Thursday, December 24, 2020

"Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge"

Rome, Vatic. Reg. Lat. 316,
fol. 169r
"D[eu]s qui nos redempcionis nostrae annua expectacione laetificas praesta ut unigenitum filium tuum quem redemptorem laeti suscipimus uenientem quoque iudicem securi uideamus; per"

"Deus, qui nos redemptionis nostrae annua exspectatione laetificas, praesta, ut unigenitum filium tuum, quem redemptorem laeti suscepimus, venientem quoque iudicem securi videamus."

     Alia oratio de Adentu Domini, Old Gelasian sacramentary no. 1156 (as ed. Mohlberg, Eizenhöfer, & Siffrin) =Rome, Vatic. Reg. Lat. 316, fol. 169r (bot)-169v (top), along with others of the 8th century (Gregorianum, Gellonensis, Prag, Rhenaugiensis), and many others afterwards, including, of course, that of Salisbury, according to Corpus orationum no. 1915 (cf. no. 1133) =Bruylants 410.

1549:  Collect, At the First Communion, Christmas Day, Booke of the common prayer:  "God, whiche makest us glad with the yerely remembraunce of the birth of thy onely sonne Jesus Christ; graunt that as we ioyfully receiue him for our redemer, so we may with sure confidence beholde hym, when he shall come to be our iudge, who liueth and reigneth &c."

1552:  Boke of common prayer:  dropped in favor of the Collect At the Second Communion only (Hatchett, 168).

[1568]:  Oratio, In Vigilia Nativitatis, Breviarium Romanum (as reprinted in 1945 by Benziger):  "Deus, qui nos redemptionis nostrae annua exspectatione laetificas:  praesta; ut Unigenitum tuum, quem Redemptorem laeti suscipimus, venientem quoque judicem securi videamus, D[omi]n[u]m nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum:  Qui"

[1570]:  Oratio, In Vigilia Nativitatis, Missale Romanum (as reprinted in 1949 by Sheed & Ward):  "Deus, qui nos redemptionis nostrae annua exspectatione laetificas:  praesta; ut Unigenitum tuum, quem Redemptorem laeti suscipimus, venientem quoque judicem securi videamus, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum:  Qui"

1662:  Book of common prayer:  dropped (appears nowhere), to reappear in Great Britain only in 1892.

1789 (first American):  Book of common prayer:  for the first of two (if two) Christmas-Day communions only:    "O God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thine only Son Jesus Christ; Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge, who"

1892 (British):  recovered for the first of two (if two) Christmas-Day communions only (Hatchett, 168).

1928 (American):  Book of common prayer:  for the first of two (if two) Christmas-Day communions only, as in the 1789.

1970:  Collect, Vigil of the Nativity, current Missale Romanum:  "Deus, qui nos redemptionis nostrae annua exspectatione laetificas, praesta, ut Unigenitum tuum, quem laeti suscipimus Redemptorem, venientem quoque Iudicem securi videre mereamur, Dominum nostrum, Iesum Christum.  Qui":  "O God, who gladden us year by year as we wait in hope for our redemption, grant that, just as we joyfully welcome your Only Begotten [Son] as our Redeemer, we may also merit to face him confidently when he comes again as our Judge.  Who"

1971:  Oratio, Ad I Vesperas In Nativitate, Liturgia horarum:  "Deus, qui nos redemptionis nostrae annua exspectatione laetificas, praesta, ut Unigenitum tuum, quem laeti sucipimus redemptorum, venientem quoque iudicem securi videre mereamur.  Per"

1979:  Collect (Traditional (one of three)), The Nativity of Our Lord:  Christmas Day, Book of common prayer:  "O God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thy only Son Jesus Christ:  Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our Judge; who"

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Once the frightful wastelands and hiding places of beasts, [but] now the most delightful habitations of men

     "We find something of this idea [that 'Settlement in a new, unknown, uncultivated country is equivalent to an act of Creation'] recurring in the European Middle Ages, when religious orders moved into forests or wastes and turned them into cultivated land.  It was claimed on behalf of these monasteries in Carolingian times that they brought it about that 'Horridae quondam solitudines ferarum nunc amoenissima diversiora hominum'."

     Charles Taylor, A secular age (Cambridge, MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 336, citing Clarence Glacken, Traces on the Rhodian shore (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1967), 117, citing (apparently) sec. V of the Præfatio to Acta sanctorum ordinis S. Benedicti ... : saeculum tertiumcollegit domnus Lucas d'Archery congregationis Sancti Mauri monarchus ; ac cum eo edidit D. Joannes Mabillon eiusdem congregationis ... ; pars prima (Venetiis : apud Sebastianum Coleti & Josephum Bettinelli, 1734), xxi:

horridæ quondam solitudines & latibula ferarum : nunc hominum amœnissima diversoria, . . .

For diversiora, read deversoria deversorius, -a, -um.

Monday, December 21, 2020

"Often, when it comes to protecting children, no good deed goes unpunished".

      Andrew O'Hagan, "A deep dark place," a review of Mayhem (New York:  Knopf, 2017), by Sigrid Rausing, The New York review of books 65, no. 7 (April 19, 2018):  32 (32-33).  "Sigrid did the right thing, but she is left with the wrong feeling—and that, too, is a legacy of abuse.  It sets a trap for the protector.  The author has serenity, courage, and wisdom, the mainstays of the twelve-step program, and she has a gift for wielding each of them into paragraphs that will stay in the mind.  Yet the mayhem of Hans and Eva [Rausing] has bred a mayhem in her that will take time to dissolve into something more like plain regret" (33).

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

"I was obliged to be industrious; whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well."

Hat tip Elaine Butler.

"Ich habe fleißig seyn müssen; wer eben so fleißig ist, der wird es eben so weit bringen können."

     Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), as channeled by Johann Nikolaus Forkel (1749-1818), Ueber Johann Sebastian Bachs Leben, Kunst und Kunstwerke. Für patriotische Verehrer echter musikalischer Kunst (Leipzig:  Hoffmeister und Kuehnel, 1802), 45 (chap. 8)Another translation:

"I was made to work; if you are equally industrious you will be equally successful."

I've seen also

"I had to be industrious. . . ."

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Super oblata, Third Sunday of Advent

 "May the sacrifice of our worship, Lord, we pray, be offered to you unceasingly, to complete what was begun in sacred mystery and powerfully accomplish for us your saving work.  Through."

"Devotionis nostrae tibi, Domine, quaesumus, hostia iugiter immolentur, quae et sacri peragat instituta mysterii et salutare tuum nobis potenter operetur.  Per."

"Devotionis nostrae tibi, quaesumus, domine, hostia iugiter immolentur, quae et sacri peragat instituta mysterii et salutare tuum nobis potenter operetur.  Per."

May the sacrifice of our devotion/consecration—which both accomplishes the aims of/instructions (words of institution) governing the sacred mystery, and powerfully effects for us your salvation—O Lord, we pray, be offered to you unceasingly.

     Super oblata, Third Sunday of Advent, Roman Missal.  =Corpus orationum 2221, a prayer already present (but with—as here—potentur rather than mirabiliter) in the Leonine or Veronese sacramentary, and, according to the 1956 edition of the latter edited by Mohlberg, dated by the scholars to between 432/481 and 557/560 (or slightly after 560), depending (group numbers 23, 25, 51, 68 and 77 from p. LXIX).  Devotio can mean a devoting or consecrating, a self-sacrifice or offering, and instituta, purposes, intentions, designs, and/or plans, but also the regulations, ordinances, institutions, and/or instructions designed to ensure their accomplishment.  For some recent additional thoughts, see also Fr. Z.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

"Churches without people, people without priests, priests without the reverence due to them, and Christians without Christ."

"Basilicae sine plebibus, plebes sine sacerdotibus, sacerdotes sine debita reverentia sunt, et sine Christo denique Christiani."

     St. Bernard, Letter 317.1 to Alphonsus, Count of St. Gilles, concerning the heretic Henry, trans. Bruno Scott James (Letters of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (Chicago:  Henry Regnery Company, 1953), 388 (387-389)).  Latin from PL 182, col. 434 (for now).  317.2:

Unhappy people!  At the voice of one heretic you close your ears to all the Prophets and Apostles who with one Spirit of truth have brought together the Church out of all nations to one faith in Christ.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

"the historicity of our contemporary options"

 "God is still a reference point for even the most untroubled unbelievers, because he helps define the temptation you have to overcome and set aside to rise to the heights of rationality on which they dwell. . . .

     ". . . [And so,] there are serious reasons to doubt whether [this utterly Godless society] could exist. . . . [For] the interesting issue is whether there could be unbelief without any sense of some religious view which is being negated.  A condition of absence of religion which would no longer deserve the name unbelief.  If so, it would be different from our present world in one crucial respect.  Unbelief for great numbers of contemporary unbelievers, is understood as an achievement of rationality.  It cannot have this without a continuing historical awareness.  It is a condition which can't only be described in the present tense, but which also needs the perfect tense:  a condition of 'having overcome' the irrationality of belief.  It is this perfect-tensed consciousness which underlies unbelievers' use of 'disenchantment' today.  It is difficult to imagine a world in which this consciousness might have disappeared.

     ". . . in a similar way, the founding importance of the exclusive humanism of freedom, discipline, and beneficent order remains ineradicable in our present world.  Other modes of unbelief—as well as many forms of belief—understand themselves as having overcome or refuted it.  The whole Nietzschean stream is a case in point, depending as it does on seeing the filiation between Christian belief and beneficent order, and then defining itself against both."

     Charles Taylor, A secular age (Cambridge, MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 268-269, italics mine.  This point is made again on pp. 591-592:

the very self-understanding of unbelief, that whereby it can present itself as mature, courageous, as a conquest over the temptations of childishness, dependency or lesser fortitude, requires that we remain aware of the vanquished enemy, of the obstacles which have to be climbed over, of the dangers which still await those whose brave self-reponsibility falters.  Faith has to remain a possibility, or else the self-valorizing understanding of atheism founders.  Imagining that faith might just disappear is imagining a fundamentally different form of non-faith, one quite unconnected to identity.  It would be one in which it would be as indifferent and unconnected to my sense of my ethical predicament that I have no faith, as it is today that I don't believe, for instance, in phlogiston, or natural places. . .
. . . Religion remains ineradicably on the horizon of areligion; and vice versa. . . . 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

England the palimpset

 "Can you make a new England? You can write a new story. You can write new texts and destroy the old ones, set the torn leaves of Duns Scotus sailing about the quadrangles, and place the gospels in every church. You can write on England, but what was written before keeps showing through, inscribed on the rocks and carried on floodwater, surfacing from deep cold wells. It’s not just the saints and martyrs who claim the country, it’s those who came before them: the dwarves dug into ditches, the sprites who sing in the breeze, the demons bricked into culverts and buried under bridges; the bones under your floor. You cannot tax them or count them. They have lasted ten thousand years and ten thousand before that. They are not easily dispossessed by farmers with fresh leases and law clerks who adduce proof of title. They bubble out of the ground, wear away the shoreline, sow weeds among the crops and erode the workings of mines."

     Hilary Mantel, The mirror and the light, Wolf Hall trilogy 3 (London:  4th Estate, 2020), so far unverified.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Not "since we have no merits," but "where we have no merits" (in this one)

 "Placare domine, quaesumus, humilitatis nostrae precibus et hostis et, ubi nulla suppetunt suffragia meritorum, tuae nobis indulgentiae succurre praesidiis" (Corpus orationum no. 4246).

 "Placare domine, quaesumus, nostrae humilitatis precibus et hostiis et, ubi nulla suppetunt suffragia meritorum, tuae nobis indulgentiae succurre praesidiis" (Missale Romanum).

