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Wednesday, 11 February 2009

CTS pamphlets on the Mass

Recently the Catholic Truth Society sent me the new pamphlets that they have published - an excellent variety of titles that can be seen on the Latest Products page of the CTS website. I have read a few of them and look forward to reading the rest.

A significant addition to the catalogue is a pamphlet with the order of Mass for the extraordinary form in Latin and English. This comes in two versions: a normal pamphlet style with colour cover featuring an illustration from the book of hours of the Duc de Berry (£1.95), and a black leatherette bound edition with ribbon marker (£4.95). After the text of the Mass, the prayer for the Queen, the Leonine prayers and some private prayers of thanksgiving are included, as well as a list of references to the scripture readings for the Sundays of the year.

A companion pamphlet is Fr Richard Whinder's "The Extraordinary form of the Mass Explained." This is a very well thought-out introduction to the usus antiquior, beginning appropriately with an explanation that gives the context of Summorum Pontificum, explaining that it is not simply about reconciling the SSPX or about meeting the needs of a minority but the fruit of a desire for interior reconciliation at the heart of the Church, promoting an understanding of the Sacred Liturgy in continuity with the tradition of the Church.

To attempt an overview of the history of the Roman rite within the confines of a short pamphlet is an ambitious task but Fr Whinder has accomplished it with great skill, offering a balanced and accurate summary. The third part of the pamphlet gives an outline of the extraordinary form of the Mass and would be helpful for anyone who is becoming familiar with the old rite.

It is good to see the CTS carry these titles in their list along with the lives of the Saints, texts from Pope Benedict, "CTS explanations" and devotional titles. It helps to place the older form of the Mass as a part of the daily life of the Church - "brik by brick" as Fr Z would say.

Fr Whinder has certainly been busy - the new CTS collection also includes another title by him: "Sacramentals. Explaining Actions, Signs and Objects that Catholics use." The introduction gives a good and theologically sound introduction to what sacramentals are, and then the main part of the text explains different sacramental objects and actions that are commonly in use. This pamphlet would be very helpful for those who are under instruction; in the desire to cover the necessary doctrine, we can sometimes skim over the sacramentals which people find a very attractive element of Catholic life.
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