Friday, November 10, 2017

Abramowski on a potential pre-Augustinian source for the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the bond of love betwen the Father and the Son

"an already pre-Augustinian origin for the interpretation of the inner-Trinitarian function of the Spirit as bond of Father and Son":
1. When Athanasius says that “the Spirit does not bind (or unite) the Logos with the Father, but rather the Spirit receives [the Father] via the Logos” (contra Arianos 3.24), he is attacking Eusebian positions on the Holy Spirit, not Arian ones, and Augustine, too, as it were, in advance (468-469).  
2. When Augustine says that “in the Holy Spirit an agreement [(concordia)] of unity and equality.  And these three are all one on account of the Father, all equal on account of the Son, all connected [(connexa)] on account of the Holy Spirit” (De doctrina Christiana 15.5), he is correcting, in his native Latin, the Eusebian Greek.  The question is whether this neo-Nicene correction of Eusebian disunity and subordination is original to Augustine or was taken over by him from someone else, possibly Ambrose (469).
3. When Augustine says that “the Holy Spirit is an ineffable communion [(communio)] of Father and Son” (De Trinitate V.11-12), he is rendering into Latin the Greek term κοινωνία, which belongs in the ideosphere of the [Eusebian?] terms συνάφεια and ἀσύγχυτος ἕνωσις (469).
4. Augustine was familiar with the late-second-century Neoplatonic Oracula chaldaica, and quotes it twice in De civitate Dei.  The Oracula chaldaica says in its first part that “Out of them both [(namely, the Monad and the Dyad)] flows the bond [(δέμα)] of the first Triad” (Frag. 31, available to us today thanks to the Neoplatonist Damascius, c. 458-post 533), and "This looks like the origin of both [1] the concept of the Holy Spirit as bond of the Trinity and [2] the controversial conception of the procession of the Holy Spirit ex patre filioque."  Porphyry would have been Augustine’s (and before him Eusebius') source for this, the former via Latin translations of the De philosophica ex oracuhs haurienda and the De regress animae.  But as tempting as it would be to assume that Augustine created his Trinitarian principle, so decisive for the Western doctrine of the Trinity, out of a Latin version of Porphyry directly, we must keep in mind what has just been said on the subject of the Eusebian universe of discourse, the Eusebian conceptuality, and its echo in Augustine.  And indeed, Eusebius himself remains our principle source for the 'oracular philosophy' of Porphyry (470-471).
So until we know better for sure, it would be best to continue to think of Augustine’s description of the bond of unity as love as his own contribution.

     Luis Abramowski, “Zur Trinitätslehre des Thomas von Aquin” (16 February 1995), Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 92, no. 4 (1995): 468-471 (466-480).

Sunday, November 5, 2017

"Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises"

Wouter Engler,
Ethiopiër Assefa Bentayehu,
Marathon Rotterdam 2013.
"Almighty and merciful God, by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised.  Through."

"Omnipotens et misericors Deus, de cuius munere venit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne et laudabiliter serviatur, tribue, quaesumus, nobis, ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus.  Per."

Mohlberg:  "Omnipotens et misericors deus, de cuius munere uenit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis dignae et laudabiliter seruiatur:  tribue, quaesumus, nobis, ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus.  Per."

Almighty and compassionate God, by reason of whose gift it happens that to you by your faithful [people] service is worthily and laudably offered, grant to us, we pray, that we to(wards) your promises may run without stumbling.  Through.

     Collect for the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman missal.  =Corpus orationum no. 3739 (vol. 6, pp. 18-19), Bruylants no. 742 (vol. 2, pp. 209-210), and no. 574 in the 1956 Mohlberg edition of the Leonine/Veronese, which considers it a mid-5th-century collect of anti-Semipelagian composition (Datierungversuch no. 28, on p. LXXIV).

1549 BCP (Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity):
"Almyghtie and mercyfull God, of whose onely gift it cometh that thy faythfull people doe unto thee true and laudable seruice; graunte we beseche thee, that we may so runne to thy heauenly promises, that we faile not finally to attayne the same; through Jesus Christe our Lorde."

