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