Saturday, May 17, 2014

"flesh is but the glasse, which holds the dust | That measures all our time; . . ."

     George Herbert, "Church monuments," The temple.


"These laugh at Jeat, and Marble put for signes". 

"the religious tradition does not come into our law and our lives as a set of eccentric 'beliefs,' merely begging for indulgence and exemptions to the laws laid down for others. Rather, our religious teaching has formed the deep moral reserve on which the law has drawn."

     Hadley Arkes, "Recasting religious freedom," First things no. 244 (June/July 2014):  47, 51 (45-51), italics mine.
     Cf. Horace, Odes III.xxiv.35-36:  "quid leges sine moribus vanae proficiunt?", "What do empty laws without morals profit/accomplish?"  Reduced to the words in bold, this later became the motto of the University of Pennsylvania.

"conscience as an understanding ordered to a body of objective moral truths"

"Catholics were not seeking an exemption from the mandate on contraception and abortion based on beliefs of their own that may not be shared by others.  They were pronouncing the mandates to constitute an 'unjust law, no law at all,' and therefore rightly binding on no one.  This was not, [Archbishop Lori] said, a Catholic or Protestant position, but an American position."

     "To the extent that we cast our arguments along the lines of 'belief' and 'sincerity,' we can do no more than plead for an exemption from the laws imposed on others.  But again, that kind of argument distorts the truer moral character of the argument we are making, for some of us truly see these mandates as wrongful laws, which should be enforced on no one."

     Hadley Arkes, "Recasting religious freedom," First things no. 244 (June/July 2014):  47, 51 (45-51).
     If "it is the content and not the sincerity of our beliefs that matters" (45), which is to say their objectivity, and if it is false that just "any conviction that a person [happens to] hold . . . with earnest passion" must be "viewed with the same respect" (46), then a corollary follows:  "not everything that calls itself religion . . . may be regarded as a legitimate religion" (48).

"a subversion of the faith of the Christian Church"

"Anyone who, by this time, cannot admit that marriage between a man and a woman holds a privileged status in Scripture, in human history, and in the moral order of natural forms is deludedwhether culpably or not is beside the point.  Furthermore, the privileged status of heterosexual marriage, precisely because it literally carries with it both the generation of humankind and of the people of Israel from whom the Christ is descended, is part of what some have termed 'core doctrine.'  The subversion of such doctrine constitutes a subversion of the faith of the Christian Church.  To affirm same-sex partnerships as 'marriage' under any circumstances is tantamount to such subversion.
     "This is not a matter of simple semantic change. . . . Nor is it a matter of semantic extension. . . . Rather, the novel claim is that there is something divinely instituted called 'marriage,' to which both opposite-sex and same-sex partnerships and couplings refer.  And this makes no sense.  Once the Church affirms 'marriage' as something that is not defined at its base in terms of male-female generative union, the creative purposes of God to be found in the world's history and in the history of Israel's election and redemptive mission are hidden, perhaps even contradicted.  Scripture is set aside, the shape of human history is rejected, and the dignity of God's natural and miraculous creation is deniedthe Bible, divine sacrifice, transformed personhood, are all put at risk.  This is not a good."

"Gay marriage is not a compromise issue."

     "But same-sex 'marriage' isn't the only thing out there incompatible with such Gospel goods."

     Ephraim Radner, "Anglicanism on its knees," First things no. 243 (May 2014):  46, 49, 46 (45-50).
     A degree of clarity seems to be emerging.  Cf. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University, before the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, on 13 May 2014:
The saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes, integrally, the teaching of his church on the profound and inherent dignity of the human person and the nature of marriage as a conjugal bonda one-flesh union.  The question of faith and fidelity that is put to us today is not in the form it was put to Peter'surely you are this man's disciple'it is, rather, do you stand for the sanctity of human life and the dignity of marriage as the union of man and wife?  These teachings are not the whole GospelChristianity requires much more than their affirmation.  But they are integral to the Gospelthey are not optional or dispensable.  To be an authentic witness to the Gospel is to proclaim these truths among the rest.
     Which, of course, brings Pseudo-Luther again to mind.  Not Luther, but quite right nonetheless, by it matters not which side she (Elizabeth Rundle Charles) is cited:
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. To be steady on all battle fronts besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
     Cf. also Russell D. Moore:
A church that accommodates itself to the sexual revolution is no longer a church of Jesus Christ.
     "The church and civil marriages:  eight scholars and writers discuss whether religious institutions should get out of the marriage business," First things no. 242 (April 2014):  35 (33-40)).

