Saturday, January 4, 2020

"But what one cannot do . . . is found their authority upon the authority of the Magisterium"

"Tradition and Scripture alone contain [(Mais cela n'empêche pas la Tradition et l'Écriture de contenir seules)] the revelation and constitute the theological loci that are fundamental.  The Church has no other role than to determine with an infallible authority what is contained in Tradition and Scripture.  Logically speaking, the Church comes after Tradition and Scripture [and is subordinate to these].  If, then, one begins by treating [(l'on fait débuter)] the theological loci with a consideration of the theological loci of the Church, this could be based on a decision of a practical order that is pedagogically useful but in no way necessary [(ce n'est là qu'un ordre pratique, commode, nullement necessaire)].  But what one cannot do without acting against the proper character of the theological principles of faith as such [(sans aller contre genie proper du Traité des Lieux théologiques)] is to attempt to found their authority upon the authority of the Magisterium of the Church in so far as this authority results from rational proofs of rational apologetics [(des preuves rationnelles de l’Apologétique) such as historical-critical reasons in favor of the faith].  This is to interpret reductively [(rabaisser)] the theological loci which are the foundation of theology and must be the starting points in faith from the beginning [(qui, étant le fondement de la Théologie, doivent débuter d'emblée en pleine foi)].  Between these starting points [(eux)] and the goal pursued in a rational apologetical argument on behalf of the faith [(et la fin du traité apologétique de l’Église)], there is a gulf that can only be crossed by the total and definitive adhesion to the Catholic faith [(il y a eu l’adhésion de la foi catholique totale et définitive)], and with this the apologetical arguments are finished.  There is a discontinuity between the science of rational defense of the credibility of faith and the science of theology [(entre l’Apologétique et la Théologie)].  In the interval between the two is a psychological act of faith, free and supernatural. . . .  It is the faith and not the conclusions of apologetics that stands at the origins of theology 'quae procedit ex principiis fidei.'"

     Ambroise Gardeil, O.P., La crédibilité et l'apologétique (Paris:  J. Gabalda et Fils, 1912), 221-222, as trans. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., at The incarnate Lord:  a Thomistic study in Christology (Washington, DC:  The Catholic University of America Press, 2015), 56n47.  White cites the printing of 1928.

"Harnack is in error on" the Hellenization of Christianity. "ignorance of ontology is ignorance of Christ."

"from a historical and biblical point of view [the claim that the 'biblical, ethical Christology' of scripture was unfortunately Hellenized] can be shown to be untenable. . . .  To state things in so gentle a way, however, is in fact already to concede too much.  For if Harnack is in error on this point (which I take to be the case), then we should be concerned not merely to establish the right of the interpreter to consider the ontological dimension of the mystery of Christ, as if this were one way of reading scripture among others.  Rather, we must say that unless we study the mystery of Jesus ontologically, we fundamentally cannot understand the New Testament.  For generally speaking the Bible is deeply concerned with the ontological structure of reality and its dependence upon God.  The New Testament in particular, however, is concerned above all and before all else with the ontological identity of Christ and the fact that he is both God and man.  No teaching is more central [to it].  It is the truth that underlies all other scriptural affirmations regarding Jesus.  Consequently, to study the New Testament realistically at all is to study the being and person of Christ. . . .  ignorance of ontology is ignorance of Christ.  The understanding of the Bible offered by the fathers and the scholastics, then, is not merely something that can be justified as one possible form of reading among others (defensively, as against a post-critical anthropological turn in modern philosophy).  Rather, it is the only form of reading that attains objectively to the deepest truth about the New Testament:  a truth concerning the identity of Christ as the God-man.  By the same measure, only this reading of scripture can attain to a proper understanding of the subject of biblical theology as such."

