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Showing posts with label CTSExplanations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CTSExplanations. Show all posts

Monday, 6 July 2020

The History of the Mass Explained - Father Charles Dilke

The History of the Mass Explained
Father Charles Dilke
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824821
eISBN 9781784693589
ASIN B073FH4R4L
CTS Booklet H508


Over the last few years, I have fell in love with the books from the Catholic Truth society. I am not certain if this volume is part of the CTS Explanations series, or juts part on the of the CTS Histories. Or even both, but either way it is an excellent little read. The booklet was originally published in 2008 and the eBook was released in 2017. The description on the back of this book is:

“This booklet looks at how the Mass has changed and developed over the centuries, and how changes have occurred at different times in the Church's history, up to and including recent changes by Pope Benedict XVI.”

The chapters in the book are:

Introduction 
The Primitive Roman Mass 
Growth and Enrichment of the Rites 
Reform of the Mass 
The Mass in the ‘Ancien Régime’ 
To Involve the People 
The Aims of Vatican II 
Some of the Modern Changes
Epilogue

We are told in the preface that:

“The material in this booklet was originally given as some talks to the members of the Catholic Evidence Guild in 1993 on the subject of misgivings aroused by modern changes in the Roman Mass. It was reviewed and revised in 2007.”

Father Dilke also states that he is not a liturgical scholar. He is a student of history. And that he has a passion for the topic. The book is written in an engaging and entertaining volume. If I had come across this volume and had the chance to take a course with Father Dilke I would not hesitate. And if I stumble upon anything else written by him I would immediately purchase it. The book can easily be read by anyone with a grade school education. There is a lot of great information in this volume, even as a student with a Religious Studies Degree with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought there was much in this volume that was new to me. I highlighted many passages while reading the book a selection of them to pique your interest are:

“Roman rite lies in the fact that there are quite a few devout people who feel, either explicitly or as it were by instinct that the so-called “Tridentine Mass” has an authenticity about it which is lacking in the Mass we celebrate today, namely the Paul VI Mass or Vatican II Mass. These people make us all ask ourselves - has the Mass changed in some essential way, or has the holiness of our Mass become less than it was before Vatican II? A strong unease or even a vague unease about the most important act of our religion is highly undesirable in the Church and for the individuals. The question needs to be settled one way or another.”

“Accordingly the booklet contains three parts. This first deals with the Growth of the Roman Rite. Next, the Reform of the Roman Rite. And in the final chapter I shall try and gather the threads together to bring about an understanding of the modern changes of our own time.”

“In the course of time many features have been added to the Mass but we must also remember that features have also been subtracted from it. And quite often features have been added, then subtracted and then added again.”

“This was the Agapé, which was a Jewish type ceremonial meal with blessings and prayers. People brought their own food and as well as the blessings spoken by the senior ecclesiastic present there was conversation on matters important to the group. This was the sort of weekly meeting that a teacher would hold in Israel with his disciples and Our Lord would have done it with his followers. The Mass was celebrated, though the word Mass was not used until 300 years later. At this stage it was called Klasis Artou, Greek for the breaking of Bread.”

“You may have noticed that a lot of things began to change in the rite of Mass from the beginning of the 4th century until the time of Gregory the Great about 600 AD.”

“For most people therefore the Mass remained mysterious and unknown and their spiritual needs were satisfied by the growth of a great many devotions and extra-liturgical services, most of which have now died out, but some are still kept alive, like the Stations of the Cross, Benediction and Holy Hours.”

“Pope Paul VI articulated what was felt by many of the clergy when he said that there was a need to re-educate the faithful, purify, and restore dignity, beauty, simplicity and good taste to our ceremonies. This would have effect in a more fruitful and intelligent spiritual life for the faithful, which would make them more resistant to the spiritual dangers of our times.”

“Historically we can see that frequent, weekly, Communion was the rule in the early centuries. The Eucharistic fast seems to have become general in the 4th century. About the 8th century Communion in the hand was being replaced by reception on the tongue, and between then and the 11th century Communion under both kinds and frequent Communion were both dying out. We have seen some of the causes of these developments in earlier chapters.”