"Be pleased, O Lord, with our humble prayers and offerings, and, since we have no merits to plead our cause, come, we pray, to our rescue with the protection of your mercy" (Roman missal, 2010 translation).

     Super oblata, Second Sunday of Advent, Missale Romanum.  Present at various points in the 8th-century sacramentaries.

     Clearly, that "since," which stood out to me at Mass this morning, was too good to be true.  For I see no indication that ubi functions in that way in even the medieval Latin covered by the Dictionary of mediaeval Latin from British sources, let alone the classical.  That phrase should run not "since no votes or backings of merits—i.e. no judgments of merit—suffice," but rather "where no votes or backings of merits—i.e. no judgments as to merit—suffice."

Sunday, November 29, 2020

"Go ye out to meet him and say"

Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, 390
(late 10th cent.), fol. 15
"Aspiciens a longe ecce video dei potentiam venientem et nebulam totam terram tegentem ite obviam ei et dicite nuntia nobis si tu es ipse qui regnaturus es in populo Israel."

     Responsory to the first reading (Isaiah 1:1-3) at Matins for the First Sunday of Advent, Divine office =Responsory to the second reading (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. 15.1-3), Office of Readings, First Sunday of Advent, Liturgy of the hours.  According to the database CANTUS, this is present in manuscripts of the 9th-century (D-TRs 1245/597, F-Al 44) at least.  (But see now Hansjakob Becker, below, who attributes it to Pope Gregory I (540-604), or more generally the archetypical Old Roman and Gregorian periods (70), and for whom the 9th century is but the century in which the "Carolingians" Agobard of Lyon and Amalar of Metz tried to reform it out of existence.) 

"I look from afar, and behold I see the Power of God, coming like as a cloud to cover the land with the hosts of his People:  Go ye out to meet him and say:  Tell us if thou art he, That shalt reign over God's people Israel."

     Trans. Divinum OfficiumA version of this by Palestrina, as sung at Salisbury.

     According to Hans-Jakob Becker ("Aspeciens - Aspiciebam.  Tradition and transformation des Antiphonale officii im Mittelalter," in Crossroad of cultures:  studies in liturgy and patristics in honor of Gabriele Winkler, ed. Hans-Jürgen Feulner, Elena Velkovska, and Robert F. Taft, S.J., Orientalia christiana analecta 260 (Rome:  Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 2000), 70-71 (69-88)), this Response—which is, "In the antiphonaries and breviaries of all [of the ancient] churches and monasteries" (excepting only (?) those of the [ancient] Milanese tradition, which attaches it, i.e. its "Qui regnis" only, to the Third), "the first in the series attached to the [(des)] First Sunday of Advent—is a cento, i.e. "a patchwork poem made up of verses by different writers" (J. A. Cuddon, A dictionary of literary terms (1977)).  "It is an example of the poetic Response, i.e. of that art of new creation in accordance with which the poet neither takes his text literally from Scripture, nor composes [it] with complete freedom, but, living [himself] wholly within the thought and imagery of the Bible, expresses what he wants to say with the words [(with fragments)] of Scripture, thus allowing [(wobei)] a given keyword to effect an [(die)] association, and bind the various passages together" (Becker, again, citing, at 71n14, a number of previous studies of this sort of liturgical "centonizzazione").  Here, according to Becker (71)—who is an incalculable improvement on the post-Vatican II Liturgia horarum, which suggests for this first stanza only Ps 49 (50):3, let alone Battifol (who suggested Aeschylus' The Persians!)—are the sources of these opening lines.  (To which I might add Mt 11:3.)



Vulgata [English from Douay-Rheims]

Aspiciens a longe

Heb 11:13; cf. Dan 7:13, Aspiciebam ergo in visione noctis, et ecce cum nubibus caeli quasi filius hominis veniebat, I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven

defuncti sunt … isti … a longe eas aspicientes
[All these died … beholding them afar off]

ecce video

Acts 7:55

Ecce video caelos apertos
[Behold, I see the heavens opened]

Dei potentiam venientem

Ps 79 (80):3

Excita potentiam tuam et veni

[Stir up thy might, and come]

et nebulam totam terram tegentem

Sir 24:6

sicut nebula texi omnem terram

[as a cloud I covered all the earth]

Ite obviam ei

Mt 25:6

sponsus venit, exite obviam ei

[the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him]

et dicite

Lk 7:20

Joannes … misit nos ad te dicens

[John … hath sent us to thee, saying]

Nuntia nobis

Lk 7:22

Euntes renuntiate Joanni

[Go and relate to John]

sit tu es ipse

Lk 7:20

Tu es qui venturus es

[Art thou he that art to come]

qui regnaturus es in populo Israel

Mt 2:6; cf. Mic 5:2, ex te mihi egredietur qui sit dominator in Israel, out of thee shall he come forth unto me [he] that is to be the ruler in Israel

exiet dux, qui regnat populum meum Israel

[shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel]

Needless to say, all of this was considered unacceptably "extravant" by reformers of the Carolingian period such as Amolar and Agobard, as Becker goes on, in the rest of his article, to show, a judgment which leads to various traditions of the exclusion of the Aspiciens a longe, along with the substitution for it, "in all sources in which the Aspiciens is lacking" (83), of the supposedly more strictly biblical Aspiciebam of Dan 7:13.
     That said, Amalar and Agobard "were decisive for the [subsequent] tradition in only the small [(kleinen)] sphere of Type 12" and the neo-Gallican (and profoundly Abogardian) Breviarum Parisiense of 1736.  As for the post-Vatican II Liturgia horarum, it reverences, supposedly, both Agobard and the "archetypical" tradition of the Aspiciens a longe (above) simultaneously (87-88):
The order of hourly prayer that appeared after the Second Vatican Council reacted against [both] the [archetypical] tradition and [the reform-inspired] transformations of the [Carolingian] Middle Ages.  Since the Officium Lectionis allows for only two readings, the first biblical, the second patristic, only two Responses are needed for each day.  A glance at the First Week of Advent shows that the first Response, the Lavamini, was basically composed afresh, and indeed in direct textual reference to the preceding lectio continua [(Bahnlesung)] from Isaiah.  The second Response allows for the possibility of bringing texts of the tradition into play.  And so[, in sum,] the First Sunday of Advent is opened with a new Response answering to Is 1, whereas the Response Aspiciens, which was rejected in Types 12 and 43 as well as in the neo-Gallican tradition as unbiblical, is found as the second Response (!) at the conclusion of the reading from the Fathers:  a reverence for Agobard and, simultaneously, a reverence for the tradition [both].

