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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ss. Peter and Paul

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Collect:
God our Father,
today you give us the joy
of celebrating the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Through them your Church first received the faith.
Keep us true to their teachings.
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.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Archbishop of Canterbury an TEC: A Response

I believe that the Archibishop of Canterbury has made it perfectly clear concerning the level of division within the Anglican Communion partly due to the actions of the 2003 Episcopal Church's (USA) decision to consecrate an openly and practising homosexual to the office of bishop. It seems that in the very recent days ahead a structural response will be issued and beginning. Here are some key statements within the paragraph that I find very important:
The recent resolutions of the General Convention have not produced a complete response to the challenges of the Windsor Report, but on this specific question there is at the very least an acknowledgement of the gravity of the situation in the extremely hard work that went into shaping the wording of the final formula.
Thus if other churches have said, in the wake of the events of 2003 that they cannot remain fully in communion with the American Church, this should not be automatically seen as some kind of blind bigotry against gay people. Where such bigotry does show itself it needs to be made clear that it is unacceptable; and if this is not clear, it is not at all surprising if the whole question is reduced in the eyes of many to a struggle between justice and violent prejudice. It is saying that, whatever the presenting issue, no member Church can make significant decisions unilaterally and still expect this to make no difference to how it is regarded in the fellowship; this would be uncomfortably like saying that every member could redefine the terms of belonging as and when it suited them.
It isn’t a question of throwing people into outer darkness, but of recognising that actions have consequences – and that actions believed in good faith to be ‘prophetic’ in their radicalism are likely to have costly consequences.
The nature of prophetic action is that you do not have a cast-iron guarantee that you’re right.
Read the entire post from the Archbishop's site.

St. Cyril of Alexandria

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Saint Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt and an able theologian. As bishop and doctor, he became the glory of the Church in Egypt. During the Council of Ephesus, he defined the oneness of person in Jesus Christ and the divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary against the heresy of Nestorius.

The 12 Anathemas, Proposed by Cyril and accepted by the Council of Ephesus:

1. If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh, let him be anathema.

2. If anyone does not confess that the Word from God the Father has been united by hypostasis with the flesh and is one Christ with his own flesh, and is therefore God and man together, let him be anathema.

3. If anyone divides in the one Christ the hypostases after the union, joining them only by a conjunction of dignity or authority or power, and not rather by a coming together in a union by nature, let him be anathema.

4. If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema.

5. If anyone dares to say that Christ was a God-bearing man and not rather God in truth, being by nature one Son, even as "the Word became flesh", and is made partaker of blood and flesh precisely like us, let him be anathema.

6. If anyone says that the Word from God the Father was the God or master of Christ, and does not rather confess the same both God and man, the Word having become flesh, according to the scriptures, let him be anathema.

7. If anyone says that as man Jesus was activated by the Word of God and was clothed with the glory of the Only-begotten, as a being separate from him, let him be anathema.

8. If anyone dares to say that the man who was assumed ought to be worshipped and glorified together with the divine Word and be called God along with him, while being separate from him, (for the addition of "with" must always compel us to think in this way), and will not rather worship Emmanuel with one veneration and send up to him one doxology, even as "the Word became flesh", let him be anathema.

9. If anyone says that the one Lord Jesus Christ was glorified by the Spirit, as making use of an alien power that worked through him and as having received from him the power to master unclean spirits and to work divine wonders among people, and does not rather say that it was his own proper Spirit through whom he worked the divine wonders, let him be anathema.

10. The divine scripture says Christ became "the high priest and apostle of our confession"; he offered himself to God the Father in an odour of sweetness for our sake. If anyone, therefore, says that it was not the very Word from God who became our high priest and apostle, when he became flesh and a man like us, but as it were another who was separate from him, in particular a man from a woman, or if anyone says that he offered the sacrifice also for himself and not rather for us alone (for he who knew no sin needed no offering), let him be anathema.

11. If anyone does not confess that the flesh of the Lord is life-giving and belongs to the Word from God the Father, but maintains that it belongs to another besides him, united with him in dignity or as enjoying a mere divine indwelling, and is not rather life-giving, as we said, since it became the flesh belonging to the Word who has power to bring all things to life, let him be anathema.

12. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh and was crucified in the flesh and tasted death in the flesh and became the first born of the dead, although as God he is life and life-giving, let him be anathema.

O GOD, who didst strengthen thy blessed Confessor and Bishop Saint Cyril, invincibly to maintain the divine motherhood of the blessed Virgin Mary : vouchsafe that at his intercession we, believing her to be indeed the Mother of God ; may as her children rejoice in her protection. Through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Irenaeus on Mary the Mother of God

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In accordance with this design, Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word." But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin ... having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race ... And the prophet, too, indicates the same, saying, "instead of fathers, children have been born unto thee." For the Lord, having been born "the First-begotten of the dead," and receiving into His bosom the ancient fathers, has regenerated them into the life of God, He having been made Himself the beginning of those that live, as Adam became the beginning of those who die. Wherefore also Luke, commencing the genealogy with the Lord, carried it back to Adam, indicating that it was He who regenerated them into the Gospel of life, and not they Him. And thus also it was that the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.

Irenaeus (180-190 AD)Against Heresies, Book III, cap. 22, 4

Nativity of St. John the Baptist

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Collect:
All powerful God,
help Your people to walk the path to salvation.
By following the teaching of St. John the Baptist,
may we come to your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For although God can change and transform diverse natures, yet because a mystery is of more benefit to me than a miracle, I should acknowledge in the Forerunner of Christ nothing greater than the building of the growing Church, which constructed not of stony rock, but of living stones, through the conversion of our spirits rose into an habitation of God and a pediment of the Temple. Indeed, God prepared to soften the hardnesses of our minds and from stumbling blocks to erect husbandmen of religion.

St. Ambrose of Milan, Exposition of the Holy.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Prayer for Bishop Kenneth Stevenson

Bishop Kenneth Stevenon of Portsmouth has been a very influential person on my journey, particularly in the area of sacramental theology. The news has been made public about the return of his leukaemia and I am writing here to ask that all of my readers please join me in prayer for Bishop Kenneth. He is hopefully to be my external examiner for my PhD and it would be an honour for me to have him be a part of the team. Please pray for Bishop Kenneth and his health as well as his family, diocese and staff. What follows is an announcement from the C of E News.

The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Kenneth Stevenson, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday after he was diagnosed again with leukaemia. Bishop Stevenson, 56, was undergoing a routine hospital check-up on Monday June 19 when doctors discovered his leukaemia had returned. He went into hospital for further tests the following day and was admitted to hospital for treatment on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the diocese said he is likely to undergo two separate courses of chemotherapy over the summer before doctors reassess his condition. Each course of chemotherapy – including both the treatment and the recovery time – takes four weeks, so he will be off work for at least the next two months. The bishop was previously diagnosed with leukaemia last September and went through four courses of chemotherapy before returning to work just before Easter. Although the disease was said to be “in remission”, there was always a chance that it could return. His appointments for the next two months are being cancelled and his diary is now closed for the foreseeable future. The Rt Rev Trevor Willmott, the Anglican Bishop of Basingstoke, will undertake some of the bishop’s appointments while his other responsibilities will be handled by his senior staff.

