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The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background Paperback – September, 1993
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The Reform of the Roman Liturgy Msgr. Klaus Gamber The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Msgr. Klaus Gamber. Thirteen years ago when Pope Benedict was still ‘Cardinal Ratzinger’ he wrote the following in a Preface to this book: “What happened after the Council . . . in the place of ‘liturgy as the fruit of development’ came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it—as in a manufacturing process—with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product. Gamber, with the vigilance of a true prophet and the courage of a true witness, opposed this falsification, and, thanks to his incredibly rich knowledge, indefatigably taught us about the living fullness of a true liturgy.” This most important book will give us insight to what the now Pope Benedict may have planned for the future of the liturgy.
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Top Customer Reviews
In fact, I would say this should be required reading for any modern seminarian or catechist. It lays the groundwork for how the Liturgy (both in east and west) developed and why the Traditional Latin Mass is actually more historical than the Novus Ordo's supposed "return" to the "early" way of the Apostles. Again, I think any seminarian or student of theology should have to read this book as a part of any study of the Liturgy.
I was also surprised that this book is not filled with any vitriol that is in some other "traditionalist" publications. Rather, it is always respectful, reverent, and yet still is able to call a spade, a spade. For those that have not yet embraced the Traditional Latin Mass, this is an excellent read to at least get an understanding of this treasure of the Church. Read the book!
He uses blunt, direct language and this is an easy read for anyone who wants to know more about the history of the Mass and, especially, whether the changes after Vatican II have any connection with historical practices of the Church. Were Gamber alive today he no doubt would sneer at the notion of the "hermeneutic of continuity" nonsense being preached by Rome these days.
For example, the present-day Mass is said with the priest facing the people. Gamber demonstrates in a methodical manner how the Mass said versus populum is a complete innovation and had no place whatsoever in the RC liturgy ever--at least until V2. He does not mince words and calls those liars who claim that having the priest facing the people is a restoration of ancient practice. In fact, he notes that there is not even a term for "facing the people" in the Latin or Orthodox Churches regarding the liturgy.
Gamber spends a great deal of space on the importance of the eastward position in liturgies, be they Christian, Jewish or pagan. He shows how, since the earliest days of Christianity, the eastward position for the liturgy was of paramount importance. It was Luther who pushed for Mass versus populum, which, not coincidentally, went right along with his theology that the Mass is but a meal, not a sacrifice, and this was adopted quickly by the Free Churches. Thus it may be said with all accuracy that the post-Vatican II Mass is indeed Protestant. Facing east involved everyone, priest included, a practice some have smeared by the vulgar claim that "the priest has his back to the people." Gamber makes it clear that this practice demonstrates a deep respect to God, in contrast to the present practice that stresses a community meal rather than a sacrifice.
The book concludes with several questions, with a reply to each one by Gamber, which are helpful to those who have been lied to. You will not be disappointed in this book if you care at all about the direction of the Church and of the integrity of the liturgy.