OUTSTANDING NEW BOOK: The Traditional Mass: History, Form, and Theology of the Classical Roman Rite

The increasingly valuable Angelico Press has put out a new book:

The Traditional Mass: History, Form, and Theology of the Classical Roman Rite by Michael Fiedrowicz.


It was originally in German, published in 2011.

From the onset, there is an aptly chosen quote from Bl. Idelfonso Schuster:

It is a fact without doubt that the Roman Missal represents in its entirety the loftiest and most important work in ecclesiastical literature, being that which shows forth with the greatest fidelity the life-history of the Church, that sacred poem in the making of which ha posto mano e cielo e terra. [“both the heavens and the earth have had a hand in – from Dante’s Paradiso XXV.]

He is talking about the traditional Latin Missale Romanum.  I must agree, after having been involved with both the older, traditional Missale Romanum, and the newer version or Novus Ordo in Latin for many years and in Italian and two English translations.

This book goes through the historical development of the Mass and its Missal.  Then it gets into the Mass’s form, including components, the liturgical year, orientation of prayer, language, Quo primum, active participation, etc.  Then it delves into the theology.

Since I have written about most of the themes that the book covers, I was especially interested in the sections on the orations.  There I found…

Only in the orations of the classical rite are contained and preserved numerous ideas that, although they belong irrevocably to the Catholic Faith, are understated or entirely lost in later modified versions: detachment from the temporal and desire for the eternal; the Kingship of Christ over the world and society; the battle against heresy and schism, the conversion of non-believers, the necessity of the return to the Catholic Church and genuine truth; merits, miracles, and apparitions of the saints; God’s wrath for sin and the possibility of eternal damnation.

Thus bearing out precisely what I have been saying for years.

But I could cite paragraph after paragraph and say the same.

It is comprehensive and yet not vast.  It is scholarly and detailed yet readable.

My compliments to the translator.  There are moments in this book that are nothing short of lyrical.   Take the quotes from Paul Claudel.  One of them really got to me, especially because lately I’ve been using the Mass or orations “Tempore mortalitatis” and especially because we passed the first anniversary of the Notre-Dame fire.  In a way similar to my own discovery of the Catholic Church, Claudel one day entered Notre-Dame and became enchanted by the Mass.  He wrote of the vast content of the Mass:

“The liturgy and the zealous attendance of the Church’s divine worship will teach you more than all of your books. Immerse yourself in this limitless pool of magnificence, certitude, and poetry.”

And also,

“The epitome of Catholicism, the delicate and substantial point that summarizes it all, is the Eucharist. In a similar way, he wrote in his work on the Mass: “There always lies upon the altar a book containing all knowledge of life and death.”

He meant the traditional Mass and its Missal.

This new book from Angelico Press is a one stop shop, folks.  It is a must have, must read.

Your priests need this book.  Your bishops need this book.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    Thank you, Father Z. I’m deciding whether to get the hardbound or paperback.

    [Easy. One of each and give one to your local priest.]

  2. acardnal says:

    FYI, regarding Notre Dame: there is a special on PBS tonight at 7 CDT, “Building Notre Dame” followed by another new documentary, “Inside the Vatican” at 8 CDT. Both can also be streamed.

  3. bigtex says:

    Here’s something I recently discovered about the N.O. Mass: the traditional Offertory was replaced by a rabbinical blessing from the Talmud.

    Yeesh. Such an outrage.

  4. Pingback: VVEDNESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  5. Eric says:

    Got mine delivered today, ordered from the link above!

Comments are closed.