Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A fearful unicity

     "'What would happen if we took everything that exists in the universe, and divided it by one?  I'll tell you.  It would remain the same.  So, therefore, how do we know that someone isn't doing that right now, at this very instant?  It makes me shudder to think of it.  We might be constantly divided by one, or multiplied by one for that matter, and we wouldn't even know it!'"

     Craig Binkey, in Mark Helprin, Winter's tale (San Diego:  Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1983), 396.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Book of Common Prayer: "a means to worship A creator"

     Dust jacket, The Book of common prayer:  the texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662, ed. Brian Cummings (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2011):


All of the prayers in the 1662 BCP invoking "a creator" are at the very least binitarian.  And the Thirty-Nine Articles as published in that same edition are pretty specific.  Take just Article 1, for example:
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible.  And in unity of this Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting"

"No, is the correct and orthodox answer of the one addressed [by the serpent].  God has not said that. . . . [But] It would have been better not to give the serpent an orthodox answer.  For in conversation with the serpent no orthodox answer is so sure that it cannot be demolished by the serpent.  Was not this beast of chaos not only more subtle than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made (v. 1), but far cleverer than the man created by God—dangerously so from the moment that man allowed himself to converse with and answer it?  There are some men that we ought not even to greet (2 Jn 10 f.), for 'he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.'  The serpent in paradise is the essence of all those that we ought not to greet.  But the greeting took place, and it was followed at once by the demolition of man's orthodox answer."

"Nein, antwortet die so Angeredete ganz korrekt, ganz orthodox: Das hat Gott nicht gesagt. . . .  Der Schlange wäre sicher besser auch keine orthodoxe Antwort gegeben worden! Denn so sicher konnte diese Antwort, im Gespräch mit der Schlange gegeben, nicht sein, daß sie nicht eben von der Schlange auch destruiert werden konnte. War diese doch – sie das Chaostier! – nicht nur nach v 1 listiger als alle von Gott dem Herrn geschaffenen Tiere des Feldes, sondern auch klüger als der von Gott geschaffene Mensch: von dem Augenblick an gefährlich klüger, da dieser sich überhaupt darauf einließ, ihr Rede und Antwort zu stehen. Es gibt Partner, die man nach 2. Joh. 10 f. nicht einmal begrüßen soll: «Denn wer ihn begrüßt, nimmt teil an seinen bösen Werken.» Die Schlange im Paradies ist der Inbegriff aller solcher schon gar nicht erst zu begrüßenden Partner! Aber das Begrüßen war nun schon geschehen und die Destruktion der orthodoxen Antwort des Menschen mußte ihr auf dem Fuße folgen."

     Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 434-435, underscoring mine =KD IV/1, 481-482.

"I fell in love just once, and then it had to be with you."

     Tom Adair, "Everything happens to me" (1940).

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Reno on the prospects for the university as we've known it

"the vanguard institution of this new therapeutic culture [of self-realization]—the university—is in crisis, not churches and synagogues.  I have confidence that religious institutions, however constrained or impaired in the future, will be living, vital institutions for my grandchildren.  I don't believe the university will survive."

     R. R. Reno, "Benedict option," First things no. 273 (May 2017):  64 (63-65).  On. p. 67, under "The lordless powers" (66-67):  "Were someone innocent of political correctness to witness the desperate machinations of university administrators as they try to respond to the proliferating and often invisible 'identities' that demand accommodation, he might well conclude that our society is possessed by demons, and not unreasonably so."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Proletarier aller Lander vereinigt Euch!

"Charles Marx, Squire of London"

     The words with which Karl Marx "checked in" whenever he "took the cure at Carlsbad".  R. J. W. Evans, quoting David Clay Lodge, The grand spas of Central Europe:  a history of intrigue, politics, art, and healing (Lanham, MD:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), in "A liberal empire?  Ruled from the spas?," The New York review of books 64, no. 5 (March 23, 2017):  36 (36-38).  In the header are, of course, the closing words of the Manifesto of the Communist Party of 1848.  My assumption is that a "Squire" (whatever the original; perhaps Landjunker?) would not have been considered a member of the proletariat, but then surely Marx never considered himself a member of the proletariat anyway.  Lodge says only "checked in quaintly as", so perhaps the incongruity was relative to Marx's financial circumstances (or landlessness) alone?  The whole comment may be of some relevance:  "The first of these [rivals of liberal imperialism] was socialism.  Yet socialism, on this reading, did not seriously jeopardize the imperial enterprise in Hapsburg Central Europe.  Karl Marx, after all, repeatedly took the cure at Carlsbad (were--Large tells us--he checked in quaintly as 'Charles Marx, Squire of London')."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"every time that I think of the crucifixion of Christ, I commit the sin of envy."

