Rorate Caeli

The supreme literary vindication of Summorum Pontificum: Fiedrowicz’s comprehensive guide to the Traditional Mass — now in English

I am delighted to announce to Rorate readers the publication by Angelico Press of the long-awaited English edition of Michael Fiedrowicz’s masterful work, The Traditional Mass: History, Form, and Theology of the Classical Roman Rite (first published in 2011, and now in its fifth German edition).

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to read this book twice and really absorb its content (and on that basis, I provided an endorsement for the back cover). I can confidently say there’s nothing comparable to it out there in the English language, in its comprehensive scope, depth of research, and insight into every aspect of the liturgy. It is a compelling apologia for the superiority of the old rite at every level and on every head. The author’s judgments are perfectly weighed, polished, sober, and clear; there is not a touch of exaggeration or unfairness. The result is both triumphant and devastating.

In these strange times, when we see the number of traditional Masses at an all-time high (thanks to a proliferation of private Masses), the CDF issuing decrees that acknowledge with perfect clarity that the old Mass is here to stay for the future of the Church, and an ominously-worded questionnaire sent out to all bishops about the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, we may have many questions and a few anxieties, but we also enjoy a towering certainty: interest in and adherence to the traditional Mass will not subside. On the contrary, it will continue to grow, seminarian by seminarian, priest by priest, and even quite possibly bishop by bishop as the champions of rupture retire and churchmen with less rigid ideas about the “success” of the liturgical reform and the “outdatedness” of our heritage take their place.

Fiedrowicz’s work arrives, therefore, at exactly the right moment. If you are going to read just one serious book on the TLM, this is the one. In addition, I recommend purchasing copies for every priest you know who already offers the usus antiquior — indeed, for every priest who is, or may be, interested in learning more about the very Roman rite for which he was ordained.

Table of Contents

Publisher's Description

In view of ever deepening interest in the traditional form of the Roman rite of Mass—which, according to Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum, demands “due honor for its venerable and ancient usage”—a comprehensive but concise introduction to its history, form, and theology is more than ever desirable. In contrast to conventional explanations of the Mass that offer practical or allegorical explanations of particular moments in the rite, the present work attends to the organic process by which the Roman rite was built up from its foundations into a magnificent structure, marked by the accumulated riches of each age through which it passed, and characterized by order, beauty, and piety in its texts, gestures, rubrics, chants, and calendar—ranging from the major elements to the most minute details. Treated as well are the reality of the sacred and how it is encountered, the irreducible role of ritual action, the eastward direction of prayer, the formation and value of a specialized sacred language, and liturgical participation correctly understood.

Product Details

History/Politics, Liturgy, Theology
350 pages
6 × 9 in
Available at all Amazon outlets

Praise for The Traditional Mass

“Readers will find here much with which to grow in their appreciation of Pope Benedict XVI’s insistence that, in respect of the older liturgy: ‘What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.’ The publication of this English translation marks another important step towards achieving that goal.” — DOM ALCUIN REID

“This historically rigorous and theologically informed book is indispensable for anyone who cares about Pope Benedict XVI’s liturgical vision. I am delighted that this outstanding introduction to the traditional form of the Roman Mass is now available to Anglophone readers.” — FR. UWE MICHAEL LANG

“Michael Fiedrowicz here accomplishes something well-nigh miraculous: a comprehensive introduction to the elaborate history, complex structure, and sublime theology of the traditional Latin Mass—supported by abundant scholarship—all within the scope of a single highly readable volume. Quite simply, this is the best one-volume work on the classical Roman Mass published since the Second Vatican Council.” — PETER A. KWASNIEWSKI

“I am pleased that Angelico Press has made available in English translation Prof. Fiedrowicz’s substantive achievement—the fruit of careful research, orthodox faith, and reverence for the riches handed on in tradition.” — FR. THOMAS KOCIK

“The Roman Church has been rendered a great service with the publication of The Traditional Mass. Whereas previous tomes on the Roman Liturgy have often been too technical to appeal to the average Catholic, Fiedrowicz’s style—simple, informative, yet profound—grips and guides the reader from the outset. I heartily recommend this masterpiece to all Catholics who desire to better understand and appreciate the traditional Roman Mass.” — LOUIS J. TOFARI

About the Author

Michael Fiedrowicz, born in Berlin in 1957, is a Roman-Catholic priest of the archdiocese of Berlin. He studied Theology, Philosophy, Latin Philology, and Patristics at Berlin, Paderborn, and Rome universities. Since 2001 he has been Professor of History of the Early Church, Patrology, and Christian Archeology at the Theological Faculty of Trier. His many works include Apology in Early Christianity, Theology of the Church Fathers, Handbook of Patristics, and Ecclesia militans.