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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

History without Tradition

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Jaroslav Pelikan says the following about Christian doctrine:
Tradition without hisotry has homogenized all the sates of development into one statically defined truth; history without tradition has produced a historicism that relativizes the developments of Christian doctrine in such a way as to make the distinction between authentic growth and cancerous aberration seem completely arbitrary.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lest There Be Doubt

If there should be any doubt about the realist language of Andrewes when speaking of the presence of Christ in the elements themselves (contra Calvin and other Reformers) look at these words from Ambrose that Andrewes approvingly quotes from.
Postes nostros, ubi est ostium verbi, sanguine Christi, in fide passionis coloremus. The posts of the door of our mouth, that is,our lips, let us dye them with the Blood of Christ, in the faith of His blessed passion.'
Those who would argue that Andrewes actually is saying nothing more than Calvin in his theology of the Eucharist need to answer this sort of language from Andrewes. The truth of the matter is, Andrewes had an appreciation for the theologian the Calvin was, but he himself was no Calvinist.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Best Time to be a Priest? by Fr. John Jay Hughes

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Fr. Hughes has given me permission to post this here on my blog. Credit is given to the Catholic Herald in the UK who originally published it in April 2006 as well as the US monthly Crisis. I tried to beat (Fr.) Al Kimel from putting it on his blog. He said no, but Fr. Hughes says yes! So, if you read it at both places, it's worth the read!

THE BEST TIME TO BE A PRIEST?
John Jay Hughes

Thirty-six years ago a 43-year-old professor of Catholic theology in Germany wrote: “It seems certain to me that very hard times await the Church. Her crisis has hardly begun.” Today the author of those words is Pope Benedict XVI. What form the hard times he predicted back in 1970 would take, Joseph Ratzinger (as he then was) did not say. Today we know. The crisis of priestly sexual misconduct with minors, which burst upon Catholics in the United States in January 2002, is the most painful that we have ever experienced. Similar things have happened elsewhere.

If we hear less about them elsewhere, this is for two reasons. People in many places, the Latin countries in particular, are more keenly aware of something pointed out by retired archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco at the height of the sexual abuse crisis: “We have to dispose of the illusion that there was a time in the past when these behaviors did not occur and that there will be some future time when these behaviors will cease to occur. As long as there is human nature these problems will occur, and they have always occurred.” The second reason for the disproportion of reports from the United States is our legal system.

Because American tort law now gives lawyers a third to a half of the awards they obtain for their clients, the sums demanded of defendants have risen exponentially in recent decades. Over a decade ago a British friend told me that he had had to resign from Lloyds of London because of damage awards in American courts. The costs to the Catholic Church in the United States have been staggering – with no end in sight.

The Church has been through the fires of adversity before. Each time it has emerged purified and renewed. The Protestant Reformation produced the renewed and disciplined Church of the Catholic Reform or Counter-Reformation, with the Jesuits in the vanguard. From the fierce persecution of Catholics in the French Revolution came dozens of new religious orders for men and women, and dynamic missionary outreach in Africa and Asia. It was this recurrent pattern of renewal through suffering which caused the then Cardinal Ratzinger to say, only a few years ago: “The Church needs a revolution of faith. It must part with its goods, in order to preserve its treasure.” He was talking not about earthly but heavenly treasure, the good news of the gospel: that God loves sinners; that his love for us is a free gift, bestowed on us not because we are good enough, but because he is so good that he longs to share his love with us.

