Mosebach criticises Pope Francis and restriction on the liturgy

Martin Mosebach is considered a harsh critic of Pope Francis and the liturgical reform. His book "Häresie der Formlosigkeit" (Heresy of Formlessness) takes issue with the post-conciliar liturgy. Now he commented on the Pope's conduct of office and the legacy of Benedict XVI.

Martin Mosebach has criticised Pope Francis' conduct of office. The author told the Neue Züricher Zeitung (Thursday) that the Pope must defend the "two-thousand-year-old tradition against the respective present". However, Francis does not want to take on this role, Mosebach said. Orthodoxy is a burden for the pontiff "and not the Church's tried and tested guarantee of survival". From him, the incumbent Pope gets "very bad marks".

Mosebach also criticised the Pope's restrictions on the traditional Mass. "He has given the bishops the right to ban the old liturgy where it is celebrated. But he has not given them the right to allow it," Mosebach said. In doing so, he said, the Pope had severely limited the bishops' decision-making power, whereas otherwise he delegated many decisions to the bishops. "But his Dictatus Papae comes too late, because the spirit of tradition cannot be put back into the bottle. The tradition has grown so much under Benedict XVI that he can no longer enforce its prohibition at all," Mosebach added.

Pope Francis published the motu proprio "Traditionis custodes" ("Guardians of Tradition") in 2021. In it, he stipulated that it is up to each diocesan bishop to regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese and that it is within his sole competence to allow the celebration of the Mass in its extraordinary form. In doing so, the Pope significantly restricted access to the celebration of Mass according to the missals prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which had been facilitated by his predecessor Benedict XVI with the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" (2007).

"Religion is not a sports festival"

The writer was also critical of reform proposals in the Church: "After all, it is a religion, not a sports festival," he told the NZZ. The church, he said, is a cosmos that a lifetime is not enough to get to know. "The Catholic religion is probably the most complicated of all." Since the Council, he said, religious education had "degenerated". Those who leave today don't even know that they can't get rid of their baptism.

Mosebach is considered a harsh critic of Pope Francis and the liturgical reform. His book "Heresy of Formlessness. The Roman Liturgy and its Enemy", in which he strongly criticised the liturgical reform resulting from the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and called for a return to the so-called Tridentine Mass. In an interview in 2019, he compared the staging of Pope Francis' appearances to those of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.