Mosebach on the tridentine rite

By Augustinus

The great German writer Martin Mosebach wrote an essay on the tridentine rite a couple of years ago and that essay is now reprinted in First Things. See

Mosebach points out that the second Vatican Council did NOT proscribe the old tridentine rite but instead instructed and prescribed continued use of Latin and never assumed that ad orientam worship would change. Still less did the council fathers envision a new “iconoclasm of the altars” that took place after Paul VI endorsed use of a new missal. The smashing of the altars and the destruction of traditional catholic imagery and statuary in numberless churches across the world was every bit as destructive as the protestant smashing of the altars that took place centuries earlier in the wake of the furies of the protestant revolution. The fact that these iconoclastic outrages were occurring from within the church itself must have made non-Catholic onlookers believe that the protestant revolution had been right after all. Perhaps the Bishops that promoted this iconoclastic spasm were thinking that this second protestant revolution would convince our protestant brothers and sisters that catholics were serious about dialogue with them and then protestants would flock back to the one true church and we would be united again!

But alas; the envisioned rapproachement between catholics and protestants has not happened. Instead the numerous protestant sects have continued their inevitable dissolution into Unitarianism and the catholic church has slowly begun to follow the same, disastrous ¬†“liberalizing” path as the protestants. That path we all now know leads to heresy…a kind of no-offense-to-anyone doctrine that ends in Unitarian pablum where Jesus is depicted as a milquetoast and perhaps¬†interesting ancient rabble rouser and moral leader but certainly not a divine being who demands obedience.

Mosebach argues that an organizational change in the catholic church abetted the protestantizing of church since 1968: namely the organization of the Bishops into national Bishop conferences which directly contradicts ancient canon law on Bishops rules and procedures. Nationalism inevitably begins to rule the conferences rather than the universal church.

In any case I highly recommend Mosebach’s book and this essay.

3 thoughts on “Mosebach on the tridentine rite

  1. Steve Shields

    Seriously, I remember my local parish (St Bernard’s) before Vatican II had beautiful paintings over all the walls. They were really amazing works of art that took a lot of work to create. Even though I was very young, I admired the art work in that church.

    Then after Vatican II, even though I was just a middle school kid, I remember being deeply saddened when someone made the decision to paint all the walls a plain, dull white. I could not comprehend a reason to destroy beauty. Even as an adult, I was sad when I attended Mass there, because I knew what was behind the plain, dull walls.

    Things are never black and white and I am a great admirer of Vatican II. I felt that Vatican II freed people to come to Jesus instead of scaring them to Mass with threats of eternal damnation. The sad part is that when the threats went away, a lot of people made choices to walk away.

  2. Allan Gillis

    So Steve…maybe V2 isn’t or shouldn’t be something that you “admire”…?

    and that old cliche’; “things are never black and white” seems to me to be an attempt to excuse others and perhaps oneself as well from pure, raw, unadulterated truth. Jesus said “you’re either for me or against me” isn’t that a bit “black and white”?


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