Thursday, July 17, 2014

Exclamation point!

Martin Mosebach was invited to speak to assembled artists in Frankfurt (diocese of Limburg) on Ash Wednesday 2013, according to a German custom that apparently began with an idea from Paul Claudel who organized something similar in Paris. Mosebach addressed the theme of the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite. It scarcely need be said how unusual it is for a traditionalist thinker to be invited to a regular diocesan setting to speak on that subject.

Toward the end of his speech, Mosebach made the following striking point:
One difficulty that arose from the Church's abandonment of her traditional liturgy was surely quite unexpected. Many who observe the Church from a distance, and this includes many nominal Catholics, now see the Church as embodied principally in the moral teachings that she requires her faithful to follow. These teachings include many prescriptions and proscriptions that contradict the customs of the secular world. In the days when the Church was above all oriented toward the immediate encounter with God in the Liturgy however, these commandments were not seen merely in relation to the living of daily life, but were concrete means of preparation for complete participation in the liturgy.

The liturgy gave morality its goal. The question was: What must I do in order to attain to perfect Communion with the Eucharistic Christ? What actions will result in my only being able to look on Him from afar? Moral evil then appeared not merely as the that which is bad in the abstract, but as that which is to be avoided in order to attain to a concrete goal. And when someone broke a commandment, and thus excluded himself from Holy Communion, Confession was ready as the means to repair the damage and prepare him to receive Communion again. A surprising result of the reform is that while the Church of the past, which was really oriented toward the liturgy, appeared to many outside observers as being scandalously lax in moral matters, the current Church appears to contemporaries (and not only to those outside) as unbearably moralistic, unmerciful, and meanly puritanical. (From: "Das Paradies auf Erden: Liturgie als Fester zum Jenseits," Una Voce Korrespondenz 43 (2013), pp. 213-214; translation by Sacerdos Romanus).
[Hat tip to JM]


Jacobi said...

“as unbearably moralistic, unmerciful, and meanly puritanical”

Well of course it does. To any, and that includes so many now “within” the Catholic Church, who have secularised and abandoned any concept of morality, responsibility, or behavioural standards other than personal choice, it would!

It’s good to see that Mosebach is still active. Haven’t heard of him recently. He is a profound orthodox Catholic thinker.

Elizabeth said...

"Heresy of Formlessness" was an excellent book. I wish we'd get more writings from him.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Mosebach draws attention to one basic fact of life: although traditionalism may not be fully described as loyalty to the TLM, a person who calls himself, or is content to be called by others a traditionalist, but who fails to see the NO as anti-liturgical, and who settles for it as long as it is "reverently done," is greviously missing the point. Got that, Voris?