Saturday, April 28, 2018

"the material nature of men having been . . . made an enemy of sin"

"His nature or essence is double, because as mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2.5), he must fittingly restore the natural relationship to the mediated parties by his existence as both, so that—in him and through him in very truth, having united the earthly realm with the heavenly (Eph 1.10)—he may through his holy flesh taken from us as a firstfruit perfectly make us sharers in the divine nature (2 Pet 1.4), the material nature of men having been deified and made an enemy of sin [(τὴν ὑλικὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων φύσιν, τὴν ἐκ τῆς ἁμαρτίας πολεμωθεῖσαν, τῷ Θεῷ καὶ Πατρὶ προσαγαγὼν σωθεῖσαν, φιλωθεῖσάν τε καὶ θεωθεῖσαν, the material nature of menthe [nature] that had had war made upon it/been treated as an enemy on account of/been ravaged by sinhaving been ([he] presenting [it] to [his] God and Father) saved, befriended, and even deified)], not by an identity of essence, but by the ineffable power of his becoming human.  Hence he is known in fact and not in name alone to be at the same time both God and man."

     St. Maximus the Confessor, Ep. 12 =PG 91, col. 468CD, as translated by Adam G. Cooper, in "St. Maximus the Confessor on priesthood, hierarchy, and Rome," Pro ecclesia 10, no. 3 (Summer 2001):  349-350 (346-367).
     Well, I rather liked the idea of our "material nature . . . having been . . . made an enemy of sin," but am not at all sure that the Greek bears Cooper out.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The indefectibility of Rome as ensured by "the complex structure of the ecclesial constellation itself"

"As the guardians of orthodoxy, the best among [the popes] sometimes found themselves obliged to resist [heretical] emperors to their face.  It was often the great, solitary saints such as . . . Maximus the Confessor . . . who inspired them with the confidence they needed to do so. . . . This is a fact belonging to the complex structure of the ecclesial constellation itself."

     Hans Urs von Balthasar, The office of Peter and the structure of the Church, trans. Andrée Emery (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 1986), 209 (of the German original), as quoted by Adrian J. Walker, in "Conscience, the emperor, and the pope:  the witness of St. Maximus the Confessor," Communio:  international Catholic review 41, no. 4 (2014):  750 (740-750).  Thus, St. Maximus does not consider the indefectibility of the Pope a "done deal," but fortifies Pope Martin I for the martyrdom to which they will both be soon subjected.  Also:  "John remains steadfastly ‘other’ than Peter, but he does so precisely in order to give Peter (and his successors) his, John’s, own ‘greater love,’ which is the very gift the Prince of the Apostles will need to ‘confirm the brethren’ (Lk 22:32) in the unity of office and love willed by the Lord".

Sunday, April 22, 2018

"Nature, invoked at the beginning against convention, has itself become a convention."

     "Rights are detatched from nature and thus without any anchor.  They multiply and proliferate in a chaotic profusion.  As originally understood, the rights of man were based on a distinction:  on the one hand, the realm of rights where humanity as such received its due, where no distinction between men applied; on the other, the rest of life, in which differences among men were played out.  But this distinction is effaced along with the idea of nature.  If rights are no longer based on nature, then there is no reason to limit them....
"...Nature, invoked at the beginning against convention, has itself become a convention."

     Philippe Bénéton, Equality by default:  an essay on modernity as confinement, trans. Ralph C.  Hancock (Wilmington, DE:  ISI Books, 2004), 12-13.