"One cannot fail more seriously in the second of the two essential commandments.  And as to the first, I fail to observe that in a still more horrible manner, for every time that I think of the crucifixion of Christ, I commit the sin of envy."

     Simone Weil, Letter IV to Fr. Perrin (Spiritual autobiography), Marseilles, c. 15 May 1942.  Waiting on God (London:  Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd, 1951), 33.  French:
On ne peut manquer plus gravement au second des deux commandements essentiels.  Et quant au premier, j’y manqué d’une manière encore bien plus horrible, car toutes les fois que je pense à le crucifixion du Christ, je commets le péché d’envie.

     Georges Charot, "Simone Weil:  la croix et le péché d'envie," Cahiers Simone Weil 14, no. 2 (1991):  97-106, beginning with Weil's own words:
     'It is necessary [for] a just man to engage in imitation in order that the imitation of God be not a simple word, but it is necessary, in order that we be borne beyond the will, that we be not able to will to imitate him.  One cannot will [for oneself] the Cross.
     'One could will it matters not what degree of asceticism or heroism, but not the Cross, which is penal suffering.
     'The mystery of the Cross of Christ resides in a contradiction, for it is at once an offering consented to and a chastisement that he suffered quite in spite of himself.  If one saw in it only the offering, one could will it all the more for oneself.  But one cannot will a chastisement suffered in spite of oneself.
     'Those who conceive of the crucifixion only under the aspect of the offering obscure its saving mystery and saving bitterness.  To desire martyrdom is to desire far too little.  The Cross is infinitely more than martyrdom' [(Cahiers, nouvelle ed., III, 28-29, only partially quoted at Charot, 106)].
     Do you not think that this is the response [to the question, Why would it be a sin against the First [Great] Commandment for her to prefer her vocation to that of most others (102; not to mention the sin against the Second, which would consist in her denying a similar vocation to qualified others)]?  And it is she who gives it [(this response)] to us.
     If the mystery of the Cross resides in a contradiction, the person who lives it, as Simone Weil did, can only be torn asunder, [1] knowing that it is forbidden to will the Cross and [yet] [2] finding that she cannot keep herself from desiring it for herself[, considered as an intensely particular vocation authenticated solely by the fact that it proceeds from neither feeling [(sensibilité)] nor reason].  Would not the tearing asunder of Simone Weil reside in the fact that she could not live [out] her desire except as a sin of envy?
     This is the explanation that I propose.  [I'll leave it] to you to find another if you can. 
     That said, it would be a grave misunderstanding to believe that, to have uttered this sentence, Simone Weil must have been guilty of [(est suspecte de)] masochism, and that she must have been struck by [(était atteinte d')] a neurotic psychosis.  The Cross [was] not, for her, a good in itself.  It [was] only the privileged way that seems to [have] be[en] reserved for her [(qui semble lui être réservé)] to enter into the kingdom of the Truth.
     Her desire can be only a mystical desire and in one sense a folly, a folly of love, but [a folly] that certainly did not betray a perverse taste for suffering and unhappiness.  Her life (as if this [really] needed to be said) ought to remove all ambiguity on this subject.  Simone Weil loved to live in joy (106).
More from Charot on the larger context:
  • We should keep in mind (and respect the fact) that this was originally an intensely private confession to a trusted confessor, made on what Weil saw as the eve of her imminent death in the service of the Free French (who, as it turned out, were to reject her offers), and that there was also much wry humor in it (99), a kind of "malice" directed at herself, knowing, as she did, that Fr. Perrin would recognize in it "something like an aptitude for laughing at herself and at her extravagant need to engage in impossible combats" (105).
  • That said, it is "in any case impossible not to take seriously this declaration that the cross is a good that one ought to be capable of wishing on one's neighbor and even one's friends, and that to reserve to oneself the privilege of [suffering] it constitutes a breach of the Second [Great] Commandment" (99).
  • For Weil, the Cross involved the Son of God in complete and utter abandonment by both man and his Father.  "For there was, at that instant, an infinite distance between God and God."  With this no martyrdom for the sake of Christ can even hope to compare (99-100).
  • The cross would appear to be, as we've already said, "a good" of which a few (i.e. not Weil alone) are indeed capable (whereas for the rest there is the way of "uninterrupted joy, purity and sweetness" (Letter IV to Fr. Perrin, Waiting on God, 33)).  And this is why Weil's refusal to wish it on anyone else is a sin against the Second [Great] Commandment (100-101).  Her failure with respect to the Second [Great] Commandment was "to believe herself alone capable of being called ([i.e. having a] vocation) to suffer the Cross of Christ."  "To judge one's neighbor too mediocre or too precious to merit [this] misery [(malheur, misfortune)], and to judge oneself alone capable of receiving the supreme good [of crucifixion], is this not to sin through pride, is it not to love oneself more than one's neighbor in every case?" (101).
  • The supreme good of the way of crucifixion (i.e. that complete and utter abandonment to the silence of not just man but God himself available to the religious genius) is "th[at] instant when, for an infinitesimal fraction of time, pure truth, naked, certain and eternal enters the soul", and by comparison with which the eternal happiness of the beatific vision (the "future state" of the Christian tradition) would seem to be as nothing (Letter IV to Fr. Perrin, Waiting on God, 16).  This vision of "pure truth" would facilitate a "'thinking together in the truth [of] the misery [(malheur, misfortune)] of men, the perfection of God and the bond between the two'" (103, citing a letter to M. Schumann).
  • As for the sin against the First [Great] Commandment, "To wish to take her desires for crucifixion [(même crucifiants)] for a [personal] vocation and to risk thus disobeying God in order to obey an impulsion, for the sole reason that it [(the said impulsion)] procedes from neither feeling [(sensibilité)] nor reason, would this not be to wish to be God?  Would it not be, in any case, to wish to enter by force into the forbidden mystery of the perfection of God, the sin par excellence in her eyes?  For it is God who seeks us and not the reverse.  If such was the case, her legitimate desire [(envie)] to follow Christ to the Cross would betray in the end only a sin of envy [(envie)].  Humility and her commitment to the truth, would they not have obliged her to confess this with a [wry] smile?  It can be only a sin to desire what must not be desired" (105).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