The bishop and his family would welcome the prayers of churchgoers and others, but won’t be able to receive visitors for the foreseeable future. Well-wishers are also asked not to send flowers, as they carry a risk of infection. Bishop Kenneth has been Bishop of Portsmouth – a diocese that includes 142 parishes in south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – since 1995. He sits in the House of Lords and is the chairman of the Church of England’s national Board of Education.
O God, who knowest the needs of all thy children, look with compasssion upon thy servant Bishop Stevenson for whom our prayers are offered; give him courage and confidence; bless those who minister to him of thy healing gifts and, if it be thy gracious will, restore him to that perfect health which is thine alone to give; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

CAPA Primates Respond to TEC

Biretta tip: Canon Harmon.
What interests me is the boldened statement at the bottom of this open letter. I believe that my thoughts on my entry below ring true that something seems to be in the works that will be quite serious both in terms of communion and 'structure.' May God bless his Church and give our bishops wisdom to lead us faithfully to the One who has given himself to us!

What do the readers think of this?
CAPA Primates Statement in Response to The Episcopal Church’s General Convention
An Open Letter to the Episcopal Church USA

We, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), meeting in Kampala on 21st – 22nd June, have followed with great interest your meeting of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA in Columbus. We have been especially concerned by the development of your response to The Windsor Report, which has been reported to us quite extensively. This is something for which we have earnestly prayed. We are, however, saddened that the reports to date of your elections and actions suggest that you are unable to embrace the essential recommendations of the Windsor Report and the 2005 Primates Communiqué necessary for the healing of our divisions. At the same time, we welcome the various expressions of affection for the life and work of the Anglican Communion.

We have been moved by your generosity as you have rededicated yourselves to meet the needs of the poor throughout the world, especially through your commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.

We have observed the commitment shown by your church to the full participation of people in same gender sexual relationships in civic life, church life and leadership. We have noted the many affirmations of this throughout the Convention. As you know, our Churches cannot reconcile this with the teaching on marriage set out in the Holy Scriptures and repeatedly affirmed throughout the Anglican Communion. All four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion advised you against taking and continuing these commitments and actions prior to your General Convention in 2003.

At our meeting in Kampala we have committed ourselves to study very carefully all of your various actions and statements. When we meet with other Primates from the Global South in September, we shall present our concerted pastoral and structural response.
We assure all those Scripturally faithful dioceses and congregations alienated and marginalised within your Provincial structure that we have heard their cries.

In Christ,

The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, on behalf of CAPA
Chairman, CAPA

Eucharist: The Medicine of Immortality

1 Cor. 10.1-5, 16-17

I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same supernatural food 4 and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.


In this passage from St. Paul we find him speaking of the ‘medicine of immortality’ that is conveyed to us through the instrumental means of sacraments. Contextually, Paul is speaking of the Eucharist here and that it has salvation and destruction attached to it as the result of receiving worthily or unworthily. What is meant by his saying this? The answer can only be a direct result of who we receive in the Eucharist; that person is the spiritual, glorified body and blood of Christ objectively offered. This must mean that Christ’s body and blood indwelled the Eucharistic bread and wine. Paul spoke realistically about Christ’s presence in the elements but not ‘naturally’ or ‘corporally’ since he understood that the resurrected Christ now has a glorified body yet physical but altogether different from ours in many ways. (See the Gospels’ accounts of Christ’s appearings after his resurrection.) Yet, when the sacrifice is offered, it is not the sacrifice of the glorified Christ (there can be no immolatus to that glorified Christ) but that same sacrifice of the altar of the Cross prior to his glorification. What is then given to us is the glorified body and blood of Christ who we then feed on as the ‘medicine of immortality.’ Paul goes on to make sense of this in 10.16, 17.

So it is not only a realist view of the sacrament but also a realist view of the communion. Where theologians go wrong, such as Cirlot (p. 137), is that he/they want to interpret the Greek phrase me diakrinon to soma as ‘not discerning the body,’ to be a reference to the ‘body’ belonging to Jesus rather than the Church Body, which is Paul’s critique to the Corinthians. One does not need to interpret verse 27 in this manner in order to argue for a realist position of the Eucharistic presence of Christ since Paul has already accomplished that truth in 10.1-5, 16-17. The problem for the Corinthians is the result of this objective taking, which purpose is to incorporate us into the entire Body of Christ, i.e. the Church: this is the Body who is to be grafted into the ONE who gives us immortality via his glorified and ascended body in heaven. Therefore the weight of the realist position on presence should not hang on 11.27, but those verses in chapter 10.1-5, 16-17. The manner of coming together in division divides us from the ONE whose purpose is to gather us up together in himself. It is within that context that Paul rebukes the Corinthians and tells them that due to this realist reception of the glorified Christ people are sick and some even dying. So, Paul is not asking the Corinthians to distinguish between the reality of the Lord’s body present in the Eucharist, that has been established. The judgment of 1 Cor. 11.27 is the direct result of receiving that objective presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TEC and All That

Well, I have not blogged in a few days because for one I have been 'somewhat' consumed by what has been taking place in TEC across the pond. (Just like everybody else, though I did leave it to watch England and Sweden in the World Cup last night.) I believe that most Christians around the world have been watching this convention with a very close eye and not many should be very surprised at the outcome. I particularly believe that had not the newly elected Primary Bishop come in to to the HOD meeting to encourage the passing of the resolution on the Windsor Report (a very weak resolution and non-compliant) it would have failed in the HOD. The ABC has made his statement on TEC's response to the Windsor Report but I am convinced that it must be clear to anyone who followed this whole week with any amount of attention to the meetings that one would conclude that the majority of the Primates are not going to buy the response and only God knows what the fallout will be from it. Whatever they do, I hope they respond quickly as the emergency of the situation seems to call for it. People are past the point of being weary already!

Many still believe they remain in the rocky waters of uncertainty and my personal fear is that there will be a lot of people who will throw their hands up and just give up and take their families other places. Some have written and called me to tell me that they are doing just that! Who could honestly blame them? The amount of time taken away from gospel ministry because of this has been simply astounding. It has been three years now and for what? The amount of time that I have personally spent reading and watching it this week and last has me behind in my own research and writing. As frustrated about that as I feel now I also believe that it is very important that we pay very close attention to things happening in the Anlgican Communion since it is a body that we give ourselves to in sacrificial love and service. It would be a sad day to see it fracture into numerous sects when there has been so much work in the past towards ecumenism. I remain committed to my ecumenical eucharistic work no matter what finally is decided.