How are Catholic priests holding up under the avalanche of today’s bad publicity? Astonishingly well, according to surveys. Between September 2003 and April 2005, St. Luke’s Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland, a treatment center for priests with addictions and psychological problems, questioned 1,286 priests at their annual convocations in sixteen American dioceses about their experience of priesthood. Asked to comment on the statement, “Overall, I am happy as a priest,” over 90 percent agreed. More than 81 percent said they would choose priesthood again. Only 6 percent were thinking of leaving. Could other professions match those numbers?
How is that possible? Why would any man in his right mind want to be a Catholic priest today? In the article cited above Archbishop Quinn answers this question as follows: “I believe that this is the best time in the history of the Church to be a priest, because it is a time when there can be only one reason for being a priest or for remaining a priest – that is to ‘be with’ Christ. It is not for perks or applause or respect or position or money or any other worldly gain or advantage. Those things either no longer exist or are swiftly passing. The priest of today is forced to choose whether he wants to give himself to the real Christ, who embraced poverty, including the poverty of the commonplace, rejection, misrepresentation – the real Christ of the gospels – or whether, with the mistaken throngs of Jesus time, he wants an earthly, worldly messiah for whom success follows upon success.”

Though I am occasionally asked why I am a priest, most often the question is: “Why did you become a Catholic?” Forty-seven years after being received into the Catholic Church, I am still asked that, most often by lifelong Catholics. I can see the eager hope in their eyes. They are looking for confirmation from a one-time outsider that ‘Catholic is best.’ How difficult it is to disappoint them.

For the truth is that there was little in the pre-Vatican II Church which was attractive to me, an Anglican for thirty-two years, the last six of them a happy priest in the American Episcopal Church. The version of papal infallibility (for me a key difficulty) which I found in the tracts in countless Catholic Churches on both sides of the Atlantic strained credulity to the breaking point. ‘All other Christians are floundering in uncertainty,’ they asserted. ‘We have an infallible voice in Rome which gives us the answer to every question.’ Really? The Pope gloriously reigning until 1958, Pius XII, appeared to be quite happy in the role assigned to him in this popular apologetic. Did Jesus want his Church, however, to have this kind of oracular infallibility? I could not find it in the New Testament. People who brought their questions to Jesus seldom received the answers they were looking for. Jesus would lay down a principle, often tell a story to illustrate it and arouse consciences, and then send questioners away to apply the principle to their own lives.

Was I not attracted by the beautiful Catholic liturgy? I found it anything but beautiful. A convert far more eminent than I, Cardinal Avery Dulles S.J., who came to the Church from Calvinism, writes: “If there be anyone who contends that in order to be converted to the Catholic faith one must be first attracted by the beauty of the liturgy, he will have me to explain away. … I found myself actually repulsed by the elaborate symbolism in which the Holy Sacrifice is clothed.” As an Anglo-Catholic, whose personal religion was ‘Catholicism without the Pope’ (I was never a Protestant), what repulsed me was not the elaborate symbolism, but its slipshod and shoddy performance. Save in the rare oasis of a Benedictine or Trappist monastery, I found the silent Latin Masses which I often attended irreverent and deeply off-putting.

Nor was I ever disillusioned with Anglicanism. Had that been the case, my decision about the Catholic Church at Easter 1960 would have been far easier. From the time that I was old enough to think about such things, I realized that Anglicanism was a theological house of cards. But it was my house. It was where the Lord had put me. Moreover, at ordination I had made promises of obedience and fidelity no less solemn than those made by Catholic priests. Could it be right to break those promises? The least that could be said is that I must not leave the place the Lord had assigned me without truly compelling reasons.

Anglicanism took me, as it had taken my father and grandfather before me, from the font to the altar. I loved it. I remain grateful to it. I am deeply saddened by its present disarray. Was Newman right in his view that, at bottom, Anglicanism is simply another version of Protestantism?

Devout and holy men and women in the Anglican Communion taught me almost all the Catholic truth I know, even today. I considered it then, and consider it today, aesthetically the most beautiful form of Christianity in the West – though I realized long ago that appreciation of its beauty requires a level of culture which limits its appeal. It was one of my Anglican seminary professors, the Englishman J.V. Langmead Casserly (whose lectures were second in brilliance only to those of Joseph Ratzinger a dozen years later), who pointed out that, unlike Protestantism and Catholicism, Anglicanism has no folk version.

