Rorate Caeli

"The old rite is the Church’s greatest treasure, her emergency kit, her Noah’s ark"

This is "old news" but still worth reading.

The blog of the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny has published a translation of yet another interview with Martin Mosebach, the renowned novelist and author of The Heresy of Formlessness. (An excerpt of this excellent book can be found here.) This particular interview was published in May of this year in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, and is entitled "It would be a Catastrophe if the Church would throw her Principles Overboard." in the translation.
Other recently-translated interviews and articles of Mr. Mosebach are "The Body of the Church" (on the lifting of the excommunication of the SSPX bishops), "After all, he is only the Pope" (a defense of Pope Benedict XVI vis-a-vis the sex scandals) and "The Reform of the Liturgy and the Catholic Church".
The following is an excerpt from the translation of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung interview:
You are an adherent of the Tridentine mass. Do you remember your first old mass?
It was with a priest in Hattenheim, an ugly suburb of Frankfurt, in a musty and desolate location. The priest was pastor Hans Milch, a powerful thunderer from the pulpit, a wild, boisterous and eccentric man. He had been discharged by the bishop and had built for himself a missionary hut in this dreadful Hattenheim. Now defenders of the old rite are readily suspected of “aestheticism.” But it was in these surroundings, so remote from all beauty, that I learned that the liturgy builds its own cathedral.
Do you mean that Pastor Milch who sympathized with the FSSPX?
Milch had the characteristics of a genius, but he was too expressionistic for my taste. His sermons ruptured the liturgy.
The content didn’t matter to you?
The cult is always more important than any sermon, however clever. The objectivity of cult is the greatest and most important thing our age needs. The old rite is the Church’s greatest treasure, her emergency kit, her Noah’s ark.
This weekend the ecumenical church convention it taking place in Munich. Are you going to be there?
Certainly not. I don’t have to run into cheerful people with a sect-member’s smile. This is the Reichsparteitag of organized Christianity – dreadful!
What’s so dreadful about it?
The idea itself - like a military review. The sentimental ecumenism. The “we” feeling. What counts in religion is the individual and his personal relationship with God. I find terrible this getting carried away by the crowd. Liturgical tradition breathes a sober, almost reserved spirit. It doesn’t serve as a massage for the soul.
What do you mean by “massage for the soul?”
I mean the Church must be nothing like a health outing. Christianity is not easily consumable. On the contrary, religion encounters man as something foreign, as the “totally other.” She challenges him to leave his place and set out to explore her strangeness and profundity. Religion has to act upon man first as foreign and difficult. Terrible simplification leads to great illusions and finally to a hangover.
She always has to have a plan contrary to the spirit of the times?
That is her most precious possession. The Church is always a counter – society. She is always a crack in the wall of the total present. That binds me to the Church and makes her necessary for me until my death.
What happens to you when you can’t attend mass for two or three weeks?
Then I know that I am living wrong.
What is the matter with you then?
What’s the matter with me? That I have not joined myself to this objective icon. That I have not, for once, disregarded myself and entered into the spell of reality, into a world that doesn’t run according to my laws.