BOOK: Nothing Superfluous: An Explanation of the Symbolism of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great

It is sometimes observed that elements of the Roman Rite, both traditional and revised, accrued as if my accident.  Liberals contemptuously squint at gestures (especially the reverent ones) as if they were barnacles on the hull of a ship that should be scraped off.   These medieval accretions don’t really offer anything important.

They misunderstand … well… a lot.

I bring to the attention of the readership an intriguing book by Fr. James W. Jackson, a priest of the FSSP Nothing Superfluous: An Explanation of the Symbolism of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great US HERE UK HERE

These days there are several ways in use to refer to the traditional form of the Roman Rite.  Variously, we hear Extraordinary Form, Usus Antiquior, Gregorian Rite, Pian Rite, etc.

Fr. Jackson addresses the fact that, yes, many elements crept into our rites over time and, yes, on the surface it seems that they got in there by accident or habit.  However, they are not superfluous.  They mean something.  They have their own beauty and impact.  Considered together, they communicate something important.

Jackson goes through the Mass and comments on the particulars.  I found quite interesting his brief presentation of St. Charles Borromeo’s ideas about church architecture, what a church should have and look like and, hence, what a Church means.

Seminarians would benefit from this book, as would priests.

Fathers, learn the traditional Roman Rite.  You will accrue to yourselves a deeper understanding of who you are as a priest at the altar.   The very fact that antinomian liberals, squishy on doctrine, hate the older form of Holy Mass is reason enough to embrace it and make it your own.  It stands like a bastion against their hateful iconclasm and murky notions of priesthood and Church.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. iamlucky13 says:

    This sounds very cool. Do you think it would also be reasonably engaging for a historically minded lay person?

    Learning about the meaning of many of the numerous elements of the Mass has helped my own reverence and attention during the liturgy as a layperson, and they often provide for reflections on the meaning of what I’m participating in.

  2. acardnal says:

    I’m reading it now.

  3. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I’ll have to get this. Fr. Jackson does terrific work. Not too long ago he led the renovation of what had been a protestant building into a beautiful traditional church. You can get a taste of it here.

  4. WYMiriam says:

    Need to, need to, put this on my birthday wish list!!

  5. Lucas Whittaker says:

    I finally ordered this. Thank you for bringing it to the fore again. The last time that I viewed it on Amazon I failed to see that Dr. Kwasniewski had commented so thoughtfully about the book. I look forward to reading it.

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