Therefore, I'm going back to work and the Primates can sort this out. I offer my prayers for the many who feel as though they have been abandoned and left alone in this very difficult time in the Church's life. God bless all who laboured so hard to do the very basics of what the Primates and the rest of the Communion asked. To my eyes, it did not come anywhere even close to compliance with the WR requirements.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Unbloody Sacrifice

I have begun to wonder why I didn’t use John Johnson for a dissertation topic due to my reading of his two volume work ‘The Unbloody Sacrifice.’ Considering the words ‘rational’ or ‘spiritual’ joined with unbloody in the ancient Fathers as they describe the Eucharistic Sacrifice, as denoting a Sacrifice of Bread and Wine, Johnson states the following:
So that I take it for granted, that by unbloody Sacrifice is always meant the Sacrifice of the sacramental Bread and Wine, in all ancient monuments of Christianity; and consequently, that when ‘rational’ or ‘spiritual’ go along with ‘unbloody,’ the same materials are thereby meant; and indeed in some particular places there are other concomitant words, which shew that Bread and Wine are meant, as in the Apostolical Constitution, ‘Instead of bloody Sacrifices, Christ enjoined the rational unbloody Sacrifice of His Body and Blood;’ for where is Christ’s Blood sacrificed, in an unbloody way, but in the Eucharistical Chalice? So, Cyril of Jerusalem, ‘When the spiritual victim, the unbloody service is consecrated, we beseech God over that Sacrifice of propitiation,’ &c. for I suppose no Sacrifice can be said to be consecrated, and to have prayers said ‘over it’ in the Christian Church and Eucharist, of which Cyril was speaking, but the Bread and Wine;…I am indifferent whether by Table my reader understand the proper Altar, or the side Altar, or the Bread and Wine placed upon one or the other: for in which signification soever you are pleased to take it, yet the thing is ‘material,’ but the epithet ‘spiritual.’ The Priest, when he presents the elements on the Altar, is by the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom directed to say, ‘Enable us to offer the gifts and spiritual Sacrifices for our own sins, and for the errors of the people.’ The Apostles are introduced in the Constitutions saying, ‘Christ becoming man for us, and offering to His God and Father a spiritual Sacrifice before His Passion, commanded us only to do the same;’ clearly referring to those words of the Institution, ‘Do this in remembrance of Me,’ which were spoken to the Apostles only; and what Christ there gave, or offered to God, was His Sacramental Body and Blood, the Bread and Wine, which are therefore here called the spiritual Sacrifice. And of not other Sacrifice, but the Sacramental Body and Blood, could it be said that the Apostles only were commanded to offer it. For prayers, and praises, and lay offerings, were to be offered by the people; but the Apostles, and they who were commissioned by them, were the only proper officers for making the oblation of Bread and Wine as the Body and Blood, as shall hereafter be made to appear.
Now that last section makes clear that lay Eucharistic offerings are not valid in Anglican and Catholic theology and to move the Church in that direction is going against the expressed will of Christ and His shaping of the Eucharistic liturgy of the Church. I will undoubtedly have numerous footnotes and quotations from Johnson who followed in the footsteps of Andrewes and actually was able to write a discourse on Eucharistic Sacrifice that is tantamount to the theology found within the sermons and writings of Lancelot Andrewes. This makes for a good case of Eucharistic Ecumenism with the Catholic branches of the Church when we are willing to hold a biblical and theological interaction with the theology of Sacrifice found within the text of Scripture that points to and finds its centre in the Passion of Christ once offered. This makes for rich theology and practical Christian living that flows from the Passion itself. Now, I must think about how to incorporate all of this into my thesis!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Feast of Corpus Christi

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Lord Jesus Christ,
we worship You living among us
in the Sacrament of Your Body and Blood.
May we offer to our Father in heaven
a solemn pledge of undivided love.
May we offer to our brothers and sisters
a life poured out in loving service of that kingdom
where You live with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you
that in this wonderful sacrament
you have given us a memorial of your passion:
grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries
of your body and blood
that we may know within ourselves
and show forth within our lives
the fruits of your redemption:
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Hail, true Body born of the Virgin Mary;
truly you suffered,
impaled on the cross for the sins of the world.
From your pierced side flowed blood and water.
In my last agony,
grant me a foretaste of your presence.
O sweet Jesus
O Gracious Jesus,
son of Mary,
have mercy on me.
Tr. by Andrew Burnham, A Manual of Anglo-Catholic Dev


Justin Martyr
"This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."

Cyril of Jerusalem
"Since Christ Himself said in reference to the bread: "This is My Body," who will dare remain hesitant? And since with equal clarity He asserted: "This is My Blood," who will dare entertain any doubt and say that this is not His Blood?... You have been taught these truths. Imbued with the certainty of faith, you know that what seems to be bread is not bread but the Body of Christ, although it seems to be bread when tasted. You also know that what seems to be wine is not wine but the Blood of Christ although it does taste like wine."

Council of Ephesus 431
"We are made partakers of the Body and Blood of Christ, not as taking common flesh, nor as of a holy man united to the Word in dignity, but the truly life-giving flesh of the Word Himself."

Augustine
When we say "Give us this day our daily bread," by "this day" we mean "at this time," when we either ask for that sufficiency, signifying the whole of our need under the name of bread, which is the outstanding part of it, or for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary at this time for attaining not so much this temporal as that eternal happiness."

John of Damascus
If the Word of God is living and powerful, and if the Lord does all things whatsoever he wills; if he said, "Let there be light", and it happened; if he said, "let there be a firmament", and it happened; ...if finally the Word of God himself willingly became man and made flesh for himself out of the most pure and undefiled blood of the holy and ever Virgin, why should he not be capable of making bread his Body and wine and water his Blood?... God said, "This is my Body", and "This is my Blood."

Tertullian (210 A.D.)
Then, again, how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished with the body of the Lord and with His blood, goes to corruption, and does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their opinion, or cease from offering the things just mentioned. But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.

St John Chrysostom (c. 344 - 407 A.D.)
"So also was Christ offered once." [Hebrews 7-10] By whom was He offered? Quite evidently, by Himself. Here [Paul] shows that Christ was not Priest only, but also Victim and Sacrifice. Therein do we find the reason for the words "was offered." "He was offered once," [Paul] says, "to take away the sins of many." Why does he say of many and not of all? Because not all have believed. He did indeed die for all, for the salvation of all, which was His part....But He did not take away the sins of all men, because they did not will it....What then? Do we not offer daily? Yes, we offer, but making remembrance of His death; and this remembrance is one and not many. How is it one and not many? Because this Sacrifice is offered once, like that in the Holy of Holies. This Sacrifice is a type of that, and this remembrance a type of that. We offer always the same, not one sheep now and another tomorrow, but the same thing always. Thus there is one Sacrifice. By this reasoning, since the Sacrifice is offered everywhere, are there, then, a multiplicity of Christs? By no means! Christ is one everywhere. He is complete here, complete there, one Body. And just as He is one Body and not many though offered everywhere, so too is there one Sacrifice. (Homilies on Hebrews 17, 2[4]; 17, 3[6])

St. John Chrysostom
“...You see that same Body, not in a manger, but upon the altar; not carried in His Mother's arms, but elevated in the priest's hands. Let us, therefore, be roused, and tremble, and bring with us more devotion to the altar than those Eastern kings did to the manger, where they adored their newborn Saviour.”

