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The Spirit of the Liturgy Hardcover – September 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First American Edition edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898707846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898707847
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in 1927 in Germany as Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI has been head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005. A prolific author, theologian and university professor, Ratzinger served as an "expert" at the Second Vatican Council, and was tapped in 1977 by Pope Paul VI to lead the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In 1981, Pope John Paul II called him to Rome to head the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served until his papal election.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

219 of 228 people found the following review helpful By Deacon William C. Wagner, MA on February 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am old enough to have witnessed what was called "Liturgical Renewal" post Vat II style as a non-liturgist amongst the many others in the pews. We scratched our heads and wondered at the nonchalance with which changes were instituted: "That's old hat and it has to go." Since that time, I was ordained a Deacon(1975), and somewhat to my own surprise, I was forced to truly become a student of Vat II because of the challenges with which I was continually being confronted.
What as an amateur I had always suspected, Cardinal Ratzinger in THE SPIRIT OF THE LITURGY has, as a professional, proven to me to be true. Full Liturgical renewal has yet to happen. And it cannot be so until all are aware of what it is that we are about when we celebrate the Liturgy.
THE SPIRIT OF THE LITURGY gives us(clergy and laity alike) the foundation and raison d'etre for our most solemn moment of prayer, the Eucharistic Sacrifice. He solidly and with obvious expertise grounds our appreciation for the Mass in Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Fathers of the Church. One example: The Eucharistic Celebration's close ties to the Jewish Synagogue Service helps tremendously to understand its division into Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist and at the same time explains the age old practice of priest and people facing in the same direction(ad orientem). One could walk through this little book citing example after example, page after page, of how ones appreciation of the Mass could not fail to be deepen with the turning of yet another page. It has hugely enhanced my own appreciation for the richness of the Liturgy.
It is a must read for all clergy; a sine qua non for Liturgists especially.
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137 of 143 people found the following review helpful By A. Williamson on October 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Inspired by Romano Guardini's classic of the same name, the importance of this book cannot be overstated -- not just because the author is one of the church's foremost theologians and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but mainly because its rich content provides profound insight into the interplay between the transcendant and the immanent in the liturgy. This man's brilliant mind, his deep grasp of humanity, history and scripture, and his humility and respect for all sides in the liturgical reform movement shine through in John Saward's crisp translation from the German original. Divided into four parts (The Essence of the Liturgy, Time and Space in the Liturgy, Art and Liturgy, Liturgical Form), the cardinal's reflections will benefit liturgists and worshippers alike. This book should be read by every catholic adult, but especially by bishops, priests, and deacons (and those in formation). After 30 years of drift into banality, the church still awaits the implementation of Vatican II's vision of the liturgy. This book provides impetus in that direction.
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74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Cardinal Ratzinger, newly elected as Pope Benedict XVI, is perhaps one of the greatest intellectuals in the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy since the second world war. Examples of his ability in the historical and theological disciplines abound, but perhaps a more practical expression of this intelligence is contained in this book, `The Spirit of the Liturgy'. The subject of this book is the central rite of the church, the Eucharistic feast, and the liturgy - the word `liturgy' actually translates into `work of the people', and this includes clergy and laity alike.

The first section of the book works to connect liturgy in the church with the wider world, and indeed the entire cosmos. Ratzinger draws on ideas East and West, from philosophical traditions in the church as well as the biblical witness (both Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament). He sees Jesus as both a role model as well as the central figure in the Eucharist, drawing on all of these sources to make the point of the way worship is done, and what meaning can be derived from it.

Following this introductory section, Ratzinger continues to look at the practical aspects, everything from the language used and the movements done to the architectural implications and the musical elements. Ratzinger was a leading figure in the Second Vatican Council, but navigates an interesting line between some of the traditional elements and the more recent innovations in liturgical worship.
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful By James H. Dobbins on May 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In this book, Cardinal Ratzinger has raised and answered some of the most essential issues any Catholic, or for that matter any Christian, can face. He treads where only a deep faith founded in clear understanding can lead him, and through him, us. The essential nature of this book is seen right from the beginning. On page 17 he introduces the critial necessity of worshiping God as God desires, not as man desires. It is why God led Israel through the desert, why He prescribed precisely how He was to be worshiped, and why this is true for us today. God has an absolute right to be worshiped as He chooses. Our response is to obey. This creates the relationship between man and God. When we decide to worship God as we want, when we make worship, we clutch empty space and create a self-affirmation, a form of entertainment instead of a faithful worship of God. How God demands we worship Him, and why, is the central thread of this book, and is a critical point for every Christian to understand. If we do otherwise, we unbalance our relationship with God by injecting too much self, putting entertainment and "feeling good" ahead of the will of God, and in doing so we create disorder in all else we do. Every Christian needs this book.
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