Albert GERHARDS, Benedikt KRANEMANN, tr. Linda M. MALONEY. Introduction to the Study of Liturgy. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2017. Pp. 400. Bibliography. Index. $44.95 pb. ISBN9780814663127. 

Gerald O’COLLINS with John Wilkins.  Lost in Translation: The English Language and the Catholic Mass. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2017. Pp.122. Bibliography. Index. $17.95. ISBN 9780814644577.  Reviewed by Nathan R. KOLLAR, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY. 14618

Introduction to the Study of Liturgy is Linda Maloney’s excellent translation of the 2013 third edition of Einfuhrung in die Liturgiewissenschaft. It is structured and reads like a text book for an introductory liturgy course in a Roman Catholic Seminary. Its five major divisions with their subdivisions reflect a style reminiscent of a PowerPoint presentation rather than a dialogical narrative between reader and authors. An argument for liturgics as an independent discipline prefaces a sixty page survey of the history and methods of liturgics. In turn the history of the Roman Liturgy is provided in a summary of eighty-nine pages. This is followed by a theology of the liturgy which is a reflection on the Trinity’s role in these central rites of the Church. This also includes descriptions of the role and theological presuppositions of essential parts of every liturgy such as scripture, prayer, language, music, and sacred space. Ample notes at the bottom of each page provide a comfortable quick reference for those who wish to verify the opinions offered by the authors. These notes, however, as well as the bibliographical references are to, for the most part, German authors. This is to be expected but it also clearly indicates that this text’s context is Germany in particular and Europe in general. In the same way the authors’ concentration on liturgics results in less attendance to Sacraments. For example Anointing of the Sick and Reconciliation/Penance are not dealt with. Certainly this text should be found in a seminary’s library as well as on the bookshelf of anyone who teaches liturgy.

O’Collins’ book revisits how English speaking Catholics, and Americans in particular, were treated as commoners ignorant of their own culture and language by the Roman Curia in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. John Wilkins provides an excellent summary of the politics behind that treatment in the first chapter. Gerald O’Collins does the rest. In exacting detail he demonstrates the inferiority of the Vatican 2010 translation of the Mass to the 1998 translation. The 1998 translation was approved by eleven conferences of English-speaking bishops. Of course the bishops of the 20th century are not the bishops of the 21st century, consequently the Curial translation will probably be retained.

The Catholic faithful of the 21st century are being introduced to a liturgy designed by officials in the Curia whose knowledge of the liturgy seems dependent upon their inherited theological traditions and previous books of rubrics. From the way they operate all the knowledge conveyed in the Introduction to the Study of Liturgy is useless for official liturgies. Thankfully the Liturgical Press provides us with the knowledge necessary for the reforms of both liturgy and curia. It also provides the knowledge for anyone celebrating unofficial liturgies.