Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why Should I Even Respond?

Over at Reformed Catholicism, Mr. Escalante, in his characteristic way of poking people with his barbs lacks any ability of true dialogue. He knows better than us all so why even bother with people like this? Every scholar I have read on Andrewes (Anglican, Roman Catholic Jesuit, Eastern Orthodox) disagrees with him on how he has framed the arguments in addition to his continual refusal to see the evidence that is before his eyes. Nobody argues that the Caroline Divines believed in transubstantiation or in localized presence. Mr. Escalante's arguments are further proof of his philosphical commitment to nominalistic categories.

The Caroline Divines denied the use of the word (transubstantiation) due to its absence in the Fathers in the first 400 years and in scripture. Therefore, this 'how' of presence should not be made a test for faith. By the way, does anybody else--who has ever read at any depth in sacramental theology--believe that a realistic view of presence ever thought about teaching that Jesus leaves heaven? Why should I even chase such red herrings? I shouldn't and I am not! Mr. Escalante can go read Aquinas for himself and find the references to what is meant by real presence. With regards to his thorough analysis on "Andrewes' Calvinist sacramentology", I simply ask the reader to examine closely the comments on your own (you'll have to search the RC site for them) to see who answered what.

In case the reader may think I simply want to cop out because Mr. Escalante has proven me wrong, I will leave a quotation or two from Andrewes from his Responsio ad Bellarmine. Let the reader understand.

Durandus it is told to have formerly said, it does not displease us: we hear a word, we perceive a movement, we do not know the mode, we believe in the presence. Presence (I say) we rightly believe, we believe in real presence no less than you. About the mode of presence we define nothing rashly, I add, we do not anxiously investigate; which is not more than, in our baptism, how the blood of Christ cleanses us: which is not more than, in the incarnation of Christ, how the human nature is united to the Divine nature in the same hypostasis. We place it amongst the mysteries, and indeed the Eucharist is a mystery itself as elegantly put amongst the first Fathers, it should be worshiped by faith and not discussed with reason....But he says, the thing itself still, though nameless, is used by the Fathers against which our Jesuits deny that the Fathers ever dealt with the matter of Transubstantiation. The matter of Transubstantiation is for him a change of the substance. And he summons several witnesses to this matter. And this still, (whether there is a conversion of the substance) not long before the Lateran Council the Master of the Sentences himself says, I am not able to define. Indeed all witnesses speak about an alteration [mutatione], a replacement [immutatione], a change about [transmutatione]. But in the Substance or of the substance there is nothing mentioned. But also the preposition there Trans we do not deny: we also allow for the elements to be changed. We truly look for Substantial, we discover it nowhere. (My translation)

In a sermon on the Incarnation Andrewes writes:
Of the Sacrament we may well say, Hoc erit signum. For a sign it is, and by it invenietis Puerum, 'ye shall find this Child.' For finding His flesh and blood, ye cannot miss but find Him too. And a sign, not much from this here. For Christ in the Sacrament is not altogether unlike Christ in the cratch. To the cratch we may well liken the husk or outward symbols of it. Outwardly it seems little worth, but it is rich of contents, as was the crib this day with Christ in it. For what are they but infirma et egena elementa, 'weak and poor elements' of themselves? Yet in them find we Christ. Even as they did this day in praesepi jumentorum panem angelorum, 'in the beasts' crib the food of angels,' which very food our signs both represent and present unto us.

Let me add something due to some comments below by Kevin (whose desires are honourable). Andrewes (along with all the other Caroline Divines) absolutely denied transubstantiation. YOu could lose your head for coming close to teaching it (oops, Laud along with his king did). Andrewes denied transubstantiation as the modus of presence not the reality of presence. The doctrine of real presence within the elements is clearly seen throughout his writings and sermons. The quotations above further show Andrewes' realistic language of which myself and Dr. Brian Douglas have aruged all along. For Andrewes, the sacrament consists of a heavenly and earthly part, the res sacramenti and the signum sacramenti, the signum and the signatum, which are united together without either being "evacuate or turned into the other" as are the two natures of Christ (Andrewes' words). Andrewes aruges this position following the realistic language of Irenaeus of whom reference is made in the Christmas sermon where his view is clearly stated. Andrewes says, 'Christ in the Eucharist is really present and truly to be adored, that is to say the res sacramenti,...and yet none of us adore the sacrament.' Well, who argues for the latter? It's interesting that Andrewes says this and then goes on in his notes on the BCP where he genuflects three times at the altar at the moment of the Eucharistic celebration. If Rome believed that they could worship the elements, then any of the Reformers would be right to condemn them as charged. But the whole point of Christ being present in the sacrament, according to Andrewes, is so that the 'who' and not the 'what' is worshipped, offered and received.

