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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Cranmer's Eucharistic Issues

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I am in the middle of an articl now by The Rev. Cyril Richardson that I am finding very interesting. It is an interaction between Zwingli, Cranmer and Bucer's views of Eucharistic theology. What I find puzzling is the points that Richardson proves showing that Cranmer resolutely refused to acknowledge that in the Eucharist the believer actually participates in the substance of the flesh of Christ. Quoting from Cranmer's Answer he writes,
lest any man should mistake my words (that the body of Christ is present in them that worthily receive the sacrament), and think that I mean, that although Christ be not corporally in the outward visible signs, yet he is corporally in the persons that duly receive them, this is to advertise to that reader that I mean no such thing.
I don't know about any of the readers here, but that is a serious problem for me theologically and patristically. Richardson is right to point out that though Cranmer believes in a 'mystical union of substance in his doctrine of the incarnation, but denies such a union in the Eucharist.' (41)Richardson goes on to point out that Cranmer's Nominalist viewpoint was not taken to its logical conclusion by him but a contradiction in his thinking or he would have ended up reducing our union with Christ into a moral or a spiritual union. What presence becomes is a presence that is apprehended by the mind as believers consider how Christ's body was broken for them, and His blood shed for our redemption. (Defense 438 sited by Richardson) According to Richardson, what Cranmer means by 'spiritual' presence is, that
that which is divine, non-substantial. The presence of Christ at the Supper is no more 'abstract' in Cranmer than in Albertus Magnus, who, like many scholastics, held the substance of Christ's body passed into the 'mind,' not into the stomach and digestion. Cranmer's doctrine is less substantial, but not more abstract (unless, indeed, God can be viewed as more abstract than man!) His use of 'spiritual' concerns the presence of Christ according to His divinity, in opposition to the mystical and substantial presence of His humanity. (43)
I am not going to be around the next three days as I leave for the Highlands of Scotland tomorrow morning early. But please do discuss this amongst yourselves and here and if I can find somewhere to check things out while I am there with my son, I will. If not, I'll be back late Friday night and will look to see comments then. Until then; cheers!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Inverness Scotland Trip

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My son Matthew and I will be going to Inverness Scotland this next Wednesday through Friday. Matthew has worked very hard on his SATS test and he really deserved a nice reward for his labours. He didn't do anything over his Easter break except study for his exams so we felt he needed to have a nice trip. So, we are going to have a father and son trip to Inverness to see Nessie and enjoy time together. We just returned from getting our tickets and getting our B&B set. I'll make sure to post some pictures.

St. Augustine of Canterbury

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Collect
Father,
by the preaching of Saint Augustine of Canterbury,
You led the people of England to the gospel.
May the fruits of his work continue in Your Church.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

History:

First Archbishop of Canterbury, Apostle of the English. Early in life he become a monk in the famous monastery of St. Andrew erected by St. Gregory out of his own patrimony on the Cælian Hill. It was thus amid the religious intimacies of the Benedictine Rule and in the bracing atmosphere of a recent foundation that the character of the future missionary was formed. Chance is said to have furnished the opportunity for the enterprise which was destined to link his name for all time with that of his friend and patron, St. Gregory, as the "true beginner" of one of the most important Churches in Christendom and the medium by which the authority of the Roman See was established over men of the English-speaking race.

Some five years after his elevation to the Roman See (590) Gregory began to look about him for ways and means to carry out the dream of his earlier days. He naturally turned to the community he had ruled more than a decade of years before in the monastery on the Cælian Hill. Out of these he selected a company of about forty and designated Augustine, at that time Prior of St. Andrew's, to be their representative and spokesman. The appointment, as will appear later on, seems to have been of a somewhat indeterminate character; but from this time forward until his death in 604 it is to Augustine as "strengthened by the confirmation of the blessed Father Gregory (roboratus confirmatione beati patris Gregorii, Bede, H. E., I, xxv) that English, as distinguished from British, Christianity owes its primary inspiration.

He died May 26, 604.

(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition)

Friday, May 26, 2006

John Cosin on Eucharistic Presence

I begin with a quick note of apology in my slackness of recent posts but we have Dr. Joel Garver and his wife with us here in Durham for a week. Yesterday (Ascension Day and Bede's feast) we went up to Holy Island, Lindisfarne to have a day around the island and visit the holy places there. It was a beautiful day to be there and the sun was shining all day! I'll try to get some pictures up shortly! They are in Newcastle this afternoon after a morning visit with Bishop Tom Wright so I was able to do a bit of reading.

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Now to Cosin! One of the issues surrounding Eucharistic presence was not only the manner of presence but the instrumental cause of that presence. In many places within the Continent, there were teachings that often spoke of faith as the instrument of what made the Body and Blood of Christ present. It has been put forth by Dom G. Dix that this was the position of Cranmer. (More to come on that later after I read the articles that Dr. Tighe sent me). What John Cosin said about faith and presence makes clear what was being said by the early Carolines and particularly the Laudian Church and those that followed after the 1660 Restoration. Here is Cosin's critique of the German protestants:
Yet we may observe here, that faith makes not those things present which are promised; for faith (as it is well known) is more properly said to take and apprehend, than to promise or perform: but the word and promise of God, on which faith is grounded (and not faith itself) make that present which is promised; as it was agreed at a conference at S. Germains (1561) betwixt some protestants and papists. And therefore it is unjustly laid to our charge by some in the Church of Rome, as if we should believe that the presence and participation of Christ in the sacrament is effected merely by the power of faith.
The word here that is promised to effect the presence are the words of Jesus in the institution narrative. So when we say that we take of the Body and Blood of Christ by faith, the by is not an instrumental means of the making presence but the apprehending and taking of who IS present in the consecrated Eucharistic elements.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Leo the Great on the Ascension

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ON THE LORD'S ASCENSION, II.

I. The Ascension completes our faith in Him, Who was God as well as man.

The mystery of our salvation, dearly-beloved, which the Creator of the universe valued at the price of His blood, has now been carried out under conditions of humiliation from the day of His bodily birth to the end of His Passion. And although even in "the form of a slave" many signs of Divinity have beamed out, yet the events of all that period served particularly to show the reality of His assumed Manhood.

But after the Passion, when the chains of death were broken, which had exposed its own strength by attacking Him, Who was ignorant of sin, weakness was turned into power, mortality into eternity, contumely into glory, which the Lord Jesus Christ showed by many clear proofs in the sight of many, until He carried even into heaven the triumphant victory which He had won over the dead. As therefore at the Easter commemoration, the Lord's Resurrection was the cause of our rejoicing; so the subject of our present gladness is His Ascension, as we commemorate and duly venerate that day on which the Nature of our humility in Christ was raised above all the host of heaven, over all the ranks of angels, beyond the height of all powers, to sit with God the Father. On which Providential order of events we are founded and built up, that God's Grace might become more wondrous, when, notwithstanding the removal from men's sight of what was rightly felt to command their awe, faith did not fail, hope did not waver, love did not grow cold. For it is the strength of great minds and the light of firmly-faithful souls, unhesitatingly to believe what is not seen with the bodily sight, and there to fix one's affections whither you cannot direct your gaze. And whence should this Godliness spring up in our hearts, or how should a man be justified by faith, if our salvation rested on those things only which lie beneath our eyes? Hence our Lord said to him who seemed to doubt of Christ's Resurrection, until he had tested by sight and touch the traces of His Passion in His very Flesh, "because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are, they who have not seen and yet have believed."

