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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Andrewes & Bellarmine on Eucharistic Sacrifice

I am sitting here at my desk on this first day of 2006 wondering how some of what I had read in an Easter sermon of Andrewes preached on 1612 got passed my thinking. It only goes to show that I often need to read and read again these sermons by Andrewes. The best exercise is to read them out loud. What continues to give me surprise is the lanuage and theology of Andrewes' understanding of Eucharistic Sacrifice. In some regards, he and Cardinal Bellarmine seem to totally agree. Let me give an example from this Easter Sermons 1612.

First, he speaks of the celebremus; that is the act of celebration itself that is connected to the offering or the hoc facite (this do) that is commanded. Andrewes says,
Remember Him? That we will and stay at home, think of Him there? Nay, shew Him forth ye must. That we will by a sermon of Him. Nay, it must be hoc facite [this do]. It is not mental thinking, or verbal speaking, there must be actually somewhat done to celebrate this memory. That done to the holy symbols that was done to Him, to His body and His blood in the Passover; break the one, pour out the other, to represent klomenon, how His sacred body was “broken,” and enkunomenon how His precious blood was “shed.” And in Corpus fractum, and Sanguis fusus there is immolatus. This is it in the Eucharist that answereth to the sacrifice in the Passover, the memorial to the figure. To them it was, Hoc facite in Mei præfigurationem, ‘do this in prefiguration of Me:’ to us it is, “Do this in commemoration of Me. [1 Cor. 11.26] To them prenuntiare, to us annuntiare; there is the difference. By the same rules that theirs was, by the same may ours be termed a sacrifice. In rigour of speech, neither of them; for to speak after the exact manner of Divinity [Heb. 10.4] there is but one only sacrifice, vere nominis, ‘properly so called,’ that is Christ’s death. And that sacrifice but once actually performed at His death, but ever before represented in figure, from the beginning; and ever since [repeated in memory], to the world’s end. That only absolute, all else relative to it, representative of it, operative by it….So it was the will of God, that so there might be with them a continual foreshewing, and with us a continual shewing forth, the “Lord’s death till He come again….” The Apostle in the tenth chapter [of 1 Corinthians] compareth this of ours to the immolate of the heathen; and to the Hebrews, habemus aram, matcheth it with the sacrifice of the Jews. And we know the rule of comparisons, they must be ejusdem generis[the very same kind].
This language is amazing. He says, nay we won't just think of Him; that is not enough. We won't just remember a past historical event, that is not to fulfill the command [this do], we must offer Him. There is immolatus in the body broken and the blood out poured. What is done to the Holy Symbols was done to Him. In that act of Eucharistic offering there is immolatus done to Him. [I'm laughing as I write this.]

