Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness

Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages

Peter Kwasniewski

Foreword by Martin Mosebach

The traditional liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is a highly formal ritual unfolding in layers of elaborate gesture, rich symbolism, whispered Latin, and ancient plainchants. “Experts” after the Second Vatican Council were convinced that such a ritual was irrelevant to “modern man.” To the shock of some, the delight of many, and the surprise of everyone, the old Latin Mass (and much that went along with it) has tenaciously survived during the past half-century and become an increasingly familiar feature in the Catholic landscape. What are the reasons for this revival, especially among the young? And why is this development so important for the renewal of Catholicism?

Peter Kwasniewski offers a lively account of the noble beauty and transcendent holiness of the traditional Roman liturgy, which humbles us before the mystery of God, stirs us with its pageantry, carries us into sacred silence, and bears us to a world of invisible realities. He contrasts this priceless treasure with the rationalistic reforms of the sixties, which yielded a Catholic liturgy severed from its own history, inadequate to its theological essence, unequal to its ascetical-mystical purpose, and estranged from its cultural inheritance. His conclusion: if there is to be a new springtime in the Church, the widespread restoration of the traditional liturgical rites will be at the heart of it. 

Praise for Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness

“Anyone who wants a frank, honest, and deep explanation of worship, prayer, and liturgy should get this book. Be prepared to marvel at the depth of the Mass.”

— REV. JAMES W. JACKSON, F.S.S.P., author of Nothing Superfluous 

 

“With a delightful variety of insightful angles, Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness is an admirable contribution to reminding the Church how to move the world with her irreplaceable liturgical traditions.”

— MICHAEL P. FOLEY, Baylor University 

 

“This tremendous new book is an eloquent and erudite confrontation with the very root of the liturgical debate: whether the radical de-mystifying of the Catholic liturgy has been for the good of souls. It is a ringing affirmation that the kind of liturgy that pleases God, softens the hearts of sinners, and raises the pious towards sanctity, is the mysterious product of centuries of development.”

— JOSEPH SHAW, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales 

 

“Peter Kwasniewski illustrates the total collapse of the hierarchy of values brought about by a modern world that has ‘turned its back to God,’ and man’s need for the Traditional Mass to spin him round to a recognition that all good things—temporal things included—flow only from aiming our attention firmly at the Creator.”

— JOHN RAO, St. John’s University  

 

“Dr. Kwasniewski has a genius for making a fresh case for Catholic tradition, with a blend of perspectives from the entire 60-year Catholic traditionalist movement. A unique reading experience.”

— ROGER A. MCCAFFREY, President, Roman Catholic Books 

About the Author

Peter Kwasniewski

Peter Kwasniewski

Peter Kwasniewski holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College in California and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. After teaching at the International Theological Institute in Austria and for the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Austrian Program, he joined the founding team of Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyoming, where he serves as professor and choirmaster. He is a board member and scholar of The Aquinas Institute for the Study of Sacred Doctrine, which is publishing the Opera Omnia of the Angelic Doctor, and a Fellow of the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies. Kwasniewski has taught and written over 500 articles on Thomistic thought, sacramental and liturgical theology, the history and aesthetics of music, and the social doctrine of the Church. He has published two books with The Catholic University of America Press and a volume of his own musical compositions, Sacred Choral Works (Corpus Christi Watershed, 2014). His book Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church (Angelico Press, 2014) has been published in Czech and Polish and is being translated into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.