II. The Ascension renders our faith more excellent and stronger.

In order, therefore, dearly-beloved, that we may be capable of this blessedness, when all things were fulfilled which concerned the Gospel preaching and the mysteries of the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ, on the fortieth day after the Resurrection in the presence of the disciples, was raised into heaven, and terminated His presence with us in the body, to abide on the Father's right hand until the times Divinely fore-ordained for multiplying the sons of the Church are accomplished, and He comes to judge the living and the dead in the same flesh in which He ascended. And so that which till then was visible of our Redeemer was changed into a sacramental presence, and that faith might be more excellent and stronger, sight gave way to doctrine, the authority of which was to be accepted by believing hearts enlightened with rays from above.

III. The marvellous effects of this Faith on all.

This Faith, increased by the Lord's Ascension and established by the gift of the Holy Ghost, was not terrified by bonds, imprisonments, banishments, hunger, fire, attacks by wild beasts, refined torments of cruel persecutors. For this Faith throughout the world not only men, but even women, not only beardless boys, but even tender maids, fought to the shedding of their blood. This Faith cast out spirits, drove off sicknesses, raised the dead: and through it the blessed Apostles themselves also, who after being confirmed by so many miracles and instructed by so many discourses, had yet been panic-stricken by the horrors of the Lord's Passion and had not accepted the truth of His resurrection without hesitation, made such progress after the Lord's Ascension that everything which had previously filled them with fear was turned into joy. For they had lifted the whole contemplation of their mind to the Godhead of Him that sat at the Father's right hand, and were no longer hindered by the barrier of corporeal sight from directing their minds' gaze to That Which had never quitted the Father's side in descending to earth, and had not forsaken the disciples in ascending to heaven.

IV. His Ascension refines our Faith: the ministering of angels to Him shows the extent of His authority.

The Son of Man and Son of God, therefore, dearly-beloved, then attained a more excellent and holier fame, when He betook Himself back to the glory of the Father's Majesty, and m an ineffable manner began to be nearer to the Father in respect of His Godhead, after having become farther away in respect of His manhood. A better instructed faith then began to draw closer to a conception of the Son's equality with the Father without the necessity of handling the corporeal substance in Christ, whereby He is less than the Father, since, while the Nature of the glorified Body still remained the faith of believers was called upon to touch not with the hand of flesh, but with the spiritual understanding the Only-begotten, Who was equal with the Father. Hence comes that which the Lord said after His Resurrection, when Mary Magdalene, representing the Church, hastened to approach and touch Him: "Touch Me not, for I have not yet ascended to My Father:" that is, I would not have you come to Me as to a human body, nor yet recognize Me by fleshly perceptions: I put thee off for higher things, I prepare greater things for thee: when I have ascended to My Father, then thou shall handle Me more perfectly and truly, for thou shall grasp what thou canst not touch and believe what thou canst not see. But when the disciples eyes followed the ascending Lord tO heaven with upward gaze of earnest wonder, two angels stood by them in raiment shining with wondrous brightness, who also said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven? This Jesus Who was taken up from you into heaven shall so come as ye saw Him going into heaven." By which words all the sons of the Church were taught to believe that Jesus Christ will come visibly in the same Flesh wherewith He ascended, and not to doubt that all things are subjected to Him on Whom the ministry of angels had waited from the first beginning of His Birth. For, as an angel announced to the blessed Virgin that Christ should be conceived by the Holy Ghost, so the voice of heavenly beings sang of His being born of the Virgin also to the shepherds. As messengers from above were the first to attest His having risen from the dead, so the service of angels was employed to foretell His coming in very Flesh to judge the world, that we might understand what great powers will come with Him as Judge, when such great ones ministered to Him even in being judged.

V. We must despise earthly things and rise to things above, especially by active works of mercy and love.

And so, dearly-beloved, let us rejoice with spiritual joy, and let us with gladness pay God worthy thanks and raise our hearts' eyes unimpeded to those heights where Christ is. Minds that have heard the call to be uplifted must not be pressed down by earthly affections, they that are fore-ordained to things eternal must not be taken up with the things that perish; they that have entered on the way of Truth must not be entangled in treacherous snares, and the faithful must so take their course through these temporal things as to remember that they are sojourning in the vale of this world, in which, even though they meet with some attractions, they must not sinfully embrace them, but bravely pass through them. For to this devotion the blessed Apostle Peter arouses us, and entreating us with that loving eagerness which he conceived for feeding Christ's sheep by the threefold profession of love for the Lord, says, "dearly-beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul." But for whom do fleshly pleasures wage war, if not for the devil, whose delight it is to fetter souls that strive after things above, with the enticements of corruptible good things, and to draw them away from those abodes from which he himself has been banished? Against his plots every believer must keep careful watch that he may crush his foe on the side whence the attack is made. And there is no more powerful weapon, dearly-beloved, against the devil's wiles than kindly mercy and bounteous charity, by which every sin is either escaped or vanquished. But this lofty power is not attained until that which is opposed to it be overthrown. And what so hostile to mercy and works of charity as avarice from the root of which spring all evils? And unless it be destroyed by lack of nourishment, there must needs grow in the ground of that heart in which this evil weed has taken root, the thorns and briars of vices rather than any seed of true goodness. Let us then, dearly-beloved, resist this pestilential evil and "follow after charity," without which no virtue can flourish, that by this path of love whereby Christ came down to us, we too may mount up to Him, to Whom with God the Father and the Holy Spirit is honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Thanks to Prof. Bill Tighe

This is just a quick note to Bill Tighe in case you are reading thanking you for the articles and such on the Eucharist, Cranmer and the book on Anglican Orders. I look forward to the blogging material!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Archpriest Florovsky and the Inadequacy of the Vincentian Canon

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Picture found here.

One of the things that I argue in the opening chapter of my thesis is to show that Lancelot Andrewes is relying upon the Vincentian Canon as the framework of his catholicity and how he would have used this to seek ecumenism in his own day. Fr. Florovsky has an opposing view. What do you think?

The inadequacy of the Vincentian canon

The well known formula of Vincent of Lerins is very inexact, when he describes the catholic nature of Church life in the words, Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est. [What has been believed everywhere, always, and by all]. First of all, it is not clear whether this is an empirical criterion or not. If this be so, then the "Vincentian Canon" proves to be inapplicable and quite false. For about what omnes is he speaking? Is it a demand for a general, universal questioning of all the faithful, and even of those who only deem themselves such? At any rate, all the weak and poor of faith, all those who doubt and waver, all those who rebel, ought to be excluded. But the Vincentian Canon gives us no criterion, whereby to distinguish and select. Many disputes arise about faith, still more about dogma. How, then, are we to understand omnes? Should we not prove ourselves too hasty, if we settled all doubtful points by leaving the decision to "liberty" — in dubiis libertas — according to the well known formula wrongly ascribed to St. Augustine. There is actually no need for universal questioning. Very often the measure of truth is the witness of the minority. It may happen that the Catholic Church will find itself but "a little flock." Perhaps there are more of heterodox than of orthodox mind. It may happen that the heretics spread everywhere, ubique, and that the Church is relegated to the background of history, that it will retire into the desert. In history this was more than once the case, and quite possibly it may more than once again be so. Strictly speaking, the Vincentian Canon is something of a tautology. The word onmes is to be understood as referring to those that are orthodox. In that case the criterion loses its significance. Idem is defined per idem. And of what eternity and of what omnipresence does this rule speak? To what do semper and ubique relate? Is it the experience of faith or the definitions of faith that they refer to? In the latter case the canon becomes a dangerous minimising formula. For not one of the dogmatic definitions strictly satisfies the demand of semper and ubique.