What triggered my decision was contact with Catholics in continental Europe during an extended trip in 1959. When I told people at the Catholic University of Louvain (which would honor me a decade later with a visiting professorship) of my difficulty with oracular infallibility, I was brought up short with the response: “But that’s not what we believe at all.” Papal infallibility, my new friends told me, meant simply that on the rare occasions when the Pope spoke to define the Church teaching, he would not misrepresent the faith. (Two years later I would hear the German Jesuit Karl Rahner, lecturing in Innsbruck, put it more succinctly. Pointing out that there was no papal statement about the recondite theological question which he was discussing, Rahner said: “Of course, if a Pope had spoken about it ex cathedra, he would have been right – or at least not wrong.”)

This more modest explanation of papal infallibility seemed entirely reasonable. But was it authentic? Or were those who urged it upon me an unrepresentative avant garde, sure to be condemned by the Pope, as Pius XII had condemned the teachings of some of his too advanced theologians in the 1950 encyclical Humani generis?

For close to a year these questions tormented me, as I studied and reflected, praying for light to see where the path of truth and duty lay. During this whole period the question of the Church was never out of my waking thoughts for two hours together. I got off lightly. The “Cowley Father” (member of an Anglican religious order), Fr. B.W Maturin, who became a Catholic in 1897 and died in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 after giving his life jacket to another passenger, was on the cross of theological indecision for ten years. Later, Catholic priests with no inkling of his ordeal would reproach him for “waiting too long.”

Added to the theological perplexities were personal difficulties: dislike of the triumphalist Church of Pius XII, and the desire not to wound my beloved priest-father, widowed by the death of my mother when I was only six. His life and priestly ministry had kindled my desire to follow in his footsteps. Philo- and not anti-Catholic, on the subject of Anglican priests who “perverted to Rome” (his term), he was unyielding. Were I to take this step, he told me, I would no longer be welcome in the family home. In the event, I never saw him again. We shall meet again in heaven, where mutual hurt will be replaced by unending joy.

In the end I became convinced that the claims and teaching of the Catholic Church were true. Clearly I could not continue to hold a ministerial commission in a Christian community which disputed those claims. I entered the Catholic Church, however, with feelings of guilt for deserting a priestly ministry to which I had aspired, without interruption, from age twelve, and which had brought me deep happiness. And I entered with a cold heart. For that I have always been grateful. The spiritual pilgrim with no expectation of future happiness is spared disappointments. All my surprises – though by no means all my experiences – have been happy ones.

The first happy surprise, and still the greatest, was the second Vatican Council of 1962-1965. My decision about the Church was motivated by the more open and less triumphalistic view of the Church to which Vatican II gave the stamp of authenticity. When I made my decision, however, this was the view of a minority – in the English-speaking world a suspect minority. As the Council unfolded, I felt like a man who has bet the ranch on a dark horse, and watches him come in a winner.

High on my list of unhappy experiences was the eight-year suspension of the priestly ministry which I loved, for me a kind of Long Lent. When priesthood was finally restored to me in 1968, through conditional ordination to diaconate and priesthood, I was overjoyed. One of the two priests who assisted me as I celebrated Mass the next day (he is a bishop in Germany today) said to me in the sacristy afterward: “You were so assured.” “I’m not doing this for the first time,” I told him.

Leaving the Episcopal Church was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Only years later was I able to affirm, as I now do without hesitation, that entering the Catholic Church was the best thing I have ever done.

Commenting on the surveys of priests cited above, the American priest-sociologist Fr. Andrew Greeley has written: “Priests who like being priests are among the happiest men in the world.” Those words lifted me out of my chair with excitement when I read them. “Andy, you’re right ” I e-mailed him: “I can confirm that from my own experience.” In his 2004 book, Priests: A Calling in Crisis, Greeley writes that the real problem with priestly morale today is that priests, though happy themselves, think that other priests are not happy.

Are we priests indifferent to the failings of our brothers who have abused the young? Of course not. I don’t know a single priest who is not deeply saddened by the revelations of recent years. Some have said that they fear wearing clerical dress in public, lest they be vilified and scorned – the “rejection” mentioned by Archbishop Quinn, which links us with “the real Christ,” himself rejected by those for whom he laid down his life.

