Italian edition of Mosebach’s “The Heresy of Formlessness”

I understand that at last the black ball imposed by Italian published has finally been lifted on Martin Mosebach’s The Heresy of Formlessness

If you haven’t read this book, I recommend it.  There are wonderful insights herein even for the non-scholar.  Good straight talk with common sense and from the heart as well as the head.

Conclusion from the section called "Does Christianity need a liturgy?" (op.cit. 72-73):

We know that tradition’s mysterious work, making present things that are long past, has been painfully disturbed. Things that are sacral are by definition untouchable, and this untouchability has been gravely damaged; indeed, it is being injured every day, whether by malice or folly. Even among those who will not and cannot abandon the old rite, there is a kind of reforming zeal that can only be attributed to the yearning for self-destruction that sometimes afflicts unsuccessful opposition groups. The highly charged term "pastoral" is always used when liturgical changes are to he introduced. "Pastoral" means pertaining to a shepherd’s care, but we have long become used to translating it differently: "We, the clergy, decide how much of the splendor of truth the stupid and confused lay people can take."

No one, however, who has found his way, through sacrifice and trials, to the great Christian liturgy will allow any progressive or conservative cleric to deprive him of it. We must not think of the future. The prospects for a liturgical Christianity are poor. From today’s perspective, the future model of the Christian religion seems to be that of a North American sect–the most frightful form religion has ever adopted in the world. But the future is of no concern to the Christian. He is responsible for his own life; it is up to him to decide whether he can turn away from the gaze of the liturgical Christ–as long as this Christ is still shown to us.


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  1. FrCharles says:

    I am so fed up with the abuse of the term ‘pastoral’!

  2. Rachel says:

    “From today’s perspective, the future model of the Christian religion seems to be that of a North American sect—the most frightful form religion has ever adopted in the world.”

    Whoa. Hyperbole much? I grew up in a Protestant North American sect that fostered my relationship with God, gave me strong values, and taught me to believe the Bible (that last is what later made me Catholic). That was the most frightful form of religion ever? Can we at least agree it was better than the human sacrifices of the Aztecs?

    I wonder if this book would stir up useless anger and resentment against those who stole my Catholic patrimony. I’m sure it’s full of solid ideas and information, but I hope they’re imparted without too much of that apocalyptic language.

  3. Rachel says:

    Trying to close the italics tag…

  4. NLucas says:

    I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Mosebach gives lots of food for thought, and approaches the subject of liturgy from (IMO) a very sane perspective.

    In Christ,

  5. Paul Knight says:

    As traditionalist who is not a champion of the 1962 liturgical books, this book is truly a breath of fresh air.

  6. Tom A. says:

    An absolutely great read. I read the book about a year ago, it was a real eye opener. I continue to use examples from the book to show my NO friends how much the new mass is influeneced by protestantism.

  7. jrotond2 says:

    “From today’s perspective, the future model of the Christian religion seems to be that of a North American sect—the most frightful form religion has ever adopted in the world.”


    I haven’t read the book, but now I am quite interested to do so. Be that as it may, I would offer an educated guess as to what is meant by the above statement. It is a fact, that Protestantism in general was planted and allowed to flourish virtually unhibited in North America, whereas it was stifled by the still dominant Catholic Church or establishment Protestant churches across Europe. In North America, the Protestant story is one of free reign, a free approach for each individual to have his own faith in God. Hence, the last 400 years have had a continuous story of ever growing and changing Protestant denominations based on individual whims. I think this is about what the author may be speaking – i.e. that the “Christian” religion in North America has, by far, drifted clearly and distantly from a Liturgical and Incarnational ethos as found in Catholicism.

  8. Supertradmom says:

    Father Charles,

    Me too, as to the faulty dichotomy created by teachers and priest regarding “pastoral” as opposed to “doctrinal”. One of my friend’s son is in a seminary where this false separation between truth and applied truth is made on a daily basis in class and in apostolic activity. I shall try and read this book and maybe pass it on to that family.

  9. Fr. John Mary says:

    I had the privilege of hearing Martin Mosebach speak in New Haven, CT in the fall of 2007. Spectacular. Fr. U. Michael Lang also spoke. A group of seminarians from Holy Apostles in Cromwell, CT and I (was teaching there at the time) went.
    Two chapters are my particular favorites: Chpt. 3 where he describes a priest offering Holy Mass in an abandoned chapel on the isle of Capri; and Chpt. 5 where he describes a visit to the Benedictine Abbey of Fontgombault.
    He really knows how to articulate the “essence” of holy Tradition, esp. in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

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