Thursday, November 26, 2020

"a glittering cargo cult"
      "If [at 72] I were to take a religious turn, it would be toward Christianity.  But strait is the gate and narrow is the way.  In order to pass through, I’d have to shrink myself to the size of the child I was before I knew better than to believe.  How would I do that, and what would be left of me?"

     Emily Fox Gordon, "An atheist’s lament," The American scholar 90, no. 1 (Winter 2021):  85 (78-85).

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Evolving towards and evolving out

"this predicament was spiritually unstable, offering on one side motives not to go back to the earlier established faiths, and on the other (among other things), a sense of malaise, emptiness, a need for meaning.

     "Again, this doesn't mean that everyone will go on being pulled both ways.  Many, perhaps most, will end up opting for some solution, including the extreme ones of authoritarian orthodoxy and materialist atheism.  But the situation as a whole remains unstable, in the sense that there is no long term movement towards a [permanent] resolution of whatever kind.  Successive generations keep re-opening the issues in new ways; children desert the solutions of their parents:  one generation reacts to the Gibbonian high culture of the eighteenth century by turning evangelical; not very long after their descendants have become unbelievers, and so on.  Both those who hope that unbelief will encounter its own limitations and aridity, and will peter out in a general return to orthodoxy; and those who think that all this represents an historic march towards reason and science, seem doomed to disappointment.  Over time, there seems no stable resolution."

     Charles Taylor, A secular age (Cambridge, MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2007), 302-303.  Not surprisingly, I'm disinclined to think that the two poles can be equally attractive over the truly long haul in fact.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

"the 'sciences' structured by the spill-over"

 "Whereas the withdrawl from cosmic meanings is a move which is properly motivated by the nature of the reality which natural science studies, the spill-over occurs where the prestige of the stance begins to dictate what we can take as reality.  We can note too that the 'sciences' structured by the spill-over are understood by their practitioners to be motivated by fully epistemic considerations, whereas in fact (if I am right) a big part of the motivation resides in the prestige and admiration surrounding the stance itself, with the sense of freedom, power, control, invulnerability, dignity, which it radiates.  In other words, what operate here are ethical considerations (those to do with the ends of life, or what is a higher form of life).  This is masked by a certain ideological consciousness."

     Charles Taylor, A secular age (Cambridge, MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 286.  And, channeling Aquinas:  "A powerful homogenizing a priori is at work here (perhaps a little too reminiscent of Kant), perverse in its effect.  I say 'perverse', because we ought to hold that method and stance be adapted to the nature of the reality concerned, whereas here, albeit unwittingly, reality is being arraigned before the bar of Method; what doesn't shape up is condemned to a shadow-zone of the unreal."

Friday, November 20, 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020

"God is not summoned into the presence of reason; reason is summoned before the presence of God."

      John Webster, Holiness (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2003), 17.  I was put onto this by Michael Allen, "Theological theology," First things no. 307 (November 2020):  21 (19-23).

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

"It is a duty of faith for all Lutherans . . . to observe the restrictions on church communion with all [due] rigor themselves, and to judge all dispensations [from them] as sin and heresy. . . ."

     "Es ist eine Glaubenspflicht für alle Lutheraner . . . selbst die Grenzen der Kirchengemeinschaft in aller Strenge zu beobachten und alle Dispensationen als Sünde und Häresie zu verurteilen. . . ."

     Tom [G. A.] Hardt, "Keine Kirchengemeinschaft mit Häretikern!  (Nulla communicatio in sacris cum haereticis)," Lutherische Blätter 12, no. 65 (Juli 1960):  83 (62-83).  "It is their duty to prevent whole generations of theologians from being taught that that Confessionalism [(which is to say, a commitment to church discipline)] and Donatism are the same thing" (83).  For the Church is always threatened by two dangers:  the enthusiastic ("schwärmerischen") misuse of excommunication on the one hand, and the renunciation of the justice of it for open sinners, schismatics, and heretics on the other (70).

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The church catholic

Vatican Museums
"I am a disciple of the chaste shepherd, who feedeth his flocks of sheep on mountains and plains. . . .  He sent me to Rome. . . .  And I saw the plain of Syria and all the cities [too], even Nisibis, having crossed the Euphrates.  And everywhere I had associates having Paul as a companion, everywhere faith led the way and set before me for food the fish from the spring mighty and pure, whom a spotless Virgin caught, and gave this to friends to eat, always having sweet wine and giving the mixed cup with bread."

     Inscription of Abercius (late 2nd cent.), trans. Quasten (Patrology, vol. 1, p. 172).  For a link to the text as reconstructed in Lightfoot, Apostolic fathers, go here.

"there cannot properly be 'inter-communion'"

     "Catholic theology has become progressively more aware of what was implied by this unity of the Church-as-Communion [(Heilsgemeinschaft)] corresponding to its unity-as-institution [(Heilsanstalt, communion in [1] the deposit of the faith, [2] the deposit of the sacraments, and [3] the apostolic powers)].  It has realized more clearly that it was not only a question, for individuals or for local communities, of a conformity of [1] faith, [2] worship and [3] constitution, at least in all which was part of the apostolic tradition, but that the Church was called to form a single people, a single Communion.  To keep Communion is not only to participate faithfully in the means of salvation of the church-institution; it is to form a community and to act, not as an autonomous subject, but as a member of a single people or body.  The sin of schism betrays a separatist attitude which destroys this reference of a part to its whole.