Will it then be necessary to limit ourselves to the dead letter of Apostolic writings? It appears that the Vincentian Canon is a postulate of historical simplification, of a harmful primitivism. This means that we are not to seek for outward, formal criteria of catholicity; we are not to dissect catholicity in empirical universality. Charismatic tradition is truly universal; in its fulness it embraces every kind of semper and ubique and unites all. But empirically it may not be accepted by all. At any rate we are not to prove the truth of Christianity by means of "universal consent," per consensum omnium. In general, no consensus can prove truth. This would be a case of acute psychologism, and in theology there is even less place for it than in philosophy. On the contrary, truth is the measure by which we can evaluate the worth of "general opinion." Catholic experience can be expressed even by the few, even by single confessors of faith; and this is quite sufficient. Strictly speaking, to be able to recognize and express catholic truth we need no ecumenical, universal assembly and vote; we even need no "Ecumenical Council." The sacred dignity of the Council lies not in the number of members representing their Churches. A large "general" council may prove itself to be a "council of robbers" (latrocinium), or even of apostates. And the ecclesia sparsa often convicts it of its nullity by silent opposition. Numerus episcoporum does not solve the question. The historical and practical methods of recognizing sacred and catholic tradition can be many; that of assembling Ecumenical Councils is but one of them, and not the only one. This does not mean that it is unnecessary to convoke councils and conferences. But it may so happen that during the council the truth will be expressed by the minority. And what is still more important, the truth may be revealed even without a council. The opinions of the Fathers and of the ecumenical Doctors of the Church frequently have greater spiritual value and finality than the definitions of certain councils. And these opinions do not need to be verified and accepted by "universal consent." On the contrary, it is they themselves who are the criterion and they who can prove. It is of this that the Church testifies in silent receptio. Decisive value resides in inner catholicity, not in empirical universality. The opinions of the Fathers are accepted, not as a formal subjection to outward authority, but because of the inner evidence of their catholic truth. The whole body of the Church has the right of verifying, or, to be more exact, the right, and not only the right but the duty, of certifying. It was in this sense that in the well known Encyclical Letter of 1848 the Eastern Patriarchs wrote that "the people itself" (λαος, laós), i.e, the Body of the Church, "was the guardian of piety" (υπερασπιοτης της Θρησκειας). And even before this the Metropolitan Philaret said the same thing in his Catechism. In answer to the question. "Does a true treasury of sacred tradition exist?" he says "All the faithful, united through the sacred tradition of faith, all together and all successively, are built up by God into one Church, which is the true treasury of sacred tradition, or, to quote the words of St. Paul, 'The Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth'" (1 Tim. 3:15).

The conviction of the Orthodox Church that the "guardian" of tradition and piety is the whole people, i.e. the Body of Christ, in no wise lessens or limits the power of teaching given to the hierarchy. It only means that the power of teaching given to the hierarchy is one of the functions of the catholic completeness of the Church; it is the power of testifying, of expressing and speaking the faith and the experience of the Church, which have been preserved in the whole body. The teaching of the hierarchy is, as it were, the mouthpiece of the Church. De omnium fidelium ore pendeamus, quia in omnem fidelem Spiritus Dei Spirat. [We depend upon the word of all the faithful, because the Spirit of God breathes in each of the faithful, St. Paulin. Nolan, epist. 23, 25, M.L. 61. col. 281]. Only to the hierarchy has it been given to teach "with authority." The hierarchs have received this power to teach, not from the church-people but from the High Priest, Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of Orders. But this teaching finds its limits in the expression of the whole Church. The Church is called to witness to this experience, which is an inexhaustible experience, a spiritual vision. A bishop of the Church, episcopus in ecclesia, must be a teacher. Only the bishop has received full power and authority to speak in the name of his flock. The latter receives the right of speaking through the bishop. But to do so the bishop must embrace his Church within himself; he must make manifest its experience and its faith. He must speak not from himself, but in the name of the Church, ex consensu ecclesiae. This is just the contrary of the Vatican formula: ex sese, non autem ex consensu ecclesiae. [From himself, but not from the consensus of the Church].

It is not from his flock that the bishop receives full power to teach, but from Christ through the Apostolic Succession. But full power has been given to him to bear witness to the catholic experience of the body of the Church. He is limited by this experience, and therefore in questions of faith the people must judge concerning his teaching. The duty of obedience ceases when the bishop deviates from the catholic norm, and the people have the right to accuse and even to depose him (For some more details cp. my articles: "The Work of the Holy Spirit in Revelation," The Christian East, 5.13, No. 2, 1932, and "The Sacrament of Pentecost," The Journal of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, No 23, March 1934).

Eucharist and Christology

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I was struck by something I read last night in an article by D. Bentley Hart on the Orthodox view of Eucharistic Sacrifice--something he said on the heart of the Byzantine eucharistic theology that I have had swirling in my brain after having studied Andrewes these last 20 months or so. One is hard pressed to not hear echoes of the Fathers in Andrewes' sermons and writings (especially eastern though he quotes mostly from Augustine as any western theologian would) whether he is quoting from them directly or merely explaining the the mystery of faith in his eucharistic theology. The Fathers' theology is heard in almost every sentence. What I mean in this particular case is that Andrewes' eucharistic theology is determined by his Christology and one will not understand his theology of eucharistic sacrifice if not viewed in light of that wonderful exchange of natures between the human and the divine. Bentley sees this as the heart of Byzantine eucharistic theology and in my words, the hub on which the rest of sacramental theology must turn. It's been a while since I read through the Incarnation sermons but I must return to them this summer to really get a grip on this aspect of explaining Andrewes' eucharistic sacrifice. I hope to begin writing the chapter by July (D.V.). I have long hours between now and then so please pray! But I think I've found something that could make for some interesting thoughts as I explain his view of eucharistic sacrifice and then project these explanations to view Andrewes as a catalyst for eucharistic ecumenism in my final chapter.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Augustine on the Christian Sacrifice

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Having received this oracle of promise, Abraham migrated, and remained in another place of the same land, that is, beside the oak of Mature, which was Hebron. Then on the invasion of Sodom, when five kings carried on war against four, and Lot was taken captive with the conquered Sodomites, Abraham delivered him from the enemy, leading with him to battle three hundred and eighteen of his home-born servants, and won the victory for the kings of Sodom, but would take nothing of the spoils when offered by the king for whom he had won them. He was then openly blessed by Melchizedek, who was priest of God Most High, about whom many and great things are written in the epistle which is inscribed to the Hebrews, which most say is by the Apostle Paul, though some deny this. For then first appeared the sacrifice which is now offered to God by Christians in the whole wide world, and that is fulfilled which long after the event was said by the prophet to Christ, who was yet to come in the fresh, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek,” —that is to say, not after the order of Aaron, for that order was to be taken away when the things shone forth which were intimated beforehand by these shadows.