Say, if you like, that I lead a sheltered life. But I have yet to encounter rejection. On the contrary, I have experienced love and support from those whom we priests were ordained to serve, far beyond anything we deserve. On Holy Thursday 2002, at the height of the sexual abuse crisis, St. Louis priests gathered for the Chrism Mass at which we annually renew our priestly commitment, and the bishop consecrates the Holy Oils to be used in the ensuing year for baptism, confirmation, holy orders, and the anointing of the sick. As we walked in procession, more than two hundred strong, into our cathedral, we passed through ranks of applauding laypeople holding signs which said: “We support our priests.” “We love our priests.” Did we deserve that outpouring of love and support? We knew we did not. But we were grateful nonetheless. I cannot have been the only priest who eyes were moist.

No vocation brings uninterrupted joy. Every life is shadowed by the cross. A widow spoke for married people when she told me: “Father, when you walk up to the altar on your wedding day, you don’t see the Stations of the Cross.” If priesthood, like marriage, leads to Calvary, it leads beyond Calvary to resurrection – and unending joy.

There is, first, the joy of preaching the gospel: feeding God’s people from the table of His word. An evangelical hymn defines the teacher’s task thus: “Tell me the old, old, story / Of Jesus and his love.” John’s gospel says it more briefly, in words once posted inside pulpits for the preacher to see: “Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (Jn. 12:21). His story, and Jesus’ words, uphold us when we are down, rebuke us when we go astray, and fill our mouths with laughter and our tongues with joy (to use the Psalmist’s words) when the sunshine of God’s love shines upon us.

There is also the joy of pastoral ministry. Like priests everywhere, I have witnessed miracles of God’s grace in the people we serve. One small example: not many years ago a man came into my confessional bruised, bloodied, and broken from a failed marriage. Then one of our CEO Catholics (Christmas-and-Easter only), he is today a daily communicant, and a frequent penitent. His story is by no means unique.

What nourishes me most, however – next to the daily half hour I spend waiting on God in silence before Mass – is the privilege, so far beyond any man’s deserving, of celebrating Mass and feeding God’s holy people with the bread of life. It was that which drew me to priesthood when I was not yet in my teens. Every time I served Mass, I thought: “One day I’ll stand there. I’ll wear those vestments. I’ll say those words.”

As a Catholic priest I have experienced the joy celebrating Mass all over the world: in tiny chapels and great cathedrals; in hotel rooms in China and Vietnam; on little Rottnest Island off Australia’s west coast; at Mother Teresa’s tomb in Calcutta; on ships at sea, from small sailing vessels to 2000-passenger cruise ships; in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice and at Notre Dame in Paris, where I was asked to offer prayers in German and English for the hordes of tourists who often outnumber the local worshipers. Everywhere the welcome has been the same, from brother priests to laypeople of all ages and both sexes, whose devotion and faith inspire us priests and often put us to shame.

Writing in April 2005 to my old teacher in Münster, Joseph Ratzinger, to express my delight at his election as Pope, and assure him of my prayers, I closed the letter, “In the joy of our common priesthood.” What more can one say than that? From age twelve priesthood has been all I ever wanted. If I were to die tonight, I would die a happy man.
_________________________________________________________
Fr. John Jay Hughes is a church historian and a priest of the St. Louis archdiocese. His memoir No Ordinary Fool: A Testimony to Grace, will be published in 2007.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Mystical Body: de Lubac, S.J.

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Here is a bit of de Lubac, S.J. to whet your appetite for the book:
The mystical body can first of all be envisaged, with the sphere which I have called ceremonial, as a term for a mystical action, of the 'celebration of the body.' In the Eucharist the body of Christ is therefore called mystical, whatever the kind of existence or the degree of reality which is attributed to it elsewhere, simply because it is found within the mystery, that is to say, within the sacrament. It is a mystical body, therefore, primarily because it is hidden-mystically, secretly - under the material or ritual appearances that mystically signify it: the hidden body of Christ.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Finally It has Arrived!

