The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition

Donald W. Wuerl and Mike Aquilina, Doubleday, $21.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-307-71880-8
Anticipating changes to the English-language liturgy in 2011, newly minted Cardinal Wuerl (The Teaching of Christ) of Washington, D.C., and Catholic writer Aquilina (The Fire of God's Love) have produced a pithy primer on the Western Mass. The book is practical and poetic, intended to feed both intellect and soul. Wuerl, who neither sought nor opposed the controversial Mass revisions, explains them without polemics. The authors do acknowledge that some changes to familiar English may be jarring, and admit that some new wording is "unfamiliar and technical." The central theme is that the Mass is rooted in scripture and that its basic elements were in place by the second century. The subtext is that the sacrament and the faith are unchanging, but ritual changes over time. This book is ideal for Catholic adults who need a refresher and for potential converts to Catholicism. A minor weakness is that it lacks chapters on weddings and funerals, the two types of Mass that non-Catholics are most likely to attend. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
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