"When one believes something to be true [simply] because God is Truth itself[,] . . . one begins to know in a way similar to the way God knows."

"When one believes something to be true because God is Truth itself, one begins to know all the rest in virtue of one’s knowing God.  Thereby one begins to know in a way similar to the way God knows.  For God characteristically knows all that is true by knowing—or rather by being—his own Truth.  His knowing of all truth is not, and cannot be, a second act of knowledge resulting from the act by which he knows himself.  It is rather because the act by which he knows himself is immediately his knowing of all that is, and of all that can be, that God’s knowledge is Life itself.  When it is unrestricted, Life itself is indeed sovereign being, whose nature is intellection and is not determinable by anything else.
     "There is a second, significant aspect to this fourth and last reference to divine faith, which, according to its place in the order of the poem, lies just beyond the threshold that separates bare Truth from Truth that is Life.  As stated, something in divine faith is already eternal life in us.  Faith, however is only its beginning, not its perfection.  God’s eternal life becomes definitively and integrally ours only when vision replaces faith, and only when the resurrection allows us to share corporally in blessedness.  Only then do we re-join Christ, who, as the incarnate and sacramental God, first joined with us, especially by means of the fullness of sacramental grace that is the Eucharist."

     Robert Wielockx, "Poetry and theology in the Adore te deuote: Thomas Aquinas on the Eucharist and Christ's uniqueness," in Christ among the medieval Dominicans: representations of Christ in the texts and images of the Order of Preachers, Notre Dame conferences in medieval studies 7, ed. Kent Emery, Jr. and Joseph Wawrykow (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998), 166-167 (157-174), underscoring mine.