Finally, I just received my copy of Corpus Mysticum by Henri Cardinal de Lubac SJ. What a treat it is to finally have this in English. I am anxious to get into it as this volume will have a significant impact on the final chapter of my thesis. Looking forward to diving right in.

Congratulations to Al Kimel

I would like to congratulate my good friend, Al Kimel, on the announcement of his being ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood after serving 25 plus years as a priest in the Episcopal Church US. He is a good theologian and a man who loves Christ and the Church and Rome is gaining a good man and we in the Anglican Communion are losing one. May God bless Al's ministry in the future and may God bless His Bride, the Church!

Here is Al's announcment on his site.

Today I met with those members of the faculty of the Immaculate Conception Seminary who are assigned to the theological preparation of former Episcopal priests for ordination to the priesthood of the Catholic Church. By the grace of God, and the generosity of the faculty, I passed both my written and oral examinations.

I am happy to announce that, God willing, Archbishop John Myers will ordain me to the priesthood on Sunday, December 3rd, at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in South Orange, New Jersey at the 11:00 A.M. Solemn Eucharist. My ordination to the diaconate will occur in November.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Under the Mercy,
Al

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How I Believe G.K. Chesterton Would Respond to Postmodernism

The people who are the most bigoted are the people who have no convictions at all.

You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.

The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.

The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.

Is one religion as good as another? Is one horse in the Derby as good as another?

There is a case for telling the truth; there is a case for avoiding the scandal; but there is no possible defense for the man who tells the scandal, but does not tell the truth.

The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice.

Truth is sacred; and if you tell the truth too often nobody will believe it.


G. K. Chesterton English author & mystery novelist (1874 - 1936)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Residential Status Obtained

Image and video hosting by TinyPicI just returned from a very long trip and day in Liverpool. I went to change my visa from a student visa to a resident visa and all went through very well. So, we are now residents in the UK with right of Leave to Remain. In five years from today we will naturalise and become full citizens with UK passports. It is a good feeling to have this all completed and Durham is really beginning to feel like home. Off to bed as I have an early day. I am beginning my chapter on Andrewes and Presence! Lots to do.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Our Lady of Walsingham: Celebrating 75 Years of Restoration

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Pilgrimage is an essential part of life and living. Christians see life itself in terms of a journey, coming from God and returning to God. This is true of other world religions where pilgrimage is also important.

A pilgrimage is a symbol in action. It represents the journey of the Christian life from earth to heaven. The Church is sometimes described as a pilgrim people.

Why Pilgrimage?


The Story of the Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham and why we celebrate a 75 year Anniversary.

Andrewes and Eucharistic Realism

Image and video hosting by TinyPicI got up very early this morning thinking about something in my dissertation (sometimes happens) and I started to work on a thought provoked by something Brian said in a post on the realism in Andrewes's theology of the Eucharist. Andrewes is following in the school of Gregory of Nyssa on presence over against what would be a nominalist approach to the sacraments. Like Gregory, Andrewes (as has been already noted in the quotations) believes that due to our bodies having actually received poison through our own sin, we have need of an antidote; and it is ONLY by eating and drinking so that we can be united to the body as the soul is in baptism. I will illustrate this by a quotation from Gregory and Andrewes in discussion with Cardinal Bellarmine. The Andrewes quotation is my translation.