     Thomas Joseph White, O.P., The incarnate Lord:  a Thomistic study in Christology (Washington, DC:  The Catholic University of America Press, 2015), 7-8, underscoring mine.  White then proceeds to a supportive initial sub-section entitled "The biblical ontology of the New Testament."  "Scholasticism," understood as "the scientific examination of the very causes of being," "is inevitable . . . whenever theology becomes truly itself" (29).  And from p. 117:
Seeking to understand the New Testament claims about Christ non-ontologically is in the end a non-biblical exercise.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Grant, we pray, that we may feel her to [be] interceding for us

. . . grant, we pray, that we may sense [(sentiamus)] her to [be] interced[ing] for us, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ your Son.

"Deus, qui salutis aeternae beatae Mariae virginitate fecunda humano generi praemia praestitisti, tribue, quaesumus, ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere sentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem vitae suscipere, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum."

". . . grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ your Son."

     Collect for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, Roman missal.  This is Bruylants, vol. 2, no. 440 (on p. 122), which he traces back to the Gelasian sacramentary of the early 8th century. =Corpus orationum no. 2113b.  Cf. Corpus orationum no. 2113a, which begins as follows:
Deus, qui spe[m] salutis aeternae beatae Mariae virginitate. . . .
See also Cuthbert Johnson & Anthony Ward, The sources of the Roman missal (1975) I:  Advent, Christmas (Notitiae 240-242 (Rome, 1986)): 213/653-214/654.
     Sentiamus (that one form alone) occurs twenty times in the current Roman missal.

You who are "not an appraiser of merit, but a bestower of grace"

. . . to whose fellowship grant us, we pray, admittance, [you who are] not an appraiser of merit [(aestimator meriti)], but a (liberal) bestower of pardon [(veniae . . . largitor)].  Through Christ our Lord.

"intra quorum nos consortium, non aestimator meriti, sed veniae, quaesumus, largitor admitte.  Per Christum Dominum nostrum."

"admit us, we beseech you, into their company, not weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon, through Christ our Lord."

     Eucharistic Prayer I, current Missal; Canon of the Mass, Tridentine Missal.

"Into their company we pray thee to admit us, not weighing our deserts, but freely granting us forgiveness:  through Christ our Lord" (trans. J. O'Connell & H. P. R. Finberg).

"Graciously admit us to their company, not considering what we truly deserve but granting us forgiveness" (Robert Louis Wilken).

     See, among other things, the Appendix "On the formal cause of justification" in Newman's 1838 Anglican Lectures on the doctrine of justification, which reminds me of the Tridentine concerns of Seripando on the theory of the duplex iustitia.

     The pre-2010 ICEL translation pulled the portion in red (below) down from the "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" and translated this portion (without so much as a nod at this point to the consortium) as follows:

"Though we are still sinners, we trust in your mercy and love.  Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness."

"Liberals have learned, at fearful cost, the lesson that absolute power corrupts absolutely. They have yet to learn that absolute liberty may also corrupt absolutely."

     Gertrude Himmelfarb, On liberty and liberalism:  the case of John Stuart Mill (New York:  Knopf, 1974), as quoted by Peter L. Berger in "Mill vs. Mill," Commentary 58, no. 4 (October 1974): 80-81.  I.e., the "absolute liberty" of the radically feminist Mill of On liberty, not the more carefully qualified liberty of the other Mill, whether before or after 1859.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The blessed eternity of matter; or, rather, God is still incarnate