St. Dunstan

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O God, who didst exalt blessed
Dunstan thy Bishop to thy heavenly
kingdom: grant, we beseech
thee; that by his glorious merits
we may attain to everlasting felicity.
Through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the
unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God,
world without end. Amen.

Born of a noble family at Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury, England, Dunstan was educated there by Irish monks and while still a youth, was sent to the court of King Athelstan. He became a Benedictine monk about 934 and was ordained by his uncle, St. Alphege, Bishop of Winchester, about 939. After a time as a hermit at Glastonbury, Dunstan was recalled to the royal court by King Edmund, who appointed him abbot of Glastonbury Abbey in 943. He developed the Abbey into a great center of learning while revitalizing other monasteries in the area. He became advisor to King Edred on his accession to the throne when Edmund was murdered, and began a far-reaching reform of all the monasteries in Edred's realm. Dunstan also became deeply involved in secular politics and incurred the enmity of the West Saxon nobles for denouncing their immorality and for urging peace with the Danes. When Edwy succeeded his uncle Edred as king in 955, he became Dunstan's bitter enemy for the Abbot's strong censure of his scandalous lifestyle. Edwy confiscated his property and banished him from his kingdom. Dunstan went to Ghent in Flanders but soon returned when a rebellion replaced Edwy with his brother Edgar, who appointed Dunstan Bishop of Worcester and London in 957. When Edwy died in 959, the civil strife ended and the country was reunited under Edgar, who appointed Dunstan Archbishop of Canterbury. The king and archbishop then planned a thorough reform of Church and state. Dunstan was appointed legate by Pope John XII, and with St. Ethelwold and St. Oswald, restored ecclesiastical discipline, rebuilt many of the monasteries destroyed by the Danish invaders, replaced inept secular priests with monks, and enforced the widespread reforms they put into effect. Dunstan served as Edgar's chief advisor for sixteen years and did not hesitate to reprimand him when he thought it deserved. When Edgar died, Dunstan helped elect Edward the martyr king and then his half brother Ethelred, when Edward died soon after his election. Under Ethelred, Dunstan's influence began to wane and he retired from politics to Canterbury to teach at the Cathedral school and died there. Dunstan has been called the reviver of monasticism in England. He was a noted musician, played the harp, composed several hymns, notably Kyrie Rex splendens, was a skilled metal worker, and illuminated manuscripts. He is the patron of armorers, goldsmiths, locksmiths, and jewelers. His feast day is May 19th.

The biography of Dunstan is noted from this site.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sacrifice of Propitiation in the Liturgy of St. James

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And, O God, look upon us, and have regard to this our reasonable service, and accept it, as Thou didst accept the gifts of Abel, the sacrifices of Noah, the priestly offices of Moses and Aaron, the peace-offerings of Samuel, the repentance of David, the incense of Zacharias. As Thou didst accept from the hand of Thy apostles this true service, so accept also in Thy goodness from the hands of us sinners these offered gifts; and grant that our offering may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, as a propitiation for our transgressions and the errors of the people; and for the rest of the souls that have fallen asleep aforetime; that we also, Thy humble, sinful, and unworthy servants, being counted worthy without guile to serve Thy holy altar, may receive the reward of faithful and wise stewards, and may find grace and mercy in the terrible day of Thy just and good retribution.

APA/REC Joint Statement on the Eucharist and a Question

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I have very many friends in the US who are a part of these two bodies. I have a question about a joint statement signed in reference to the propitiatory character of the Eucharist. In their statement they say,
It is also affirmed that the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper, was instituted by Christ to be a true partaking of his Body and Blood, a sacrament of our spiritual nourishment and growth in him, and a pledge of our communion with him and with each other as members of his mystical body. There is but one sacrifice for sin--the "one oblation of [Christ] once offered" upon the Cross. This one offering is the perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Thus, the Eucharist cannot be said to be a propitiatory sacrifice to the God the Father. Finally, the medieval doctrine of transubstantiation, as stated in Article XXVIII, "cannot be proved by Holy Writ"; nor can any dogmatic definition comprehend the mystery of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The mystery of the Real Presence can only be affirmed by faith.
Now, the question pertains to the many Anglican divines who would have stated otherwise in reference to their theology of the nature of the Eucharistic sacrifice. Particularly Andrewes but one finds his teaching on this in the writings of Laud, Montague, Forbes, Bramhall, early Cosin, Taylor, Thorndike, Johnson and I need not mention the Oxford Movement. Within the scope of these divines and their view to Eucharistic Sacrifice, is it to be out of accord with this statement to see ANY propitiatory qualities of the Eucharistic offering?

After showing the number of different ways that we come to Christ, Andrewes’ final way was the way of repentance. He connects this repentance and coming to the Eucharist. Coming to Christ in repentance is coming to Christ in the Eucharist and receiving Him. Andrewes explains this by referring to Christ as panis vitae. He states that,
By repentance, as Luke, chapter fifteen, I will go to my Father. But Christ receiveth none of these, but that we come to him as he is panis vitae; when we come to Christ, as he offers himself in the Sacrament to be the lively food of our souls; when we come to the same, and doe it in remembrance of his death. And there is reason why both we should come to Christ, and he should receive us comming.
It is at this point that Andrewes communicates one of the aspects of his understanding of seeing the Eucharist as a Sacrifice. Not only do we find his understanding to be a memorial offering of Christ to God but it is specifically coming to offer so that sins can be forgiven. Andrewes unites the one oblation of Christ at Calvary to the coming to Christ in the Eucharist as a renewal of that offering. The propitiatory nature of the offering is that we come to Christ and receive Him so that the judgment due from our sins may be ‘passed over.’ Note the language in this paragraph.
First, there is reason we should come to Christ, in regard of our sinnes already past: For we have need of a Sacrifice, both in respect of the grinding and upbraiding of our consciences for the sinnes we have committed, and by reason of the punishment we have deserved by them. This sacrifice we are put in minde of in this Sacrament, that Christ hath offered himself to God an oblation and sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour, wherein we have planted in our hearts the passive grace of God, for the quieting of our consciences against sinnes past, by the taking of the cup of Salvation makes us say, Return into thy rest O my soul, Psalm the hundred and sixteen; and for the turning away of deserved punishment, as the blood of the Paschal Lamb sprinkled upon the dores, saved the Israelites, from destroying, Exodus the twelfth chapter. So in this true passover we receive the blood of the immaculate Lamb Christ, to assure us of peace with God, and to deliver us from the destroying Angel. As the Heathen had their Altar, whereupon they offered to their gods; so we have an Altar, that is, the Lords Table, where we celebrate the remembrance of that oblation once made by Christ, Hebrews the thirteenth chapter and the twelfth verse.
What is undoubtedly clear in this paragraph is Andrewes’ uniting of the historical act of Christ’s oblation with the offering and need of offering of Christ in this Sacrament so that we may know that we experience anew the forgiveness of our sins by the drinking of the blood of Christ. The propitiatory nature of it comes in the next clause following the instrumental nature of the Cup of Salvation that turns God away from administering the punishment we deserve for our sins. Therefore, the Eucharist is a ‘Passover’ where we receive the blood of the immaculate Lamb Christ that not only makes us right with God but assures us of our actual peace with God by our receiving of the blood of Christ. One then sees Andrewes showing forth the connection of the heathen who has altars and the Christian who has not only an Altar where to make the offering but which is also the Table where we receive back what we have offered as our food for life. Yet this offering is not a new offering as the Fathers were clear to communicate but was united to that one oblation of Christ at Calvary in such a way as to make that act effectual for us in the present.

