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Monday, February 19, 2007

Growing Together: Catholics and Anglicans

My current research includes two chapters on Eucharistic sacrifice. One is Andrewes' theology and understanding of Eucharistic sacrifice and the other is seeing Andrewes as a catalyst for ecumenism today. Earlier today, the commission on ministry together between Anglicans and Catholics made public a 40-plus page document on unity. What this statement says and what I have discovered in Andrewes proves my thesis that Andrewes was the progenitor of ecumenism on this issue that I am convinced he was. Here is the statement on the Eucharist found in the document Growing Together in Communion and Mission.
We agree that the Eucharist is the memorial (anamnesis) of the crucified and risen Christ, of the entire work of reconciliation God has accomplished in him.84 By memorial, Anglicans and Catholics both intend not merely a calling to mind of what God has done in the past but an effectual sacramental proclamation, which through the action of the Holy Spirit makes present what has been accomplished and promised once-and-for-all. In this sense, then, there is only one historical, unrepeatable sacrifice, offered once for all by Christ and accepted once for all by the Father, which cannot be repeated or added to.85 The eucharistic memorial, however, makes present this once-and-for-all sacrifice of Christ. It is therefore possible to say that “the Eucharist is a sacrifice in the sacramental sense, provided that it is clear that this is not a repetition of the historical sacrifice.”86 “In the Eucharistic Prayer, the Church continues to make a perpetual memorial of Christ’s death, and his members, united with God and one another, give thanks for all his mercies, entreat the benefits of his passion on behalf of the whole Church, participate in these benefits, and enter into the movement of his self-offering.”87 The action of the Church in the eucharistic celebration “adds nothing to the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross” but is rather a fruit of that sacrifice. In the eucharistic celebration Christ’s one sacrifice is made present for us.88

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    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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