What Mr. Escalante puts into Dr. Douglas' and my mouth is an argument that says Christ is 'naturally' present in the Eucharist as he is in heaven. That is not what is meant by the word verum. He makes the mistake of claiming that red herring as my argument when neither I nor Dr. Douglas ever made such claims when we speak of a realist view of presence in the Sacrament. Mr. Escalante claims that we argue a view where Christ is somehow 'naturally' squeezed into the Eucharistic elements. The problem with this claim is that nobody believes it and to keep repeating it gets us away from dealing with the real issue. Andrewes uses the metaphor of the Eucharist as a 'conduit pipe' 'to convey into us all the benefits that come by our Saviour. ' If you want to argue that Calvin and Andrewes agree with a realist view of presence then I am more than happy to see that proof. This was Mr. Escalante's original thesis. I would like to see where Calvin takes such a high view of consecration (not to mention sacrifice) if you want to argue that the two are the same in their views. Andrewes writes,
That hath a special Cum of itself, peculiar to it. Namely, that we be so with Him, as He this day was ‘with us;’ that was in flesh, not in spirit only. That flesh that was conceived and this day born, (Corpus aptasti Mihi,) that body that was this day fitted to Him. And if we be not with Him thus, if this His flesh be not “with us,” if we partake it not, which was soever else we be with Him, we come short of the Im of this day. Im otherwise it may be, but not that way which is proper to this feast. This, as it is most proper, so it is the most straight and near that can be—the surest being withall that can be. Nihil tam nobiscum, tam nostrum, quam alimentum
‘nothing so with us, so ours, as that we eat and drink down,’ which goeth, and growth one with us. For alimentum et alitum do coalescere in unum, ‘grow into an union;’ that union is inseperable ever after...This then I commend to you, even the being with Him in the Sacrament of His Body—that Body that was conceived and born, as for other ends so for this specially, to be “with you;” and this day, as for other intents, so even for this, for the Holy Eucharist. This, as the kindliest for the time, as the surest for the manner of being with.


Blogger Brian Douglas said...

Well said Jeffrey. I agree with all you have said and indeed your reading (and many other scholars) of Andrewes and the Caroline Divines.

11:01 am  
Blogger Kevin D. Johnson said...

Personally, I'm a little disappointed with this response.

I don't believe Peter would mind me sharing that he actually called me and asked whether or not the post was too abrasive (with the intent of making sure it was well received by you and Fr. Douglas and would spur discussion) and I encouraged him in thinking that what was more important was the actual content of what was being presented and that you guys would be able to look past anything that even resembled a caustic response to what you have put forward in the past. I suppose now that I was wrong on this point.

However, I've found that we don't have the luxury of making sure our theological discussion partners respond the way we want them to and for my part I feel like here we have a situation where Peter has put forward the very effort you asked of him in earlier discussions and now as a response you cry foul. It's not as if you put forward your view without some amount of polemic in kind. Why not graciously allow a similar posture on the part of those who would disagree with you and Fr. Douglas?

I would prefer a posture on the part of both parties that engendered a gracious response and an actual response to what has been put forward.

At the very least, however the comments by Peter were framed, the material Peter has put forward is substantial and to wave it away by claiming it is not true dialogue is certainly not dealing with the substance of his remarks. The quotes he provides and the interpretive framework regarding them--whatever state the dialogue is in--puts a question mark in the legitimacy of the standard interpretations regarding men like Andrewes and their supposed commitment to an Anglo-Catholic point of view.

Now, I suppose you and Fr. Douglas can ignore the comments and quotes Peter has put forward but in essence he has done the very thing you asked for originally in providing some sort of substantiation of his view and the quotes to go along with it. It's regrettable to me that the tone of the discussion has skewed our ability to really examine the legitimacy of either side of this most interesting (and to me, most valuable) debate.

Last, I also don't appreciate the comments you have for ReformedCatholicism.com about the pot calling the kettle black when dealing with so-called "TR's". True, we have had our moments when in the heat of dialogue we have unfortunately responded in kind to our brothers on the TR side of the fence, however our overall purpose, aim, conduct, and I believe general rule of thumb in terms of dealing with them has been one of patience and dare I say longsuffering.

I am hopeful that as Christian brothers we can put any unintended acrimony aside (and in Peter's case, I know for a fact that there are no such feelings towards you, Fr. Douglas, or this discussion) and graciously flesh the substance of this dialogue out so that more people know and understand the wonderful theological heritage we have in the Caroline Divines.

Can we not work together in that regard?

In Christ,
Kevin D. Johnson

1:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I find this response a bit odd provided you have what Mr. Escalante wrote on his blog. He has not provided the "evidence" of Andrewes' Calvinism and my response is one that shows Andrewes' realistic views of presence.