So, we see that the Eucharistic offering is given for the forgiveness of sins. It is also given as a means to help us ward off any future sins that we may be tempted to commit. It therefore provides the necessary fruits that enable us the grace not to sin when we come with the faith, hope and love that faith in the one oblation of Christ seals in our hearts. The Eucharist is the means by which the active grace of God works within us. We are enabled by the grace in the Sacrament to resist sins. Andrewes explains this in the following way:
In respect of sinne to come likewise, we have need to come to Christ; for thereby there is wrought in us active grace, whereby we are enabled to resist sinne: For the endowing of our souls with much strength, Psalm the hundred and thirtieth eighth, and with much power from above, is here performed unto us that come aright, Luke the twenty fourth chapter: And therefore the Apostle would have us to stablish our hearts with grace, the spirituall food, and not with meat, Hebrews the thirteenth chapter: For by this means we shall be made able both to indure the conflict of sinne, and to be conquerors over Satan and own our corruptions. Thirdly, For that the eating of the flesh of Christ and the drinking of the blood, is a pledge of our rising up at the last day, the fifty fourth verse; and that after this life we which come to the Lords Supper shall be invited to the supper of the Lamb, [597/598] of which it is said, Apocalyps the nineteenth chapter and the ninth verse blessed are they which are called the Lambs Supper.
Andrewes concludes the active grace received in the Eucharist with the eschatological fruit received of the assurance of the eternity with Christ and seeing the Eucharist as a pledge of our own rising from the dead and our invitation to the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb. What Andrewes accomplishes in this sermon on the Eucharist is a holistic approach to his understanding of what Jesus meant in His Eucharistic words ‘to do this as my memorial.’

Not only do we receive Christ but in our coming we are also received by Him when we come to the Altar. Our faith is at the highest at the point of Communion because of what we hold in our hands. Here Andrewes shows that the presence of Christ inheres within the elements themselves. Here is one of the clearest places that Andrewes speaks for the objective presence of Christ in the elements that makes effectual the fruits and benefits that actually flow from it. It is here that we see the clarity of thought within his own understanding of the two-way offering that takes place within his understanding of giving and receiving in the Eucharist. We offer Christ and we receive Christ.

Would this be in opposition to the Statement?

Who's Transforming the World and How?

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Yesterday at the Papal audience the Benedict XVI gave an address that ALL of us need to listen closely to. I especially draw your attention to the final applications!

Found at Zenit.

Simon appears in the Gospels with a strong and impulsive character; he is ready to make his opinions felt, even by force (he used the sword in the Garden of Olives, cf. John 18:10ff). At the same time, he is also occasionally naive and fearful, yet honest and capable of sincere repentance (cf. Matthew 26:75). The Gospels allows us to follow his spiritual itinerary step by step.

The starting point was the call by Jesus, which came on a day like any other, while Peter was busy at his work as a fisherman. Jesus was on the Lake of Gennesaret and the crowds surrounded him to hear him. The number of those listening to him created certain difficulties. The Master saw two boats by the lake. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He asked them if he could get into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and he asked him to put out a little from the land. He sat down on that improvised chair, and taught the people from the boat (cf. Luke 5:1-3).

Thus, Peter's boat became Jesus' chair. When he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets" (Luke 5:10). Jesus, who was a carpenter, was not a fishing expert and, yet, Simon the fisherman trusted this Rabbi, who gave him no answers but called on him to have faith.

His reaction to the miraculous catch was one of astonishment and trepidation: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus replied inviting him to have confidence and to be open to a project that would surpass all expectations. "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men" (Luke 5:10). Peter could not yet imagine that one day he would arrive in Rome and would be there a "fisher of men" for the Lord. He accepted this astonishing call to let himself be involved in this great adventure: He was generous; he recognized his limits but believed in the One Who called him and followed his heart. He said yes and became a disciple of Christ.

Peter experienced another significant moment on his spiritual journey near Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus posed a specific question to his disciples: "Who do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27). For Jesus it was not enough to have a hearsay answer. He wanted the one who had accepted to commit himself personally to him, to take a personal stance. That is why he insisted: "But who do you say that I am?" (Mark 8:29). And it was Peter who replied on behalf of the others: "You are the Christ" (ibid.), that is, the Messiah.

This reply, which "flesh and blood has not revealed" but the Father who is in heaven (cf. Matthew 16:17), has within it the seed of the Church's future profession of faith. However, Peter had not yet understood the profound substance of Jesus' messianic mission, as became clear shortly afterward when he made it known that the Messiah he sought in his dreams was very different from God's plan. Faced with the announcement of the passion, he cried out and protested, arousing Jesus' strong reaction (cf. Mark 8:32-33).

Peter wanted as Messiah a "divine man," who fulfilled people's expectations, imposing his force upon everyone: We also want the Lord to impose his force and transform the world immediately; yet Jesus presented himself as the "human God," who overturned the expectations of the multitude by following the path of humility and suffering. It is the great alternative, which we also must learn again: to favor our own expectations rejecting Jesus or to accept Jesus in the truth of his mission and lay aside all too human expectations.

Peter, who is impulsive, does not hesitate to take him to one side and reprehend him. Jesus' response demolishes all false expectations, calling him to conversion and to follow him: "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God but of men" (Mark 8:33). Do not show me the way, I follow my way and you follow me.

Peter thus learned what following Jesus really means. It is the second call, as Abraham's in Genesis, Chapter 22, after that of Genesis, Chapter 12. "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel's will save it" (Mark 8:34-35). It is the exacting law to follow him: It is necessary to be able to deny oneself, if necessary, the whole world to save the true values, to save the soul, to save the presence of God in the world (cf. Mark 8:36-37). And though with difficulty, Peter accepted the invitation and continued his path in the footsteps of the Master.

I think that these different conversions of St. Peter and his whole figure are a motive of great consolation and a great teaching for us. We also desire God, we also want to be generous, but we also expect God to be strong in the world and that he transform the world immediately, according to our ideas and the needs we see.

God opts for another way. God chooses the way of the transformation of hearts in suffering and humility. And we, like Peter, must always be converted again. We must follow Jesus and not precede him. He shows us the way. Peter tells us: You think you have the recipe and that you have to transform Christianity, but the Lord is the one who knows the way. It is the Lord who says to me, who says to you, "Follow me!" And we must have the courage and humility to follow Jesus, as he is the way, the truth and the life.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Justification by Faith and All Sorts of Declarations!

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Over at Pontifications, there is a great discussion taking place on justification. I recommend it for your own reading. There are numerous highlights to point out but too many to put here so I will just link it for your own reading pleasure. What I will provide is Andrewes's way of looking at Justification in light of the whole life lived.

On 23 November, 1600, Andrewes preached a sermon on Justification. Andrewes asserts that to be righteousness, or to be justice, is the name of Christ alone. This is the Name that God gave him. Therefore, his name has virtue to do what his name describes. One must understand Andrewes’ views of justification in light of what he wrote in his sermons on prayer where he clearly states that God gives us grace and we receive that grace, “by his Spirit that enables us, we are said to be able and meet to do these things which we are commanded.” Grace, precedes any of our abilities according to Andrewes and to not emphasise that all that we do is of grace, “is to rob God of His glory,” according to this Bishop. Works are not ascribed to the strength of our own nature, which is the proper work of grace, in Andrewes’ thought. He says that when we do anything other than this, “then do we blemish God’s glory.”