Gregory: ‘Just as in the case of other men, our Saviour’s nourishment (bread and wine) was His body; but these, nourishment and Body, were in Him changed into the Body of God by the Word indwelling. So now repeatedly the bread and wine, sanctified by the Word (the sacred Benediction), is at the same time changed into the Body of that Word; and this Flesh is disseminated amongst the Faithful.’ (Catechism)

Andrewes: ‘We ourselves also truly adore the flesh of Christ in the mysteries, with Ambrose: but we worship not it but who is praised on the altar. Namely, the Cardinal wrongly asks what should be worshiped there he ought to ask who should be worshiped: with Nazianzus, he [the king] says him, not it. [Nor do we chew the flesh, unless we have previously adored,] in line with Augustine. And yet none of us adores the Sacrament.’(Responsio)

One could argue that Andrewes is simply quibbling over words but the substance of the argument for which he is arguing is within Rome’s teaching of transubstantiation. Andrewes rejects this doctrine for two main reasons. His main argument is that the word is not found anywhere prior to the fourth lateran council and secondly because he sees the doctrining of transubstantiation smacking of Eutychianism because everything of the earthly nature of the sacrament is assumed into the divinity. That is the natureo of his hypostatic union illustration. Realist language for presence is often found in Andrewes, (as noted above) but ‘how’ it happens remains undefined. Andrewes pointedly argues for immutationis but not transubstantiation. He agrees there is a trans, but not of the substantial nature of the earthly substance of the Sacrament.

This is much different from Calvin who rejected the notion of any 'real' consecration of the Eucharistic elements. I am reluctant to give away too much of my own research at this stage but I am certain that with regards to the realism in Andrewes’s theology of the Eucharist and that of Calvin do have similarities but nothing close to uniformity.

The question is, where does Andrewes root his theology of this mystery? The answer is S. Gregory of Nyssa. He writes,
Should you, however, ask in what way Deity is mingled with humanity, you will have occasion for a preliminary inquiry as to what the coalescence is of soul with flesh. But supposing you are ignorant of the way in which the soul is in union with the body, do not suppose that that other question is bound to come within your comprehension; rather, as in this case of the union of soul and body, while we have reason to believe that the soul is something other than the body, because the flesh when isolated from the soul becomes dead and inactive, we have yet no exact knowledge of the method of the union, so in that other inquiry of the union of Deity with manhood, while we are quite aware that there is a distinction as regards degree of majesty between the Divine and the mortal perishable nature, we are not capable of detecting how the Divine and the human elements are mixed up together. The miracles recorded permit us not to entertain a doubt that God was born in the nature of man. But how—this, as being a subject unapproachable by the processes of reasoning, we decline to investigate. For though we believe, as we do, that all the corporeal and intellectual creation derives its subsistence from the incorporeal and uncreated Being, yet the whence or the how, these we do not make a matter for examination along with our faith in the thing itself. While we accept the fact, we pass by the manner of the putting together of the Universe, as a subject which must not be curiously handled, but one altogether ineffable and inexplicable.

Andrewes's theology of presence is mostly taken from the Eastern Fathers with a Western emphasis at times from S. Augustine. He spends a lot of time with the East as rightly pointed out by Nicholas Lossky.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Andrewes and Calvin: Are they Really Saying the Same Thing?

There is a discussion over at Reformed Catholicism that has been taking place concerning the Caroline Divines and their place among the Continental Reformers. I have obviously read in Andrewes' theology of the Eucharist quite extensively in my last two years of research. I find it a bit odd that some Evangelicals place the Caroline Divines in the same category as Continental Reformers on their Eucharistic theologies. I believe the moderator of the site believes the discussion has gone on too long but I link it here for any of you who would like to discuss the things said pertaining to Andrewes, Calvin and the other Carolines of choice. I especially invite Fr. Brian to our discussion here as well. Some of this stems from my post below on Calvin, Andrewes and Trent.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Flannery O'Connor on the Eucharist

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Well, no one says it like Flannery O'Connor. O'Connor reports an incident to her friend Elizabeth Hester ("A"), in a letter dated December 16, 1955.
I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater. . . . She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual. We went at eight and at one, I hadn't opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say. The people who took me were Robert Lowell and his now wife, Elizabeth Hardwick. Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them. Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the "most portable" person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, "Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it." That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest is expendable.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

After Day One, I was happy to have written 12 pages

 

Here I am after the first day of writing. My children's Godfather came out to take me to lunch and took this picture. Posted by Picasa

The scenery out my window

 

When I woke up in the morning and began writing, this was what I saw as I looked out the window. Posted by Picasa

Pictures from my trip to Stanhope to write

 

Here is a beautiful sunset from Stanhope where I was when I did some writing on my dissertation recently. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 06, 2006

Concomitance: A Mutilation of the Sacrifice?

