Rorate Caeli

Liturgical must-reads: suggestions

A list of liturgical must-reads, for beginners:

I. Spiritual Introduction:

It is impossible to understand the passion that a Tradition-minded Catholic feels for proper liturgy if one does not realize that such passion goes much beyond aesthetics -- much, much beyond. Why does a silent, simple, private Missa Recitata celebrated by a priest in a side Altar seem to nourish the faithful so thoroughly?

Some books may explain such deep sentiment:

-The Imitation of Christ, Book Four
-The Hidden Treasure, St. Leonard of Port-Maurice
-Hærent Animo, Pope St. Pius X (Letter from a priest to all priests: deep reflection on the Catholic priesthood as source of life for the world through the Most Holy Sacrifice)
-Pastoral Sermons [Sermons on the Eucharist], Ronald A. Knox
-The Spirit of the Liturgy, Romano Guardini

II. Dogmatic Introduction:

Lex orandi, lex credendi... Yet, it is not unimportant to remember the deep dogmatic limitations on abrupt changes in the Church and in her prayer. Particularly important for the liturgical life of the Church are the following texts:

-The Decrees and Canons of Nicaea II
-The Decrees and Canons of Constance, Sessions VIII, XIII (portions, as approved by Martin V in 1418), XV
-The Decrees and Canons of Trent, Sessions XIII, XXI, and XXII
-Auctorem Fidei (Condemnation of the errors of the Synod of Pistoia), Pius VI (Italian).
-Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ (Pastor Æternus)
-The Anti-Liturgical Heresy, Institutions Liturgiques, Book I, Chapter 14 (English summary here), Prosper Guéranger
-Mediator Dei, Pius XII

III. Sacred Music:

It is truly important, in a matter which many wrongly believe to be connected to mere personal taste, to read the great guidelines which the Holy See has always recommended regarding Sacred Music and which are well established in the following historical sequence of papal documents:

-Annus qui hunc, Benedict XIV (in Italian)
-Tra le Sollecitudini, Pope St.Pius X
-Musicæ Sacræ Disciplina, Pius XII
IV. History of the Western Rites:

-Institutions Liturgiques (Liturgical Institutions, Book I), Prosper Guéranger
-The Mass of Western Rites, Fernand Cabrol
-The Mass, Adrian Fortescue (for a fundamental short introduction)
-The Reform of the Roman Rite, Klaus Gamber (for the History and other aspects of the 1965-1969 scission of the Rite - read also this short article on the matter)
The list is a mere suggestion, of course -- though I consider that these provide an indispensable panoramic view of the subject. If you do not yet know the texts of the Traditional Roman Missal, a good option for brief introductions to the propers and to the Ordinary would be Dom Gaspar Lefebvre's Missel Quotidien et Vespéral (Saint Andrew Daily Missal); and, for some deeper analyses and explanations, Dom Prosper Guéranger's L'Année Liturgique ("The Liturgical Year").
Inspired by this list.


Iosephus said...

Great idea for a post and one which, I'm sure, will be a useful list for many.

Sixtus V said...

Thank you for the very useful list and links.

Ginny said...

I love the new images and changes you have been making lately with your site. It is very eyecatching. also the post have been great as well from all of you!!!!!

Great work!!!

MacK said...

The Church must pay urgent heed to the sure direction guaranteed by the compass of the Roman Catholic liturgy contained in The Latin Mass. Without its steadfast principles the church has become locked into inculturated liturgical anarchy; routine irreverence; contemporary overwhelming self-doubt and a prey to false ideologies and novelties.

St Pio de Pietrelcina, model celebrant of The Latin Mass - pray for us.