     "In this perspective, as Canon Lacey has already shown (Unity and Schism, p. 56 et seq.), there cannot properly be 'inter-communion' [(il ne peut exister à proprement parler d' « intercommunion »)].  There is or there is not Communion, but Communion is of its nature universal and indivisible, like the Church herself of which it is an aspect.  Either one has or one has not Communion in the Church, with the Church; if one has it, one has it wherever the Church is to be found, allowance having been made for local particularities, sometimes considerable but always respectful of the apostolic deposit, of which one could say, adapting a saying of St. Cyprian, repeated by St. Augustine:  Licet, salvo jure communionis, diversum sentire [(It is licet, without violation (i.e. forfeiture) of the right of communion, to think diversely)].  That is why a member of the Church, if he is not 'excommunicated', may communicate sacramentally wherever he finds the Church, and relive the blessed experience of Abercius of Hierapolis:  'Everywhere I have had brothers. . . .  Faith led me everywhere.  Everywhere it supplied me with a fresh-water fish, large, pure, that had been caught by a pure virgin.'  Inversely, the general custom was,—although history presents some exceptions—and the Councils demanded, that any one of the faithful who had broken off Communion with his bishop or who has been excommunicated should be nowhere received at Communion.  This was a disciplinary rule which can be understood if one keeps in mind the homogenous and indissoluble unity of the Church, whose 'Sacrament', as St. Cyprian says, resides in the unity of the episcopate, whose members hold the charge in solidum.  It should only be added—and this St. Cyprian misunderstood—that the local churches were not alone in having received from the Lord and the Apostles their unified structure.  The Church is constructed, as far as the apostolic powers which are transmitted by succession are concerned, not solely on the plane of the local churches, but on the plane of her ecumenical, universal reality. . . .

     ". . . some will perhaps say:  since the Sacrament engenders the Church, let us communicate in the Sacrament, and we shall thus come better to communicate in the Church; let us celebrate and pray together, we shall soon form a single ecclesiastical body. . . .  This reasoning would perhaps be valuable if the Sacrament were a means outside the Church, which one could use in order to enter or to build her, as one takes a key to enter a house, and stones to build one.  But not one of the constitutive of the Church is exterior to her:  not faith, nor the Bible, nor tradition, nor the sacraments, nor the apostolic succession and powers.  They can only be truly found and held in her.  Faith is the faith of the Church, the sacraments are the sacraments of the Church.  It is she, in reality, who celebrates, we have only the rank of ministers in her.  Hence, in regard to reunion, intercommunion, as has been justly written, could be a fruit, an expression or an exercise of unity; it cannot be the principle of it if it does not exist.  Besides, as we have already said, when unity is given, it is not of intercommunion that we should speak, but quite simply of Communion.  At present we are, and very really, united in Christ—through grace and spiritual gifts, through certain sacraments, through the Holy Bible, etc. . . .  that which unites us is already considerable!—but we are not united in one Church.  The aim of the ecumenical movement is precisely to pass, if God wills it and grants to us to do it, from an invisible unity in Christ to a visible unity in the Church.  Then, we would celebrate and communicate together.  Until then, intercommunion is, alas, impossible."

     Yves Congar, “Amica contestatio,” in Intercommunion:  the report of the theological commission appointed by the Continuation Committee of the World Conference on Faith and Order together with a selection from the material presented to the Commission, ed. Donald Baillie and John Marsh (London:  SCM Press Ltd, 1952), 143-144 (141-151), and in Yves Congar, Chrétiens en dialogue; contributions catholiques à l'oecuménisme (Paris:  Éditions du Cerf, 1964), 243-254.  The Augustinian maxim derives from De bapt. 3.4-5:  "donec enim persuadeatur et nobis, si hoc persuaderi ueris rationibus potest, securos nos de iure catholicae communionis facit ipse Cyprianus. sequitur enim et dicit: «superest ut de hac ipsa re singuli quid sentiamus proferamus, neminem iudicantes aut a iure communionis aliquem si diuersum senserit amouentes». non solum ergo mihi saluo iure communionis adhuc uerum quaerere sed etiam diuersum sentire concedit," "For till such time as we are also convinced (if there are any arguments of truth whereby this can be done), Cyprian himself has established our security by the right of Catholic communion.  For he goes on to say:  'It remains that we severally declare our opinion on this same subject, judging no one, nor depriving any one of the right to communion if he differ from us.'  He allows me, therefore, without losing the right of communion, not only to continue inquiring into the truth, but even to hold opinions differing from his own" (trans. J. R. King and Chester D. Hartranft, APNF 4, p. 437).  As for the inscription by Abercius, see J. B. Lightfoot, The apostolic fathers 2.1 (1889), p. -496- (and the subsequent scholarship, as listed, for example, in the Encyclopedia of ancient Christianity, ed. Di Bernardino (2014), sv Abercius, which, however, does not, of course, list anything published since, for example Allen Brent, "Has the Vita Abercii misled epigraphists in the reconstruction of the inscription?," in The first urban churches, vol. 5, Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea (2019), pp. 325–61).

Saturday, November 14, 2020

"The Spirit's [only] grace is to order our 'surrender'"

. . . to, among other things, "sheer dependence and hence lack of possession and of certainty" (265); to contingency, creaturehood, suffering, and mortality; to "vapor, shadow, and, finally, vanity" (266); to the sufficiency of the very life we have been given.  Etc.  See pp. 263 ff. ("Modes of Pneumatic Life as Creatures" and following, including "Life in the Spirit:  A Scattered Definition" (pp. 282 ff.)) for a helpful summation of the themes of the whole book.