The earlier debate was on sacrifice and that basically Andrewes was a Calvinist in his position. You go back and read the comments where myself and Dr. Douglas have responded and provided the differences between the authors and see who responded. I am in the middle of the hardest part of my work right now and honestly do not have the time to give it much space in my schedule. I am trying to finish my PhD by the end of summer so I do not feel it my calling to convince Mr. Escalante. Dr. Douglas and myself will hopefully be putting together a project soon after I have finished my work and maybe that can get the discussion going in a more open and public academic setting. Until then, my blogging activity is very limited.

Saying that, you look again at the tone of Mr. Escalante again. He was obviously concerned enough to call you ask about it. Maybe Dr. Douglas can have more to say at this time but I believe he is quite busy as well.

Thanks for the interest nonetheless.

2:08 pm  
Blogger Kevin D. Johnson said...

No one is asking you or Fr. Douglas to convince Peter.

I'm merely asking to open the lines of discussion again and to deal with the material Peter has put forward. I'm also not asking for a book length response that would take you away from your studies (and congratulations, btw, on nearing the end!) but merely giving us the time of day and the privilege of interacting with you regarding what Peter has put forward.

Among other things, your studies and your perspective make your point of view on behalf of the history of the matter something very valuable for those of us who are not so well read in these areas or who do not have the time to sink our teeth into the Latin originals. Your commentary is welcome and very much desirable and I am quite sure Peter would say no less.

2:20 pm  
Blogger Kevin D. Johnson said...

BTW, I guess I'm missing something but in the two quotes you have above, I don't see conclusive evidence in Andrewes' comments that there is a physical change from bread to Body in any sense which approaches the more Catholic understanding of the matter.

There is, like Calvin puts forward, a change in the sense of significance--but the sign--the physical reality--of bread is still in existence after the change. And this fits with the analogy of the "cratch" which does not disappear merely because the Blessed Mother put our Lord in it.

But, again, what am I missing?

2:32 pm  
Blogger Kevin D. Johnson said...


Given your updated post (and thank you by the way), does this mean the only difference in terms of "Real Presence" between Calvin and Andrewes is a matter of local versus heavenly presence?

I realize that doesn't treat the other issues such as sacrifice and the import of the Supper, but in terms of the Real Presence--I'm trying to find the divergence in views here and if what you say is true, then is it really unreasonable to note too much of a difference between the two divines?

Again, I appreciate your comments and willingness to go further than you initially went. Lord bless...

4:40 pm  
Blogger Brian Douglas said...


With Jeff's permission I offer the following on your comments above. I am certainly not arguing for a physical change in the elements. Indeed it is my reading of the Carolines and other Anglican theologians that they never do this. In fact very few theologians (perhaps no reputable ones) of any tradition have ever said such a thing - certainly not Aquinas in the Catholic tradition. The idea that there is a change from bread to Body in some physical or carnal sense is not my opinion nor one I have ever put. The difference as I see it (and I am not an expert on Calvin) is that Calvin speaks of the communicant raising heart and mind to heaven where the communion takes place by faith. Andrewes (and many other Anglican theologians) does not take this view, but speaks instead of Christ's nature being instantiated (my interpretation) in the bread and wine of the Eucharist, like the nature of Christ was instantiated in person of Jesus in the cratch (to follow Andrewes analogy). The difference here relates to the linking of the signs of the Eucharist with what they signify in the Eucharist and thus becoming the vehicles of grace and the focus of a mystical but real presence of Christ in the Eucharist on earth. Calvin, as I understand him, does not argue in this realist manner, nor does he link sign and signified in this way. Calvin, as you suggest, argues for 'a change in the sense of significance'. I am arguing (and many Anglican theologians are arguing - see my web site) that the bread remains bread but that in a realist philosophical framework that God chooses to work through the bread and wine in the Eucharist by focusing or instantiating the nature of Christ in the signs such that they become a real presence of Christ and the vehicles of grace. This, to my mind, is quite distinct from any view of sacramental significance by faith alone, such as Calvin may put or other reformed theologians may adopt.

I am very reluctant to re-enter this discussion but have done so in response to your comments and in an attempt to be clearer. My view from my own research is that in the Anglican eucharistic tradition there is a multiformity of view (as Christopher Cocksworth argues) and that both realist and non-realist (nominalist as I call them) views are found in the tradition. The matter of concern for me is that everyone needs to acknowledge this multiformity (and this is a feature of my research thesis) but that at the same time moderate realism ( that is, not the fleshy sort of realism that argues bread becomes body but the mystical but nonetheless real presence) is the predominant view of the Anglican tradition. I am firm on the view (from the case studies on my web site) that there is a multiformity of view in the Anglican eucharistic tradition and such a situation requires dialogue but never acrimony. What I reject is the idea that there is only one view - either mine or someone else's view. I do hope this helps the dialogue.

9:36 am  
Anonymous john scholasticus said...


You have technical problems on this blog-site. It's very frustrating for commentators: can you get them fixed?


7:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What exactly is happening? I looked all through the blog and I cannot find what it might be. Can you tell me what is happening please?

7:55 pm  

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