James Akin has brought order out of the confusion that marks so much of Catholic worship these days. Akin is not a liturgist, but he is very effective teacher, which means that he can explain the Do's and Dont's of the Mass in ways most convenient for lay readers. This is an easy book to read, completely faithful to the various reforms the way they were meant to be applied. It is, in brief, the No. 1 book I can (and do) recommend to thoughtful Catholics with questions on liturgical life. I did a fuller review of Akin's work for the National Catholic Register, 23-29 August 1998, p. 8. I know the publishing house as well, "Catholic Answers, Inc." here in San Diego, and I know that it has recently replenished its own supplies of Akin's text, so it should be available
This book, along with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's "Spirit of the Liturgy" should be manditory reading for all Roman Catholic priests.
After 20 years absence from holy mother Church, I was amazed to see all of the "changes" in the mass; changes like omitting the Profession of Faith on Sundays, omitting the Lavabo, standing (as opposed to kneeling) during the Eucharistic Prayer, not wearing a chasuble or wearing the stole over the chasuble, holding hands during the Our Father, and so on. Was I ever surprised to learn that these were NOT accepted changes, but liturgical abuses by renegade priests!
This book addresses all of these abuses and much, much more. Mister Akin does a superb job of giving references for his statements on each individual abuse, whether he is quoting the GIRM (General Instructions of the Roman Missal), the Lectionary, or any other authoritative Church document pertaining to the Mass. He even gives a list of these at the beginning of the book, and most of them are easily available on the web. That makes this book an excellent study guide on the do's and don'ts of Catholic worship.
Some might consider this material as nothing but strict conformism, but not so. All of the symbolism in the Liturgy has meaning. The Catholic Mass does what it symbolizes, and it symbolizes what it does, so the symbolism must be performed properly.
Read this book and see how good a job your priest is doing. "The faithful have a right to a true Liturgy ..." says the Inaestimabile Donum, and it is time we started holding our priests to this!