"The Spirit's grace is to order our 'surrender'", "a surrender in the deepest way to God's will and being, and thus, in Christian terms, a surrender, not in general, but concretely in the form of Christ: 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit' (Luke 23:45).  This phrase, uttered by Jesus on the Cross, could have been uttered by the [pneumatological] Whitman.  But the life of the one who uttered it could not have been embraced by Whitman.  The pneumatic rub with respect to creation lies in the form of Jesus' own life (Phil. 2:6-7):  the fullness of life is given in self-offering.  That the one who 'loves life' must 'lose it' for the sake of God, not as something worthless but as the complete ledger of its worth before God, is an anti-pneumatological claim at its root (Matt. 10:39; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:23)."

     Ephraim Radner, A profound ignorance:  modern pneumatology and its anti-modern redemption (Waco, TX:  Baylor University Press, 2019), 265-267, all underscoring mine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

"Let us bless the Father, and the Son, with the Holy Spirit. Let us praise and exalt him above all forever."

Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek,
Codex 121, 312 (960-970)
"Benedicamus Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu; laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula."

     I haven't looked for scholarship on the first appearance of this, though according to CANTUS it is present in manuscripts dated to the 10th century:  CH-E 121 to 960/970, and F-Pnm lat. 1085 to the last quarter.

Dan 3:52 | Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Young Men 29 (I think that's the verse on which this is based, though I haven't examined the whole chapter closely):

Εὐλογητὸς εἶ, κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν, καὶ αἰνετὸς καὶ ὑπερυψούμενος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, καὶ εὐλογημένον τὸ ὄνομα τῆς δόξης σου τὸ ἅγιον καὶ ὑπεραινετὸν καὶ ὑπερυψωμένον εἰς πάντας τοὺς αἰῶνας.

benedictus es Domine Deus patrum nostrorum et laudabilis et superexaltatus in saecula et benedictum nomen gloriae tuae sanctum et laudabile et superexaltatum in omnibus saeculis.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

"As John preceded Christ, so the gospel precedes the mass."

"The church has decided that the mass must not be celebrated without the reading of the gospel. Therefore God has placed greater importance on the gospel than on the mass, for without the gospel man does not live in the Spirit, but he does without the mass. 'For man shall live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' [Cf. Matt. 4:4], as the Lord himself teaches at greater length in the sixth chapter of John. The mass then renews those who are already a part of the body of Christ, but the gospel, the sword of the Spirit, devours the flesh, divides the kingdom of the devil, takes away the possessions of the strong and increases the body of the church. The mass helps only those who have life; the gospel, on the other hand, helps everybody. Hence, in the early church, the demoniacs and catechumens were permitted to remain until after the reading of the gospel and only then were dismissed by those who were permitted to eat and drink of the body of Christ in the mass. Even now church law permits those who have been excommunicated to remain at the mass until after the reading of the gospel . As John preceded Christ, so the gospel precedes the mass. The gospel prostrates and humbles, whereas the mass conveys grace to those who are humbled. Therefore it would be better if they forbade the mass [rather than silence the gospel]."

     Martin Luther, Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses or Explanations of the Disputation Concerning the Value of Indulgences (1518), Conclusio 55, LW 31.1, 210-211 =WA 1, 604-605.

The jurisdiction "to exclude from the communion of the Church wicked men, whose wickedness is known"

"according to the Gospel or, as they say, by divine right, there belongs to the bishops as bishops, that is, to those to whom has been committed the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, no jurisdiction [(jurisdictio)] except to forgive sins, to judge doctrine, to reject doctrines contrary to the Gospel, and to exclude from the communion of the Church wicked men, whose wickedness is known [(et impios, quorum nota est impietas, excludere a communione Ecclesiæ | und die Gottlosen, deren gottlos Wesen offenbar ist, aus [der] christlichen Gemeinde ausschließen)], and this without human force, simply by the Word."

     Augsburg Confession II.vii =xxviii, De potestate ecclesiastica.  The book of concord:  the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, ed. Robert Kolb & Timothy Wengert, trans. Charles Arand et al. (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2000), 94 (German) | 95 (Latin).

Sunday, November 1, 2020

"there is little more to be said about the Holy Spirit than the body of Christ."

 "Human life is a fundamentally obscured arena for faith; and faith is that arena's strange hope. . . .

     "The Spirit is indeed rightly called 'gift'—but in the sense of a giving that provides the gift of the body, of our life, in Christ's body.  While this limitation has its own pneumatological implications, it is a limitation nonetheless:  there is little more to be said about the Holy Spirit than the body of Christ."

     Ephraim Radner, A profound ignorance:  modern-pneumatology and its anti-modern redemption (Waco, TX:  Baylor University Press, 2019), 248.

"the mistake [that] trails this Person like a veil"

      "To explain the existential and perhaps even metaphysical adequacy of this scripturally narrated Jesus would end up, at least grammatically, making 'sufficiency' ('it is enough') and 'worth' ('it is worth living') simply synonyms for 'the Holy Spirit,' while also failing to indicate the living Person of God who the Spirit is.  Such a grammatical equivalence would be a mistake, although it is a common enough move (cf. the traditional and often-used identifications of the Spirit as 'Gift' or 'Love').  But since the Spirit has neither personal name nor relational identity—since the Spirit is neither the Son whom 'you shall call Jesus' nor the Father who sends the Son and is invoked as such—the mistake trails this Person like a veil.  One might wish to call this nameless identity 'shyness' or 'modesty,' but that too is to miss what is going on.  It is as if the Spirit stands as the very obscurity of the divine Persons themselves, whose life 'for us' nonetheless cannot be escaped.  Just as mortality is simply what it means that God has created us—utter grace—so suffering is what it means that God is in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.  Who does not before these truths, even with face unveiled, yet through the Spirit's still opaque reflection, stand with hand upon the mouth?"

