Sunday, August 30, 2015

"help[ing] real scoundrels . . . do their dirty work"

"In the name of the modern need for free information, people are ready to be taken in by . . . legends that would have made Gregory of Tours pale, without a shadow of the critical spirit.  Moreover, once they have contributed towards their public accreditation, out of false shame they refuse their minimum duty to the truth, in that they have helped real scoundrels to do their dirty work, by their blundering stupidity."

     Louis Bouyer, The decomposition of Catholicism, trans. Charles Underhill Quinn (Chicago:  Franciscan Herald Press, 1969 [1968]), 9.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

St. John the Baptist, witness to a truth about marriage

Andrea Solario, Wikimedia Commons
     The post-Vatican II Missal and Breviary gave us, on the Feast of the Passion (or Beheading, Decollation) of St. John the Baptist, slightly more (in their Collects, e.g.) of what we need in our time than the pre-Vatican II Missal and Breviary had done (I include also the Anglican Collect):

Antiphon, Invitatory (Liturgy of the hours):

Come, let us worship the Lamb of God on this feast of Saint John[,] who went before Christ in life and in death.

Agnum Dei, quem in passione Ioannes præcessit, venite, adoremus.

The Lamb of God, whom in [his] passion [too] John has gone before, Come, let us adore.

Second Reading, Office of readings (Liturgy of the hours):
There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him.  His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth.  Nevertheless, he died for Christ.  Does Christ not say:  I am the truth?  Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ (Homily 23 of St. Bede, Liturgy of the hours, citing CCSL 122, pp. 354, 356-357).

Neque enim dubitandum est quia beatus Ioannes pro Redemptoris nostri, quem præcurrebat testimonio, carcerem et vincula sustinuit pro ipso et animam posuit, cui non est dictum a persecutore ut Christum negaret sed ut veritatem reticeret; et tamen pro Christo occubuit.  Quia enim Christus ipse ait:  Ego sum veritas, ideo utique pro Christo, quia pro veritate sanguinem fudit.

Responsory to Reading 2, Office of Readings (Liturgy of the hours):
Herod sent out a band of men to arrest John
and had him chained and imprisoned
on account of his brother Philip's wife, Herodias, whom he had married.
He sent an executioner who beheaded John in prison.
On account of his brother Philip's wife, Herodias, whom he had married.

R/. Misit Herodes rex ac tenuit Ioannem et vinxit eum in carcere, * Propter Herodiadem, uxorem fratris sui, quia duxerat eam.
V/. Misso spiculatore, decollavit eum in carcere. * Propter.

Responsory to Reading 1, Matins (Breviary, 1960):
R. Herod the King sent forth, and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison, for he feared him, for Herodias' sake,
* His brother Philip's wife, for he had married her.
V. For John had rebuked Herod, for Herodias' sake.
R. His brother Philip's wife, for he had married her.

R. Misit Herodes rex manus, ac tenuit Ioannem, et vinxit eum in carcere, quia metuebat eum, propter Herodiadem,

* Quam tulerat fratri suo Philippo uxorem.
V. Arguebat Herodem Ioannes propter Herodiadem.
R. Quam tulerat fratri suo Philippo uxorem.

Antiphon to Psalm/Canticle 2, Morning Prayer (Liturgy of the hours):

Herod feared John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and guarded him carefully.

Responsory to Reading 2, Matins (Breviary, 1960):
R. John the Baptist had rebuked Herod,
* For Herodias' sake, his brother's wife, whom he had married while his brother was yet alive.
V. Herod sent an executioner, and commanded to behead John in the prison.
R. For Herodias' sake, his brother's wife, whom he had married while his brother was yet alive.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For Herodias' sake, his brother's wife, whom he had married while his brother was yet alive.

R. Ioannes Baptista arguebat Herodem

* Propter Herodiadem, quam tulerat fratri suo viventi uxorem.
V. Misso Herodes speculatore, praecepit amputari caput Ioannis in carcere.
R. Propter Herodiadem, quam tulerat fratri suo viventi uxorem.