Basil
"It is good and beneficial to communicate every day, and to partake of the holy body and blood of Christ. For He distinctly says, 'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.' And who doubts that to share frequently in life, is the same thing as to have manifold life."

Iraneus (c. 140 - 202 A.D.)
"The Sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Lord commanded to be taken at meal times and by all, we take even before daybreak in congregations... We offer sacrifices of the dead on their birthday anniversaries.... We take anxious care lest something of our Cup or Bread should fall upon the ground..." (The Crown 3:3-4)

Theodore of Mopsuestia (cd. 428 A.D.)
He did not say, "This is the symbol of My Body, and this, of My Blood," but "This is My Body and My Blood," teaching us not to look upon the nature of what is set before us, but that it is transformed by means of the Eucharistic action into Flesh and Blood. (Commentary on Matthew 26:26)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

+Tom Wright on what ECUSA is Facing

In his typical clear and precise fashion, Bishop Tom has laid out the issues that the ECUSA must face and answer with clarity if they are to be in compliance with the Windsor Report.

Biretta tip to Canon Harmon where you can find the entire piece, which I recommend for your reading.

Here is a portion of its conclusion:
Further Matters and Resolutions
18. The meaning, intention and spirit of the Commission’s report and the proposed Resolutions already discussed have to be seen in the light of other matters and resolutions. In particular, we note Resolution A167, whose second and third parts have been widely, and in my view rightly, seen as reaffirming previous ECUSA commitments to work in the opposite direction to the main thrust of Lambeth 1.10 (there is no controversy, I think, about the commitment of that resolution to the ‘listening process’). These resolutions, sadly, provide the context within which the puzzles of the earlier resolutions (why don’t they say what Windsor asked?) can be understood; in other words, they indicate that the reason why the Commission has not recommended actual compliance with Windsor’s recommendations is because some Commission members at least believe that to comply would prevent ECUSA developing further the policies of which the consecration of Gene Robinson and the authorizing of same-sex blessings were symptoms. In other words, it is bound to look to the rest of the Communion as though these agendas, which were not of course the explicit subject of the Windsor Report, are driving ECUSA’s attitude to questions of global ecclesiology.

Conclusion
19. It is very important not to let the plethora of material, in the official document and in all the various commentaries on it, detract attention from from the central and quite simple question: Will ECUSA comply with the specific and detailed recommendations of Windsor, or will it not? As the Resolutions stand, only one answer is possible: if these are passed without amendment, ECUSA will have specifically, deliberately and knowingly decided not to comply with Windsor. Only if the crucial Resolutions, especially A160 and A161, are amended in line with Windsor paragraph 134, can there be any claim of compliance. Of course, even then, there are questions already raised about whether a decision of General Convention would be able to bind those parts of ECUSA that have already stated their determination to press ahead in the direction already taken. But the Anglican principle of taking people to be in reality what they profess to be, until there is clear evidence to the contrary, must be observed. If these resolutions are amended in line with Windsor, and passed, then the rest of the Communion will be in a position to express its gratitude and relief that ECUSA has complied with what was asked of it. Should that happen, I will be the first to stand up and cheer at such a result, and to speak out against those who are hoping fervently for ECUSA to resist Windsor so that they can justify their anti-ECUSA stance. But if the resolutions are not amended, then, with great sadness and with complete uncertainty about what way ahead might then be found, the rest of the Communion will have to conclude that, despite every opportunity, ECUSA has declined to comply with Windsor; has decided, in other words, to ‘walk apart’ (Windsor 157). My hope and earnest prayer over the coming week will continue to be that that conclusion may be avoided. May God bless the Bishops and Delegates of ECUSA in their praying, thinking and deciding.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Canon Arthur Middleton at Blackburn Cathedral

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Sermon preached in Blackburn Cathedral
At the Annual Diocesan Festival of the Prayer Book Society
by
Canon Arthur Middleton
10/06/06

The Babel of Anglicanism
I had a dream. I was in heaven with Michael Ramsey and Pope John Paul II. The Pope said to Michael ‘I am so pleased to see you here.’ ‘Why is that’ said Michael?’ To which the Pope replied ‘We were always taught to believe you wouldn’t make it.’ As I left them they were joined by Thomas Cranmer who was taking them to Prayer Book Mattins.

So here I am not really expecting that I would be here; because when Neil wrote and invited me he said it would be conditional upon the Dean giving his permission. So I said ‘Yes’, because Neil was not aware that I knew the Dean in a former life, when he was Chaplain of Bede College Durham, before the sun had tinted our hair with grey. He had invited me to preach in the College Chapel, so I thought I’m off the hook, he’ll never invite me to preach again, but he did, and boosted my self-confidence a hundredfold.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen


Babel
In any English Dictionary the word ‘babel’ means confusion - a confusion of voices, of speech; and ‘babelism’ means a strange utterance.

This derives from the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 where the confusion results from sin. It conveys an insight into why the lives of people and communities collapse and end in confusion. It speaks of God's judgement upon godlessness.

This happens when people become self-sufficient and receive the gifts of God as if they had created them, without being thankful to the divine Creator; and are convinced that they themselves can improve them. It destroys any sense of dependence on God and ignores any idea of ‘By the Grace of God.’ These are the seeds of confusion and collapse.

It results in the glorification of self, the self-regarding that is the peril of personal and community life - the me or we culture, right or wrong. When this stage is reached the foundations of that life have begun to crumble, because the actions of such people are governed by fear of extinction. 'Let us build a tower lest we be scattered' is the conviction that, with such material strength, life unrestrained can be carried on with impunity behind it.

This over-reaching to heaven brings fatal consequences when proud people imagine they can, of themselves, construct the perfect life and surpass all previous attempts. This is a grave warning to us all.

The Tower of Babel failed because it was built upon fear and pride. Failure always results when we search for security apart from the living God. Without this there is no lynchpin to life and so collapse is inevitable. People limited by finitude and prone to sin do not possess the materials to build an everlasting kingdom. Wisdom recognizes this fact and confusion results when we neglect divine laws. The Wisdom of Solomon tells us:

...set your mind upon the Lord, as is your duty, and seek him in simplicity of heart; for he is found by those who trust him without question, and makes himself known to those who never doubt him. Dishonest thinking cuts men off from God, and if fools will take liberties with his power, he shows them up for what they are. Wisdom will not enter a shifty soul, nor make her home in a body that is mortgaged to sin. This holy discipline will have nothing to do with falsehood; she cannot stay in the presence of unreason ... (Wisdom of Solomon, 1:1-7)

The Anglican Communion
Thus in the Anglican Communion, though an interpreter exists for every tongue, Anglicanism has entered a time of severe crisis in its own Babel of confusion. Its character and very existence are radically in question. The graphic symbol of such confusion is Bishop Spong's Tower of Babel. It tells us that everyone should do what seems right to him in conscience and that everyone else should accept it. This is the new meaning of Anglican comprehensiveness.

