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July 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Martin Mosebach, an award-winning author and defender of the Traditional Latin Mass, has just published an essay criticizing the July 16 motu proprio against the Traditional Latin Mass, insisting that no one can abrogate that ancient rite of the Mass.

The essay, translated into English by First Things, is being published in German by the German journal Vatikan Magazin.

In his essay, Mr. Mosebach – who has also opposed Pope Francis’s post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia – points out that it was Pope Benedict XVI who had highlighted that this Mass cannot even be abrogated. He says about Benedict's Summorum Pontificum, which liberally freed the Ancient Rite, that “it declares that the celebration of the old Mass does not need any permission. It had never been forbidden because it never could be forbidden.” Mosebach continues:

One could conclude that here we find a fixed, insuperable limit to the authority of a pope. Tradition stands above the pope. The old Mass, rooted deep in the first Christian millennium, is as a matter of principle beyond the pope’s authority to prohibit. Many provisions of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio can be set aside or modified, but this magisterial decision cannot be so easily done away with. Pope Francis does not attempt to do so—he ignores it. It still stands after July 16, 2021, recognizing the authority of tradition that every priest has the moral right to celebrate the never forbidden old rite. 

In Mosebach's eyes, it becomes clear that Pope Francis is faced with an overwhelming development, namely, that the new participants in the Old Mass are not anymore a group of elderly Catholics who grew up in the ancient Mass, but, rather, many young families and young priests. He insists that this “traditional movement is not a superficial fashion,” and that Pope Francis, trying to suppress it, will not succeed in doing so.

“Pope Francis's prohibition will arouse resistance in those who still have their lives before them and won't allow their futures to be darkened by obsolete ideologies,” Mosebach goes on to say.

In this author’s eyes, Pope Francis is acting too late, because the ancient rite has taken root in the heart of too many Catholics. “The vehemence of the motu proprio's language suggests that this directive has come too late. The circles that adhere to liturgical tradition have indeed drastically changed in the last decades.”

One thing the Pope has in common with traditional Catholics, Mosebach adds: “He takes the traditional Mass, which dates back at least to the time of Gregory the Great, as seriously as they do.”

But he also points out that the traditional Catholic community is fairly small and that many Catholics in the world will not even understand this battle that is going one. He adds:

Indeed, we have to ask ourselves whether the pope had no more urgent task—in the midst of the sex abuse crisis, the Church’s financial scandals, schismatic movements like the German synodal path, and the desperate situation of Chinese Catholics—than to suppress this small, devoted community. 

But Martin Mosebach wonders whether the Pope is not, after all, really after the 2,000 year-old tradition of the Church as a whole, since he seems to follow the theory of the “hermeneutic of rupture” – according to which the Second Vatican Council did break with the tradition of the Church prior to the Council.

“If that is true,” Mosebach expounds, “then indeed every celebration of the traditional liturgy must be prevented. For as long as the old Latin Mass is celebrated in any garage, the memory of the previous two thousand years will not have been extinguished.”

But this, of course, will never happen, and it is to be hoped that many priests and faithful now – unlike after the Second Vatican Council – would fight for the preservation of the Tradition, to include the traditional Latin Mass. Martin Mosebach concludes his essay with the words:

This memory, however, cannot be rooted out by the blunt exercise of papal legal positivism. It will return again and again, and will be the criterion by which the Church of the future will have to measure itself.

And, as we could add, this memory will never be rooted out because it is of God and for God, and He still will always be in charge of His Church.

In addition to Mosebach, there are also other voices who have now stated that the ancient liturgy of the Roman rite cannot be abrogated. Next to Cardinal Raymond Burke, there are the voices of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Father James Altman (in a new interview with Dr. Taylor Marshall, around minute 35), and also Don Davide Pagliarani, the General Superior of the Society of St. Pius X.

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Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.

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