Antiphon to Psalm/Canticle 3, Morning Prayer (Liturgy of the hours):
Although John's words disturbed him greatly, Herod enjoyed listening to John.

Reading 3, Matins (Breviary, 1960; St. Ambrose, Treatise concerning virgins):
We must not hurry past the record of blessed Baptist John. We must ask what he was; by whom he was slain; and why and how. He was a righteous man, murdered for his righteousness by adulterers. He was a judge, who suffered condemnation to death by the guilty ones because he had justly judged their guilt. He was the prophet whose death was a fee paid to a dancing-girl for a lascivious dance. And lastly a thing from which even savages would shrink his head was served up as a dish at a banquet. For the order to commit the atrocity was given amid the merriment of a dinner-party; and the servants of the murderer introduced the murder amid the courses of the meal, running from banquet to prison, and from prison to banquet! See how many infamies are contained in this one crime.

Quóniam beáti Ioánnis Baptístæ non strictim prætereúnda est recordátio, ínterest ut quis et a quibus et quam ob causam, quo modo et quo témpore sit occísus, advértere debeámus. Ab adúlteris iustus occíditur, et a reis in iúdicem capitális scéleris poena convértitur. Deínde præmium saltatrícis, mors est Prophétæ. Postrémo (quod étiam omnes bárbari horrére consuevérunt) inter épulas atque convívia consummándæ crudelitátis profértur edíctum; et a convívio ad cárcerem, de cárcere ad convívium ferális flagítii circumfértur obséquium. Quanta in uno facínore sunt crímina!

Collect (Liturgy of the hours, new Roman Missal):
O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist
should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death,
grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice,
we, too, may fight hard for the confession of what you teach (2010 translation of the Roman Missal).

God our Father,
you called John the Baptist
to be the herald of your Son's birth and death.
As he gave his life in witness to truth and justice,
so may we strive to profess our faith in your gospel.

Deus, qui beatum Ioannem Baptistam et nascentis et morientis Filii tui Præcursorem esse voluisti, concede, ut, sicut ille veritatis et iustitiæ martyr occubuit, ita et nos pro tuæ confessione doctrinæ strenue certemus.

O God, who willed that Blessed John the Baptist be [and remain (voluisti, a perfect)] the Precursor of both the being-born and the dying of your Son, grant that, as he fell in death a witness to the truth and to conduct in accordance with the divine law [(iustitiae)], so we, too, may contend strenuously for the confession of your teaching [(confessio became "an acknowledgment of Christ under torture" or suffering)].

Collect (1962 Roman Missal):
May the holy festival of Thy Forerunner and Martyr, St John the Baptist, we beseech Thee, O Lord, afford us help unto salvation.

Sancti Joannis Baptistae Praecursoris et Martyris tui, quaesumus, Domine, veneranda festivitas salutaris auxilii nobis praestet effectum.

Antiphons, Lauds (Breviary, 1960):
Ant. For Herod had laid hold upon John, * and bound him, and put him in prison, for Herodias' sake.
Ant. Herodes enim tenuit * et ligavit Ioannem, et posuit in carcerem propter Herodiadem.

Ant. O Lord my King, * give me in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
Ant. Domine mi rex, * da mihi in disco caput Ioannis Baptistae.

Ant. The damsel danced, * and her mother charged her saying See thou ask nothing, but only the head of John.
Ant. Puellae saltanti * imperavit mater: Nihil aliud petas, nisi caput Ioannis.

Ant. John had rebuked Herod for Herodias' sake, * his brother Philip's wife, for he had taken her.
Ant. Arguebat Herodem * Ioannes propter Herodiadem, quam tulerat fratri suo Philippo uxorem.

Ant. Give me in a charger the head of John the Baptist. * And the King was sorry, for his oath's sake.
Ant. Da mihi in disco * caput Ioannis Baptistae: et contristatus est rex propter iusiurandum.

