Saturday, March 14, 2015

"The Catholic Church was willing to lose the kingdom of England, and by extension the entire English-speaking world, over the principle that when a first marriage is valid a second is adulterous".

"And on communion for the remarried, the stakes are not debatable at all. The Catholic Church was willing to lose the kingdom of England, and by extension the entire English-speaking world, over the principle that when a first marriage is valid a second is adulterous, a position rooted in the specific words of Jesus of Nazareth. To change on that issue, no matter how it was couched, would not be development; it would be contradiction and reversal."

     Ross Douthat, "The Pope and the precipice," New York times, 25 October 2014.

Friday, March 13, 2015

misericordiae ianua

Wikimedia Commons
"O God, Who hast willed that the gate of mercy should stand open to the faithful; look on us, and have mercy upon us; that we who by Thy grace are following the path of Thy will, may never turn aside from the ways of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

     William Bright, Ancient collects and other prayers (Oxford:  J.H. & J. Parker, 1857), 73.  Though others have attributed this to the "Leonine" sacramentary (could they have confused it with the Leofric?), Bright attributes it rightly to the 8th-century Gelasian.  It is no. 557 in the Old Gelasian sacramentary (paradigmatically Rome Vatican Reg. 316), no. 951 in the late 8th-century sacramentary of Gellone (Paris, B.N. lat. 12048), no. 749 in the 8th/9th-century Sangallensis (Sankt-Gallen Stiftsbibl. 348), and no. 945 in the 8th/9th-century Gelasian sacramentary of AngoulĂȘme (Paris B.N. lat. 816):

"Deus qui misericordiae ianuam fidelibus patere uoluisti, respice in nos et miserere nostri, ut qui uoluntatis tuae uiam donante te sequimur, a uitae numquam semitis deuiemur. Per Dominum nostrum. . . ."

See also p. 104 of the edition of the Old Gelasian as ed. Wilson:

"Deus, qui misericordiae ianuam fidelibus patere voluisti, respice in nos et miserere nostri, ut, qui voluntatis tuae viam donante te, sequimur, a vitae numquam semitis deviemus: per."

"O God, who willed that the gates of mercy should stand open for your faithful, look upon us and have mercy, that as we follow, by your gift, the way you desire for us, so may we never stray from the path of life.  Through."

It is no. 103 in Bruylants (vol. 1, p. 47) and no. 1802 in Corpus orationum.

     Cf. the second of the two alternative Collects for Saturday of the Second Week of Easter, current Roman missal:  

"O God, who willed that through the pascal mysteries
the gates of mercy should stand open for your faithful,
look upon us and have mercy,
that as we follow, by your gift, the way you desire for us,
so may we never stray from the path of life.
Through", etc.

"Deus, qui misericordiae ianuam fidelibus tuis per paschalia mysteria patere voluisti, respice in nos et miserere nostri, ut, qui voluntatis tuae viam, te donante, sequimur, a vitae numquam semitis deviemur. Per Dominum."

Searching the online as well as the scholarly concordances to the "Leonine" or Veronese sacramentary (including both the Initienverzeichnis and the Wortverzeichnis of the critical edition edited by Mohlberg) on "Deus, qui misericordiae" and the word "gate" (ianu* (ianua), ost* (ostium), port* (porta)), I have not found it in the "Leonine", though the phrase "ianuam misericordiae" does occur there in no. 629 (p. 80, l. 17 of the edition of the "Leonine" edited by Mohlberg):

Online:


















Scholarly (Wilson, Classified index to the Leonine, Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries (Cambridge:  1892), 40):














A variation in English:

"O God, who hast willed that the gate of mercy should stand open to the faithful: Look on us, and have mercy upon us, we beseech thee; that we who by thy grace are following the path of thy will may continue in the same all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

    
     It also made its way into the 1906 and 1932 Presbyterian Book of common worship.  Interestingly, the Church of England's Common worship attributes it to Kenneth Stevenson, Bishop of Portsmouth, thus passing over its origin in the Gelasian: 

God of our pilgrimage,
you have willed that the gate of mercy
should stand open for those who trust in you:
look upon us with your favour
that we who follow the path of your will
may never wander from the way of life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

     Common worship:  services and prayers for the Church of England (London:  Church House Publishing, 2000), 414 (Post Communion for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity) and 822 (attribution to "The Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Stevenson", but with an asterisk indicating that "the prayer has been adapted" (818)).  Dr. Bridget Nichols, who contributed the chapter in the Companion to Common worship on "Collects and post communion prayers" (ed. Paul Bradshaw, vol. 1 =Alcuin Club collections 78 (London:  SPCK, 2001), 193), agrees that "There is no doubt about the relationship of the prayer you have identified to the Trinity 10 post communion" in Common worship (note in response to me dated 15 March 2015).