John Henry Newman would see this as a natural religion. Its difference from a revealed religion lies in this - one has a subjective authority and the other an objective authority. Revelation demonstrates the Invisible Divine power. It substitutes the voice of a Lawgiver for the voice of conscience. The supremacy of conscience is the essence of natural religion; the supremacy of Apostle, Church, or Bishop is the essence of revealed religion. So with the human resources of minds not united to God, natural religion builds its own tower as a way to heaven. God must be cut down to our size, accommodated to the political correctness of man and imprisoned in the solitary confinement of the present. Arius stalks the Church again.

Obsession with the 'new'
Bishop Beveridge in the seventeenth century, described his 'senseless Age', as a time when everything in Christianity was called in doubt in private, and made a matter of controversy in public. More absurdly, the newer anything is the more support it gets, the more it pleases and the more anxiously it is defended. Bishop Knapp Fisher has made the same criticism of our own age in its 'frenetic preoccupation with the present'. Life is nothing but today. People pay little or no attention to the past, of which we can know something, or to the future, of which we can know nothing'. Like the Athenians in St Paul's time they are obsessed with anything new, precisely because it is new.

This cult of the new leads to a solitary confinement of everyone and every thing in the present and this is at the heart of the new theology. Today's theologians have misunderstood their vocation. That vocation must always be, 'to relate the revealed datum of Christian truth, final, absolute, and fundamentally permanent, to the essentially changing intellectual framework of the world in which he lives'. A solitary confinement in the present ignores God's involvement in the past and his purposes for the future. It results from an accommodation to the contemporary world's diminished awareness of eternity and the significance of time. It over-identifies with the spirit of the age rather than with the Holy Spirit of God. It leads ultimately to innovation rather than renovation; because of a failure to recognize that history is the accumulated experience of past generations confronted by situations similar to those we face. The traditions we inherit, if we will heed them, can assist us in solving problems which are not peculiarly our own and we cannot afford to dismiss as irrelevant the lessons of the past. In a recent book review, the reviewer said ‘We forget our history and our formative antecedents at our peril’. The present is but a fragment of history. Our contemporary experience can only be understood and evaluated in the light of those who have lived before us. So, rather than convert the culture, we are encouraged to make a 'quick fix' with it. But, because it is secularized there is no common point of view. Thus, like the men of the Genesis story who 'left off to build the city', our Anglican Communion is broken and fragmented because we are not united in the Spirit of God.

Traditional wisdom
As we are pushed to the edge, the Tower of Babel reminds us of the confusion in a community which looks only to the spirit of man for the guarantee of success. On the Edge is the title of a film I watched some years ago and now is on DVD. It is the story of three men whose plane crashes in the forests of Alaska. They are stranded, lost, confused about what to do. Two of them have their own ideas. The third, Anthony Hopkins, has a number of ideas which are not his own. On the plane he had been reading a book about the fundamental principles of survival. It was a digest of traditional wisdom from the experience of those who had survived similar situations. 'Put away our own ideas and follow these principles from people who have done it' says Hopkins. So he makes a compass from a paper clip on a leaf that he floats on water. In response to the earth's magnetic field it points them southwards, the direction they seek. ‘The secret is not to stop thinking’ says Hopkins. So when a bear eats one of them and stalks the other two, the book advises them how to lure it into a situation where leaping towards them it impales itself on their prearranged wooden spears. Eventually the other man betrays Hopkins and dies but Hopkins survives by remaining faithful to his own integrity and taking note of the wisdom of those who had been through the same experience.

Our compass
The unity and authority of Anglicanism are preserved in the genius of the Book of Common Prayer. This is our compass in our confused Anglican Babel. Because this compass has been mislaid Anglicanism has been cut loose from its moorings and we find ourselves being pushed by a movement whose concern is not reformist but revolutionary - the reconstruction of Christian doctrine. It is about an Anglican identity crisis.

In the 1987 Crockford's Preface, Gareth Bennett claimed that Anglicanism had lost its single identity which flowed from uniformity in worship and from doctrines stated or implied in that worship and contained in the Book of Common Prayer. The removal of this one central pillar 'has left the Anglican credal and liturgical edifice with no visible means of support, liable to collapse under its own weight'. The next phase could see a modified Anglicanism destroying Anglicanism. We need to know the difference between an Anglicanism that knows where it has come from because it is a true doctrinal development and a genetically modified Anglicanism that has cut loose from its origins and lost its identity - an Anglicanism that knows where it is going, and an Anglicanism that has lost its way. Like genetically modified crops no-one can see what it will become. It is such genetic modification that is destroying Anglicanism but not altogether and not forever. For God is raising up people of discernment who are free from the hang-ups of a cultural determinism because their compass has not been mislaid, and who will correct such modification. Like the Laudians faced with losing apostolic faith and order and the Prayer Book in the presbyterianising of Anglicanism, we need to nurture among our younger generation a school of orthodox Anglican theology. Such people will help Anglicanism rediscover its moorings and see that Bible, Creeds, Councils, Apostolic Faith and Order, Sacraments and Christian morality, cannot be ignored or betrayed without destroying Anglicanism and violating Holy Scripture. For these things come to us from Christ, and from the authority of that living organism the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Orthodoxy embodies the apostolic faith and order and they are not ours to dispense with at the whim of a secular culture that is trapped in the solitary confinement of the present. Such a theology will not end in cross-grained and perverse self-regarding conscientiousness, but in adoration, self-surrender and blessing, and in the awe and joy of welcoming the Eternal Beauty, the Eternal Sanctity and the Eternal Love, the sacrifice and Reconciliation of the world.

Of this Gospel Paul tells Timothy he is not ashamed, 'because I know who it is in whom I have trusted, and am confident of his power to keep safe what he has put into my charge. … Keep before you an outline of the sound teaching which you heard from me ...Guard the treasure put into your charge ... stand by the truths you have learned and are assured of ...’

The Prayer Book
I am here to encourage you in your allegiance to the heritage and formative antecedents of Anglicanism, as embodied in our Magisterium, The Book of Common Prayer, central to our Anglican Way. Any understanding of Anglicanism must give the Prayer Book a primary role because it is informative not only in defining doctrine and polity but also for the content and style of devotion; and these are more important than its Elizabethan language. The Prayer Book has strengthened and consoled many over centuries through its poetically evocative use of words which stir mind, heart and conscience and has instructed countless generations, Christian or not. For Anglicans. It is foundational.

As fellow-Anglicans around the world suffer from division and dispute, more than ever The Prayer Book needs to be studied, appreciated and experienced by regular use, and in every parish it should have its own space. Anglicans need to understand not only The Prayer Book but also the general temper and teaching of the Anglicanism it enshrines. While many cry for a relevant and contemporary liturgy, at the same time there is a need for clear expression and understanding of traditional liturgy. Let them live alongside each other for without the old we will never understand the new. The Prayer Book has stood the test of time because it is scriptural and its teaching is committed to the praise and worship of God the Blessed, Holy and Undivided Trinity and the edification of the Church. It has been, and still is a companion to countless Anglicans and others in their earthly pilgrimage. Because, they find in it what Percy Dearmer, claimed is, 'the accumulated wisdom and beauty of the Christian Church'. It is a pocket book manual that requires no carrying trolley like today’s liturgical books.
It centres life round the Christian Year, with all the fasts, festivals and stages of our Lord's life in the great themes of the Christian Faith. Its treasures can be used privately as well as publicly, becoming a pastor and teacher when most needed; in sickness, loneliness, bereavement, and anxiety. New members are welcomed and taught in its services of Baptism, Confirmation and Catechism. The Marriage Service informs couples about the reasons for marriage, pointing to an unselfishness of mind and spirit if the vows are to be kept; and praying for benediction and grace to fulfil these promises for life.

