cover image Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass

Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass

Thomas E. Woods, JR.. Roman Catholic Books, $15.95 (123pp) ISBN 978-0-9793540-2-1

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.)