But, we are called to use this righteousness in Andrewes’ sermon on Justification. We are to be made righteousness, the very righteousness of God himself. This righteousness is accounted to us because of the grace of Christ. The call for Christians is to ACT on this Justification, legal declaration, throughout their lives. Our acceptance by God is NOT our works and Andrewes clearly makes this point in his Pentecost sermon of 1619. But that does not mean that we are NOT called to live out that Justification where the whole life lived is brought before the Great Judgment Seat of the covenant faithful One. In an Easter sermon Andrewes preaches concerning St. Paul’s call to the Church to be a people zealous after good works. Faith and works are not two things isolated from one another. He says in this sermon that by works our faith is made perfect, for without them faith is “stark dead.” But, notice what he says in this sermon,
“And by a fall things come out of joint, and indeed so they did; Adam’s fall we call it, and we call it right. Sin which before broke the peace, which made the going from or departure which needed the bringing back; the same sin, here now again, put all out of joint. And things out of joint are never quiet, never at peace and rest, till they be set right again. But when all is in frame, all is in peace; and so it [Heb. 13:20-21]. The God of peace…make you perfect in all good works to do His will…] refers well to ‘the God of peace’ Who is to do it.”
This is accomplished according to Andrewes by the inspiring grace of the breathing of the Holy Spirit. But interestingly and true to all of Scripture, in his answers to Cardinal Perron concerning the necessity of Good Works, he says, “We hold good works necessary to Salvation: and that faith without them saveth not.” Grace is an enabling virtue for Andrewes. But grace does not deny the necessity of Good Works. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, DECEIVING YOURSELVES.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Aquinas on Forbearing Correction

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Whether one ought to forbear from correcting someone, through fear lest he become worse?

Objection 1. It would seem that one ought not to forbear from correcting someone through fear lest he become worse. For sin is weakness of the soul, according to Ps. 6:3: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak." Now he that has charge of a sick person, must not cease to take care of him, even if he be fractious or contemptuous, because then the danger is greater, as in the case of madmen. Much more, therefore should one correct a sinner, no matter how badly he takes it.

Objection 2. Further, according to Jerome vital truths are not to be foregone on account of scandal. Now God's commandments are vital truths. Since, therefore, fraternal correction is a matter of precept, as stated above (2), it seems that it should not be foregone for fear of scandalizing the person to be corrected.

Objection 3. Further, according to the Apostle (Romans 3:8) we should not do evil that good may come of it. Therefore, in like manner, good should not be omitted lest evil befall. Now fraternal correction is a good thing. Therefore it should not be omitted for fear lest the person corrected become worse.

On the contrary, It is written (Proverbs 9:8): "Rebuke not a scorner lest he hate thee," where a gloss remarks: "You must not fear lest the scorner insult you when you rebuke him: rather should you bear in mind that by making him hate you, you may make him worse." Therefore one ought to forego fraternal correction, when we fear lest we may make a man worse.

I answer that, As stated above (3) the correction of the wrongdoer is twofold. One, which belongs to prelates, and is directed to the common good, has coercive force. Such correction should not be omitted lest the person corrected be disturbed, both because if he is unwilling to amend his ways of his own accord, he should be made to cease sinning by being punished, and because, if he be incorrigible, the common good is safeguarded in this way, since the order of justice is observed, and others are deterred by one being made an example of. Hence a judge does not desist from pronouncing sentence of condemnation against a sinner, for fear of disturbing him or his friends.

The other fraternal correction is directed to the amendment of the wrongdoer, whom it does not coerce, but merely admonishes. Consequently when it is deemed probable that the sinner will not take the warning, and will become worse, such fraternal correction should be foregone, because the means should be regulated according to the requirements of the end.

Reply to Objection 1. The doctor uses force towards a madman, who is unwilling to submit to his treatment; and this may be compared with the correction administered by prelates, which has coercive power, but not with simple fraternal correction.

Reply to Objection 2. Fraternal correction is a matter of precept, in so far as it is an act of virtue, and it will be a virtuous act in so far as it is proportionate to the end. Consequently whenever it is a hindrance to the end, for instance when a man becomes worse through it, it is longer a vital truth, nor is it a matter precept.

Reply to Objection 3. Whatever is directed to end, becomes good through being directed to the end. Hence whenever fraternal correction hinders the end, namely the amendment of our brother, it is no longer good, so that when such a correction is omitted, good is not omitted lest evil should befall.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ritual as a Key Element to the Church's Mission

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The loss of ritual due to Enlightenment rationalistic thinking has caused numerous problems of identity crisis in the Christian community. A return to a symbolic world view celebrated in the participated ritual life of Catholic Spirituality grounded in the history of the Church and her glorious symbols that are celebrated by the people will help to shape the mission community that we are to be seeking. Madge Kerecki puts it this way,
Both Catholics and Protestants, under the influence of the Enlightenment, have tended to reduce the presentation of the gospel to a rational or didactic event, thus underestimating the power of ritual and its profound effect on identity formation. Ritual is endemic to community life. In the Christian context it initiates people into the mystery of God since it works on the trans-rational level to generate wholeness. Ritual is repetitive and regular, allowing worshippers to play at (or rehearse) what it means to be the body of Christ in daily life. Ritual embodies and enacts myth through symbolic actions. It becomes a threshold experience which creates communitas. If missionaries and missiologists take ritual more seriously, our mission will be more holistic as the faith we proclaim and celebrate becomes the faith we live every day.
Rituals are a part of what and who we are as image bearers of God. To remove Christian rituals and symbolis from the liturgical life of the Church is to deny in essence who we are as humans created in the image of God.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Doing the Sacred Dance

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Bishop Geoffrey Rowell is on top of the issue here concerning the liturgical dance of the Church. With contemporary worship on the rise in many places in the UK, it is something that I predict will not endure or provide the depth of spirtuality that Christians need. Of course, there are many ways of liturgical expression that meets our needs as worshipers of God. But, an absence of ritual will not fill that need no matter how 'cool' the service is in attracting young people. There will be a point where they simply will want and need more. I saw this happen when I lived in the US. The younger generation there is leaving behind the informal worship of their parents who are approaching their 60's and are looking for more traditionally liturgical bodies to raise their own families in. The liturgical renewal is happening in the US and I believe will begin again in the UK. There is a lot that is often missing in contemporary worship that removes ritual and it simply cannot feed that divine image that longs for ritual that is deeply within us. Ritual is an element created within us that feeds the internal desire for rhythm and beauty and dances with what we are as liturgical beings. I have come to believe that what was a lack in the ability to understand and accept the need for a theology of ritual as creatures in the image of God was one of the major causes that moved the Reformers to act so strongly against Eucharistic Sacrifice. I think this is especially true of Luther whose theology of Justification by Faith Alone clouded what we find in scripture that describes the necessity of ritual that actually helps to define and shape us in what it means to be human. Here is Bishop Rowell in his own words:
Patterned movement is sacred dance. In the ancient Orthodox church of Ethiopia the choir of debteras, holding their T-shaped monastic crutches, dance in a rhythmic pattern to haunting drums and the metallic beat of the sistrum reminding worshippers of the hammering of the nails into the hands and feet of Christ at the Crucifixion. In the cathedral of Auxerre in medieval France the bishop and clerks danced to the plainchant of the Easter sequence over the pattern of the labyrinth in the floor of the choir, tossing the Easter ball to each other in a sacred pattern of rejoicing.