     Ephraim Radner, A profound ignorance:  modern pneumatology and its anti-modern redemption (Waco, TX:  Baylor University Press, 2019), 247.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The "It's a drama/entertainment, not a documentary" defense

"Do these fantastical entertainments matter?  And what do they say about Churchill—or about us?  There is a standard defense that such movies are dramas, not documentaries, but that's disingenuous.  For every person who has read serious, detached books about Churchill and his times, there will be thousands whose knowledge of him comes from cinema and television.  And by now the encrustations of mythologizing and hero worship have gone beyond a point where they can be easily corrected.  The line at the end of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence—'When legend becomes fact, print the legend'—is the guiding principle for depictions of Churchill in popular culture."

     Geoffrey Wheatcroft, "A star is born," The New York review of books 65, no. 1 (January 18, 2018):  23 (22-23).

"My grace is sufficient for you"

"where one is heading—somewhere else—cannot exhaust the divine truth of the present.  'Here' cannot only be a pneumatic moment in its futurist or eschatological orientation.  Yet if that is so, then 'here' must allow for a complete divine presence whose shape is itself sufficient without appeal to some yet-to-be-grasped divine form.  It is always enough that 'we see Jesus.'  The pneumatic corollary of this is that the Spirit is just this 'enough.'

     "We might wish to explain why 'seeing Jesus' is enough—that is, explain what is the nature of 'enough-ness.'  This is, in part, the burden of 'theodicies of intimacy':  to the extent that they are theodicies at all, they must show in what way knowing God or seeing God [in the 'here' and 'now'] makes the suffering somehow worth it.  One might, in this light, simply assert the equivalence between the encounter with God and 'worth':  'Whom have I in heaven [but thee]?  and [there is] none upon earth [that] I desire beside thee' (Ps 73:25); 'As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness:  I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness' (Ps 17:15).  But in fact theodicies of intimacy often shift, despite themselves, into the kind of [pneumatico-]instrumentalist claims that most theodicies share.  With or without the apparatus of some kind of therapy of the soul, the vision of God that theodicies of intimacy propose—as encounter, union, or relation—is valuable because this vision is itself a 'defeat' of evil.  To say that evil is defeated in Christ, which is clearly a central Christian claim, is not however to say that suffering itself is redemptive.  One must say more.  Suffering is redemptive, more foundationally, only because Jesus suffers.  We do not know exactly what it means that Jesus suffers, however, unless we follow with him, a matter that simply kneads the surds of life into the rising dough of our obedience.  Divine intimacy is certainly present here; yet it is present in a way that is sufficient to the moment itself."

     Ephraim Radner, A profound ignorance:  modern pneumatology and its anti-modern redemption (Waco, TX:  Baylor University Press, 2019), 241-242, underscoring mine.  Needless to say, "pneumatic" is almost a dirty word here, as throughout the book (11 par. 3), a cipher for the Incarnation- and Cross-avoiding temptations of the (admittedly legitimate) theodicy of intimacy.  The Spirit just is this "enough" (Introduction, too, for example at p. 11), nor should we be looking for something more.  That there is "something better 'waiting' beyond this life" is a "necessary conviction if we are to ward off despair or angry cynicism against God" (239).  But it must not become the focus of a kind of pneumatic escapism, for it is the Spirit's job to drive us deeper into an opaque but authentically Christoform life of cruciform suffering in the here and now.  However:  "Jesus suffers."  Note the present tense.  Is that orthodox?

Monday, October 26, 2020

Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit. . . .

Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself andflowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is. . . . Life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.

And variants galore.

This has in recent times been widely attributed to Pope Francis, though I have yet to trace a use of it (or any version thereof) back to him.

Meanwhile its opening clauses antedate him by centuries, being unmistakably those of a Sanskrit subhāṣita present in the 14th-century Sūktiratnahāra (Sūkti ratna hāra). They ran in the Sūktiratnahāra as follows:

"Rivers do not drink their water; the trees do not eat [their own] fruits, the cloud never eats crops, [indeed] the lives of the virtuous are for the welfare of others."

This came into the 14th/18th-century Pali Lokanīti as follows:

"Rivers do not drink up their water, nor trees eat up their fruit; rain does not fall in some places only: the wealth of the virtuous is for others."

Source: Ujjwal Kumar, "Lokanīti: method of adaption and new vocabulary," Buddhist studies review 34, no. 1 (2017): 99 and elsewhere.

The Pali proverb in particular, at least, had made its way into the consciousness of English speakers by 1892 at the latest ("Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; neither are clouds stationary anywhere. So also with wealth: it is for the benefit of others"). Indeed, by 1878. For the Burmese Lokanīti was first translated into English by Richard Carnac Temple in that year (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 47, no. 3 (1878)), and here it is: no. 23 on p. 247 ("The rivers drink not of their own water, neither eat the trees of their own fruit, nor fall the rains in every place: likewise are the riche of the jut man only for an help unto others"). And then again by James Gray in 1886 (no. 64 (Lokanīti) and no. 139 (Dhammanīti)):

"Rivers do not drink up their water, nor trees eat up their fruit; rain does not fall in some places only: the wealth of the virtuous is for others."

"Rivers do not drink up their water, nor trees eat up their own fruit; rain never eats up corn: the wealth of the righteous is for others."

Undoubtedly the variants on this have been legion. But IF Pope Francis "quoted" and adapted it (filling it out in the manner noted above, perhaps in imitation of someone else), I would be interested in knowing where, for, as I've just said, I have yet to identify a use of it by him. (He has, by the way, been notoriously sloppy on many occasions, and about matters far more serious than quotations.)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

"raw choice, autonomous choice, choice for its own sake and for private ends, uncoupled from any command."

