30 May 2011

Cause of Schism: "those who assert that Vatican II founded a new Church with a new theology and new sacraments."

Rorate Caeli has posted an English translation of a Die Welt interview by Paul Badde with Martin Mosebach, author of the seminal lay apology for the traditional Mass, The Heresy of Formlessness.  Mosebach, with his usual insight and ability to get to the crux of an issue quickly, discusses the new instruction on the Extraordinary Form, Universae Ecclesiae.

I want to post the entirety of the Rorate post below, with my emphases in green:

The Church Must Endure this Anger
Freedom is restored to the Old Rite: Martin Mosebach on the recent papal letter on the Latin liturgy
By Paul Badde
(Die Welt, May 23, 2011)
Four years ago, Pope Benedict XVI, against the opposition of the great majority in the Catholic Church, restored the old Latin liturgy to equality with the new vernacular form of the celebration of the mass, which had been mandated since 1969. (The Latin liturgy substantially dates back to Gregory the Great (540-604) and was finally authoritatively fixed by the Council of Trent (1545-1563).) A week ago, the Vatican, in a papal letter, reaffirmed its determination of 2007 and clarified some disputed questions regarding its practical application. Martin Mosebach, the recipient of the Büchner prize, is one of the most fervent admirers and defenders of the old Liturgy.
Die Welt: In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI, in a special motu proprio (an apostolic letter), freed the ancient Gregorian liturgy for the Catholic Church. Why does the Vatican publish instructions four years later on how the will of the pope is to be implemented?
Martin Mosebach: The enemies of the great liturgical tradition of the Roman Church in many cases have not accepted the permission given to the Old Rite. They often tried to ignore the pope’s motu proprio and sought to maintain obstacles. They tried with bureaucratic methods to render ineffective the pope’s generosity. Therefore, the Vatican had to be clearer if it wanted to maintain the motu proprio.
Die Welt: The Instruction speaks of “two usages of the one Roman rite.” Doesn’t this open the door to a creeping new schism?
Martin Mosebach: There’s already a schism, not between supporters of the new and old rites, but between those Catholics who adhere to the old sacramental theology of the Church as was solemnly confirmed by Vatican II, and those who assert that Vatican II founded a new Church with a new theology and new sacraments. This latter doctrine has been diffused wholesale and against the better knowledge of its promoters, in the seminaries, universities and Catholic academies. This is what has fostered the danger of a schism.
Die Welt: “What was sacred for prior generations remains sacred and great also for us as well; it cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful.” The Instruction cites here the pope. But wasn’t this the intention of the overwhelming majority of the Catholic bishops in the last 40 years?
Martin Mosebach: Yes, it is regrettably true that a not small part of the Catholic bishops, in a suicidal frenzy, attempted to separate from the Catholic Tradition and to cut the Church off from the source of her vitality. In the sentence you have cited, the pope has given them some tutoring in ecclesiology.
Die Welt: How can the Roman liturgy in the “usus antiquior “ be offered today “to all the faithful “ if only a fraction of the faithful understand Latin?
Martin Mosebach: At all times only a few Catholics have been able to follow the Latin Mass word for word. Europe looks back on well over a thousand years of glorious Catholic culture without the people being able to understand Latin. They understand something more important: that in the rite the Parousia – the mystic presence – of the Lord takes place. Without this understanding, a person has understood nothing of the Mass, even if he thinks he understands every word. Moreover, for a long time there have been wonderful bilingual missals with which we can pray the mass with the priest. But it is indeed correct: the Old Rite requires a certain effort, a readiness to learn.