It is of particular interest to read about some of the changes that were later changed back. For example, the use of vernacular. Which direction the priest faced, and others. Many of the modern debates in Catholic worship do not appear new after reading this volume. It would be a great volume for those who want only The Latin Mass, of those who want only the Novus Ordo, Or the Latin of the ordinary rite. Each of these three camps could learn from the history presented in this volume. In the epilogue we are told:

“A few comments are necessary about two positive interventions by the Magisterium in recent times. One is Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum (2007), which defines the position of the post Vatican II Mass as the Ordinary Roman Rite, and the Mass as it was in 1962 as the Extraordinary Rite. This regularises and makes clear the situation of Old Rite Masses, saying that they are legitimate options in the right circumstances, while at the same time refusing to backtrack completely with regard to the Vatican II Mass. This is an interesting return to a plurality of rites as was seen in earlier periods of the Church’s history.”

And further on:

“In the history surveyed by this essay we have seen that it is only in relatively recent times that complete standardisation of the Roman Rite has been aimed at and that even then the policy of standardisation was not adopted for its own sake but only to remedy abuses and for pastoral reasons. So it is not necessary to look for uniformity, a uniformity in any case which has never existed even in the Roman Rite.”

This is another excellent volume from the Catholic Truth Society. And honestly one that many Catholics, particularly those prone to arguments on social media regarding the Mass should read. I highly recommend this volume and was encouraged and edified by the reading of it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Explanations Series:
Marriage Annulment in the Catholic Church
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Does the Church oppress Women?
Organ Transplant – and the definition of Death
Abortion
Gene Therapy – and Human Genetic Engineering
Prenatal tests
Gift of life and Love
Islam
Euthanasia
Infertility
Homosexuality
Cloning and Stem Cell Research
Contraception and Chastity
Freemasonry and the Christian Faith
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Spirits, Mediums & The Afterlife
Witchcraft, Sorcery & Magic
...










Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic - J.B. Midgley - CTS Explanations

Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic:
Catholic Teachings on their Origins and Dangers
CTS Explanations 
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823831
CTS Booklet EX21


This was the tenth book by J.B. Barry Midgley that I have read. I was so impressed with the few that I have been trying to track down all of his books. I believe that he has written 28 books and that 26 of them are from the Catholic Truth Society. This book is out-of-print but well worth tracking down. In the last few years I have read over 100 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society, this is the first in the Explanations Series. Based on the CTS number EX21 and the list at the back of the book there are at least 21 books in this series. With all the books I have read from CTS I am surprised I have not come across this particular series and some of the other titles look as fascinating as this volume. 

The description on the back of this book is:

“There is mounting evidence that satanic cults are a fast-growing phenomenon in many modern ‘civilised’ societies, despite media reports of their shocking activities. This booklet explores the origins, nature and creeds of modern witchcraft; sorcery, Satanism, superstition, idolatry, the occult, magic, Wicca, kabbala, voodoo, Gia, and certain elements of ‘New Age’ and creation-centered spirituality. The author explains, in a clear and thoroughly researched text, the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church in relation to these phenomena.”

This book in many ways made me think of the book, 20 Answers Witchcraft & the Occult by Michelle Arnold, from Catholic Answers. And in fact comparing titles in the series this book comes from with the 20 Answers series and there is a lot of overlap. I feel that this book bit off more than can be covered in a volume this size. I believe it could easily have been split in 3 or 4 volumes with clearer focus. Now, don’t get me wrong. It is a great little volume. I was also a little nervous approaching this volume. Due to family history, and negative personal experiences of divination, occult, Satanism, and Free Masonry. But this book did an excellent job or outlining some of the history of these organizations and practices. And was fairly balanced in reporting on witch hunts and trials. But the last section of the volume was an excellent teaching on why to avoid these things. 

I think one of the great focuses of this volume is the subtitle of the book, ‘Catholic teachings on their Origins and Dangers’. The book outlines clearly why certain things are not to be done if you are a practicing Catholic, and I would go so far as to state if you call yourself a Christian. The sections in the book are:

Tip of the Iceberg
Elements of Witchcraft
Witches, Witchcraft and Sorcery
Modern manifestations
Fascination for the Mysterious
Evidence of Scripture

Overall a very good read. Another by Midgley I am glad to have tracked down, and one more book from the Catholic Truth Society that I have read!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic


Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 
...

Books in the CTS Explanations Series:
Marriage Annulment in the Catholic Church
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Does the Church oppress Women?
Organ Transplant – and the definition of Death
Abortion
Gene Therapy – and Human Genetic Engineering
Prenatal tests
Gift of life and Love
Islam
Euthanasia
Infertility
Homosexuality
Cloning and Stem Cell Research
Contraception and Chastity
Freemasonry and the Christian Faith
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Spirits, Mediums & The Afterlife
Witchcraft, Sorcery & Magic