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Subversive Catholicism

Subversive Catholicism

Papacy, Liturgy, Church

By Martin Mosebach

164 pp

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About the Book

In this stirring and often surprising collection of essays, award-winning German novelist Martin Mosebach confronts the reader with Catholicism’s correctives to regionalism and the tyranny of fashion. He shows us how the great wonder and beauty of the traditional form of the Mass leads us to appreciate and recover our childlike faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. He explains why popular devotion to Our Lady, in spite of the kitsch that often surrounds it, is more vital, permanent, and world-changing than mountains of learned discourse or political messianism. Resting on the rock of dogmatic confession rather than the shifting sands of journalistic opinion, Mosebach exalts the Christ-given office of the papacy and diminishes its recent man-made agendas.

These records of pilgrimage and reflection bear witness to the perennially “subversive” nature of full-blooded Catholicism, which challenges the assumptions not only of those outside the fold, but perhaps even more, of those within it who exchange their birthright of holy and heavenly mysteries for a mess of modern pottage. Despite the sins and escapades of her members, the Church still makes present in our midst an “incessant repetition of the Incarnation.” This book opens our eyes and ears to this ongoing miracle.


“Martin Mosebach is a writer with profound Catholic sensibilities. These reflections on the 21st-century Church are expertly cut gems. A must read.”

— R. R. RENO

Editor, First Things

“Martin Mosebach employs his brilliance to defend what is of eternal value. His deep appreciation of the Catholic faith is manifest in these essays that draw upon his love of history, art, philosophy, and popular religious culture.”


Pastor, Church of the Holy Family, NYC

“In this collection of essays Martin Mosebach has once more demonstrated his ability to provide provocative insights into the condition of modern Catholicism. They are a tonic to our deep-rutted discourse on liturgy, spirituality, and religious sociology. Refreshing and challenging, they set us on new paths of thought.”


Chairman, Latin Mass Society of England & Wales

Subversive Catholicism offers a treasure trove of insights on liturgy, theology, art, ecclesiastical government, and contemporary spiritual issues. All is short and sweet, reflecting the concise yet amazingly versatile style of a true master of prose.”


President, Society of St. Hugh of Cluny 

“Germany’s most distinguished living Catholic writer is a novelist who seems almost to have wandered into our time from the 19th century. But it is precisely because his mind is so out of keeping with our time that he is able to understand it so well, as these delightful and penetrating essays show.”


O.Cist., Vice-Rector, Leopoldinum, Heiligenkreuz

About the Author

Martin Mosebach, born in Frankfurt am Main, studied law, and has published eleven novels, many short stories, essays, poems, scripts for dramas, opera libretti, theater pieces, and radio plays. He is actively engaged in dialogue on contemporary issues through contributions to daily papers & magazines. Apart from many other awards, he was honored in 2007 with Germany’s foremost literary award, the “Georg-Büchner-Preis,” in 2013 with the “Literature-Award of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation,” and in 2015 with the “Goethe-Award of the City of Frankfurt am Main.” His most recent books include The Heresy of Formlessness: The Roman Liturgy and Its Enemy (Angelico, 2018), and The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs (Plough, 2019).

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