To the Benedictus:
Ant. Herod sent * an executioner, and commanded that John's head should be cut off in the prison. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
Ant. Misso Herodes * spiculatore, praecepit amputari caput Ioannis in carcere. Quo audito, discipuli eius venerunt, et tulerunt corpus eius, et posuerunt illud in monumento.

Antiphon to Psalm/Canticle 2, Evening Prayer (Liturgy of the hours):
He sent an executioner to behead John who was in prison.

Antiphon to Psalm/Canticle 3, Evening Prayer (Liturgy of the hours):
The disciples of John came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Intercessions, Evening Prayer (Liturgy of the hours):
You called John the Baptist to give testimony to you by his life and even by his death,
help us to imitate his unceasing witness to your truth.

Tu, qui per martyrium Ioannis iustitiam vindicare voluisti,

—fac nos veritatem tuam indeficienter testificari.

You who, by the testimony [and martyrdom] of John, willed to demand [(vindicare)] righteousness,
—cause us to bear witness to your truth unfailingly.

Collect (The Episcopal Church):

Almightie God, by whose prouidence thy seruaunte John Baptiste was wonderfully borne, and sente to prepare the way of thy sonne our sauiour, by preaching of penaunce; make us so to folowe his doctrine and holy lyfe, that we may truely repent accordying to his preachyng; and after his example constantly speake the trueth, boldly rebuke vice, and paciently suffre for the truethes sake (1549 Book of common prayer).

Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Saviour by preaching repentance:  Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake (Lesser feasts and fasts 2000).

Friday, August 28, 2015

Give a man a fish. No, I mean it: Give a man a fish!

     "It is on the basis of this dual critique of both politically oriented action and of regnant ideas about sustainable development that Scherz seeks to redeem the status of 'small present-oriented acts of care.'  In the final paragraphs of her book, Scherz urges readers who are concerned with helping the poor to position themselves in such a way as to make relationships of dependence possible, to '[be] someone others might attach themselves to.'  This is a radical revaluation of the term 'dependence,' which has so long been the bugbear of development efforts.  Rather than willing those in poverty to be able to help themselves, one commits to being a helper; rather than decrying such assistance as unsustainable, one commits to sustaining it.  Here small acts emerge as compelling because they are socially productive, giving rise to the sort of relationships that have the power to effect real changechange that, importantly, resonates especially well in many of the places where development projects are positioned."

     Naomi Haynes, reviewing Having people, having heart:  charity, sustainable development, and problems of dependence in Central Uganda, by China Scherz (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2014), in "The perils and power of charity, or, In praise of small acts," Books and culture 21, no. 5 (September/October 2015):  13 (12-13).

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"to love what you command and to desire what you promise"

"O God, who cause the minds of the faithful
to unite in a single purpose,
grant your people to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, amid the uncertainties of this world,
our hearts may be fixed on that place
where true gladness is found.
Through. . . ."

"Deus, qui fidelium mentes unius efficis voluntatis,
da populis tuis id amare quod praecipis,
id desiderare quod promittis,
ut, inter mundanas varietates,
ibi nostra fixa sint corda, ubi vera sunt gaudia.
Per. . . ."

     Collect for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (2010), as well as Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Roman missal.
     Corpus orationum no. 1633A-B (vol. 2, pp. 338-339):  Gelasian sacramentary, as well as others from the 8th century (Gellon 925; Prag 114,1; Rhen 554; et al.); Bruylants no. 342 (vol. 2, p. ).

"Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners:  Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through. . . ."

     Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Contemporary), Book of common prayer (1979).

"O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise, that so among the sundry, and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found, through. . . ."

     Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Easter, Book of common prayer (1662), as reproduced in The book of common prayer:  the texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662, ed. Brian Cummings (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2011), 330.

"Almightie God, whiche doest make the myndes of all faythfull men to be of one wil; graunt unto thy people, that they maye loue the thyng, whiche thou commaundest, and desyre, that whiche thou doest promes; that emong the sondery and manifold chaunges of the worlde, oure heartes maye surely there bee fixed, wheras true ioyes are to be founde; through.  . .

     Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Easter, Book of common prayer (1549), as reproduced in The first and second prayer books of Edward  VI, Everyman's library 448 (London:  J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.; New York:  E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1938 [1910]), 123.

help us to seek the values
that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world.
In our desire for what you promise
make us one in mind and heart.

     Collect for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (1973), as well as Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Roman missal, as reproduced by Fr. Z.

"No one heals himself by wounding another."

"nemo alium uulnerando se sanat."

     St. Ambrose of Milan, Explanatio psalmorum XII 37.46.  CSEL 64, ed. Petschenig (1919), p. 174; PL 14, col. 1033.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


"'The ambition of th[is] clever man was therefore fulfilled in this one [respect], at least, that he to whom it had been denied to make a contribution to the bibliography of the Reformers had now [seriously] complicated also the work of others in his favorite sphere.  For whenever a Luther autographnot already described [as such] before Kyrieleis' timeis noticed in a book, its lucky discoverer must now cry out in anxious [self-]doubt, "Kyrieleis?"'"

"'Dem Ehrgeiz des geschickten Mannes ist also wenigstens das eine gelungen, daß er, dem es versagt war, sich mit seinen Beiträgen zur Reformatorenbibliographie durchzusetzen, nun auch die Arbeiten der anderen auf seinem Lieblingsgebiete gestört hat.  Denn überall, wo ein Lutherautogramm in einem Buche erscheint, das nicht schon vor Herrn Kyrieleis Tagen beschrieben wurde, muß dessen glücklicher Entdecker jetzt mit bangen Zweifeln ausrufen:  Kyrieleis?'"

     G. A. E. Bogeng, “Bibliophiliana XLIV,” Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde n.F. 8, no. 1 (1916):  Sp. 297, as quoted in Manfred Koschlig, "Widmungsexemplare Martin Luthers - Kyrieleis fecit (1893-96)," Philobiblon:  eine Vierteljahresschrift für Bach- und Graphiksammler 14, no. 4 (1970):  221-222 (217-258).

Friday, August 21, 2015

"Many men are said to be merciful, | but how often do we find one who is faithful to his duty? | The great quality of a steward is to be faithful to his duty."

Multi homines misericordes vocantur, virum autem fidelem quis inveniet?

     Responsory to the first reading for a priest, Office of readings, Common of pastors, Liturgy of the hours, vol. 4, p. 1753.
     I find this striking when read as follows:
Many men are called merciful, but who meets with a faithful man?
But it could also be read in this way:
Many men are called merciful, but who [ever actually] meets with a faithful man?
The Latin isless the question markan exact quotation of the Vulgate of Prov 20:6:
multi homines misericordes vocantur virum autem fidelem quis inveniet
Or, in the Douay translation,
Many men are called merciful:  but who shall find a faithful man?
The Septuagint is close:
Humankind is something great, and a compassionate man something precious, | but to find a faithful man is a chore.
μέγα ἄνθρωπος καὶ τίμιον ἀνὴρ ἐλεήμων, ἄνδρα δὲ πιστὸν ἔργον εὑρεῖν.
But the Hebrew that lies behind the RSV is not:
Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, | but a faithful man who can find?
רָב־אָדָ֗ם יִ֭קְרָא אִ֣ישׁ חַסְדֹּ֑ו וְאִ֥ישׁ אֱ֝מוּנִ֗ים מִ֣י יִמְצָֽא  
     I must therefore conclude that the responsory should really be read in the second way, with an emphasis on the distinction between claim and reality rather than on the idea that fidelity is harder to come by than mercy (since the noun אֱמוּנָה "is closely associated with the divine חֶסֶד" (BDB, sv אֱמוּנָה)).  And that despite the fact that it does seem to be easier to find a "merciful" man (so-called) than one who is faithful to his duty regardless of what (in our time, at least) the world calls "mercy"!
    (But why is אֱ֝מוּנִ֗ים (a passive participle) plural?)