"we do not merit it by our own works"

"Through the Passion of your Only Begotten Son, O Lord, may our reconciliation with you be near at hand, so that, though we do not merit it by our own deeds, yet by this sacrifice made once for all, we may feel already the effects of your mercy.  Through Christ our Lord."

"Per Unigeniti tui passionem placatio tua nobis, Domine, sit propinqua, quam, etsi nostris operibus non meremur, interveniente sacrificio singulari, tua percipiamus miseratione praeventi.  Per Christum Dominum nostrum."

     Prayer over the Offerings, Palm Sunday, Roman missal.  All except for the incipit "Per Unigeniti tui passionem" comes word for word from the 7th-century Leonine (i.e. Veronese) sacramentary (no. 628 in the critical edition of 1956 ed. Mohlberg), which drew upon 5th and 6th century Roman material.

Creation straining


"the reality infinitely outstrips the figure:  the lengthy germination of wheat and vine [(including, I would add, the fermentation and 'work of human hands' so indispensable to the transformation of grape and kernel into wine and (at least leavened) bread)] comes, through transubstantiation, to a head 'in the mystery of all this bread and all this wine that, across the immensity of space and time, comes to subsist only [(ne subsistent plus qu')] in the existence of the holy humanity of Jesus' (H.-M. Feret, "La messe rassembleent de la communauté," in La messe et sa catéchese, p. 275)....
     "The bread and the wine, utilized as figures of the Christian economy, signify the integration of the [whole] cosmos into the work of restoration.  The universe, solidary with [(solidaire de)] man, had lost its quality of sign; the sin of man had rendered it opaque, caught up as it was in the Fall.  The consecration of the bread and wine signifies the consecration of all things [in and] through the humanity of Christ; this consecration [(elle)] extends to the [entire] universe and founds the sacramental economy:  the progressive integration of all things into the unity of Christ....
"The death of Christ is a victory that catches up not only humanity, but the universal resurrection.  The dogma of the resurrection of the body gives expression to this integral recapture of matter and the universe up into a glorious life".

     Dictionnaire de spiritualité, sv "Eucharistie. I. Mystère eucharistique" (1961), cols. 1579-1581 (1553-1586), by Adalbert Hamman, italics mine.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

"Whither, also, all we mortals wend our way, making of our funeral dirge the song: Alleluia."

"Thou only art immortal, the creator and maker of mankind; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and unto earth shall we return.  For so thou didst ordain when thou createdst me, saying, 'Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'  All we go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song:  Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia."

     The Oikos or Ikos (Ὁ Οἶκος) to the Kontakion for the Orthodox funeral service in the church (Νεκρώσιμος, ἤτοι εἰς Κεκοιμημένους . . . ἐν τῳ ναῳ), as translated on p. 482 (Burial I) of the 1979 Book of common prayer.  For the Greek, see p. 411 of this 1869 printing of the Euchologion to mega (Ευχολόγιον το μέγα):
Αὐτὸς μόνος ὑπάρχεις ἀθάνατος, ὁ ποιήσας καὶ πλάσας τὸν ἄνθρωπον·  οἱ βροτοὶ οὖν ἐκ γῆς διεπλάσθημεν, καὶ εἰς γῆν τὴν αὐτὴν πορευσόμεθα, καθὼς ἐκέλευσας ὁ πλάσας με, καὶ εἰπών μοι·  Ὅτι γῆ εἶ, καὶ εἰς γῆν ἀπελεύσῃ·  ὅπου πάντες βροτοὶ πορευσόμεθα, ἐπιτάφιον θρῆνον ποιοῦντες ᾠδὴν τὸ, Ἀλληλούϊα.
Other translations exist, e.g.
You only are immortal, the creator and maker of mankind; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and to earth shall we return.  For so did you ordain when you created me, saying, 'You are dust, and to dust you shall return.'  All of us go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song:  Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia [(p. 499 (Burial II) of the 1979 Book of common prayer)].
You alone are immortal, who made and fashioned mankind; we mortals then were formed from earth and to that same earth we shall go, as You who formed me commanded saying: You are earth, and you will go back to earth; to which all we mortals will go making our funeral lament a song: Alleluia [(Fr. Ephrem Lash)].
Thou alone art immortal, who hast created and fashioned man. For out of the earth were we mortals made, and unto the same earth shall we return again, as Thou didst command when Thou didst fashion me, saying unto me: Earth thou art, and unto the earth shalt thou return. Whither, also, all we mortals wend our way, making of our funeral dirge the song: Alleluia [(http://www.kiilehua.com/services/The_Funeral_Service.pdf)].

