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The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward Paperback – October 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; First edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586170694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586170691
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,025,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Alcuin Reid on November 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
"The present condition of Catholic worship has come about because it has been shaped by principles and attitudes of secular modernity. The result is that the Liturgy, instead of providing an alternative vision of life to that provided by secular modernity, now cooperates with and disseminates principles that are distructive of Catholicism."

"Modern liturgical practices are defective, and they are in place, and they reinforce people's understanding both of their faith and of how the faith should relate to the modern world."

Strong words, but true. Father Jonathan Robinson doesn't avoid the grim reality of the state of the Liturgy in the modern world. Rather, he subjects it to the scrutiny of a Catholic philosopher (himself), and comes up with a detailed if disturbing diagnosis.

However a correct diagnosis is the necessary prerequisite for a cure, and whilst it may be unpleasant, we are indebted to Father Robinson for his inscisive work. This book should form part of the liturgical formation programme of all clergy and religious and be studied by any laity seeking a qualification in the Sacred Liturgy. It is philosophically demanding, but all that more important for so being.

Whether or not one agrees with Father Robinson's practical suggestions - and with these there is scope for much discussion - his cry of alarm is prophetic.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jim Garlits on January 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
A very good resource for your library if you're passionate about good liturgy and lament the current state of the Catholic Mass. If you want to know, philosophically, how we got where we are, and some suggestions for how to get out, this is the book for you. This isn't a spy thriller, it requires close reading. But its worth the effort.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brian Van Hove on October 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward
by Jonathan Robinson of the Oratory
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005
Pp. 377
Paper edition $17.95
ISBN: 1586170694

Reviewed by Reverend Brian Van Hove, S.J.
Alma, Michigan
Published in Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal, vol. 10, no 1 (2006): 117-119
Posted on Ignatius Insight, 11 September 2010

Readers who enjoyed Jonathan Robinson's Spiritual Combat Revisited in 2003, surely thrilled to The Mass and Modernity in 2005. This treatment of liturgical landscape is what we needed forty years ago, when the implementation of the reform was just beginning. On the other hand, it took us these forty years finally to understand certain factors related to the reform's failure. Not even Father Robinson could have written this book in 1965 when the Council ended. Only now do we have enough data and the pleasure of hindsight.
Robinson explains what he is doing. He is completing the historical work of Aidan Nichols, O.P., especially in Looking at the Liturgy. The two books go together. Both Robinson and Nichols orient us toward a grasp of the crisis in Catholic liturgy, and of the fitful, unfulfilled reform attempted since the Second Vatican Council.
These studies also give notes of hope amidst the bleakness, the chief of which is understanding itself. Nothing like light to cheer us. But on the political, practical, and pastoral levels, there is very little to hope for. Robinson says candidly: "The present state of the liturgy reflects the alienation of modern Catholic thought and practice from the tradition of the Church; but now it also contributes to it."
Robinson gives us a philosophical assessment. Ideas come from somewhere, and all ideas have a history.
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Overall the book is well done and worth the read. Part Three is however dated. I would recommend it for parts one and two.
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