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The Spirit of the Liturgy [Hardcover]

Joseph Ratzinger , John Saward
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Price: 13.12 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press (1 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898707846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898707847
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The spirit of the new pope 25 April 2005
Cardinal Ratzinger, newly elected as Pope Benedict XVI, is perhaps one of the greatest intellectuals in the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy since the second world war. Examples of his ability in the historical and theological disciplines abound, but perhaps a more practical expression of this intelligence is contained in this book, `The Spirit of the Liturgy'. The subject of this book is the central rite of the church, the Eucharistic feast, and the liturgy - the word `liturgy' actually translates into `work of the people', and this includes clergy and laity alike.
The first section of the book works to connect liturgy in the church with the wider world, and indeed the entire cosmos. Ratzinger draws on ideas East and West, from philosophical traditions in the church as well as the biblical witness (both Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament). He sees Jesus as both a role model as well as the central figure in the Eucharist, drawing on all of these sources to make the point of the way worship is done, and what meaning can be derived from it.
Following this introductory section, Ratzinger continues to look at the practical aspects, everything from the language used and the movements done to the architectural implications and the musical elements. Ratzinger was a leading figure in the Second Vatican Council, but navigates an interesting line between some of the traditional elements and the more recent innovations in liturgical worship. He is suspicious of the idea of changing music in service to being popular forms simply for the sake of relating to the culture, seeing that as somewhat of a sell-out to changing forms; he generally disapproves of rock-concert-type music in the liturgy, for example, because it is less a part of the worship as it is a part of the general culture outside.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Aquinas
This short book is a gem. It is a book to be cherished and to be returned to time and time. For many of us Catholics (and I point out here that I am relatively young, merely in my late thirties), there is a real feeling that something has been lost in recent times in the liturgy. The Holy Father, as he is now, gives an insight into precisely what has been lost, that sense of the Mass being an unfathomable mystery which we much approach with a cosmic awe - a witness to the everlasing sacrifice of the Son to the Father (the pictorial representation by Dali comes close to illustrating this). I note here that this mystery is presented very well in the Roman Canon, but seems to be hidden in the other Eucharistic prayers, Eucharistic prayer no. 2 being a prime example of brevity potentially disguising truth. A reader of this book with an open heart cannot but find his/her outlook being transformed by this book. There are some difficult ideas but Benedict's humanity shines through, in particular the heart breaking and loving manner in which he recollects the way his parents used to bless him and his brother and sister, as children. Buy this book and keep it close.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!! 23 Feb 2005
Ive still not completed the book, but its been amazing from page 1! I bought it to try to get an understanding on what liturgy was all about and why the Catholic church gives it so much importance - a catholic myself and one quite drawn to the High Mass and the liturgy but having never comprehended it, I should say this book has not been dissapointing at all!! Its been great and brings out the beauty, the theology, the biblical understanding and necessity all excellently. Highly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 29 Aug 2010
By Lego Man TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the book by the then Cardinal Ratzinger that I had always intended to read. With the new translation of the Mass in English to be introduced in these parts in 2011, I thought it would be a good idea to read this book. It starts out a little lofty, but as the dustjacket says, if the ideas strike one as lofty, it is not because you are dim, but because the ideas and concepts themselves are lofty, or words to that effect. The second half of the book is an easier read, with various key liturgical issues address, including the offering of Holy Mass ad orientem (facing east), instead of the Mass facing the people that has become the norm since the liturgical revolution after Vatican II, location of the tabernacle, postures, including kneeling, and vestments.

The Cardinal proposes placing a crucifix on the altar in order to provide a focus for Mass, and he also addresses some of the errors of these times concerning liturgical matters as well as discussing the problems that result when the liturgy breaks down.

This book should be read by all priests and seminarians, as well as committed lay people. It might be a good idea to present this book as a gift to priests that you know, and I have already given two copies away to priests!

The book gives a good insight into the thinking of Pope Benedict and gives one hope that the coming decades will bring the genuine liturgical renewal that had been hoped for following the close of the Council.

Highly recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear examination of the Liturgy 30 Oct 2005
In this book the Holy Father clearly demonstrates his grasp of all liturgical matters. He shows that, contrary to the portrait his detractors paint of him, he recognises the good things that come from reform as well as loving the tradition of Holy Mother Church.
Although scholarly the book is pretty much accessible to anyone. The first chapter is the most metaphysical and it gets easier after that. Essential reading is the chapter on the orientaion of the altar. The Holy Father gives insightful and well reasoned arguements for priest and people praying in the same direction (not, as the modernists have it, the priest with his back to the people).
Overall, a wonderful little book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply stunning
Lucidly written, clear in his arguments. This is without a doubt one of Ratzinger's greatest works. A high minded and cutting rebuke to liturgical liberals who would seek to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by AdamRules247
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT !!!
Pope Benedict as always delivers an amazing insight and depth into the Liturgy, bringing Catholics and other Christians into a deeper understanding of the Liturgy. Read more
Published 6 months ago by IrishCatholic
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep calls unto deep
These are excellent reflections concerning the pinnacle of our existence, when we are blessed to receive the most Sacred Body and Blood of our Redeemer. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Alan Broodryk
5.0 out of 5 stars pristine
fantastic quality, this book hadn't even been opened. have seen worse quality in a bookshop. fantastic, the book, and dustcover were top notch. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Digger Diva
5.0 out of 5 stars Such an excellent read
If you are interested to know about the Mass, then read this book. I found this book to be very fascinating. It has taught me so much about the Liturgy. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ruyi
5.0 out of 5 stars The guide to Liturgy for the modern world
Liturgy is the heart and apex of Christian life. And even though it is not true that we take away from it as much as we are willing to give (we always gain more than we could ever... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2011 by Dr. Bojan Tunguz
5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Island Books
This would probably be one of them.

The best and simplest book on the Catholic liturgy.

You must read it.
Published on 13 Mar 2009 by S. Davies
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