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Where is Andrewes's deep problem with Roman theology on sacrifice? It surely isn't in the fact that the Eucharist is the Christian sacrifice and a sacrifice that is more than praise and thanksgiving but one that is 'peaceable and Eucharistic.' I will offer my translation from his exchange with S. Robert Bellarmine for a discussion of whether or not concomitance may improperly result in a mutilation of the Christian sacrifice. Andrewes writes,
Yet it pleases the Roman Church to give gratitude to him, about the increased number of sacraments. For if the Cardinal had made it a true and whole sacrament under the species of bread, then it would still be true however and whole under the species of wine: (by adding these two to the remaining six) now the number eight will rise [bring out of hiding] the sacraments, which the Church will accept thanks to the Cardinal. Truly the Sacrament is nothing unless there is participation of the sacrifice. Indeed a sacrifice is peaceable and Eucharistic. Consider Israel next [in regard to flesh], are not they who eat the sacrifice participants in the altar? But also the sacrifice is not whole unless the Body has been broken, as well as the Blood having been poured out, but is a mutilation (admitted by the Cardinal); therefore the participation of the sacrifice is not whole unless anyone is a participant in both parts on the one hand the broken Body and the other the poured out Blood. The Apostle denotes the Symbol of the Body, by the bread, which we break, of the Blood, with the chalice, which we bless. The bread, a participation of the Body, the Cup, a communication of the Blood. He repeats afterwards, you are not able to drink the chalice of the Lord and the chalice of demons. Just as he is concerned about the chalice which should be drunk, likewise he is concerned about the bread that should be eaten. But if on the other hand, under the species of bread thus, (as you say) the Sacrament is whole; when the Priest descends on the Sacrament, why is he not content with the whole? More than the whole why is it necessary that he takes? Why is what is whole for the people, not whole for him? Why does he order that they are happy and he himself is not? Because (as you know) he considers the envy that should be brought about. I think him to be an avaricious priest for whom it is more necessary it is enough. (Translation mine from the Responsio.)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Andrewes and Calvin: Two Different Worlds Eucharistically

In Calvin’s response to the ‘Attempted Defence of the Sacrifice of the Mass,’ he writes,
‘They [Papists] say that the Mass is not a new sacrifice, but only an application of the sacrifice of which we have spoken. Although they colour their abomination somewhat by so saying, still it is a mere quibble. For it is not merely said that the sacrifice of Christ is one, but that it is not to be repeated, because its efficacy endures for ever. It is not said that Christ once offered himself to the Father, in order that others might afterwards make the same oblation, and so apply to us the virtue of his intercession. As to applying the merit of his death, that we may perceive the benefit of it, that is done not in the way in which the Popish Church has supposed, but when we receive the message of the gospel, according as it is testified to us by the ministers whom God has appointed as his ambassadors, and is sealed by the sacraments.’
In almost every sentence in this paragraph I have a quotation from Andrewes saying the exact opposite about the sacramental signification and sacrifice of the Eucharist.

Title Parish in Durham, England

 
This is just a note to make the announcement public to my friends that I have been aware of for about 3-4 weeks. The above parish church is where I will be serving my title beginning next summer. The parish is St. John the Evangelist and it is in the parish of Meadowfield/Brandon, Durham. I will be serving alongside the incumbant, Fr. Peter Brown who is a member of the Company of Mission Priests. The churchmanship of the parish is Anglo-Catholic in both liturgy and Tradition. I presently live about 2 miles from this parish church and that is a great blessing since my children will not have to move schools. The parish church is a member of Forward in Faith and they have taken Resolutions A, B, and C and it is looked after by the Bishop of Beverley, The Rt. Rev'd Martyn Jarrett who is an assitant bishop in the Durham Diocese. I will be taking some more pictures in the near future of the parish and placing them here on my blog. Posted by Picasa

