St Jerome Writing, Michelangelo Caravaggio, c. 1605
Books by Oratory Fathers
Spiritual Combat Revisited
Fr Jonathan Robinson
The spiritual wisdom of a classic on “spiritual warfare.” Fr. Robinson has done a great service in revitalizing Lorenzo Scupoli’s classic, Spiritual Combat, so that contemporary Catholics can rediscover this rich work that has served many generations of Catholics. This book is about the life of prayer and personal reform and renewal. It fits squarely into the tradition of the “great masters” of the spiritual life, and to the line of great modern writers on spirituality. It is a work of particular relevance that confronts modern culture with the tough-minded, deeply authentic challenge of spiritual combat. Robinson has retained Scupoli’s appeal to the ordinary Catholic reader through a conversation style, short chapters, familiar examples from everyday life, and the pastoral bent which has marked his own outstanding career. Covering the basic difficulties of daily prayer and of obstacles to living the virtues, Scupoli and Robinson test the mettle of real Catholics by calling us to live an interior life for and with God.
The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backwards
Fr Jonathan Robinson
Many in the Church have accepted modernity in their effort to speak to the modern world, and not nearly enough attention has been given to trying to disentangle the complex of ideas and half-formulated convictions that constitute this mind-set which is in fact contrary to Christianity. The first aim of this book is to examine the origins and present day influence of modernity, and then to argue that there is nothing in the Christian’s concern for the modern world that requires accepting this damaging mind-set in connection with the highest form of worship, the Mass. The second aim of the book is to show that that the sources of a genuine liturgical renewal are to be found in a heightened sense of the centrality of the Mass and a return to a theology compatible with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Church of God: Body of Christ and Temple of the Spirit
Fr Louis Bouyer
How does the Church perceive herself? Fr. Louis Bouyer’s “The Church of God” sets out to answer that question, in light of Tradition and theological reflection through the centuries, but especially by drawing on the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. This book is a highly-readable, thorough synthesis of ecclesiology after the Council, presented by one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century.The author, himself a former Lutheran minister, also explores Reformation views of the Church, as well as the Catholic Church’s deepened understanding of her distinctive identity and her imperfect but real communion with the Orthodox churches and Protestant ecclesial communities. The Church of God is a major contribution to the ecclesiology of communion fostered by the Second Vatican Council and continued by Pope Paul VI, but especially by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Indeed, the book reflects the “hermeneutic of reform” Pope Benedict XVI insists should guide the interpretation of Vatican II.
St Philip Neri
Fr Louis Bouyer
A classic portrait of St Philip Neri, which portrays the saint with a particular affection and understanding and sets him against the background of Renaissance Italy. The Apostle of Rome, as St Philip was called, has much wisdom to teach us and the author brings out his continuing relevance for a contemporary audience. This edition contains a new introduction and a chronology of the major events in St Philip’s life. Fr Michael Day who translated the work into English was a member of the Birmingham Oratory, established by Cardinal Newman. Louis Bouyer is well known for his many theological writings.
The voice of the Church at Prayer: Reflections on Liturgy and Language
Fr Uwe Michael Lang
Pope Benedict XVI has made the liturgy a central theme of his pontificate, and he has paid special attention to the vitally important role of language in prayer. This historical and theological study of the changing role of Latin in the Roman Catholic Church sheds light on some of the Holy Father’s concerns and some of his recent decisions about the liturgy. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council allowed for extended use of the vernacular at Mass, but they maintained that Latin deserved pride of place in the Roman Rite. The outcome, however, was that modern translations of the prayers of the Mass replaced the Latin prayers. What was the reason for the Council’s decision and why is there now a desire for greater use of Latin in Catholic worship? Why have some post-conciliar English translations of the prayers of the Mass been replaced? Fr. Lang answers these questions by first analyzing the nature of sacred language. He then traces the beginnings of Christian prayer to the Scriptures and the Greek spoken at the time of the apostles. Next he recounts the slow and gradual development of Latin into the sacred language of the Western Church and its continuing use throughout the Middle Ages. Finally, he addresses the rise of modern languages and the ongoing question of whether the participation of the laity at Mass is either helped or hindered by the use of Latin.
Turning Towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer
Fr Uwe Michael Lang
Turning towards the Lord presents an historical and theological argument for the traditional, common direction of liturgical prayer, known as ”facing east”, and is meant as a contribution to the contemporary debate about the Catholic liturgy. Lang, a member of the London Oratory, studies the direction of liturgical prayer from an historical, theological, and pastoral point of view. At a propitious moment, this book resumes a debate that, despite appearances to the contrary, has never really gone away, not even after the Second Vatican Council. Historical research has made the controversy less partisan, and among the faithful there is an increasing sense of the problems inherent in an arrangement that hardly shows the liturgy to be open to the things that are above and to the world to come. In this situation, Lang’s delightfully objective and wholly unpolemical book is a valuable guide. Without claiming to offer major new insights, Lang carefully presents the results of recent research and provides the material necessary for making an informed judgment. It is from such historical evidence that the author elicits the theological answers that he proposes.