The Incredible Catholic Mass – A MUST-READ

The Incredible Catholic Mass – A MUST-READ

Editor writes…

Our blogger Catherine has been reading a book entitled The Incredible Catholic Mass:  An Explanation of the Mass, by Fr Martin von Cochem O.S.F (1625-1712) which  she can’t praise enough – Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., Rockford, Illinois 61105, (Originally published 1704).

Catherine quotes the publisher’s Preface:  “…Probably not ten percent of lay adult Catholics today know even ten percent of what this book contains.” (p.vii)

So, I asked her to send me the details.  I then ordered a copy, which is now winging its way to my bookshelves, and before you can say “read this” I’ll be in that less than ten percent of geniuses.  If you’d like to order a copy, note the ISBN 0-89555-608-1.

Note, too, that the image below is the original book cover.  I managed to find one online, but most had a different front cover.  Same book, different cover, but you know what they say about not judging a book by its cover 😀

Finally, if you have a book on the Mass which you think is a “must-read”, please share it with us here.  Other recommendations for spiritual reading, such as lives of saints, writings of saints etc are also welcome, but we’ve had “spiritual reading” threads before – this is the first for books about the Mass. So, it would be a great charity to spread the word about any book, poems, or sermon(s) on the topic which you found helpful.  Thank you!

Comments (21)

  • westminsterfly Reply

    Yes, I agree. I got it and read it years ago and have recommended it to others. A brilliant book. I also think it’s a great idea of Catherine’s to recommend a good resource like this. There are so many good things out there and perhaps an occasional thread where we can share what we have found helpful might be a good idea.
    Just one caveat where TAN Books are concerned. They used to be 100% sound but since they got taken over some of their new titles seem a bit off kilter. When buying from TAN, I would just stick with the classics.

    May 11, 2022 at 6:31 am
    • Catherine Reply

      Thank you Westminsterfly, I agree. I like sharing good books.

      May 11, 2022 at 9:08 am
  • westminsterfly Reply

    PS I meant to say that another excellent book on the TLM is this one:- ‘Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass’ by Lisa Bergman. It’s a modern book, but it’s brilliant for young and old alike.

    May 11, 2022 at 6:37 am
  • Andrew Q Reply

    I’m currently enjoying “Work of Human Hands: a Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI” by Rev. Anthony Cekada. It can be difficult to find. I had to order mine from ISBN 9780692366806. There are some short videos on YouTube, with the same title, that the late Fr Cekada made when the book originally came out. Someone has put them all together here: He really knew his liturgy and has a great writing style (keeps his humour to the footnotes).

    May 11, 2022 at 10:27 am
    • editor Reply

      Andrew Q,

      If you’ve read our House Rules, you will know that posting quotes or links from sedevacantist sites is prohibited. I have committed, as administrator, to removing them immediately.

      By exception, for now, I will leave your comment, since it is about the Mass only (as far as I can tell) but if it leads to any conversation about the heresy of the issue of sedevacantism as it refers to the current crisis in the Church (and not to the temporary vacancy during conclaves), I will delete it, and any subsequent conversation.

      I had planned to come on later and recommend an excellent critique of the new Mass by Michael Davies, entitled Pope Paul’s New Mass; it’s in three volumes – I only have Volume Three, but it’s first-class, excellent for those who would like an easy-to-read yet scholarly history of the changes to the Mass post-Vatican II, introduction of Communion in the hand etc. It seems to be only available in hard-back, so can be expensive. Read more about it here, at Abe Books

      Please folks, one and all, respect our House Rules – they’re designed to keep the site as Catholic as possible.

      Thank you.

      May 11, 2022 at 11:15 am
      • Andrew Q


        In the author’s preface Fr Cekada states: “in traditionalist circles I am well known as a sedevacantist. But ages before that, the changes in the Mass left me uneasy – and it is these changes, not sedevacantism, that are the topic of this book”

        May 11, 2022 at 11:34 am
      • editor

        Thank you Andrew.

        You won’t realise, I dare say, that we had a spate of sedevacantists coming on here, from time to time, to “convert” us all, and there has been, in fact, a sedevacantist spirit which has crept in/is creeping into so-called “traditionalist circles” right now (“traditionalist circles” meaning nothing more than those of us merely doing our best to cling on to the Faith of our Fathers); I’m not keen to go through that again, as I’m sure you will appreciate.

        May 11, 2022 at 1:36 pm
  • Lily Reply

    First, I hope it’s OK to post this reminder from the Christian Institute that there is not much time left to contribute to the Scottish Government “trans” bill.

    Second, I think the books posted here all look really good – I know I have a lot to learn about the Mass, for sure, so I’ll have to think about those books. I see one of them is a pdf online – I could start with that one!

    May 11, 2022 at 4:08 pm
  • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

    ED am certainly not a Sedavancist I don’t think anyhow but surely we all know although it may not be official that at the Moment their are 2 Believe Spectrums within Our Catholic Church not of course in Our Catholic Faith.
    Their are the Bergoglions who will certainly follow this Sinnodal Path and we know what that is all about.
    Then their are us who try to follow the undiluted Teaching of Jesus Christ.

    What ad like to ask is when . When do we say enough is enough. Am sure that all on Here already know Bergoglios latest letter to He whos name is better left unsaid. Sorry if av slightly gone of Topic.

    May 11, 2022 at 5:14 pm
    • Laura Reply

      Faith of our Fathers,

      I think the answer is “when God decides” – that’s when “enough is enough”. We just have to be patient for now.

      May 11, 2022 at 5:18 pm
      • Faith of Our Fathers

        Sorry Laura but Almighty God gave us Free Will for a reason. The reason is that we use it of course.

