Bible or get into Bible journaling with you without being too matchy-matchy. It is then really easy to coordinate pages, and colouring the illustrations together could make for a nice bonding activity.

You can purchase a copy of the The Inspire Bible here.

And so concludes today’s review! I hope to see you for the rest of the season!

Disclaimer: The Catholic Man Reviews was provided a review copy of this Bible for an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Tyndale Publishing House for the opportunity for us to review The Bible on our blog and look forward to future collaborations. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.