Such pastoral help is necessary if we are to grow in holiness - a need never questioned in the Church until the twentieth century when some fashionable theologies appeared to ignore it. For Anglicans holiness is central to Christian living, demanding hard work and discipline. The Prayer book encourages us in the quest for holiness in Word and Sacrament. Peo-ple unable to attend church through illness, grief, or caring for others, can often find great strength by using The Prayer Book, in its readings and Eucharistic Lectionary, thereby experiencing both the transcendence and immanence of God. It unites them with the worship continually offered on earth but also to the heavenly host praising and thanking God our Father, through Christ in the Holy Spirit, even when sacraments and priestly ministry are unavailable. It sustained Terry Waite during years of solitary confinement. What a wonderful source of inspiration, teaching and strength is available through the pages of this small volume!

Conclusion
As the seventeenth century Anglican divine, Jeremy Taylor, said when driven out by Cromwell’s régime.

What can be supposed wanting in our Church in order to salvation? We have the Word of God, the Faith of the Apostles, the Creeds of the Primitive Church, the Articles of the four first General Councils, a holy liturgy, excellent prayers, perfect sacraments, faith and repentance, the Ten Commandments, and the sermons of Christ, and all the precepts and counsels of the Gospels. We … require and strictly exact the severity of a holy life. … We communicate often, our priests absolve the penitent. Our Bishops ordain priests, and confirm baptised persons, and bless their people and intercede for them. And what could here, be wanting to salvation?

This is the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’, the Christian faith as proclaimed, taught and lived through grace and forgiveness and embodied in The Book of Common Prayer.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hannah and Sarah's Confirmation

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Last evening we were able to attend the confirmations of two of my daughters, Hannah and Sarah at Durham Cathedral. If you go to our family website, you can see the pictures of Hannah and Sarah with their Godfather, Tony Walker and Bishop Tom Wright. It was a wonderful service and Bishop Tom's sermon simply was above and beyond what one could ever ask or imagine. At the end of the sermon, Bishop Tom recited George Herbert's poem (from memory) and to make it their own. I provide it below. Please do go see THIS SITE for the pictures.

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, you shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful: Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.

You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat.
So I did sit and eat.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Confirmations Tonight

Image and video hosting by TinyPicIt is a very exciting day in the our home today as two of our daughters will be receiving confirmation tonight at the Durham Cathedral by The Rt. Rev'd Dr. N.T. Wright. Hannah and Sarah are quite looking forward to the service and their confirmation 'party' following. Please remember the two of them in your prayers today. We will post the pictures on the family site tomorrow some time and I will have a link here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cardinal Kasper speaks to the English House of Bishops

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It is no secret that the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion is in a very important controversy concerning the consecration of women as bishops in the Church of England. This, on top of the other pressing controversy concerning the ECUSA is bringing a lot of tension in our communion. Below is the conclusion of the address and you can read it all at the C of E site. The Bishops are meeting to discuss the Guildford Report that will be debated again next month at our General Synod.

Such a decision broadly taken within the Anglican Communion would mean turning away from the common position of all churches of the first millennium, that is, not only the Catholic Church but also the ancient Eastern and the Orthodox churches. It would, in our view, further call into question what was recognised by the Second Vatican Council (UR, 13), that the Anglican Communion occupied ‘a special place’ among churches and ecclesial communities of the West. We would see the Anglican Communion as moving a considerable distance closer to the side of the Protestant churches of the 16th century. It would indeed continue to have bishops, according to the Lambeth Quadrilateral (1888); but as with bishops within some Protestant churches, the older churches of East and West would recognise therein much less of what they understand to be the character and ministry of the bishop in the sense understood by the early church and continuing through the ages.

Amidst all of this, the question arises which also occupied John Henry Newman: is the so-called via media a viable path? Where and on what side does the Anglican Communion stand, where will it stand in the future? Which orientation does it claim as its own: the Latin, Greek, Protestant, Liberal or Evangelical? It may retreat to the Anglican principle of comprehensiveness and answer: We are a little of everything. Such comprehensiveness is doubtless a good principle to a certain degree, but it should not be overdone, as my predecessor Cardinal Edward Cassidy once told you: one arrives at limits where one must decide one way or the other. For without identity no society, least of all a church, can continue to survive. The decision you are facing is therefore an historic decision.

What follows from these conclusions and questions? What follows for the future of our ecumenical dialogue? One thing is certain: the Catholic Church will not break off the dialogue even in the case of such a decision. It will above all not break off the personal relationships and friendships which have developed over the past years and decades. But there is a difference between types of dialogue. The quality of the dialogue would be altered by such a decision. Ecumenical dialogue in the true sense of the word has as its goal the restoration of full church communion. That has been the presupposition of our dialogue until now. That presupposition would realistically no longer exist following the introduction of the ordination of women to episcopal office.

Following that action we could still come together for the sake of information and consultation; we could continue to discuss and attempt to clarify theological issues, to cooperate in many practical spheres and to give shared witness. Above all we could unite in joint prayer and pray for one another. All of that is, God knows, not negligible. But the loss of the common goal would necessarily have an effect on such encounters and rob them of most of their élan and their internal dynamic. Above all – and this is the most painful aspect – the shared partaking of the one Lord’s table, which we long for so earnestly, would disappear into the far and ultimately unreachable distance. Instead of moving towards one another we would co-exist alongside one another.

For many that may seem a more realistic path than what we have attempted previously, but whether it is in accordance with the binding last will and testament of Jesus, ‘that all may be one’ (Jn, 17,21) is of course another question. The answer would have to be in the negative. I ask you: Is that what we want? Are we permitted to do that? Should we not ponder what Cyprian tells us, namely that the seamless robe of Jesus Christ cannot be possessed by those who tear apart and divide the church of Christ (De catholicae ecclesiae unitate, 1,6)?

IV
That brings me back once more in conclusion to a consideration of the fundamental principles. I have quoted our common Church Father, Cyprian. In conclusion I would like to refer to another shared Church Father, Augustine, and to one who must be particularly close to you, the Venerable Bede. Both of them took up Cyprian’s ideas.

Cyprian had illustrated his thesis of the ‘episcopatus unus et indivisus’ through a series of metaphors: the metaphor of the sun which has many rays but only one light; of the tree which has many branches but only one trunk grounded in one sturdy root, and of many streams which spring from one single source. Then he states: ‘Cut off one of the sun’s rays – the unity of the light permits no division; break off a branch of the tree and it can bud no more; dam off a spring from its source, it dries up below the cut.’ (De catholicae ecclesiae unitate, 1,5).