     Janus was the god of doors and gates and covered passage- or archways, and therefore of beginnings (commencements; cf. January) and endings (reentries).  Because the Republic especially was so continuously at war, the doors of the Temple of Janus Geminus (Janus the Two-Faced; probably a four-way arch) stood mostly open, but were closed once under Numa, thrice under Augustus, "and more frequently in the imperial period" (OCD4, sv Janus, by Nicholas Purcell).
     So does "the gate of mercy" ("misericordiae janua"), standing always open in "the peace of Christ" (misericordia, rather than war or enmity), effect a reversal of the old Roman usage, or is the phrase entirely innocent of any such freight?
     If the allusion is rather to something like Is 60:11,
thy gates shall be open continually: they shall not be shut day nor night.....aperientur portae tuae iugiter die et nocte non claudentur....
then why porta there, but ianua here?  (But of course it must be to something like Is 60:11 as well.)

"God does not will the damnation of anyone under the formality of damnation, nor anyone's death as death, because he wills all men to be saved, but he wills it under the formality of justice."

"Deus non vult damnationem alicuius sub ratione damnationis, nec mortem alicuius inquantum est mors, quia ipse vult omnes homines salvos fieri, sed vult ista sub ratione iustitiae."

     Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I-II.19.10.ad 2, trans. Ralph McInerny (Thomas Aquinas:  selected writings, ed. & trans. Ralph McInerny (London:  Penguin Books, 1998), 600).  Latin from Corpus Thomisticum.
     And of course "under the formality of damnation [(sub ratione damnationis)]" = "with respect to the reason for willing [(quantum ad rationem voliti)]".  Cf. "under the common formality [(secundum rationem communem)]".  Both of the latter from ad 1.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Wag more, bark less

Isle of Thanet Gazette
"I have often found that the most interesting original records of Magna Carta, as of much else, have gone unnoticed precisely because they are assumed either to be copies rather than originals or because they travel with other less famous documents.  Cataloguers, assuming that Magna Carta is much too important to have been overlooked, have very frequently assumed that originals are copies, not from any physical evidence but simply because the idea of possessing an unknown Magna Carta has appeared to the cataloguer as unlikely as suddenly stumbling upon an unknown play by Shakespeare or an unknown canvas by Vermeer.  The most famous documents are often the documents that, in their natural habitat, have been least studied.  Edgar Allen Poe sums up this situation perfectly in his story 'The Purloined Letter', which turns on the fact that, if you wish to hide something that everybody else assumes to be hidden, the best place to hide it is in plain view.
     "I can claim to have found, long before last December, at least three Magna Cartas.  All were in plain view.  None of them was 'unknown', in the sense that they had all previously been listed, albeit in obscure places.  They were nonetheless 'unknown' in the sense that they were either assumed to be 'copies' or 'duplicates' rather than originals. . . ."

     Nicholas Vincent, "In plain view:  the Sandwich Magna Cartaand others," Times literary supplement no. 5838 (February 20, 2015):  14 (14-15).

Smiley on Philby

     "When Philby arrived in Moscow in 1963 he had never before actually visited the Soviet Union.  It may well have been a brutal shock, however much his Soviet comrades may have hinted at the grim reality of life there and the perversion of the ideal for which he had risked his life.  When I was a correspondent in Moscow in the 1980s, I could not but notice how fast even the most committed Western Communists were overwhelmed, once they had spent a few weeks there, by the dismal truth."

     Xan Smiley, "Kim Philby:  still an enigma," New York review of books 61, no. 19 (December 4, 2014):  46 (45-46).

A free man

"In their self-protective understanding of the duties of high office in the national security state—in their refusal to face up to and reform the ungoverned exercise of power that Snowden revealed—Obama and Holder acted in a way that showed them to be profoundly unfree. So, too, did the generals, Keith Alexander and James Clapper, when they spoke under oath to Congress with so little regard for the importance of truth in a system that depends on informed consent.
     "The strangest revelation of Citizenfour may therefore be this: Snowden, in his hotel room with his journalistic confidants Greenwald and Poitras and MacAskill, affords a picture of a free man. It shows in his posture, and in a sense of humor touched by self-irony. He is not haunted by any fretful concern with what comes next. He is sure he has done something he chose, and sure that someone had to do it. He acted in obedience to a principle; and it was right that the actor should disappear in the action."


     David Bromwich, "The question of Edward Snowden," New York review of books 61, no. 19 (December 4, 2014): 6 (4, 6).