        May 11, 2022 at 10:53 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Faith of our Fathers,

        God also decided the hierarchical ordering in the Church and we have to accept that it’s not our job, as lay people, to decide who is the pope and who is not. You seem to be saying that anyone can use their free will to decide who is pope and who is not – that’s not what free will is for, it’s so we can choose what is right, but we can’t decide for ourselves what is right in this case. God also gave us an particular order in the Church and our role as laity is not to pick the pope. If it was, I’m sure we’d all pick Athanasius LOL!

        May 11, 2022 at 10:57 pm
    • Leitourgos Reply

      And on the unity front, I fear that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Catholicism is quickly arriving at a de facto stratification into more or less what our Anglican brothers know as high, broad, and low. Of course, the victim in all of this is revealed truth and the salvation of souls.

      Remaining in Scotland for a moment, the wheels seem to be fast coming off the train. Clergy morale is at an all time low, resources (human and material) are increasingly under strain, and this against a background of a Church which does not engage in the transmission of the faith much beyond its devotion to Catholic schools which are notoriously ineffectual (especially at the secondary level, although there are a few noble exceptions) and in the gift of a government whose underlying ideology cannot but despise them. The situation is redolent of lemmings running to the cliff, but one dare not say it too loud since in some quarters criticism of the bishops is seen as the only remaining mortal sin. I pointed out to a colleague the other day that in the fourth century, in the midst of the Arian crisis, the majority of the bishops were heretics. That came as news to him.

      On topic, I think that it is important to have a reading plan, especially for Lent and Advent. There is some great stuff out there, including from publishers like TAN which has a decades old mission in re-proposing the classics, but I would strongly urge people not to neglect Sacred Scripture, ignorance of which, as St Jerome said, is ignorance of Christ. It is truly sad to see that so few Catholics are able to navigate their way around the New Testament, to say nothing of the Old, their only contact with it being at Mass. This is not a good situation, to put it mildly. Spiritual reading must be based on God’s inspired Word.

      I close on a word of warning. Spiritual reading cannot substitute prayer, which would be like filling the tank with petrol, but never switching on the engine. Prayer is the soul of the Christian life. How sad it is that so few of us seem ever to grow beyond the faltering steps of our childhood (which is not — God forbid! — to despise the prayers of children). I say this, of course, on the basis of my own experience. Priests are very privileged in so many ways. Our contact with people is such that we learn very quickly to learn who is walking the walk or just talking the talk, and that is as true of our brother priests as it is of the laity. (Similarly, praying lay Catholics tend to be pretty astute at sizing up the clergy and separating the wheat from the chaff.)

      May 12, 2022 at 5:16 am
      • editor

        Highlighting the faithless bishops during the Arian crisis is an excellent way to help educate Catholics who, as you say, consider criticism of them to be the last remaining mortal sin. Your colleague won’t be the only Catholic to whom that fact comes as “news”.

        Just a reminder of Westminsterfly’s warning about the need for care when ordering from Tan publishers (the first comment on this page). It’s important, anyway, to choose authors carefully when reading Church history – in fact, it would be useful to read Pascendi… the encyclical of Pope Saint Pius X, On the Doctrine of the Modernists, to minimise the chances of reading something with a skewed history of the Church, since such skewed histories are ten a penny, and used in schools (including allegedly Catholic schools). Here’s a link to Pascendi…

        I’m glad you don’t despise the prayers of children, given that God sent Our Lady of Fatima to His three chosen messengers, three small children who were praying their own shortened version of the rosary – “Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary…” 😀

        Indeed, I would add a word of warning about prayer of any kind except the simplest, in that “adult” prayer like “adult” entertainment can be deadly for souls. I’m thinking of the kind of guided prayers and meditation stints which modernists priests, notably Jesuits, advertise. Again, books on prayer require careful discernment.

        May 12, 2022 at 9:01 am
  • Laura Reply

    I found this book by Archbishop Lefebvre, “The Mass of All Time”, but it has a mixed review in the comment section, which surprised me. I haven’t read it myself.

    May 11, 2022 at 5:17 pm
  • Michael 🙏 Reply

    Dear friends

    I concur this is a wonderful text.

    May l also recommend Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s new book entitled The Catholic Mass it is a first class piece of work from a wonderful Catholic Bishop.

    Every blessing

    Michael 🙏

    May 11, 2022 at 5:18 pm
  • Margaret Mary Reply

    I’ve actually got a terrible admission to make – I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that is just about the Mass. That’s awful. I must study this thread and make a decision to read one of the recommended books asap.

    May 11, 2022 at 10:59 pm
    • editor Reply


      I’m sure you will find more than one book on the Mass on this list of books which are free at the Catholic Tradition website – enjoy browsing!

      May 12, 2022 at 9:05 am
  • Leitourgos Reply

    A general point about reading in relation to the ongoing crisis in the Church. Do not neglect Church history, not just because those who do not know history will be more inclined to repeat its errors, but it gives one a context in which to evaluate the present, which is not simply to relativize it as if there were no crisis.

    May 12, 2022 at 5:26 am
    • editor Reply


      Your comment about Church history went into moderation, for no reason that I can see. Apologies for that – which falls into the category of The Wonders of WordPress!

      As for reading Church history – it is important to be very discerning about the authors of such, since modernists are known to distort the Church’s history for their own ends. It might be worth, first, dipping into Pascendi… the encyclical of Pope Saint Pius X On The Doctrine Of The Modernists.

      May 12, 2022 at 8:21 am
  • Theresa Rose Reply

    Another book worth reading might be The Blessed Sacrament and The Mass, Saint Thomas Aquinas, translated, with notes , by Rev. F. O’Neill. But, for the moment I cannot remember when and from where I bought it.

    May 12, 2022 at 1:38 pm

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