Review: Care for the Church and Its Liturgy: A Study of Summorum Pontificum and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite

Care for the Church and Its Liturgy: A Study of Summorum Pontificum and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman RiteCare for the Church and Its Liturgy: A Study of Summorum Pontificum and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite by William H. Johnston
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are any number of reasons why this book only received a rating of two stars from me, yet the erudite and well referenced construction of the argument by Johnston is not one of them. It is a well considered and constructive presentation, yet to my mind it fails at one very particular level. The subtitle is “A Study…” and yet that is not what I encountered in reading through the book. What I encountered was constructed more in the fashion of an apology for Summorum Pontificum and the Extraordinary Form rather than a more considered study of that document.

The presumption presented by Johnston was that the (re)introduction of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite would have any number of benefits for the life of the Church, and yet there was no presentation of a justification for such a presumption. The very real concerns of those members of the Church, clergy and lay, liturgical scholars and liturgical participants, are only briefly acknowledged, glossed over, and inadequately dealt with (if at all).

There is a quote from Fr Paul Turner contained on the backpage of the book:

Pope Benedict’s controversial permission for a broader use of the pre-Vatican II Mass receives a pacific treatment in this book. You may not always agree with with what William H. Johnston has to say, but he will sit you down and get you to listen.

I have listened, I haven’t agreed with what Johnston has said, and, as a result of reading his book, I am even more concerned about the repercussions for the life of the Church of the coming into existence of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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