Following is the interesting connection with Bellarmine. Andrewes has made reference of the celebremus with clear sacrificial overtones and now speaks of the epulemur. The celebration is not where it ends. One has to go to the next part that makes the offering complete and that is the feast. This was Bellarmine's position of Eucharistic Sacrifice seen in De Missa. His point is that what had to take place after the Consecration was the consumption of the Sacred Species. The essence of sacrifice was found in the Consecration but in order for there to be a true sacrifice there had to be a destruction. For Bellarmine it was the eating of the Sacrament. Now the order for both Andrewes and Bellarmine is this. One, something profane (bread and wine) becomes holy--Body and Blood. (Though there is a difference between presence per modum there is no difference on the reality of presence). The second is that there had to be an offering or a showing forth of the Body and Blood on the altar and to offer that One Sacrifice to the Father. Andrewes used the language of 'showing forth' that you can read above. Third is that since the Sacrament has become food for eating (Andrewes uses the Passover as an example) so also there must be a full eating to make this sacrifice complete. It is at this point that the Sacrifice is applied to us in the present. Both, Andrewes and Bellarmine, speak of the 'eternal sacrifice' of Christ within their explanations of the Eucharistic offering. (Christ intercessory offering gets looked at and developed later on by Catholic Theologians like De la Taille but it was formulated in the doctrines of the Fathers). The below quotation is how Andrewes describes what I am talking about.
From the Sacrament is the applying the Sacrifice. The Sacrifice in general, pro omnibus. That Sacrament in particular, to each several receiver, pro singulis. Wherein that is offered to us that was offered for us; that which is common to all, made proper to each one, while each taketh his part of it; and made proper by communion and union, like that of meat and drink, which is most nearly and inwardly made ours, and is inseparable for ever. There, celebremus passeth with the representation; but here epulemur, as a nourishment, abideth with us still. In that we “see,” and in this “we taste, how gracious the Lord is,” and hath been to us. Will ye mark one thing more, that epulemur doth here refer to immolatus? To Christ, not every way considered, but as when He [was] offered. Christ’s body that now is. True; but not Christ’s body as now it is, but as then it was, when it was offered, rent, and slain, and sacrificed for us. Not, as now He is glorified, for so He is not, so He cannot be immolatus, for He is immortal and impassible. But as then He was when He suffered death, that is, passible and mortal. Then, in His passible estate did He institute this of ours, to be a memorial of His passible and Passio both. And we are in this action not only carried up to Christ, (Sursum corda) but we are also carried [back] to Christ as he was at the very instant, and [in the very act of His offering.] So, and no otherwise, do we represent Him. By the incomprehensible power of His eternal Spirit, not He alone, but He,[as at the very act of His offering], is made present to us, and we incorporate into His death, and invested in the benefits of it.
Now we see that Andrewes sees a two-fold aspect of the Sacrifice that is offered and received. We offer Christ to the Father and receive Him in the Sacrament. There is a Eucharistic dialogue going on. Now, with reference to Eucharistic Sacrifice (I realize that this does not cover everything) can my Roman Catholic friends tell me what is missing here? What is it about the Eucharistic Sacrifice explained here that keeps us at odds with one another? Enquiring minds want to know!

4 Comments:

Blogger Pontificator said...

Jeff, did any Roman Catholics of the day comment on Andrewes's writings on the Eucharist? Did Bellarmine ever respond to Andrewes?

In what ways did Andrewes think that his understanding of eucharistic sacrifice was different from the Catholic position?

My uninformed guess is that Andrewes' understanding of eucharistic sacrifice would be sympathetically received by the contemporary Catholic Church.

BTW, did Andrewes believe that the impious partake of the Body and Blood? That may be a significant difference between Andrewes and Catholicism.

8:39 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Al, let me answer your last question first. Categorically yes, Andrewes believed that the wicked received the Body and Blood to their damnation. He argued it from 1 Cor. 10. 16, 17.

There was a Roman Catholic who answered Andrewes later and I have yet to read it but I do have it. Most of it addresses the nature of the King and the Church and the removal of Papal authority.

Remember that Andrewes claimed to Bellarmine that if you take away the doctrine of Transubstantiation there will be little difference left concerning the Eucharistic Sacrifice. So, Andrewes believed that he was holding to the Catholic/Patristic Tradition on Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Bellarmine died in 1621 and I do not know of a "formal response" to the response Andrewes wrote to Bellarmine. I believe Bellarmine's responses were to be found in his other apologetic writings. I don't know him well enough to say honestly though.

8:46 pm  
Blogger Pontificator said...

Did any of Andrewes's colleagues ever subject his eucharistic views to criticism? Clearly his views were very Catholic in comparison to normative Anglicanism.

9:29 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Al, strangely it is hard to find something of a critique of Andrewes' Eucharistic theology though there is plenty to critique his view of Church government. I know of a Roman Catholic response to Andrewes' reply to Bellarmine but nothing from Anglican Divines saying anything other than the common complaint that their "regime" smacked of Roman liturgical practices not to mention auricular confession. I've been looking all over the library search on EEBO and have done so in the past and I just don't find anything readily jumping out at me. If anyone else knows, I'd be happy to give a thanks in a footnote!

js

10:18 pm  

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