Stern Christians, nervous of corybantic excesses, disapproved of dancing. But others saw in the drama and movement of the sacred dance of worship a real rejoicing in God. St Gregory of Nazienzen, one of the great early theologians, tells his people that they are to dance the dance of David before the ark of God. His contemporary St Gregory of Nyssa speaks of the round dance of love as the very life of God the Holy Trinity, a dance into which men and women are to be caught up and transformed. St Paul speaks of Christ leading the powers of evil captive in a triumphal procession, and St Patrick praises the risen and ascended Christ “riding up the heavenly way”. Christ is, as Sydney Carter wrote, “Lord of the dance”.
Read it all at Times Online.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Plantinga on Fundamentalism: What is it?

Now, if you don't know who Plantinga is, he is a professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame. I am not sure when he did this, it may be old, but it is a help from one who is willing to not take himself so seriously. Sitting here in the postgraduate study room at the end of the day, I took a look around the blogo world before going home. Naturally I check the Pontificator each day due to the many great things he posts on his site. But this one actually made me laugh out loud when I read it. Al Kimel references the source on his blog and you can trace that there. Being in academia and a bit of a Traditionalist academic, I found this to be so funny and wondered if I may actually be viewed like this. One often hears the 'f' word tossed about in the academic environment. Is Plantinga on to something?
“But isn’t this just endorsing a wholly outmoded and discredited fundamentalism, that condition than which, according to many academics, none lesser can be conceived? I fully realize that the dreaded f-word will be trotted out to stigmatize any model of this kind. Before responding, however, we must first look into the use of this term ‘fundamentalist’. On the most common contemporary academic use of the term, it is a term of abuse or disapprobation, rather like ’son of a bitch’, more exactly ’sonovabitch’, or perhaps still more exactly (at least according to those authorities who look to the Old West as normative on matters of pronunciation) ’sumbitch.’ When the term is used in this way, no definition, no definition of it is ordinarily given. (If you called someone a sumbitch, would you feel obligated first to define the term?) Still, there is a bit more to the meaning of ‘fundamentalist’ (in this widely current use); it isn’t simply a term of abuse. In addition to its emotive force, it does have some cognitive content, and ordinarily denotes relatively conservative theological views. That makes it more like ’stupid sumbitch’ (or maybe ‘fascist sumbitch’?) than ’sumbitch’ simpliciter. It isn’t exactly like that term either, however, because its cognitive content can expand and contract on demand; its content seems to depend on who is using it. In the mouths of certain liberal theologians, for example, it tends to denote any who accept traditional Christianity, including Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and Barth; in the mouths of devout secularists like Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett, it tends to denote anyone who believes there is such a person as God. The explanation that the term has a certain indexical element: its cognitive content is given by the phrase ‘considerably to the right, theologically speaking, of me and my enlightened friends.’ The full meaning of the term, therefore (in this use), can be given by something like ’stupid sumbitch whose theological opinions are considerably to the right of mine’” (Warranted Christian Belief, pp. 244-245).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dix on Cranmer's Eucharistic Sacrifice

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Dom Gregory Dix writes the following of Cranmer's view of Eucharistic Sacrifice:
The ministers of the eucharist are thus acting as such simply as officials if the secular government of the Christian state in Cranmer's opinion. Such was his idea in 1540 and he insisted on defending the same opinion at his trial in 1554, declaring that 'Nero was head of the church' in his day, 'that is in worldly respect of the temporal bodies of men, of whom the church consisteth; for so he beheaded Peter and the apostles. And the Turk (t.e. Sultan) too is head of the church of Turkey.'1 It is therefore not likely that he shall find anything which may be fairly interpreted in terms of a differentiation of 'order', as the primitive church understood it in Cranmer's liturgies of 1549 or 1552, still less anything corresponding to the idea of a priestly 'oblation'. Nevertheless, as we have seen (D. l) Cranmer does admit an idea of oblation in the eucharist, which he calls 'a sacrifice of laud, praise and thanksgiving.' He defines carefully the sense in which it is so.
He then goes on to provide this quotation below from Cranmer where he describes how Eucharist is and is not a Sacrifice.
'In this eating, drinking and using of the Lord's Supper, we make not of Christ a new sacrifice propitiatory for remission of sin. But the humble confession of all penitent hearts, their acknowledging of Christ's benefits, their thanksgiving for the same, their faith and consolation in Christ, their humble submission and obedience to God's will and commandments, is a sacrifice of laud and praise, accepted and allowed of God no less than the sacrifice of the priest.'
There is indeed a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving in the Eucharist and that point is not contested. But when one reads through the Fathers of the Church one will find that this is not the only way the Eucharistic Sacrifice was described. It was set within such language as 'offering of the Victim' and 'one and the same offering of the Victim,' etc. Cranmer obviously knew the Fathers well and I wonder what it is that kept him from acknowledging the Church's teaching on this up to this point in the Church's history! Until the Reformation, there was no questioning or challenging of the concept of Eucharistic Sacrifice. It was and IS the Church's teaching. So, why does Cranmer limit it the way that Dix says that he does?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Spirit and the Eucharist

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It is noteworthy within Andrewes' Whitsun sermons of his emphasis on the role of the Spirit in communicating sacramental grace. It seems to me that in either the East or the West, the Church can agree that what holds the essence and efficacy of the sacramental benefits and graces is the bond of unity in the Spirit who holds all things together. I offer an example of Andrewes' thoughts from a sermon preached on Whitsun.

A Sermon preached before the King’s Majesty at Windsor, on the Twelfth of May, A.D. MDCXI being Whit-Sunday.

Text: John 16.7

In this sermon Andrewes unites the two feasts of Ascension, Christ’s going, and Pentecost, the Holy Spirit’s coming. Within this text is the promise of coming and the coming of the promise. It is the coming of the Spirit that avails all that we have in Christ according to Andrewes. There shall be great inconveniences for the Spirit not coming if Christ remains. One such important inconvenience for Andrewes was the Spirit’s union with the Sacraments in order to make them avail the grace they offer. Andrewes gathers that without the Spirit none of the means of grace given to the Church avail any blessing. He says non veniet?
1. Not Baptism [John 3.5]; for nisi ex Spiritu, if He come not, well may it wash soil from our skin, but no stain from our soul; no “laver of regeneration” [Titus 3.5] without “renewing of the Holy Ghost.” [2 Corinthians 3.6] 2. No preaching neither; for that is but “a letter that killeth,” except the Spirit come too and quicken it. 3. No Sacrament [John 6.63] we have a plain text for it, “the flesh profiteth nothing,” if the Lord and Giver of life, the Spirit, be away. 4. To conclude, no prayer; for nisi, ‘unless’ the Spirit help our infirmity, and maketh intercession with us, [Romans 8.26] we neither know how, nor what to pray. So the Spirit must come to all, and it goeth through; neither can aught be done for us, or by us without it.
The benefit of the coming of the Spirit is for Him to be our comforter and counsellor in all of our life. The great benefit of Him is to be sent and received in the Holy Mysteries. There is a spiritual meat and a spiritual drink and it is communicated by the Eucharist.
…in which kind there is none so apt to procreate the Spirit in us as that flesh and blood which was itself conceived and procreate by the Spirit, and therefore full of spirit and life to them that partake it. It is sure to invite and allure the Spirit to come, there is no more effectual way; none, whether Christ will send Him, or whether He will come more willingly, that to the presence of the most holy mysteries. And mainly at this feast, concerning which our Saviour Christ’s voice is to sound in our ears, Si quis sitiat, veniat ad Me; “if any thirst, let him come to me and drink, which He meant and spake,” saith St. John, “of the Spirit,” which was to begin at that time especially, when He was newly glorified.
It is through the receiving of the holy Mystery of the Eucharist that we receive the Holy Spirit and by receiving Him, we receive Christ. It is as guests at the altar that the Spirit of comfort and counsel is communicated to them that partake of Christ by the Eucharist.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Benedict XVI: What is the Priesthood?

