By Fr. Clifford Howell, S.J.
HIS book*, I confidently expect, will turn out to he another "hest seller" by the renowned parish priest of Pershore. Fr. Crichton produced last year The Church's Worship, a Commentary on the Council's Liturgy Constitution; and if it was not actually bought by every priest in the country, it should have been.
Here is another book, similar in character and worth, dealing with the Instruction which the Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated on September 26, 1964, in order to bring the Constitution into action.
The action has already begun —we have been experiencing
some results of it since last Advent—and as it concerns both priests and people this book should be of interest to all. But especially to priests.
Fr. Crichton gives a full translation of the Instruction, chapter by chapter, each followed by comments on the paragraphs as they occur.
Evidence of the author's sense of proportion appears in the fact that, out of 119 pages, he has devoted but two to "The Use of the Vernacular in the Mass".
As he very rightly says in his Introduction, "People have been positively obsessed by the question of the use of English in the liturgy", and the pity is that their excessive preoccupation with this one point has prevented many from realising the theological and pastoral depths of the liturgical changes now in process of development.
The Instruction reminds us (n.5) that the underlying purpose of the Constitution "is not simply to bring about changes in the liturgical forms and texts, but rather to give inspiration and encouragement to that instruction of the faithful and that pastoral activity which has the liturgy for its source and finds in the liturgy the height of its expression."
It aims to change persons in their outlook and attitude towards worship. rather than merely to change things. And this is, as it should he, the main concern of Fr. C:richton's book.
His comments are detailed and discerning. Though writing some months ago he did not fail to observe that the Instruction n.48 suppresses Ps. 42 at Mass, but not the antiphon and response which precedes it, whereas the official English version of our hierarchy drops both.
About a fortnight ago a new Ordo Missae promulgated by the S.C.R. showed him to be correct. He also argued that at High Mass the celebrant should he at the seat to intone the Gloria and sing the Collect— not at the altar. Again the new Ord° Missae has proved him to be right.
The study of the document led him to the opinion that one single ambo or lectern on the Gospel side may be used for Epistle as well as for Gospel and homily; once more the new Ordo Missae confirms his view.
Two or three not very important misprints hardly detract from the value of this book which deserves a welcome equal to that given to the author's The Church's Wor *Changes in the Liturgy, by Fr. J. D. Crichton (Geoffrey Chapman Ltd., 10s. 6d.).
*Changes in the Liturgy, by Fr. J. D. Crichton (Geoffrey Chapman Ltd., 10s. 6d.).