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A Short History of the Mass Paperback – November 21, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


Fr. Alfred McBride, O.Praem., has written a gem of a book on the Mass that deserves to be read by every Catholic. --The Compass (Green Bay, Wisconsin)

About the Author

ALFRED McBRIDE, O. PRAEM., holds a diploma in catechetics from Lumen Vitae, Brussels, and a doctorate in religious education from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He has written many books, including a six-book series on the Bible, four books on the new Catechism of the Catholic Church and The Story of the Church: Peak Moments From Pentecost to the Year 2000.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: St. Anthony Messenger Press (November 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0867167440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0867167443
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carol Blank on February 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The noble core of the Eucharist from the Upper Room to an urban cathedral or village church has withstood the tumults of history--and always will." These words that appear in the conclusion to McBride's history of the Mass express one of his main themes: the Holy Spirit's guidance in development of the Catholic Church's Eucharist. As the apostles fashioned their experience of the first Eucharist into a liturgy available to all, so believers through the centuries added to and adapted the Mass. In large brush strokes, McBride takes us through services in house churches, monasteries, basilicas, and modern parishes. At the same time he provides details on historic and cultural events that shaped such elements of the Mass as music, liturgical books, and participation of the laity.

The text is written in a clear, concise style and formatted with additional margin comments, illustrations, and an index. Catholics and others interested in the evolution of the Mass will find this an excellent resource. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter are especially useful for groups.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charles Normal on July 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although it could have been much worse, I can't recommend this book. Yes, it includes many essential points about the core importance of the Mass. But, unfortuately, it is too superficial as a history. In too many cases, it lacks clear explanations of the origins of certain aspects of the Mass. Instead, it gives hand-waving assertions. Perhaps he justifies this superficiality by calling it a "short" history but that is a pretty lame excuse.

What I find worse than this superficiality is that the author defintely has his axes to grind. He is obviously an advocate of some of the more recent post VatII innovations in the Mass and uses this book to justify his opinions. As is common with others of his school, he disparages much of the past but with one major exception - nearly anything done by the "early" Christians was the ideal. He makes the essential point that the core structure and purpose of the Mass have been preseved and are necessarily apostolic in origin. However, he erroneously places the same apostolic credentials on the non-essential practices of the early Christians. It is fascinating that people such as the author generally claim to be "progressive" and advocates of change, updating, and relevance to current trends. Yet, they enshrine the distant past and disparage the recent past. That second century Christians practiced the Mass in a certain way and that way was changed was likely for good reason. Going back to the second century would NOT be an improvement. Stepping back, how can anyone think that most of post Vatican II changes in Mass practice been improvements?

Yes, it is short but go elsewhere to find a good history of the Mass. Although much wider in scope, the Church history books by Schreck or Vidmar are better reads.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clemens Suen on June 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a concise history of the development of the Mass. Written in plain English, the book does a great job in revealing the gradual changes of the Church as reflected in the liturgy in general, Eucharist in particular. I would recommend this book to Grade 6 and above of the CCD students who do not have a sense of history when they attend Sunday Mass. For a generation that faces constant changes in all aspects of their lives,knowing that there has been hugh development in the way Catholic worship God can only strengthen their faith, which yearns for constant understanding.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mamma10 on February 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my husband's birthday since he asked for it after our parish priest mentioned it at a meeting.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter P. Fuchs on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
This man's treatment of the very culturally significant Jansenist controversy couldn't be a better example of the current Catholic desire to utterly re-write its own history. What he says about it is simply false, against historical fact, and amounts to pure fantasy. The best way to put this complex matter is that he has turned the matter on its head. I don't remotely have a team or a side in this old Jesuit-Jansenist fight, long ago won by the former by very sneaky casuistry and gossip and maybe a bit of skullduggery as well. But it is simply a violent over-simplification to portray all the little pious ladies who were the real protagonists of the Jansenist controversy at Port Royal, as if they were part of some perfectionist heresy concocted by Bishop Cornelius Jansen. I saw this character McBride on Catholic cable actually saying that the thrust of Jansenism was to put forth an "angry God". This character McBride is actually trying to turn history upside down. Disgusting. I am not a cryptic supporter of the Jansenist cause, and it shouldn't even be necessary to say such, except that modern apologists for the Roman Church seem to see chimeras behind every bush. Simply as a matter of historical cultural accuracy, it must be clear that Jansenism contains such an emphasis on God's love AGAINST the Jesuitical blandishments of Cardinal Richileiu's Luzon Catechism, etc, and that such lead to a hyped-up piety with hyper-scrupulous overtones. . This also meant in practical terms a criticism against corrupt practices of the church. That is the sort of thing that has never sat well with the Catholic clergy (see the Council of Constance, for instance).Read more ›
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