     "Our 'secular' saeculum has its own gospel. In it we announce choice itself, not choice about something. We announce raw choice, autonomous choice, choice for its own sake and for private ends, uncoupled from any command. We have taken up the idea of the self as the repository of all goodness; but this repository is not, like Mary, full of grace and gratitude. It is, like Eve, full of desires and demands. It is possessed, like Adam, of many rights; but it does not do what is right and just, or even acknowledge what is right and just. It seeks power and authority, not from and for justice, but in order to decide what “­justice” will be. It advocates progress in everything but virtue. It is not interested in virtue because it is not interested in God, the goal to which virtue leads. Thus, the mystery of lawlessness advances under ­cover of an ever-expanding positive law that no longer acknowledges any foundation for law. In the name of liberty, we are making progress in law at the expense of liberty. And so far from being grateful for the gifts of providence, we no longer know how even to make sense of the idea of “the gift,” an idea our philosophers tell us is incoherent. The economy of grace and gratitude is a currency we no longer recognize.

     "In our putative secularity, the rough draft of our response to the heavenly court has begun to take shape. Is there silence in heaven? Very well. Then let there be silence on earth also. That court shall not be named, not in public; neither shall the Christ, whose authority it has confirmed. Our secular silence is not a repentant silence. It is not a mournful silence in sackcloth and ashes like that of the Ninevites, to whom God brought Jonah that he might deliver his reluctant rebuke. It is not a prayer, but a refusal to pray. It is not a contemplation of our sins, but a refusal to allow that there is any such thing as sin—save the sin of honoring God and admonishing one another to heed the commands of God, which is now both a sin and a crime."

     Douglas Farrow, "The secret of the saeculum," First things no. 303 (May 2020):  35 (27-35).

"One must belong to an ecumenical organization in order to fail to understand that Luther was a miserable confessionalist."

"Es bedarf der Zugehörigkeit zu einer ökumenischen Organization, um nicht zu verstehen daß Luther ein elender Konfessionalist war."

     Tom [G. A.] Hardt, of the missiologist Hans-Werner Gensichen (1915-1999), who, at Damnamus:  die Verwerfung von Irrlehre bei Luther und im Luthertum des 16. Jahrhunderts (1955) 45, was apparently scandalized to discover that the doctrine (i.e. principle) of justification by faith alone had never (
nie”) been more important to Luther than the hoc est corpus meum; had never been allowed to turn communion into the merely "spiritual eating and drinking" of the Schwärmer, and thus Luther into a principled "Konfessionalist."  "Keine Kirchengemeinschaft mit Häretikern!  (Nulla communicatio in sacris cum haereticis)," Lutherische Blätter 12, no. 65 (Juli 1960):  67 (62-83).  See also p. 66.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

"Every article of faith is a principle in itself and does not need to be proved by another article."

     Martin Luther at the Marburg Colloquy of 1529, according to Hermann Sasse, This is my body:  Luther's contention for the real presence in the sacrament of the altar (Minneapolis:  Augsburg, 1959), 261 (Hed[io], Coll[in], An[onymous]).  =WA 30.3, 141 (An[onymous], Coll[in]):

An.] Lutherus respondit:  Quemque articulum fidei sui ipsius principium esse, nec opus esse exemplo simili probari.

Coll.] Lutherus.  Non petimus principium, nam articulus fidei non probatur per articulum.

Anonymous]  Luther responded [that] every article of faith is its own [first] principle [(lit. a principle of itself)], and [that] it is not required [(nec opus esse) that it] be demonstrated by a comparable such [(exemplo simili)].  |  LW 38, 51:  Every article of faith is a principle in itself and does not need to be proved by a similar example.

Collin]  Luther:  We are not begging the question [(Non petimus principium, We are not in search—i.e. need—of a principle)], for [one] article of faith is not demonstrated by [another] article.  |  LW 38, 61:  We are not begging the question, for one article of faith is not proved by another.

=Walter Koehler, Das Marburger Religionsgeschpräch 1529:  Versuch einer Rekonstruktion (1929), __.  I was put onto this by Tom [G. A.] Hardt, "Keine Kirchengemeinschaft mit Häretikern!  (Nulla communicatio in sacris cum haereticis)," Lutherische Blätter 12, no. 65 (Juli 1960):  66 (62-83):  "Jeder Glaubensartikel ist sich selbst Prinzip und bedarf nicht des Beweises durch einen anderen."

     With this Luther was able to affirm the spiritual eating (manducatio spiritualis) so stressed by Zwingli and Oecolampadius without being compelled thereby—as if by an Oecolampadian "norm for the whole of [Christian] doctrine" rooted in the principle of justification by faith alone—to dispense with the doctrine of the Real Presence:  "Your argument implies this:  [that] because we affirm [(haben)] a spiritual eating, there is no need of a bodily.  I answer:  The spiritual eating we in no way deny.  Indeed, we everywhere teach and believe that it is necessary.  But by this can it not be established that the bodily is useless or unnecessary" (cf. the translation on p. 236 in Sasse).

     What he is arguing for here would seem to be an interpretation of the "This is my body" controlled by the mandatum (revelation) rather than a kind of rationalistic consistency.  And to that extent he may be right.  The consistency is surely to be sought in
convenientia post factum alone (?).

'"The [ancient] catholic church was a confessional church whose harshness had nothing in common with the contemporary church of tolerance."

"The 'Great Church' invented by [Bishop Bo] Giertz and A history of the ecumenical movement 1517-1948 [(London:  S.P.C.K., 1954)] never existed.  The [ancient] catholic church was a confessional church [(Konfessionskirche)] whose harshness [(Schroffheit)] had nothing in common with a modern church of tolerance [(Toleranzkirche)].  The anathema [pronounced] against heretics and apostates was for it [(die alte Kirche)] a matter of real consequence [(eine Realität)].  Though small and inconsequential, it raised [high] the claim to be the sancta ecclesia catholica."

     Tom [G. A.] Hardt, "Keine Kirchengemeinschaft mit Häretikern!  (Nulla communicatio in sacris cum haereticis)," Lutherische Blätter 12, no. 65 (Juli 1960):  64 (62-83).  I know nothing about Prof. Hardt, who undoubtedly followed Luther in anathematizing the Roman Catholic Church.  But if so, then the anathema that he would reserve to confessional Lutheranism was, of course, also pronounced against it in the manner of that same "ancient church."