Die Welt: And how will precisely the promotion of the “older” rite further “reconciliation within the Church” after it has led to so much conflict until now?
Martin Mosebach: The conflict essentially is due to the misunderstanding, so perilous for the Church, that Vatican II established a new Church. The struggle surrounding this misunderstanding must be endured to the end. Covering it up with peaceful phrases doesn’t help the Church.
Die Welt: Pastors are invited to show “a spirit of generous welcome” to groups of faithful who would like to celebrate the Old Mass in Latin. Isn’t this naïve after the last few decades, in which such faithful were considered hopelessly old-fashioned and retrograde?
Martin Mosebach: Indeed, the faithful, who have adhered to the Old Rite or have discovered it just recently, were reviled in manner that, I hope, is not revealing of the spiritual worth of the reform. Karl Rahner’s words have not been forgotten: the opponents of the reform of the mass are “tragicomic fringe elements, frustrated by humaneness .” Today, however, one surprisingly finds a great deal of understanding for the cause of Tradition among younger priests.
Die Welt: That the pope personally changed the old Good Friday petition for the Jews satisfied hardly a single critic or opponent. Doesn’t the new Instruction stir up the fire once more?
Martin Mosebach: The critics of the Good Friday prayer perceive the insistence of the Church that Christ is “the Truth” as creating scandal. But the Church must endure this anger. She cannot deviate from this conviction.
Die Welt: Now priests can once more celebrate mass by themselves (or with the assistance of a single server). Isn’t that a leap back into the age when the concept of “communio” had only a shadowy existence in the Catholic Church?
Martin Mosebach: The concept of “communio” never had only a shadowy existence in the Church. The “communion of Saints” is , after all, even an article of faith. The community of which the Church speaks, however, is much more than the people actually present. It is a community with the dead and with the angels – but it is especially a community with Jesus Christ. Experience teaches that this community can be intensively experienced in the old form of the mass and even especially in the low mass – in any case, for many people better than in the post-conciliar form, characterized by incessant talking and the singing of questionable songs.
Die Welt: The training of priests is supposed again to “offer the opportunity of learning the extraordinary form of the rite” to theology students. But who will teach it? There are, after all, almost no teachers left.
Martin Mosebach: There are a number of Traditional priestly societies which view as their mission the imparting of the old liturgy to young priests. One only has to turn to these priestly societies and ask. They are happy to provide information, but until now have been impeded by many bishops.
Die Welt: What surprised you the most in the new Instruction?
Martin Mosebach: What surprised me is how determined the pope is in the question of liturgy. In any case, he has created the legal prerequisites for returning the Old Rite to complete freedom. No bishop who would like to impede the Old Rite can cite legal reasons any more.
Die Welt: And what disappointed you the most?
Martin Mosebach: It was disappointing for me that the great rite of the old ordination ceremony can from now on only be celebrated in Traditional monasteries and priestly societies. It is a pity that this spiritual treasure, which defines the priesthood so exactly, is to be lost to the universal Church – at least for the time being.
Die Welt: How do you respond to the criticism that the debate over liturgy overlooks the plight of the Church and the world?
Martin Mosebach: The plight of the Church is precisely that she has forgotten where her center lies. Her mission is to proclaim the living Christ and the living Christ appears in the liturgy. If the liturgy is made subject to the fashions of the day, the living Christ becomes invisible. Then the Church is truly in a crisis.
© Paul Badde