"The flesh is redeemed and glorified, for the Lord has risen for ever.  We Christians are, therefore, the most sublime of materialists.  We neither can nor should conceive of any ultimate fulness of the spirit and of reality without thinking too of matter enduring as well in a state of final perfection.  It is true that we cannot picture to ourselves in the concrete how matter would have to appear in this state of final endurance and glorification for all eternity.  But we have so to love our own physicality and the worldly environment appropriate to it that we cannot reconcile ourselves to conceiving of ourselves as existing to all eternity otherwise than with the material side of our natures enduring too in a state of final perfection.  And—one shudders at the 'blasphemy' which such an idea must represent for the Greek mentality—we could not conceive of the divine Logos either in the eternal perfection which belongs to it for ever otherwise than as existing for ever in the state of material incarnation which it has assumed.  As materialists we are more crassly materialist than those who call themselves so.  For among these it would still be possible to imagine that matter as a whole and in its entirety could, so to say, be raised at one blow onto a new plane and undergo a radical qualitative change such that, for purposes of definition, it could no longer be called matter because this future state would be so utterly different from the former one in which it originated.  We can entertain no such theory.  We recognize and believe that this matter will last for ever, and be glorified for ever.  It must be glorified.  It must undergo a transformation the depths of which we can only sense with fear and trembling in that process which we experience as our death.  But it remains.  It continues to perform its function for ever.  It celebrates a festival that lasts for ever.  Already even now it is such that its ultimate nature can survive permanently; and such too that God has assumed it as his own body.  Non horruisti virginis uterum.  Non horruisti materiae beatam aeternitatem."

     Karl Rahner, "The festival of the future of the world" (1961), Theological investigations 7:  further theology of the spiritual life 1, trans. David Bourke (New York:  Seabury, Crossroad, 1971), 183-184 (181-185) =Schriften zur Theologie 7 (Einsiedeln, Zürich, & Köln:  Benziger Verlag, 1966), 180-181 ="Christi Himmelfahrt," Korrespondenzblatt des Collegium Canisianum 96 (1961/1962):  6?-68.  "Non horruisti materiae beatam aeternitatem" is, I think, of Rahnerian coinage, though clearly the appropriate Christian gloss on the "mundi aeternitas" of Aristotle and other ancients.

"real saints are the faithful, who have made light of the beautiful world; we here can't even make light of the ugly one."

"Great are the people, real saints are the faithful, who have made light of the beautiful world; we here can't even make light of the ugly one."

"magni uiri, fideles sancti, qui contempserunt mundum speciosum: nos non possumus contemnere nec foedum."

     St. Augustine, Sermon 80.8, trans. Hill (WSA III/3, 356).  Latin from Opera Omnia CAG.  Cf.the famous lines just above (355-356):  "The times are evil, the times are troubled, that's what people say. Let us live good lives, and the times are good. We ourselves are the times. Whatever we are like, that's what the times are like" (trans. Hill); "Bad times! Troublesome times! This men are saying. Let our lives be good; and the times are good. We make our times; such as we are, such are the times" (trans. Macmullen).

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Just as if standing just beyond a partition

"to suffer divine things and to have experiential knowledge of God [(Pati . . . divina, et experimentalem cognitionem de Deo habere)], does not only pertain to the state of glory, where God is seen intuitively, but also to the state of pilgrimage; where Hierotheus was, there also was God, even if perceived obscurely and by faith, nevertheless, so to speak, known experientially by a kind of touch, although not by sight.  Just as we do not perceive our soul, we, nevertheless, through the very experience of being animated by it, sense it like an object at hand, for the soul really forms us and presents to us the signs of us being thus formed.  Likewise, in a special way by grace, God shows to us his innermost presence (which he himself possesses as the agent and principle of all esse in his immensity) like an object that can be intimately and experientially known [(sic Deus suae intimae presentiae . . . nobis specialiter per gratiam demonstrat tamquam objectum intime et experimentaliter cognoscibile)], on earth obscurely and by way of signs, in the fatherland by way of vision; but even now God is present to us in a particular way, just as if standing behind a partition wall [(sed tamen jam nobis specialiter et realiter praesens, et quasi stans post parietem)]."

     John of St. Thomas on St. Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II.45.2.Resp., on Pseudo-Dionysius, De divinis nom. cap. 2).  Cursus theologicus I.43.17.3, ed. monks of Solesmes, vol. 4, p. 370, as trans. Reinhard Hütter, "Theological faith enlightening sacred theology:  renewing theology by recovering its unity as sacra doctrina," The Thomist 74 (2010):  399-400n47 (369-405).