Book Review: The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy by Adrian Fortescue

Hello brothers and sisters ! Here’s another opportunity to sharpen your faith, especially if you would like to get a better understanding of liturgy. The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy was written back in 1912. There are some parts of the book which discuss ideas which do not apply any longer, but all in all the information is consistent with what you see in a traditional Latin Mass missal last updated in 1962. The book is broken up in two core parts: The History of the Mass and The Order of the Mass. Fortescue of course covers a lot of scripture including the fragments of the Last Supper that started it all, but what’s interesting is that he covers the history of the development of the sacramentaries which I covered extensively in an earlier post on the missal.

Fortescue wrote a very detailed book, covering a lot of historical incidents which contributed to the development of the liturgy. Some of the incidents are based off tradition from various historical figures and provide an interesting dynamic to the book. Fortescue also spends a great deal of time comparing some of the Eastern rites to the Roman rite and distinguishes parts of the Roman rite which are organic and those that were added later. The book should be added to every Catholic library, especially if one describes themselves as a traditional Catholic.

I highly recommend this book. The one thing with this book I would recommend is postpone reading it if you are not familiar with the traditional Latin Mass. The details in his book are certainly a blessing but could confuse someone who is very much a novice to the rite. It’s better to attend a traditional Latin Mass first for a few weeks, get your hands on a traditional Latin Mass missal that you’re committed to using and studying, and then pick up this book.

Dominus vobiscum

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