StGuyFawkes said...

Here we are gripped by an inescapable irony.

When Mr. Mosebach refers to "those who assert that Vatican II founded a new Church with a new theology and new sacraments" he refers to the kind of liturgical innovators you find on Boyle Street.

HOwever, his remarks taken out of context could easily apply to the schismatics of Econe.

Both the followers of ARchbishop Lefebvre and the rattle shakers among the "women priests" agree on one thing. They both believe that Vatican II initiated a rupture with the past. One group of schismatics mourns the repture. The other group revels in it.

The main difference is that The SSPX are merely schismatic, whereas the followers of Father Bourgeois have made it all the way to heresy.

This was a good post.

Long-Skirts said...

Martin Mosebach: It was disappointing for me that the great rite of the old ordination ceremony can from now on only be celebrated in Traditional monasteries and priestly societies. It is a pity that this spiritual treasure, which defines the priesthood so exactly, is to be lost to the universal Church – at least for the time being.


I'm Eucharistic
At Mass I dress
In style
You act as though
That's sinister
I lead all down
The aisle.

I see my son
But twice a year
He prays and studies
In cassock-black
Men laugh and jeer
Though mocking
Just empowers.

I'm Eucharistic
At Mass I dress
In style
You act as though
That' sinister
And loyal
I'll dance awhile.

Empowers him
To pray say yes
Receive and be
These other Christs lay hands
And bless

I'm Eucharistic
At Mass I dress
In style
You act as though
That's sinister
Why we're priests
Rank and file.

Through Masses, rosaries
Teary eyes
If Christ calls all
My boys
They'll go but not
Support your lies
A meal with lots
Of noise.

I'm Eucharistic
At Mass I dress
In style
You act as though
That's sinister
We're having fun
Just smile.

Three years he's slaved
Four more to go
Each year he's
Farther away
And that's so we
Can learn and know
His life for Christ
He'll lay.

I'm Eucharistic
At Mass I dress
In style
And all can be a minister
To beguile!

Anonymous said...

Tell me again...

how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

I've forgotten.

The Riopel Family said...

I don't understand this enough to be able to comment very well but I do want to say that~as a convert~ it breaks my heart the way that anything traditional is scourned...My older girls and I started wearing mantillas 2 yrs ago (after I did much research, talked to my spiritual director and prayed~a lot!)and it was not and still is not well received by some. It hurts when people say things that are unkind but I tell myself and my girls that we only need to please God... I also have full support of my husband.
But, there is much suffering for not conforming...we were asked to not wear mantillas to a wedding mass and so we opted not to go..my husband (it is his cousins wedding)was told by his uncle to attend the wedding without me and our children. Now family members are choosing sides.
I love the tradition of the Church. I love the history and the mystery. I have never felt more at home than I do in the Catholic Church. The more I learn~the more I love~the more I want to move closer to God...Isn't that the point???

Anonymous said...

I am not able to comment about the post because I don't full get it either. To add to a previous combox post, my poor wife too gets alot of ridicule and disapproval from her own family for attending the traditional mass. A very recent event brought many family members to the oratory who have never assisted at a traditional mass. Some thought it was beautiful while others seemed to rip it apart with negative comments as if to gain negative support from other family members. This type of suffering is difficult for families and I can only imagine what it must have been like when the changes were first introduced. Never before has my wife, myself, and our small children been so in love with christ than after becoming members of the oratory.


Anonymous said...

It was indeed a good post. @StGuy - to lump the Society in with the women-priests crowd is uncharitable. It is good to remember that it is in great part through the diligent work of Archbishop Lefebvre, as well as the faithful like Michael Davies, that the Traditional Rite has found its way to be salvaged from the wreckage of innovation.



Sigh ... but it's like trying to argue the notion 'you Catholics worship statues'.


Anonymous said...

... and in retrospect, the last part of my comment was probably not charitable either, so I retract the statue worship remark and apologize to StGuy for that.


Anonymous said...


I don't think that St Guy "lumped [SSPX] with the women priests crowd" so much as he was stating the obvious: both contend that VatII founded a new church, SSPX explicitly (or so I have read), the women priest bunch at least implicitly (and probably explicitly too, the internet is a big place, after all).

There is nothing uncharitable about facts, particularly when St. Guy went to pains to explain the difference between the schism of SSPX and heresy (although he painted with a mighty wide heresy brush, unless he is truly just talking about those who "ordained" women "priests" - - his post could be taken to mean all of those who support liturgical reforms in the aftermath of VatII).

BTW, FWIW, I thought this post and the OSV/Home Schooling post below were two of the most thought-provoking I've read on this blog. Bravo, Timman.

In charity,

Proud SLPS Parent

StGuyFawkes said...


I only meant that there exists an interesting convergence of opinion among those who worship on Boyle Street, and those who worship on Dolman Street. However, the convergence exists with respect to only one thing: the rupture-like character of Vatican II.

Indeed, you are right that the two groups should not be lumped together.

I agree with you. Except for this one weird intersection of views, the two groups could not be more different with respect to anything: ecclesiology, theology, politics, fashion sense, childrearing, boxer as opposed to briefs, or anything. I bet if the men of Dolman and the men of Boyle crowded into the same sports bar they would not even be able to agree on the proper use of the infield fly rule or whether the Cubs should ever have played on Wrigley Field under lights.

