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Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass Paperback – February 1, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It seems as though the Catholic Church is going through a retro phase. Pope Benedict XVI recently declared that the Latin Mass, which has seen limited use since the late 1960s, can now be celebrated by priests and laity all over the world. Woods, author of How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, has no doubt that this is a good idea. He may be in a minority camp in his church, but it is a vocal and passionate minority that desires to be heard. The author presents a hybrid of history, apologetics and theology in an effort to explore the mystery and beauty of the Latin Mass and answer what he views as misconceptions about this form of liturgy. However, his attempt at describing in ordinary words the various facets of this extraordinary form of liturgy falls flat. He does make an excellent point that contemporary liturgy can be too wordy, while the more traditional mass, with its generous use of silence, offers us the opportunity to focus our hearts and prayers on the action taking place at the altar, and to unite ourselves fervently to that action. Those interested in the evolution of liturgy will gain some insights from Woods's reflections. (Feb.)
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An excellent introduction to the traditional Latin Mass for Priests and lay persons who want to know more about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass which is now an official part of the liturgy of the Catholic Church....It is obvious from what Woods says and quotes that the old Mass has made a dramatic comeback in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church and is the wave of the future. --Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ, Editor, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

Summorum Pontificum releases the curtains on four decades of liturgical farce and revives a tradition vital to the Church's recovery. In this clear book, Thomas Woods captures the momentousness of Pope Benedict XVI's simple act of courage and common sense. --George Neumayr, Editor, Catholic World Report

A compact and informative guide to the history, structure, and practice of the Old Mass (with a particularly helpful section at the end that tackles common objections). Easy to read, every CAtholic would benefit from this book. --Brian Saint-Paul, Editor, Inside Catholic.com (formerly Crisis Magazine)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 123 pages
  • Publisher: Roman Catholic Books; 1st edition (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979354021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979354021
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,532,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James E. Egolf VINE VOICE on February 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thomas Woods wrote a thoughtful and useful survey of the restoration of the Latin Mass. For those who wondered what the conflicts were among Catholic Church authorities , this book gives a clear and concise explanation of these conflicts. For devout Catholics, these conflicts and differences were important. Non-catholics who may have an interest in the differences among Catholic authorities can learn something about the Catholic Faith and history.

Mr. Woods presents the conflict in an honest historical perspective as opposed to the silly media accounts which betrayed the ignorance of many journalists. Pope Benedict XVI DID NOT AND DOES NOT plan to abolish the newer 1970 Catholic Missal which has been falsely reported. Mr. Woods explains that Pope Benedict XVI wanted to restore the Roman Missal (the Latin Missal)to those who wanted it and preferred the older Tridentine Mass. If priests wanted to use the newer liturgy, that was fine with Pope Benedict XVI. The conflict arose when some Catholic authorities wanted to get rid of the Latin Rite and abolish the Roman Missal and consign the Latin and Roman Missal to the Orwellian Memory Hole. In other words, those Catholics who were taught in the use of the Roman Missal and the Tridentine Mass were immediately separated from what had always been sacred to them and to the Catholic Church for centuries.

Another issue that Mr. Woods discusses so well is the alleged "reforms" of Vatican II. Again the newer 1970 Missal was not the issue. What caused conflcit was innovation and trivialization of the Mass that resulted from misinterpretation of the 1970 Missal and "creativity" of making "reforms" which stunned many of the Vatican II attendees. They openly stated that what was done after Vatican II was not what these men intended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Woods has provided a masterful defense of Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and his reasons for issuing it. This little book is well researched and well laid out, offering a simple and straightforward explanation of the tradition supporting the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite and its relevance to Catholics today. In addition to the text itself, Mr. Woods provides several appended documents to aid the reader, including Pope Benedict's explanatory letter to the bishops of the world and the motu proprio itself. I heard about this book through Father Z's excellent podcast and had to buy it immediately - it was money well spent! A+
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Format: Paperback
I'm 30 and just recently came across the latin Mass.

I was looking for something to help me "translate" mentally from the ordinary Mass that I grew up with, to the extrodinary form. I've read a couple of books, and this one is the best.

Some booklets are angry. Angry at the reformers, the reforms, etc. They gave me some useful information. Or some books assume you know nothing about the Mass period. So, they go over the real presence, etc, which I already know about.

I just wanted to know about the actions in this form of the Mass. Why is the priest facing away from the people? Why Latin? Why do we kneel to receive communion? Why does the priest do this or that action?

It also covers the history of the reform of the Mass over the centuries. What Popes have done what. It covers Ratzinger's concerns through all of it.

It is also a medium difficuly to read. Not too hard, but not a cake walk.

Very good book. I want to get a copy for all my friends.
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Format: Paperback
It's almost a year since Pope Benedict issued his Motu Proprio `Summorum Pontificum' in which he decreed - not "opined" or "suggested" but authoritatively "decreed" - that the more ancient form of Mass - often called the "traditional Latin Mass" - had never in fact been abrogated (juridically banned).

The importance of this was missed by much of the media - Catholic and otherwise - who reported `Summorum Pontificum' more or less as a personal move of a conservative pope. It was, rather, a profound and definitive correction of a grave injustice being perpetrated over the past four decades of liturgical history, for as Pope Benedict wrote in his accompanying letter, "In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behoves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place."

This is precisely the point that Thomas E. Woods makes in his book which, it must be said, will serve as a good introduction to the questions and issues that lie behind the Pope's decree.

This book is also a good general introduction to the "usus antiquior" - the more ancient use or form of the Roman rite of the sacred liturgy - for those who know little or nothing about it, providing as it does a brief guide to the Mass rite as well as chapters dealing with important features of the older liturgy and common misconceptions concerning it.
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