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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Eucharist and Immolatus: Abbot and Andrewes

Last evening I was in bed reading A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist by Abbot Vonier. He was a bestselling author in England in the 1920s. This book is a very good read for the simple (like myself) to help us get our heads around the Eucharistic theology of Rome. I was reading the chapter on the 'Essence of Eucharistic Sacrifice' and I read something that caught my attention again. Speaking of the immolation in the Eucharistic offering Abbot explains what it is that Rome really teaches. He says,
It is evident froom the very nature of the hypothesis here made by Saint Thomas that the reality of the Eucharistic Sacrifice could never depend on an intrinsic change, eith in Christ's Person or in His Body and Blood, at the moment of the sacrificial immolation on the altar. May we not say that by its never nature the Eucharistic immolation is assumed to take Christ's Body and Blood as it finds them, in the state in which they happen to be? The immolation itself never causes a new state. If Christ, considered in His natural mode of existence, be a mortal man like ourselves, as He was at the Last Supper, the Eucharistic immolation is accomplished in the mortal Body and Blood; if Christ be in the glorious state, as He is now in heaven, the Eucharistic immolation is accomplished in an immortal Body and Blood; if Christ be actually dead, the Eucharistic immolation is accomplished in a Body and Blood which are not quickened by the Soul. In other words, the Eucharistic immolation transcends the states either of Christ's Person or His Body and Blood; it does not cause any state. Such varieties of state are caused by Christ's natural mode of existence, at the time...There is undoubtedly a tendency in modern piety to read into the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice certain factors of a more extreme kind which seem to give greater reality to the Eucharistic immolation than is warranted by the strictly sacramental view. But let us constantly remember that in the sacrament we are not dealing with the natural life of Christ; we are dealing with His representative life. The Eucharistic Body and Blood represent Christ's natural Body and Blood. The Protestant would go only so far as to say that the Eucharistic bread and wine represent Christ's Body and Blood; the Catholic goes beyond that and says that Christ's Body under the appearance of bread and Christ's Blood under the appearance of wine represent His natural Body and Blood as they were on Calvary. 76, 77
Now let's compare something that Andrewes said below in another post. Read Andrewes carefully and slowly in relation to what Abbot is saying here about what is immolated. Note the reference to status in both paragraphs that I have chosen to compare. Andrewes is also speaking about the sacrificial immolation. He says,
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.
It seems that what is offered in the Eucharistic sacrifice on earth is what is offered in the Eucharistic sacrifice in heaven. Christ presents Himself to the Father as He then was at the Cross and He can do that because of who He now IS in His glorified state. So, what seems to take place in Eucharistic sacrifice for both Abbot and Andrewes is the offering of Christ as He then WAS at Calvary and uniting us to that offering in His conquering of death through resurrection and glory in ascension. Therefore, it is not anything new (status) but something that then was is represented to the Father for the forgiveness of sins. It is our worship that we bring and the blessing that we receive when we feed upon His Body and Blood in the Holy Sacrament. Interesting comparison, I think.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Antonio said...

Ah...
Why didn't Andrewes want to be "in communion with Peter"?
Just because he was too Anglican to be "Roman"...? (I still think that an Anglican Rite "in communion with Rome" is the only answer to this centuries-old schism).
He sounds "completely Catholic".

6:06 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Antonio,

The same things have passed through my mind. Though with many important doctrines to Rome such as intercession of Saints and devotion to Mary would not fall into line like the Eucharistic doctrine does. I wonder how much the language of Post-Vatican II makes him sound so Catholic? It is interesting that I find Buckeridge's sermon for Andrewes' funeral to not represent Andrewes' views appropriately at times.

I really need to read the best Catholic Theologian on Trent to get a better understanding of where some of the more nuanced differences may be. I'll be looking into that over the next few months. Thanks for coming by. It's been a while since I've heard from you.


js

7:54 pm  
Blogger Death Bredon said...

I have no doubts whatsoever that Andrewes was and is in communion with Peter and that he was and is Catholic. It's those who were and are institutionally tied to Rome about which I have my doubts . . . . :-)

2:30 am  

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