Augustine took up these metaphors more than once in his text Contra Cresconium. I will quote just one instance: ‘Avelle radium solis a corpore, divisionem lucis unitas non capit: ab arbore frange ramum, fructus germinare non poterit: a fonte praecide rivum, praecisus arescit’ (lib II 33.42). [Separate a ray of the sun from its body of light, its unity does not allow a division of light; break a branch from a the tree, - when broken, it will not be able to bud; cut off the stream from its fountain, and that which is cut off dries up.] Similarly, the Venerable Bede says in a homily: ‘Pastores sunt omnes, sed grex unus ostenditur qui ab apostolis omnibnus tunc unianima consensione pascebatur.’ [All are shepherds but one flock is revealed. Then it was fed by all the apostles with harmonious agreement.]

‘Grex unus, qui unianima consensione pascitur’, that is the aim of ecumenical dialogue; it can only succeed if the unianima consensio of every single one of the separated churches is preserved and is then constituted step by step between those separated ecclesial bodies. May this, in spite of all the difficulties and resistance, be granted to us one day by the grace of God.

Appendix:
Address of Pope Benedict XVI to the clergy of Rome on 2 March 2006

‘Thus, the Church has a great debt of gratitude to women. And you have correctly emphasized that at a charismatic level, women do so much, I would dare to say, for the government of the Church, starting with women Religious, with the Sisters of the great Fathers of the Church such as St Ambrose, to the great women of the Middle Ages – St Hildegard, St Catherine of Siena, then St Teresa of Avila – and lastly, Mother Teresa. I would say that this charismatic sector is undoubtedly distinguished by the ministerial sector in the strict sense of the term, but it is a true and deep participation in the government of the Church.

How could we imagine the government of the Church without this contribution, which sometimes becomes very visible, such as when St Hildegard criticized the Bishops or when St Bridget offered recommendations and St Catherine of Siena obtained the return of the Popes to Rome? It has always been a crucial factor without which the Church cannot survive.

However, you rightly say: we also want to see women more visibly in the government of the Church. We can say that the issue is this: the priestly ministry of the Lord, as we know, is reserved to men, since the priestly ministry is government in the deep sense, which, in short, means it is the Sacrament [of Orders] that governs the Church.

This is the crucial point. It is not the man who does something, but the priest governs, faithful to his mission, in the sense that it is the Sacrament, that is, through the Sacrament it is Christ himself who governs, both through the Eucharist and in the other Sacraments, and thus Christ always presides.

However, it is right to ask whether in ministerial service – despite the fact that here Sacrament and charism are the two ways in which the Church fulfils herself – it might be possible to make more room, to give more offices of responsibility to women.’

Monday, June 05, 2006

William Forbes on Eucharistic Sacrifice

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The holy Fathers say very often that the Body of Christ itslef is offered and sacrificed in the Eucharist, as is clear from almost numberless places; but not in such a way that all the properties of a sacrifice are properly and actually preserved, but by way of commemoration and representation of that which was performed once for all in that One Only Sacrifice of the Cross whereby Christ our High Priest consummated all other sacrifices, and by way of pious prayer whereby the Ministers of the Church must humbly beseech God the Father on account of abiding Victim of that One Sacrifice, Who is seated in Heaven on the right hand of the Father and is present on the Holy Table in an ineffable manner, to grant that the virtue and grace of this perpetual Victim may be efficacious and healthful to His Church for all the necessities of body and soul....Assuredly, in every real Sacrifice that is properly so called, it is necessary that the victim should be consumed by a certain destructive change, as Romanists themselves universally admit. But in the Mass the Body of Christ is neither destroyed nor changed, as is clear...The more moderate Romanists rightly affirm that the Mass is not only a sacrifice of thanksgiving and service or honour, but that it can also be called hilastic or propitiatory in a sound sense; not indeed as if it effected the propitiation and forgiveness of sins, for that pertains to the Sacrifice of the Cross, but as impetrating the propitiation which has already been made, as prayer, of which this Sacrafice is a kind, can be called propitiatory....The Sacrifice which is offered in the Supper is not merely of thanksgiving, but is also propitiatory in a sound sense, and is profitable to very many not only of the living but also of the departed.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Whitsun: Lancelot Andrewes

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A sermon before the King’s Majesty, at Greenwich, on the Nineteenth of May, A.D. MDCXVI, being Whit-Sunday.

Text: John 20.22

Andrewes begins by stating that it is baptism that makes us Christians. That is the service or performance of that rite brings about the change in covenant status. Andrewes seems to draw a close parallel between baptism and penance when he says,
This of breath comes after it; this serves to make them, as I may say, Christian-makers; such, whose ministry Christ would use to make Christians; make them, and keep them; make them so by baptism, and keep them so by the power of the keys here given them in the next words, for the remission of sins.
As Andrewes explains the giving of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son a Patre Filioque, he gives an explanation of what he understands as the relationship of symbolum and the thing that is to be signified in the sign. The two need be close enough as to rightly communicate the reality of what the sign signifies and hence communicates to the recipient. “It is required in a sign, that choice be made of such a a one, as near as may be, as may best suit and serve to express that is conferred by it.” Andrewes is referring here to the Holy Ghost and the breath of Christ and how the Spirit is the sign of Christ’s breathing. The point here is that Andrewes sees the importance of the union of the sign and the thing signified to be so united where as one speaks of the sign and the thing signified as one of the same thing. It is in this context that Andrewes shows how it is proper for the Church to speak of the Holy Ghost coming from both the Father and the Son. But one will take note when reading Andrewes that he shows the same union when speaking of the sacraments. One such example of this is a reference that Andrewes makes in this sermon as to the nature of the Eucharist in receiving the body of Christ and the nature of the breath and receiving the Spirit of Christ. Showing that it is not necessary for the bread to be changed into the body of Christ Andrewes says,
Yet was not the substance of His breath transubstantiate into that of the Holy Ghost—none hath ever imagined that—yet said He truly, Accipite Spiritum; [receive the Spirit] and no less truly in another place, Accipite corpus. Truly said by Him, and received by them in both. And no more need the bread should be changed into His body in that, than His breath into the Holy Ghost in this. No, though it be a Sacrament, (for with them both are so) yet as all confess, both truly said, truly given, and truly received, and in the same sense without any difference at all. This for them.
The mystery of the Eucharist is tied up with the mystery of receiving the Spirit. Receiving the Spirit is receiving Him within us as someone outside of us. It is not educate e, but inducata in according to Andrewes. The Eucharist is something that we receive not necessarily conceive. Just as we do not see the Spirit so also we do not conceive of a necessary change in the elements in order for there exists a real and true receiving of the body. It is spoken by divine fiat by Christ much like creation itself. This is how I see Andrewes possibly connecting the two without denying a true receiving of Christ in the Eucharist. The Eucharistic presence is something too mysterious to conceive and is rather received.

