Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages
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The traditional liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is a highly formal ritual unfolding in layers of elaborate gesture, rich symbolism, whispered Latin, and ancient plainchants. “Experts” after the Second Vatican Council were convinced that such a ritual was irrelevant to “modern man.” To the shock of some, the delight of many, and the surprise of everyone, the old Latin Mass (and much that went along with it) has tenaciously survived during the past half-century and become an increasingly familiar feature in the Catholic landscape. What are the reasons for this revival, especially among the young? And why is this development so important for the renewal of Catholicism?
Peter Kwasniewski offers a lively account of the noble beauty and transcendent holiness of the traditional Roman liturgy, which humbles us before the mystery of God, stirs us with its pageantry, carries us into sacred silence, and bears us to a world of invisible realities. He contrasts this priceless treasure with the rationalistic reforms of the sixties, which yielded a Catholic liturgy severed from its own history, inadequate to its theological essence, unequal to its ascetical-mystical purpose, and estranged from its cultural inheritance. His conclusion: if there is to be a new springtime in the Church, the widespread restoration of the traditional liturgical rites will be at the heart of it.
“Anyone who wants a frank, honest, and deep explanation of worship, prayer, and liturgy should get this book. Be prepared to marvel at the depth of the Mass.”—REV. JAMES W. JACKSON, F.S.S.P., author of Nothing Superfluous
“With a delightful variety of insightful angles, Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness is an admirable contribution to reminding the Church how to move the world with her irreplaceable liturgical traditions.”—MICHAEL P. FOLEY, Baylor University
“This tremendous new book is an eloquent and erudite confrontation with the very root of the liturgical debate: whether the radical de-mystifying of the Catholic liturgy has been for the good of souls. It is a ringing affirmation that the kind of liturgy that pleases God, softens the hearts of sinners, and raises the pious towards sanctity, is the mysterious product of centuries of development.”—JOSEPH SHAW, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales
“Peter Kwasniewski illustrates the total collapse of the hierarchy of values brought about by a modern world that has ‘turned its back to God,’ and man’s need for the Traditional Mass to spin him round to a recognition that all good things—temporal things included—flow only from aiming our attention firmly at the Creator.”—JOHN RAO, St. John’s University
“Dr. Kwasniewski has a genius for making a fresh case for Catholic tradition, with a blend of perspectives from the entire 60-year Catholic traditionalist movement. A unique reading experience.”—ROGER A. MCCAFFREY, President, Roman Catholic Books