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

perfectae vitae tolerantia

By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death.

Quaesumus, Domine Deus noster, ut in illa caritate, qua Filius tuus diligens mundum morti se tradidit, inveniamur ipsi, te opitulante, alacriter ambulantes.

     Collect, Fifth Sunday of Lent, Missale Romanum (2002).  According to Corpus orationum, this is derived from CO 591, present as no. 324 in the critical edition of Toledo, Biblioteca Capit. 35.4 (J. Janini, Liber Misticus, in Liber Missarum de Toledo 2 (Toledo:  1983), pp. 7-147)), which dates to the 9th/10th century (and from other sacramentaries of the 10th-12th centuries):
Christe deus, qui inter iniquos suspendi passus es, crucis sustinendo iniuriam, dato nobis perfectae vitae tolerantiam, ut caritate illa, qua ipse, mundum diligens, pro eodem mortem subisti, inveniamur ipsi, te opitulante, perfecti sicque passionis tuae exemplo illata toleremus scandala, ut, sanguine crucis tuae omnia pacificante, capitis nostri mereamur effici membra.
Christ [our] God, who have permitted [yourself] to be hung up between enemies [while] sustaining the outrage [(iniuriam)] of the cross, give to us the endurance of a finished life, so that, by that charity in which [you] yourself [(ipse)], loving the world, submitted to [(pro)] the said death, we may thus, you aiding [us], [1] effect [(inveniamur, meet with)] that finished imitation [(exemplo, pattern)] of your passion, [and] [2] endure [the] injuries [(scandala)] inflicted, so that, the blood of your cross pacifying all things [(Col 1:20)], we may merit to be made members of our head.
Previous ICEL "translation":
Father, help us to be like Christ your Son, who loved the world and died for our salvation.  Inspire us by his love, guide us by his example, who lives. . . .
By the period covered by Blaise, unfortunately, tolerantia had come to be (contemptuously) of sodomy.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Putnam on the challenge posed by diversity

robertdputnam.com
"It would be unfortunate if a politically correct progressivism were to deny the reality of the challenge to social solidarity posed by diversity.  It would be equally unfortunate if an ahistorical and ethnocentric conservatism were to deny that addressing that challenge is both feasible and desirable."

     Robert D. Putnam, "E pluribus unum:  diversity and community in the twenty-first century:  The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture," Scandanavian political studies 30, no. 2 (2007):  165 (137-174).  And how should it be addressed?
the central challenge for modern, diversifying societies is to create a new, broader sense of ‘we’ [(139)]. 
a society will more easily reap the benefits of immigration, and overcome the challenges, if immigration policy focuses on the reconstruction of ethnic identities, reducing their social salience without eliminating their personal importance.  In particular, it seems important to encourage permeable, syncretic, 'hyphenated' identities; identities that enable previously separate ethnic groups to see themselves, in part, as members of a shared group with a shared identity [(161)]. 
at the end we shall see that the challenge is best met not by making 'them' like 'us', but rather by creating a new, more capacious sense of 'we', a reconstruction of diversity that does not bleach out ethnic specificities, but creates overarching identities that ensure that those specificities do not trigger the allergic, 'hunker down' reaction [I've shown is the invariable aggregate response to a rise in or stress upon diversity (163)].

Saturday, April 1, 2017

An honest liberal

Al-Jazeera
"over the past 200 years we liberals have, ironically, played a major role in ushering in an age of immuration."

