Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

It seems as though the Catholic Church is going through a "retro" phase. Pope Benedict XVI recently declared that the Latin Mass, which has seen limited use since the late 1960s, can now be celebrated by priests and laity all over the world. Woods, author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, has no doubt that this is a good idea. He may be in a minority camp in his church, but it is a vocal and passionate minority that desires to be heard. The author presents a hybrid of history, apologetics and theology in an effort to explore the mystery and beauty of the Latin Mass and answer what he views as misconceptions about this form of liturgy. However, his attempt at describing in ordinary words the various facets of this "extraordinary" form of liturgy falls flat. He does make an excellent point that contemporary liturgy can be too "wordy," while the more traditional mass, with its generous use of silence, "offers us the opportunity to focus our hearts and prayers on the action taking place at the altar, and to unite ourselves fervently to that action." Those interested in the evolution of liturgy will gain some insights from Woods's reflections. (Feb.)

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Library Journal

These texts provide accessible overviews of Pope Benedict's theological foundation, a foundation that influenced his priesthood as a young cleric and continues to direct his thinking as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike many other recent popes, Benedict has been deeply influenced by the teachings and writings of St. Augustine, which have flavored his understanding of issues of morality, politics, ecclesiology, worship, and history. Here, Rowland (political philosophy & continental theology, John Paul II Inst., Melbourne, Australia) brilliantly identifies the subtle influences between Benedict and his theological peers and speculates on the direction of his pontificate. Her work is more theoretical than Thomas E. Woods Jr.'s Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass, which provides a useful handbook in understanding the reasons why Benedict restored the Missal of 1962 as well as commentaries on the liturgy's actual actions. Woods's book, with its practical focus, is better suited to lay worshipers, though it nicely complements Rowland's more academic text. Both are recommended for select theological collections.
—John-Leonard Berg

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979354021
  • Publisher: Roman Catholic Books
  • Publication date: 2/1/2008
  • Pages: 124

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