Tuesday, 20 April 2010

An Anniversary

A friend brought to my attention that it is two years since The Order of Mass book, written and edited by me, was launched.

Bishop Elliott had this (amongst other things) to say about the utility of the book at the launch:

I see this assistance being offered to the reader at several levels. At one level this book may be used as a guide to the Mass, providing a rich liturgical and theological commentary, deeply spiritual in tone, full of interesting but relevant details, presented with an originality which engages the reader. This work can serve as an introduction for those who may not be familiar with the “extraordinary” form. The explanatory material wisely assumes that the reader knows nothing about the classical rite, particularly celebrating towards the East, the use of Latin and the sacred setting. Yet this is not done in a patronising way. Those of us familiar with the rite will find original nuances in the explanations which invite us to deeper faith in the Divine Mysteries. The author writes in the best perspective - “faith seeking understanding”. So there is another level of Eucharistic catechesis offered to the reader.

Flushed with the honour of having the Ignatius Press approach me to publish my book and then having the liturgist-bishop Monsignor Peter Elliott launch the work in Melbourne with such high-praise, I thought my book would become a best-seller in Traditionally-oriented liturgical circles. How mistaken I was...

In these two years, there hasn't been a single review of the book, except that which I drew up myself. The various Catholic blogs, which will be well-known to those reading this post, have been completely uninterested in the work, as if it doesn't exist. Complimentary copies which I sent to a number of people were passed over without response. Two Catholic Blogs kindly put up some advertising posts about the book but the response in the Comment Boxes was disturbing: extreme hostility, particularly to the inclusion IN THE APPENDIX of a small number of Prefaces from the 1970 Missale Romanum (permitted by a decision of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, which I cited in the book).

This reaction from sectors of the Traditionalist Catholic movement was disappointing, to say the least. I am also of the view that my decision to make a translation which did not include the use of "thee", "thou" etc. was seen by Traditionalists as decidedly modern, and therefore suspect.

The truth is that my motivation in preparing this work was to lead people to the Extraordinary Form of Mass who knew nothing of it and approached it without pre-conceived notions of what it might - or should - be. It was to be as much a catechetical work as an Order of Mass. Well, from Ignatius Press data, I know that more 3000 copies of the book have been sold, which is most encouraging, but nothing like what I expected.

Do you have a copy of the booklet? If not, why not purchase a copy and then you can judge for yourself whether it has more merit than defect. In the right-hand column of this Blog is link to the Ignatius Press, from whom you might purchase a copy.

Thank you.