     Clive Stafford Smith, "Prisoners of conscience," Times literary supplement no. 5940 (February 3 2017):  5 (3-5).
     Smith gives two examples:  an early 18th-century one, and a late 20th-century one in which he himself "played a relatively significant role":  Thus, "The quantum of misery that we achieved, albeit inadvertently, was almost unfathomable."  "my plan, back in 1984, can reasonably be said to have helped 100,000 additional people to find themselves condemned, perhaps for thirty-four years in prison
a grand total of 1.24 billion days of misery."
     "So here we are:  conservatives and liberals alike view the mass incarceration experiment as an expensive failure, and the legal system is simply not up to the task of sorting out who did what.  The result is increasing levels of desolation for millions.  We have some work ahead of us."

The sovereignty of love

Most sacred fire,
      that burnest mightily
   In liuing brests,
      ykindled first aboue,
   Emongst th'eternall spheres
      and lamping sky,
   And thence pourd into men,
      which men call Loue;
   Not that same, which doth
      base affections moue
   In brutish minds,
      and filthy lust inflame,
   But that sweet fit, that doth true beautie loue,
   And choseth vertue for his dearest Dame,
Whence spring all noble deeds and neuer dying fame:

Well did Antiquitie a God thee deeme,
   That ouer mortal minds hast so great might,
   To order them, as best to thee doth seeme,
   And all their actions to direct aright;
   The fatall purpose of diuine foresight,
   Thou doest effect in destined descents,
   Through deep impression of thy secret might, . . .

     Edmund Spenser, The faerie queene III.iii.1-2.

"Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, [a flesh] 'given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit'"

     CCC 1392.  "Communio carnis Christi resuscitati, «Spiritu Sancto vivificatae et vivificantis»".

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"'Get behind me, Satan!'"

"The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them:  'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?'  The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks.  It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division."

     CCC 1336, on the Eucharist.

"But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion."

     St. Irenaeus, Adv. haer. IV.xviii.5, as trans. Roberts & Rambaut, ANF 1, 486.  CCC 1327:
Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.
This appears on p. 205 of vol. 2 of the 1857 edition ed. W. W. Harvey (where it is Adv. haer. IV.xxxi.4), as follows (I have not yet checked SC):
Ἡμῶν δὲ σύμφωνος ἡ γνώμη τῇ εὐχαριστίᾳ, καὶ ἡ εὐχαριστία βεβαιοῖ τὴν γνώμην. 
Nostra autem consonans est sententia Eucharistiae, et Eucharistia rursus confirmat sententiam.
The immediate context here is an insistence, against the gnostics, on "the hope of the resurrection [of the flesh] to eternity":  "our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible", but "partake of life".

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Veritas carnis humanae

"O God, who willed that your Word should take on the reality [(veritatem)] of human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man, may merit to become partakers even in his [(ipsius)] divine nature.  Who lives and reigns. . . ."

"Deus, qui Verbum tuum in utero Virginis Mariae veritatem carnis humanae suscipere voluisti, concede, quaesumus, ut, qui Redemptorem nostrum Deum et hominem confitemur, ipsius etiam divinae naturae mereamur esse consortes.  Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum, . . ."

     Collect for the Annunciation of the Lord, Roman Missal.  This one does not appear as such in either Bruylants or Corpus orationum, though the latter considers it a pastiche of

  • Corpus orationum 1518=Bruylants 320 (the collect for the Annunciation in the EF, below):  Deus, qui de beatae Mariae virginis utero verbum tuum, angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti, praesta supplicibus tuis, ut, qui vere eam genitricem dei credimus, eius apud te intercessionibus adiuvemur.
  • Leo the Great, Ep. 123, 2:
  • [Leo the Great,] I. Tr. 21, 3:

"ipsius" ("of his") is the emphasis on the human reditus side of the marvelous exchange corresponding to the "vertitatem" ("reality" or "integrity") of the Incarnation on the side of the divine exitus.  The corresponding collect in the Extraordinary Form was more mediatorily Mariological in focus:
O God, who didst will that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an Angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliant people, that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her interecession with Thee.  Through. . . . 
Deus, qui de beatae Mariae Virginis utero Verbum tuum, Angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti; praesta supplicibus tuis; ut, qui vere eam Genitricem Dei credimus, ejus apud te intercessionibus adjuvemur.  Per. . . .
Previous ICEL "translation":
"God our Father, your Word became man and was born of the Virgin Mary.  May we become more like Jesus Christ, whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man.  We ask this through. . . ."