John Donne poses and answers Evangelism Explosion's second "diagnostic question"

What if this present were the worlds last night?
Marke in my heart, O Soule, where thou dost dwell,
The picture of Christ crucified, and tell
Whether that countenance can thee affright,
Teares in his eyes quench the amazing light,
Blood fills his frownes, which from his pierc'd head fell.
And can that tongue adjudge thee unto hell
Which pray'd forgivenesse for his foes fierce spight?
No, no; but as in my idolatrie
I said to all my profane mistresses,
Beauty, of pitty, foulnesse onely is
A signe of rigour:  so I say to thee,
To wicked spirits are horrid shapes assign'd,
This beauteous forme assures a pitious mind.

     John Donne, Holy Sonnets XIII, as reproduced in The complete poetry and selected prose of John Donne, ed. Charles M. Coffin (New York:  The Modern Library, 1952), 252, the edition ed. Helen Gardner (2nd ed., 1978) being not ready to hand.
     To this I would add only that it shouldn't be assumed that Donne is offering a kind of cheap grace.  For though "a pitious mind" is "assure[d]", it can surely be rejected.


My own unconfirmed glosses:
  • Marke in my heart, O Soule, . . . | The picture of Christ crucified.
  • Teares in his eyes quench the amazing light:
  • Beauty, of pitty, foulnesse onely is | A signe of rigour:  Beauty [is a sign] of pity, foulness only is | a sign of rigor.
  • pitious:  piteous: "Full of pity; affected with or feeling pity; compassionate, tender, merciful" (OED).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The incorruptible resurrection of the flesh destined for glorification

Look with kindness upon your people, O Lord,
and grant, we pray,
that those you were pleased to renew by eternal mysteries
may attain in their flesh
the incorruptible glory of the resurrection

Populum tuum, quaesumus, Domine, intuere benignus,
et, quem aeternis dignatus es renovare mysteriis,
ad incorruptibilem glorificandae carnis resurrectionem
pervenire concede.

Upon your people, we pray, O Lord [(voc.)], look [you, being]
          beneficent [(nom.)],
and, that [the people] whom you have deigned to renew by eternal
          mysteries
to the incorruptible resurrection of the flesh destined for glorification
          [(glorificandae carnis, of the to-be-glorified flesh)].
attain, grant.

    Prayer after Communion, Saturday within the Octave of Easter and Third Sunday of Easter.
     Fr. Z notes that that "ad . . . incorruptibilem glorificandae carnis resurrectionem pervenire" (which I have rendered more literally than most) comes (though without the "illam" represented by the ellipses) straight from a sermon preached by St. Leo the Great on Holy Saturday 3/4 April 443 (sermon 71.6.2 (58.6 or LXXI.6 in SC); PL 54, col. 389 (385-390); SC 74 (=Sermons 3), ed. Leclercq, p. 128 (where "pervenire" rather than "pertinere" appears); CCSL 138A (1973), ed. Chavasse, p. 440 (l. 131-132, where "pertinere" rather than "peruenire" appears in the main body); NPNF, trans. FeltoeFC 93, trans. Freeland & Conway, p. 315).  All the more reason to get it right!  Fr. Z is also a good source for the loose paraphrases of 1973, which can be very difficult to find online anymore:

Lord,
look on your people with kindness
and by these Easter mysteries
bring us to the glory of the resurrection.


     "Benigne" would be the vocative to match "Domine", yet neither Lewis & Short nor Blaise indicates that benignus functions as a noun (in which case the relevant declension would surely not end in -us anyway).  I therefore conclude that it must modify the nominative "you" implicit in the imperative "intuere" ("Look you, [being] beneficent").
     NPNF, trans. Feltoe:
And because the cure of old-standing diseases is slow and difficult, remedies should be applied early, when the wounds are fresh, so that rising ever anew from all downfalls, we may deserve to attain to the incorruptible Resurrection of our glorified flesh in Christ Jesus our Lord. . . .
     FC 93, trans. Freeland & Conway, p. 315:
Since the healing of old sicknesses comes slowly and with difficulty, so much faster should the remedy be applied while the wounds are still fresh.  That way, always rising from relapses to wholeness, we might deserve to arrive at that incorruptible resurrection of glorified flesh in Christ Jesus our Lord. . . .

"And call ye this . . . ?"

And call yee this to utter what is just,
     You that of justice hold the sov'raign throne?
And call yee this to yeld, O sonnes of dust,
     To wronged brethren ev'ry man his own?

     Ps 58:1 (Si vere utique), as rendered by Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, 1561-1621, in The Sidney Psalter.  The Psalms of Sir Philip Sydney and the Countess of Pembroke, ed. J. C. A. Rathmell (Garden City, NY:  Anchor Books, Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1963), 133 (133-134).  Modernized version in Donald Davie, The new Oxford book of Christian verse (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1981), 53 (53-54).