Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"For the whole body of those rightly handling the word of truth, the manifold wisdom of the word of God, we especially beseech [thee. Lord have mercy]."

"Pro universis recte tractantibus verbum veritatis, multiformem Verbi Dei sapientiam peculiariter obsecramus.  [Kyrie eleison.]"

     Third petition of the late 5th-century "Deprecatio Gelasii" (PL 101, cols. 560-562; Capelle, below, p. 136), "le fleuron des litanies anciennes".  The "Deprecatio Gelasii" was a Western adaptation of an Eastern litany more ancient still.  For a critical edition, see B. Capelle, "Le Kyrie de la messe et le pape Gélase," Révue Bénédictine 46 (1934): 136-138 (126–144), which indicates that this petition is present in 9th-century Paris 1153 ("le seul connu"), f. 48v-49r, but absent from the abridged version at Angelica B. 3.18, f. 213r.  Cf. 2 Tim 2:15 ("recte tractantem verbum veritatis") and Eph 3:10 ("multiformis sapientia Dei").
     I was put onto this by Paul de Clerck ("Improvisation et livres liturgiques:  leçons d'une histoire," Communautés et liturgies 60 (1978):  117 (109-126)), who overlooks (at least here) the allusion to Eph 3:10, but notes that there was a falling away or impoverishment after this point (petition no. 3 of the Franco-Gallican litany or prayer of the faithful reads merely
"For our pastor and all his clergy, we implore you"
(Paul de Clerck, La «prière universelle» dans les liturgies latines anciennes:  témoinages patristiques et textes liturgiques, Liturgiewissenschaftliche Quellen und Forschungen 62 (Münster Westfalen:  Aschendorff, 1977), 187-205), a falling away that necessitated the rise of liturgical books (the libelli, then sacramentaries, that were the outcome of "the great 6th- [and post 6th-]century movement of compilation" (118)), i.e. a recognition that liturgical improvisation needed guidance (rich models; "books for the [support of] liturgy" rather than rigidly prescriptive "liturgical books" (118)); that early improvisation (characteristic of "the whole of Christian antiquity" up through the end of the 4th century (112)) had been "informed, not informal" (111); "directed" (119), rather than spontaneous; guided "by [1] general structures", [2] outlines (even, sometimes, written outlines) of prayers, and [3] the prodigious retentive capacities of an oral culture (113).  For these reasons it did not result in "The monotony of a malnourished liberty [(La monotonie d'une liberté mal nourrie)]" (Louis Bouyer, L'improvisation dans l'Eglise ancienne, 15, as quoted on p. 120) or any marked declination from orthodoxy (115 ff.).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"As for schoolteaching, it is so strenuous that no one ought to be bound to it for more than ten years."

". . . wen einer hatt schul gehalten, ungeferlich ein 10 jar, so mag er mit guttem gewissen daruon lassen, den die arbeit ist groß, und man helt sie ein wenig gering."

     Martin Luther, WA TR 5, 27 (no. 5252), ll. 27-29 (September 2-17, 1540), as translated by Roland Bainton, on p. 235 of Here I stand: a life of Martin Luther (Abingdon, 1950).  No. 5252 is not present in LW 54.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why I lack a "perfecta volunta"

"every inclination or movement is perfected when it achieves its end or attains its term.  Hence there is only a perfected will when, given the opportunity, it acts", and acts in such a way as to achieve its end or attain its term.

"omnis inclinatio vel motus perficitur in hoc quod consequitur finem, vel attingit terminum. Unde non est perfecta voluntas, nisi sit talis quae, opportunitate data, operetur."

     Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I-II.20.4.Resp., trans. Ralph McInerny (Thomas Aquinas:  selected writings, 607).  Latin from Corpus Thomisticum.

A distinction lost on the contemporary mind

"when the exterior act  is good or bad [1] solely because of its order to the end, then the goodness or badness of the act of the will which looks to the end, and of the exterior act, which looks to the end through the mediation of the act of the will, are in every way the same.  But when the exterior act has a goodness or badness [2] in itself, because of matter or circumstances, then the goodness of the exterior act differs from the goodness of the will which is from the end. . . ."

"quando actus exterior est bonus vel malus [1] solum ex ordine ad finem, tunc est omnino eadem bonitas vel malitia actus voluntatis, qui per se respicit finem, et actus exterioris, qui respicit finem mediante actu voluntatis. Quando autem actus exterior habet bonitatem vel malitiam [2] secundum se, scilicet secundum materiam vel circumstantias, tunc bonitas exterioris actus est una, et bonitas voluntatis quae est ex fine, est alia. . . ."

     Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I-II.20.3.Resp., trans. Ralph McInerny (Thomas Aquinas:  selected writings, 605).  Latin from Corpus Thomisticum.