Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Catholic liturgist who had never heard of the Te Deum

"I was present back in the 90s at the ordination in Fort Worth Cathedral (Texas) of a former Anglican priest who had been received into the Catholic Church with his people (virtually all of them came). It was a moving event; and afterwards, back at the parish church . . . his first Mass was celebrated, and was followed by the singing of the Te Deum, of course in the old 1662 Prayer Book translation, and sung to the famous setting by Charles Villiers Stanford. The 'diocesan liturgist', who was present, presumably, to make sure that no reactionary enormities were perpetrated, asked me at the reception afterwards about the Te Deum, of which (I’m not making this up) she (a supposed liturgist) had never heard. 'Is that a typically Anglican prayer, would you say?', she asked me, quizzically."

     William Oddie, "Curiouser and curiouser:  the Pope has now turned the Book of Common Prayer (well, quite a bit of it) into a Catholic liturgy" (8 June 2011).  The Te Deum has been dated to the early 5th century.  I don't know that this (rather than, say, the one in C) is the Stanford setting Oddie considers the famous one.  Cf. Kreeft:  "When God saw that the Church in America lacked persecutions, he sent them liturgists."
     For a recent re-translation of the Te Deum, see Worship 90, no. 5 (September 2016):  462-469.

Mascall on "the exhibitionism of dogmatic nudists"

"acquaintance with the theological world in recent years leads one to suspect that the supply of heresies is beginning to run dry.  The old favorites tend to reappear, though wearing new costumes and bearing new names; or else some worn-out relic is galvanised into a temporary paroxysm.  So, together with the resuscitation 'for positively the last time' (though it never is in fact the last time) of zombies which one hoped had been permanently laid to rest by Athanasius or Augustine, we have the exhibitionism of dogmatic nudists, who try to outstrip one another in their professions of unbelief."

E. L. Mascall, in his Foreword to Thomas G. Weinandy's Does God change?  The Word's becoming in the Incarnation (Still River, MA:  St. Bede's Publications, 1985), ix.

"It is how you tell their stories that matters."

"'Don't you think those netsuke should stay in Japan?' said a stern neighbor of mine in London.  And I find I am shaking as I answer, because this matters."I tell her that there are plenty of netsuke in the world, sitting in velvet-lined trays in dealers' cabinets off Bond Street or Madison Avenue, Keizersgracht or the Ginza.  Then I get a bit side-tracked onto the Silk Road, and then onto Alexander the Great's coins still being in circulation in the Hindu Kush in the nineteenth century.  I tell her about travelling with my partner Sue in Ethiopia, and finding an old Chinese jar covered in dust in a market town and trying to work out how it had got there.
"No, I answer.  Objects have always been carried, sold, bartered, stolen, retrieved and lost.  People have always given gifts.  It is how you tell their stories that matters."

Edmund De Waal, The hare with amber eyes:  a family's century of art and loss (New York, NY:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), 348.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Fathers on the continuing indaba and mutual listening (and other such failures to fish)

"Now, if they who hold such views have authority to meet, your wisdom approved in Christ must see that, inasmuch as we do not approve their views, any permission of assembly granted to them is nothing less than a declaration that their view is thought more true than ours.  For if they are permitted to teach their view as godly men, and with all confidence to preach their doctrine, it is manifest that the doctrine of the Church has been condemned, as though the truth were on their side.  For nature does not admit of two contrary doctrines on the same subject being both true.  How[,] then, could your noble and lofty mind submit to suspend your usual courage in regard to the correction of so great an evil?  But even though there is no precedent for such a course, let your inimitable perfection in virtue stand up at a crisis like the present, and teach our most pious emperor that no gain will come from his zeal for the Church on other points if he allows such an evil to gain strength from freedom of speech for the subversion of sound faith."

     Gregory of Nazianzus, Epistle 202 to Nectarius, Bishop of Constantinople, trans. Charles Gordon Browne and James Edward Swallow (Christology of the later Fathers, ed. Edward Rochie Hardy and Cyril C. Richardson, Library of Christian classics 3 (Philadelphia, PA:  The Westminster Press, 1954), 231-232).  The views in question were those of Apollinaris, who was asserting 1) "that the carnal nature was in the Son from the beginning", 2) "that the Godhead of the only begotten fulfills the function of mind, and is the third part of this human composite," and 3) "that the only-begotten God . . . is mortal, and underwent the Passion in his proper Godhead", and of course death as well (231).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

God is still incarnate

"If any assert that he has now put off his holy flesh, and that his Godhead is stripped of the body, and deny that he is now with his body and will come again with it, let him not see the glory of his coming."

     Gregory of Nazianzus, Epistle 101 to Cledonius against Apollinaris, trans. Charles Gordon Browne and James Edward Swallow (Christology of the later fathers, ed. Edward Rochie Hardy and Cyril C. Richardson, Library of Christian classics 3 (Philadelphia, PA:  The Westminster Press, 1954), 218).