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Andrewes: Eucharistic Sacrifice and Propitiation

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Did Andrewes believe in a Eucharistic Sacrifice that was propitiatory in its nature? That is one of the main questions surrounding the Euharistic controversy of the C16 but what are Anglicans in the C17 saying--Anglicans such as Lancelot Andrewes? Here is a quotation of which I will highlight what I see as Andrewes holding to propitiatory qualities of the Eucharistic offering.
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.
Now,compare this with the language of Trent Session 22.
'...that he might leave, to his own beloved Spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be represented and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and its salutary virtue be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit...'

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Andrewes and Obscurity

I have a quotation below from Andrewes that is very obscure. What does he mean with the phrase ad cadaver (to the corpse) concering our 'lifting up.' This quotation is found within the context of Andrewes speaking of the Eucharistic offering. I have recently written quite a bit on Andrewes's view of the Eucharistic Sacrifice having a Godward direction as the memorial that is also a 'peace offering' and 'passover' where the 'death angel' passes over us via the blood outpoured. He speaks of the Eucharist as 'peaceable' and 'eucharistic' which the prior would imply propitiatory in some sense. Much like Trent, Andrewes argues that there is a great need for a Sacrifice as our nature demands it. But, here is the quotation that is so obscure:
If an host could be turned into Him now glorified as He is, it would not serve; Christ offered is it, [John 3.14] thither we must look. To the Serpent lift up, thither we must repair, even ad cadaver; we must hoc facere, do that is then done. So, and no otherwise, is this epulare to be conceived. And so, I think, none will say they do or can turn Him.
The phrase ad cadaver quite obscure to say the least. What Andrewes is getting at seems to point to Christ as Victim in the Sacrifice, not as he now is in his glorified state, but as he then was even when he hung on the cross. I am still working through this part in light of his view of sacrifice as a whole.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Christian Fellowship

Image and video hosting by TinyPic'If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith,and difficulty; if, on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.' Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community.

Sacramental Signification

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In E.L. Mascall's book Corpus Christi, he mentions Vonier's book on The Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist. This is an excellent book and I can only believe that after looking deeply in Andrewes's Eucharistic theology that he would have been in agreement with much of the theology found there. Mascall comments on this work with the following:
The missing factor can, I believe, be found in the work of another Roman Catholic writer, Abbot Anscar Vonier, whose book A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist was published in 1925. For Vonier, the fundamental fact about the Eucharist is the fact that it is a sacrament; and the fundamental fact about a sacrament is the fact that it is a sign, albeit a sign of a very special kind. Now the purpose of a sign is to represent; and the purpose of that particular kind of sign which is a sacrament is to re-present, to make present, to effect, that which is represented. A sacrament is a sign which has effective causality, a sign which brings about that which it signifies. Furthermore—and this is Vonier's special contribution to the discussion—sacramental efficacy is an altogether unique type of effective causality and it must not be confused with other types. It is, of course, supernatural, but not all supernatural causality is sacramental. 'If', writes Vonier, 'the priest at the altar brought down Christ from heaven in his natural state as a full-grown man, this would not be a sacrament in the least, as it would lack the very essence of the sacrament, representative signification.' And again, the sacramental world is a new world created by God, entirely different from the world of nature and even from the world of spirits. It would be bad theology to say that in the sacraments we have here on earth modes of spiritual realities which resemble the ways of the angels. We have nothing of the kind. If we spoke with the tongues of angels and men it would not help us in the least to express the sacramental realities. Sacraments are a new creation with entirely new laws. 94 95
There is little to no disagreement with this theology of Sacramental Signification that one finds in Andrewes's theology. Andrewes really does re-capture a Catholic Sacramental theology that needs visiting again and in fresh way to see how using him in ecumenical dialogue with Catholic bodies would be a helpful benefit to the Church in the area of ecumenical dialogue.
    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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