However, there is one other thing that the two groups have in common. There is a kind of fusty stubborness about the womenpriests which puts me in mind of at least one SSPX prelate who seems to just say one dense thing after another.

Now, I'm being uncharitable, not you.

Thanks for the comment.
St. Guy

robert said...

To the two readers above whose mantillas have brought them family hardship,

Let me try to explain why worshipers of Vatican II get wiggy over chapel veils. Fifteen years ago I asked His Eminence Justin Rigali for a second Tridentine Indult Mass. His Eminence, then His Excellency, bellowed "but…but…but if we allow the Latin Mass then it will be blacks at the back of the bus and discrimination and racism..." He thought somehow the Tridentine would jolt the world -- time-machine-style -- back to the 1950s.

Men of my age, who grew up in the early Sixties and served as altar boys at both the extraordinary and ordinary form remember the atmosphere surrounding Vatican II. There was an air of giddy hope which was a spore in the air making everyone think the world was about to blossom. This was an allergy affecting millions. This haze of millennial zippiness got everyone frowning on the regular Church of the 1950s. Why?

Well, here’s what my generation remembers: at Mass during the '50s and early '60s the men of the parish would stand against the back wall. At Communion time they'd sneak out for a smoke. Women herded their children into the pews wearing white gloves and girdles. The Baltimore Catechism was not valued for it's truth and concision but was hated for seeming to reduce religion to rote memory. When an Irish boy fell in love with an Italian girl the talk was all about whether he'd get married in that "dago church." It was a time of bomb shelters, and movies you couldn't see because of the Legion of Decency. Many of the condemned films were by Truffaut, Goddard, or Howard Hawks. All the greats you'd grow up to study in college film class. You couldn’t read “The Grapes of Wrath” because an homeless woman nurses a starving man at her breast.

It was a different time, and the generation that punishes the traditionalists is so very frightened of anything that reminds them of that time. Of what are they frightened? Women wearing girdles I guess.

I don't agree with this Vatican II worshiping perspective at all. HOwever I do understand the vague mental atmosphere that caused His Emminence to yell at me and shake with fear when he sputtered "So..why do you want it, why do you want it...why do you want that Latin Mass." He actually thought the Tridentine would send African Americans to the back of the bus and get rid of panty hose. Is there anyway to understand this attitude?

Apostate novelist Mary Gordon wrote a very interesting piece on an SSPX Seminary for Harpers in 1973 or '74. It was entitled "More Catholic Than the Pope." Her conclusion was interesting for understanding the Vatican II-as-Second-Coming-Mindset. She said of the SSPX that from her point of view the Society did not want to return the Church to Trent. They merely wanted the Church to go back to the 1950s. And the 1950s to the generation who grew up then felt like a sort of cosmic repression.

I'm just trying to say do try and understand the old coots. They never had any freedom in their lives. They fought the Korean War and were quickly forgotten and they had about five minutes when they actually felt alive and it was in a time when someone was playing a "Peter, Paul and Mary" song or digging "The Kingston Trio" or laughing at Mort Sahl and thinking it was so very …..edgy.

By the way, His Emminence Justin Rigali has become a great supporter of "Summorum Pontificorum." So go figure that.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Robert.

To be slightly irreverent, can we blame all of this return to the 50's hysteria on the popularity of Mad Men, as some sort of communal flashback?

The Riopel Family said...

I hate the "don't be more Catholic than the Pope" or the one I hear all the time "don't be more Catholic than the Catholic Church"... My response to that is "How many saints do you think were told that?"

I think it's a cop-out to be complacent and feel good about only going to Mass on Sunday and going to confession a couple of times a year. Maybe that's enough for some but for me, I desperately need more! What a mess I am!!!

The ones that I am getting the most grief from on wearing mantillas are the 30-50 year olds. The older people just roll their eyes at me and go on. :)

peace and joy!