A new guide book for Catholics is designed to lead them back into church by reviewing the services.
Journalist Camillo Langone, also a long-time restaurant reviewer, sat in pews all over Italy to write over 300 pages on weekly mass ceremonies. What makes a good mass (communion given in the mouth, incense) bad mass (electric guitars and too many tambourines), is, much like a restaurant, up to the reviewer, who in this case describes himself as a “fervent Catholic.”
It’s not the first guide book to church going, but it’s the first in Italy, seat of the Vatican and country where the flock is fleeing rapidly. The battle may be an uphill one: 90 percent of Italians are baptized Catholics but only about a third are churchgoers.
Langone’s “Guide to Mass” also reviews the priests of over 200 services, whether their sermons are creative or soporific and whether the church architecture (poor acoustics, hot summer and cold in winter) is conducive to prayer.