The grace that is given to men is the Spirit of grace that is received in many forms for the good of the Church. This particular grace within the present passage is not a grace of a saving effect but a grace of office as Apostle to forgive sins. Andrewes clearly was not a Donatist in his view of the office and the validity of that office even within a man who hath not saving grace. Though it is long, it is worth it to read. He says,
So here, it is no internal quality infused, but the grace only of their spiritual and sacred function. Good it were, and much to be wished, they were holy and leanred all; but if they be not, their office holds good though. He that is a sinner himself, may remit sins for all that, and save others he may, though himself be not saved; for it was not propter se he received this power, to absolve himself, but, as the next word is, quorumcunque, any others whosoever…For an error it is, and old worn error of the Donatists; and but new dressed over by some fanatical spirits in our days, that teach in corners: one that is not himself inwardly holy, cannot be the means of holiness to another. And where they dare too, that: One that is not in a state of grace, can have no right to any possession or place. For they of right belong to none, but to the true children of God’ that is, to none but to themselves. Fond, ignorant men! For hath not the Church long since defined it positively, that the baptism of Peter gave was no better than that which Judas; and exemplified it, that a seal of iron will give as perfect a stamp, as one of gold? That as the carpenters that built the ark wherein Noah was saved, were themselves drowned in the flood; that as the water of baptism that sends the child to Heaven, is itself cast down the kennel; semblably is it with these: and they that by the word, the Sacraments, the keys, are unto other the conduits of grace, to make them fructify in all good works, may well so be, though themselves remain unfruitful, as do the pipes of wood or lead, that by transmitting the waters make the garden to bear any. And let that content us, that what is here received, for us it is received; that what is given them, is given them for us, and is given us by them. Sever the office from the men; leave the men to God to whom they stand or fall; let the ordinance of God stand fast. This breath, though not into them for themselves, yet goeth into and through every act of their office or ministry, and by them conveyeth His saving grace into us all.
Not all men receive this gift of the Spirit as has already been said that there are a variety of spiritual gifts that are received but not by all. So, how does the Church all receive the same Spirit? Accipite corpus meum. ‘Receive my body.’ To receive the body of Christ is to receive the Spirit of Christ.

For Accipite corpus, upon the matter, is Accipite Spiritum, inasmuch as they two never part, not possible to sever them one minute. Thus, when or to whom we say Accipite corpus, we may safely say with the same breath Accipite Spiritum; and as truly every way. For that body is never without this Spirit: he that receives the one, receives the other; he that the body, together with it the Spirit also.

What benefit does this bring since it obviously is not a receiving so that we remit the sins of others? It is for the forgiveness of our own sins. “Now whether is the better, remission of sins, to be able to remit to others, or to have our own remitted? To have our own, no doubt.” According to Andrewes, the benefit of the Spirit received in the Eucharist is
To the stablishing of our hearts with grace, to the cleansing and quieting our consciences. Which spiritual grace we receive in this spiritual food, and are made to drink (I will not say “the spiritual rock,” but) of the spiritual “vine” that followeth us, which “vine” is Christ. To that then let us apply ourselves. Both are received, both are holy, both cooperate to the “remission of sins.” The “body”—Matthew the twenty-sixth. The Spirit, here evidently. And there is no better way of celebrating the feast of the receiving the Holy Ghost than so to do, with receiving the same body that came of It at His birth, and that came from It now at His rising again. And so receiving it, He that breathed, and He that was breathed, both of Them vouchsafe to breathe into those holy mysteries a Divine power and virtue, and make them to us the bread of life, and the cup of salvation; God the Father also sending His blessing upon them, that they may be is blessed means of this thrice-blessed effect!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Zwingli and Cranmer on the Eucharist

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThis post is from the entry below on the Richardson article on Cranmer and Zwingli. I thought I would post it here in case others do not read the comments below. An anonymous person writes,
You (and the author you quote) are confusing the concept of substance with corporality. This is something Aristotle and Aquinas did not do. Even a cursory reading of Aquinas would reveal that he too states the Christ is neither physically nor locally present in the Sacrament. It really does bother me when theologians like Cranmer are denounced for things that even tried and true Thomists reject.
What follows from here is my response to this comment.

Anon,

Where did I or the author ever say that participating in the substance of Christ's divinity and humanity equals locality or corporally (physically)? Substance is not physical, accidents are. Cranmer denies that we receive the human nature of Christ in the Sacrament just as Zwingli did and quotes from the John passage that flesh provides us nothing. To Cranmer, Christ is only present in his divinity and not his humanity. For Cranmer, it is our faith that unites us to Christ and there is no sacramental union.

From the Defense Cranmer writes,
'He is present by his divine nature and majesty, by his providence and by grace; but by his human nature and very body he is absent from this world, and present in heaven.'
One example that Richardson shows is the analogy that Zwingli, Cranmer, Calvin and Bucer use with the sun and its rays of light. Zwingli and Cranmer both say that we do not participate in in the substance of the sun by participating in the rays of light from the sun. Yet Calvin and Bucer both use the same analogy and say that participation in the sun's lights and rays is a participation in its substance. This is because for Cranmer substance can only be in one place, which shows how much he was affected by his Nominalism and thankfully quite inconsistent with it in terms of his orthodox Christology or he would have reduced our union with Christ to a merely moral union.

What Richardson explains in the article is that 'Cranmer seeks to make two central points. First, that Christ and the Holy Spirit are not present [in] the sacramental forms, but only present by their sanctifying virtue in those that receive the sacrament. Secondly, he seeks to deny the substantial presence of Christ in the believer, as well as in the elements. What is present is the benefit of Christ's crucified body and as spiritual presence of Christ according to His divinity.'

The above was Zwingli's position. For Cranmer, to eat the flesh of Christ was to have 'faith' in the Passion. Cranmer sought to steer clear from those who thought of the sacraments as little to nothing while also steering clear of any propitiatory sacrifice. I have read authors and heard others say that Cranmer was a Virtualist. One such author that I have recently read that was also pointed out by Richardson was Darwell Stone. Stone defined Virtualism thusly:
'that the faithful communicant sacramentally receives those effects of Christ's life and death which would be conveyed if there were a beneficial reception of His actual body and blood.'
Now, Richardson is right to say that if this is the definition of Virutalism, it is the antithesis of Cranmer's Eucharistic theology who denied that such an eating 'should avail them nothing.'

Cranmer never tires of saying, according to Richardson, that the elements DO NOT participate in spiritual power or holiness. {In the article he provides evidence from the Defense and Answer.] Yet there is no doubt that Cranmer gives the elements a higer value than does Zwingli where the latter speaks of them as effectual signs of grace.

Therefore, what I see as the major difference between Cranmer and those later Divines such as Andrewes and especially the Non-Jurors' eucharistic theology is that Andrewes' eucharistic theology contains a sacramental union with Christ's two natures with us and Cranmer only sees that union via the incarnation received by faith of the believer but denies this union sacramentally. I believe Richardson is correct to point out that Cranmer's Nonimialism and humanism that sharply contrasted body and spirit, makes Cranmer incapable of conceiving of a mystical and substantial participation by the believer in the flesh of Christ in the Eucharist. This is something that Andrewes goes on to defend strongly in his sermons and writings.
    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

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