Friday, December 09, 2005

Andrewes to Bellarmini Eucharistic Presence

I found Pusey's translation of this text from Andrewes' response to Bellarmine here. I particularly found this interesting. One thing that presently interests me is Andrewes' denial of Transubstantiation and the Lutheran doctrine of presence. I find that interesting because a modern scholar on Andrewes has recently published a book where he claims that Luther and Chemnitz are the two most influential theologians on Andrewes. Yet, that is not plausible. Here is just one reason why
:"The Cardinal is not, unless ‘willingly, ignorant,’ that Christ hath said, ‘This is My Body,’ not ‘This is not My Body in this mode.’ Now about the object we are both agreed; all the controversy is about the mode. The ‘This is,’ we firmly believe; that ‘it is in this mode’ (the Bread, namely, being transubstantiated into the Body), or of the mode whereby it is wrought that ‘it is,’ whether in, or with, or transubstantiated, there is not a word in the Gospel. And because not a word is there, we rightly detach it from being a matter of faith; we may place it amongst the decrees of the schools, not among the articles of faith. What Durandus is reported to have said of old, (Neand. Synop. Chron. P. 203.) we approve of. ‘We hear the word, feel the effect, know not the manner, believe the Presence.’ The Presence, I say, we believe, and that no less true than yourselves. Of the mode of the Presence, we define nothing rashly, nor, I add, do we curiously enquire; no more than how the Blood of Christ cleanseth us in our Baptism; no more than how in the Incarnation of Christ the human nature is united into the same Person with the Divine. We rank it among Mysteries, (and indeed the Eucharist itself is a mystery,) ‘that which remaineth, ought to be burnt with fire.’ (Exodus xii.13.) that is, as the Fathers elegantly express it, to be adored by faith, not examined by reason." – Answer to Bellarmine, c.i.p.11.


Anonymous Antonio said...

"The ‘This is,’ we firmly believe..."

Can we say "This is not bread anymore"?
Just a question.

8:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antonio, Thanks for coming by; I haven't heard from you in a while. What Andrewes does is argue for presence within the language of Christology. For instance, he sees two realities of the sacrament, heavenly and earthly, and for the Sacrament to lose its earthly reality by being discarded or assumed into the divinity would make one guilty of Eutychianism. He quotes Galasius and Theodoret for this view as well as Irenaeus. The "this is" for Andrewes is ever bit as real to him as a Roman Catholic who would hold to Transubstantiation. Andrewes sees that scholastic argument to be an issue of "mode" and should not be made de fide.

He therefore believes in a Sacramental/Real presence within the elements (e converso) whereby it is not "ordinary" bread but the Body and Blood of Christ with no loss of the substance of the bread. Therefore it is the Mystery! If that makes any sense?

8:43 pm  
Anonymous Antonio said...

I can't believe it...
But I think I have finally understood why Andrewes (and many Anglo-Catholics today) can't accept the word "Transubstantiation".
Thanks a lot.

"No loss of the substance of the bread..."
Well, we actually believe two different things.

3:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antonio, glad to have helped. But, you must also realize that there are some Anglo-Catholics who actually accept Transubstantiation. I wanted to describe to you Andrewes' argument not all Anglo-Catholics lest I misrepresent their own integrity.

3:41 pm  
Blogger Pontificator said...

Perhaps the more important question is why the Catholic Church found the analogy with the hypostatic union ultimately unhelpful in explicating the mystery of the eucharistic presence. Transubstantiation did not win out because of a scholastic desire to always choose the more complicated metaphysical explanation.

Andrewes's believes that it is sufficient to merely affirm the Real Presence, yet avoids (at least in this citation) the substantive issues.

In the patristic period Pope Gelasius also invoked the analogy of the Incarnation to speak of the eucharistic mystery. This was fine at an early stage of theological development, but what was fine in the 5th century is not necessarily fine in the 16th or 21st. Here is, I think, a real weakness of Anglicanism.

4:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al, you are exactly right that this was Gelasius' position as well as Theodore's. This can be found in the Jersalem Catechesis. Theodore was intent on defending the humanity of Christ, almost to the extent of creating what some thought as two persons. But that was not what he was doing when one carefully examines his theology. He also considered the Eucharistic change to be modeled after the hypostatic union so that just as the human nature of the Eternal Son remains after the Incarnation, so also the Eucharistic elements remained what they were, bread and wine, though transformed by the Eucharistic prayer to become the instruments through which the Lord's Body and Blood is given to the Church. Andrewes grabbed onto these two to show that there were opinions within Catholic Christendom of devout and godly leaders of the Church who believed that the substance of bread and wine remained after the consecration.

It must also be remembered that men in Andrewes' day were not arguing from metaphysical categories and were coming away from that approach to Sacramental theology.

6:01 pm  
Blogger Pontificator said...

But I don't think that the scholastics were only driven by philosophical considerations either. Why was it important for St Thomas & Company to make the assertion that "bread" was no longer substantially present on the altar, even though the external properties of the bread clearly remained? Because it was believed that if bread was still substantially present, then the Church's practice of eucharistic adoration would be idolatrous. Piety is driving the reflection.

Consider how this works for Jesus. Why is it permitted to adore Jesus in created human nature? Why is it not idolatry? Because the human nature is hypostically united to God the Son. But we can't use the same logic for the Eucharist. The eucharistic consecration is not a second Incarnation. Jesus does not personally unite himself to impersonal bread. We do not say "one person, three natures"!

The analogy with the Incarnation only goes so far. The Church has left Gelasius and Andrewes behind, and rightly so. Transubstantiation is its own mystery.

8:25 pm  

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