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The priesthood is not a path to prestige, says Benedict XVI.

In his homily today during the ordination Mass of 15 new priests in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope said that the spirit of the priesthood is opposed to "making a career" of it, to get to the "top," or "to seek a position through the Church: to be served rather than to serve."

The Holy Father criticized the "image of the man who, through the priesthood, wants to be important, to become a personality."

"But the only legitimate ascent to the ministry of the pastor is the cross," said the Pope. "This is the door."

On World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Benedict XVI said that to be a priest is "not to desire to become personally someone, but to live for the other, for Christ and, in this way, through him and with him, to live for the men he seeks, whom he wishes to lead on the path of life."

The Pope continued: One "enters the priesthood through the sacrament, that is, through giving oneself to Christ, so that he can dispose of me, so that I serve him and follow his call, even if it is opposed to my desires for self-fulfillment and esteem.

"To enter through the door, which is Christ, means to know him and love him ever more, so that our will is united to his and our conduct is his."

The Holy Father gave this advice to the new priests: "May Christ grow in us, may our union with him be ever more profound."

Of the 15 new priests ordained, five studied at the Roman Seminary, seven at the Redemptoris Mater diocesan college of Rome, one at Capranica College, also of the Diocese of Rome, and two are religious of the Discalced Carmelites.

Twelve are Italians, while the other three were born in Israel, Honduras and Poland.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Passion and the Church Today

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The title of the post comes from the late Abp of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey's book, The Gospel and the Catholic Church. It is the title to the opening chapter of the book. I have picked the book up for a slow read on my early Saturday mornings, which have become about the only time I get to read something else I want that is not directed to my current research. This is a book that I believe ought to be required reading for all bishops and priests once a year. What the Anglican Church so desperately needs in the present moment is to get its head and heart around what Ramsey says about the Church's relevance. 'The relevance of the Church to mankind must be sought not in its social policies but in its relation to the Passion.' I believe that it is the lack of having this central theme to our vocation that is causing so much heartache in the Church today. Where is the Gospel in all of this? I believe that there is a lot to think about in the quotation that I am providing. Here is Ramsey in his own words.
Hence, as the Body of Christ crucified and risen, the Church points men to a unity and a peace which men generally neither understand nor desire. Thus the Church is pointing beyond theology, beyond reunion-schemes, beyond philanthropies, to the death of the Messiah. It leads the theologian, the church-statesman, the philanthropist, and itself also, to the Cross. The dying is a stern reality; theologian, reunionist, philanthropist learn that their work and their ideal is, in itself and of itself, nothing. But all that is lost is found; and the Cross is the place where the theology of the Church has its meaning, where the unity of the Church is already showing the peace of God and the bread from heaven to the nations of mankind. The Jews stumbled at the death and resurrection, and hence they never knew the Church to be the Body of the Christ. The disciples knew it, only when He had died and was risen from the dead.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Wonder if...?

I wonder if Protestants would accept that within the Eucharist there is a sacrifice but that the sacrifice that is offered by a priest is not the same genus as Christ's sacrifice. In other words, the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the priest is the same by analogy, His sacrifice the principle, and ours subordinate to it. If so, then there is not the slightest reason for fearing that our sacrifices might detract from the sacrifice of Christ; the sacrifice is placed at our disposal, and, 'so to speak, put into our hands, the propitiatory and latreutic power of His sacrifice to be applied by us, portion by portion according to our capacity.' Now, if Protestants could understand that the above was the Church of Rome's teaching, would there remain a major wall to climb? There should be no accusation of the Church of Rome by Protestants that the priesthood of Christ is lowered in any way or impaired. This is because the offering is the SAME offering and all benefits of our offering are derived from that principal offering of the Supper. This must be kept in tact as stated above or we run off into all sorts of abuses. But I cannot honestly see that a sacrificial view of the Eucharist, understood as above, detracts from Christ's sacrifice in any way.

What think all of you?

Invention of the Holy Cross

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Impleta sunt

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old:
Amidst the nations, God, saith he,
Hath reigned and trimphed from the Tree.

O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose trumphas breast
Those holy limbs should find their rest:

On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The wight of this world's ransom hung,
The price of humankind to pay,
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O Cross, our one reliance, hail!
In this our Easter joy, avail
To give fresh meric to the saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

To thee eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done:
Whom by the Cross thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.

Eucharist and Eschatology -- An Instrumental Promise

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In a sermon on Revelation 2.7, Andrewes speaks of the eschatalogical hope given in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Note the 'time' in which this is given. Andrewes' grasp of bibilical theology is evident throughout this sermon and his use of typology and his Sacramental worldview becomes obvious to the reader. Concerning the hope given in the Eucharist Andrewes writes,
So both the promise and condition are touched: But the question is, How we shall overcome? that we learn, Apocalyps the twelfth chapter; where the Saints are said to overcome the great dragon, the old Serpent, with the bloode of the Lambe: Which blood hath two uses: First, that which the Apostle calls the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, the first epistle of Peter the first chapter and the second verse. Secondly, That by receiving the cup of blessing we are partakers of the blood of Christ, the first epistle to the Corinthians the tenth chapter and the sixteenth verse. So that in these words is a reciprocation, vincenti ut comedat, & comedenti ut vincat, dabno edere; the body and blood of Christ is the fruit of that tree of life which the Apostle speaks of, the first epistle of Peter the second chapter and the twenty fourth verse, That he bare our sinnes in his body upon the tree; Of which fruit whosoever are partakers in the Sacrament when it is ministred to them, doe receive power to overcome, that so they may eate of the tree of eternal life: For in this Sacrament we have both a means of victory and a pledge of our reward, that is, the life of grace begun in us here, to assure us of a glorious life in the world to come. Every tree must have a root, and the root of that tree which Christ speaks of is here in this Sacrament; for in it is sown in the hearts of the receivers, as it were, a kernel, which in time shoots forth and becomes a tree; for as there was a death of the soul by sinne, before God inflicted [576/577] a death of the body; so answerable to that first death of sinne, there must be in us a life of grace, which is the root of that tree from whence we shall, in due time, receive the life of glory.
He says, 'when it is ministred to them, partakers doe receive power to overcome. The root of our eternal life is found 'in this Sacrament' because 'in this Sacrament' is the root who is Christ! Therefore, Jesus' objective presence within it is given and it is only by an assurance of that presence in the Sacrament that we can have assurance of the hope of a glorious future and our salvation from the Second Death. The condition of the covenant is repentance and the promise of the covenant is manna from heaven.
    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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