Finitum non capax infiniti, sed Infinitum capax finiti

"God becomes and is man.  His condescension to us, His being as we are, is an event.  It is actuality [(ist Ereignis, ist Wirklichkeit)].  It is the act of the One who is free and able to do this.  It is the powerful execution of His eternal resolve.  It is a triumphant and indisputable and irrevocable fact [(Geschehnis)].  But man, on the other hand, only wants to exalt himself, only wants to be as God.  He can never do it.  He does not have the freedom or power.  He may determine on it for long enough, but nothing will ever come of it.  He will always fall back on himself and still be man.  It is not paradoxical or absurd that God becomes and is man.  It does not contradict the concept of God.  It fulfills it.  It reveals the glory of God.  But it is certainly paradoxical and absurd that man wants to be as God.  It contradicts the concept of man.  It destroys it.  Man ceases to be a man when he wants this.  It does not involve any alteration in God for Him to become a creature.  Even as such He is still the Creator [(Gott verändert sich nicht, indem er Geschöpf wird; er bleibt ja auch als solches der Schöpfer)].  But it does require an alteration in manand one that is not given to himto become God [(Der Mensch aber müßteund eben das ist ihm nicht gegebensich selbst verändern, um Gott zu werden)].  He cannot hope and he need not concern himself that this will finally be attained.  For his own good it is provided that he cannot pass his own limits, try how he will.  The only result of his attempts is the revelation of his impotence [(die Offenbarung seiner Ohnmacht)] to do so, and, because he ought not to do so, the revelation of his shame [(die Offenbarung seiner Schande)]."

     Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 418-419, underscoring mine.  =KD IV/1, 464-465.  In KD, as reproduced in the Digital Karl Barth Library, there are these words in bold, though CD does not emphasize them in any way.  In order to get them all in, I have modified Bromiley's translation ("only wants to exalt himself and to be as God") ever so slightly at just that one point.
     Heiko Oberman later argued that, of the two phrases in my header, only the second, i.e. Infinitum capax finiti, is faithful to the theology of Calvin ("Extra dimension in the theology of Calvin," Journal of ecclesiastical history 21, no. 1 (January 1970):  61 (43-64); see, four years earlier, "Die 'Extra'-dimension in der Theologie Calvins," in Geist und Geschichte der Reformation: Festgabe Hanns Rückert zum 65 Geburtstag, 323-356 (Berlin:  Walter de Gruyter, 1966)).

Friday, March 24, 2017

Crews on Freud

"if this man really discovered nothing and nevertheless persuaded the world to regard him as a titan of science, he was one of the most audacious figures in the history of thought."

     Frederick Crews, "Freud:  what's left?," The New York review of books 64, no. 3 (February 23, 2017):  10 (6-10).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cardinal Arinze on the purpose of dance

"Another area is the whole idea of singing and joy in celebration. Not dancing necessarily. Europeans and Americans think Africans are dancing all the time. It isn’t necessarily that. But if you give a basket of bananas to an American from the U.S. to bring to the celebrant, and you give the same basket of bananas to an African, their movements towards the altar will be a bit different. The Nigerian will move a bit left, a bit right. It is the whole body showing the joy in the giving.

"In your mind, that’s not really dancing…

"Not really. But they put their mind, and body, and soul in the act. And when they dance it becomes a lot more delicate. Because there are many types of dances. We have a traditional war dance. There’s a traditional normal dance for recreation, which we would have at a parish hall after the Mass when there’s a bishop visiting. And then we have the dance for the women who are looking for husbands. That would be a little provocative, because they’re looking for a husband, that’s the purpose of the dance. But you can see none of it fits into the Mass, because the reason for the Mass is adoration, thanksgiving, asking for what we need. That’s not going to go very well if there’s anything funny during the holy Mass …"

     Cardinal Francis Arinze.  John L. Allen, Jr., "Cardinal:  'By African standards, I’m not conservative, I’m normal'", Crux, 23 March 2017.