The book Cardinal Ratzinger made famous
“Klaus Gamber’s book, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, was and is a publishing event, one of the most significant in the Catholic world in a generation.”—Thomas E. Woods Jr., The American Conservative
Continues Dr. Woods:
“It sent shock waves throughout Europe when it first appeared there 16 years ago, and its appearance here during the pontificate of Benedict XVI—who as Cardinal Ratzinger provocatively endorsed it with a pointed preface to the French edition—promises to be no less eventful….
Whether the [Vatican II] Council Fathers envisioned the radical changes [in the Mass] that were ultimately made is a matter of dispute…. [B]ut a sweeping revision of the entire rite is exactly what we got.
Then in the late 1980s came Monsignor Gamber. He was a liturgical scholar of great renown, who headed the liturgical institute of Regensburg and had brought out nearly three dozen volumes in the Studia Patristica et Liturgica and Textus Patristici et Liturgici series. It was Gamber’s unimpeachable mainstream credentials that made his book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy all the more shocking.
The book was a blistering attack. The new Mass, said Gamber, was pastorally, theologically, and aesthetically disastrous….
As recently as the 1990s, it was unthinkable that someone who endorsed the conclusions of Gamber’s book could ever be elected pope. But the current pontiff, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, did just that: in his preface to the French-language edition he gave the book his hearty endorsement, including its finding that Mass with the priest facing East with the people, rather than the priest facing away from the tabernacle and toward the people, was the ancient tradition and should be restored. Ratzinger’s endorsement of Gamber’s book made headlines across Europe….
[A]t the very time when the piety of the faithful most needed nourishment at the fount of tradition, and when the Western world needed more than ever to be reminded that tradition was more than something to be spat upon and discarded, the traditional Mass was taken away….
I have often heard it said that in ‘today’s world’ we need a simpler rite and one in the vernacular. But to the contrary: it is precisely in today’s world, a world in which man believes himself bound by nothing, in which the traditional Mass is so obviously necessary. What generation has needed more than the present one to be told that the world does not revolve around it?…
If Pope Benedict follows through on what he has said in the past about the need to make the old rite widely available again, its significance will extend well beyond just those who have formed their spiritual lives around it. One of the great treasures of Western civilization will at long last have been restored….To the relief of a great many Catholics and their sympathizers, Klaus Gamber will at last have been vindicated.”
Msgr. Gamber’s book is now available in English, exclusively from Roman Catholic Books.
Beautiful illustrated softcover