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Care for the Church and Its Liturgy

A Study of Summorum Pontificum and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite
William H. Johnston

ISBN: 9780814662694, 6269
Details: 340 pgs, 6" x 9"
Publication Date: 12/27/2013


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In July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum, designating two "uses" or "forms" of the Roman Rite, declaring the Missal of Paul VI to be the "ordinary form" and the 1962 Missal of John XXIII to be its "extraordinary form." On the same day, the pope also published a letter to bishops, Con Grande Fiducia, to accompany and offer commentary on this motu proprio.

In Care for the Church and Its Liturgy, William H. Johnston offers analysis and commentary on both documents, exploring their meaning, context, purposes, implementation, and implications. Johnston carefully attends to the multiple purposes of the documents themselves and to the various questions related to their implementation, as well as to the complex postconciliar dynamics in the Catholic Church. His approach throughout is appreciative, critical, and constructive.

Johnston's study embodies respect for dialogue, unity, and charity. It will provide much food for thought and discussion among both academics and pastoral leaders in the years ahead as the church discerns its liturgical way forward, and all those with educational or pastoral responsibility for the liturgy will find it an informative resource and valuable guide for understanding and assessing this still constitutive feature of the Roman Rite.

William H. Johnston is associate professor of pastoral ministry in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton. He has contributed chapters to Catholic Identity and the Laity (Orbis Books, 2009) and Lay Ecclesial Ministry: Pathways toward the Future (Sheed & Ward/Rowman & Littlefield, 2010). He has worked for many years in parish and liturgical ministry.

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 what William H. Johnston has to say, but he will sit you down and get you to listen.
Paul Turner, Pastor, St. Anthony Parish, Kansas City, Missouri, and Facilitator for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy

The method of the Second Vatican Council in engaging every issue is dialogue. The issue of the relationship between the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite of eucharistic celebration is addressed in William Johnston's book by placing in dialogue all the partners in the liturgical reform, alive and dead. He does this to achieve a balance in the worship of the Church, not allowing it to be captured by a single viewpoint or argument. Care for the Church and Its Liturgy is a much-needed contribution to liturgical renewal.
Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago

"A refreshing exercise in the virtue of hope. Its rich footnotes and engagement with international scholarship form a valuable status quaestionis on the role of the Extraordinary Form in the life of the Church today."
Kevin D. Magas, Antiphon

As I studied the author's commentary and reflections on the documents, I was amazed by the evenhandedness with which he covered this contemporary contentious material. Throughout the work his approach is irenic, discursive, and thought provoking. . . . Johnston's objective is dialogue, not confrontation; mutual understanding, not competition. Throughout the book he demonstrates his personal care for the church and its liturgy.
Thomas A. Krosnicki, SVD, Mount Grace, St. Louis, Missouri, Worship