1662 BCP:
"Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh, that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

1928 BCP:

"Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."

1976 BCP (Proper 26, The Sunday closest to November 2), Traditional:
"Almighty and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service:  Grant, we beseech thee, that we may run without stumbling to obtain thy heavenly promises; through [. . .] Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen."

1976 BCP:
"Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service:  Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen."

Cf. this one.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Impurity of heart

"when our hearts are corrupt we are hardly in any condition to contemplate Order in ourselves.  We only take pleasure in considering the imaginary relations things have to us, and we scorn the real relations they have between themselves.  Thus we may love Mathematics, but only because we are honored by doing so, or draw profit from it."

"lorsque le cœur est corrompu, on n’est guère en état de contempler l’ordre en lui-même:  on ne considère avec plaisir que les rapports imaginaires que les choses ont avec soi, et on méprise les rapports reels qu’elles ont entre elles.  On peut alors aimer les mathématiques; mais c’est qu’on s’en fait honneur ou qu’on en tire de profit."

     Nicholas Malebranche, Treatise on ethics (1684) V.xxii, trans. Craig Walton, Archives internationales d'histoire des idées 133 (Dordrecht:  Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993), 81;  French from here for now.

A world gone mad

"nothing is more equivocal and more confusing than the actions of men, and often nothing is more false than what passes for certain with an entire culture."

"il n’y a rien de plus équivoque et de plus confus que les actions des hommes, et souvent rien de plus faux que ce qui passe pour certain chez peoples entiers."

     Nicholas Malebranche, Treatise on ethics (1684) V.xvi, trans. Craig Walton, Archives internationales d'histoire des idées 133 (Dordrecht:  Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993), 80;  French from here for now.

"the classical metaphysics [practiced by Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas] need not blush at its fecund alliance with technology"

     "Despite the rejoinders that it is possible to formulate in face of the accusation that metaphysics has bonds with artifaction [(la technique, technics, technology)], it therefore appears clearly that these bonds, if in fact real, can be understood much more positively than is suggested by the philosophy of Meßkirch [(i.e. Heidegger)].  Its critique here is finally fecund in this [respect], that it obliges one to bring to light the characteristics by which a classical metaphysics precisely escapes it.  It in fact obliges one to recognize the analogy of the causes and their non-reduction to the formal cause.  It forces a revalorization of the causes material, efficient, and final.  But more profoundly still, it obliges one to look more closely into [(à s’interroger sur)] the first efficient cause’s mode of action.  It underscores its bond with the wisdom that can also extend ultimately beyond all preoccupation with artifaction [(toute preoccupation technique)], because in the first cause resides an understanding [(connaissance)] of the causes, and because the [human] search for the causes [of a phenomenon] results in a partial accession to that ultimate understanding.  At the same time it puts a finger on the effect of this cause, namely the existence [(l’être, i.e. esse)] of the entity[, not to mention the very existence and operation of the causes].  [And] finally, it accomplishes in its own way the [very] program to which Heidegger at times (for example in the lecture 'Contribution to the question of Being') attaches himself, namely, a revivification or appropriation of metaphysics by the question of Being, because it [(the question of Being)] has been lost from view, and concerning which [program of revivification] one might ask oneself why Heidegger himself did not carry it through to success.
     . . . As distinguished from the transcendental metaphysics that developed out of the work of Scotus, "the classical metaphysics [practiced by Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas] need not blush at its fecund alliance with artifaction [(la technique)].  It rediscovers, inasmuch as [it] is a form of wisdom [(selon ce qu’est la sagesse)], the reception of being through the causes, and [it] renews [its friendship] with the question of Being that lies at its root [(origine)], without having to pass first through negativity and anguish, but rather through astonishment and admiration."

     Michel Bastit, “Sagesse et technique,” Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 105, no. 3 (Jul-Sep 2004):  233-234 (217-234), italics mine.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"We ought to be as deeply pessimistic as is compatible with a belief in Divine Providence."

"As to whether we can even contrive a reopening of genuine public debate about rival conceptions of the good in contemporary America, let alone bring such a debate to an effective conclusion, the evidence, as I understand it, suggests that we ought to be as deeply pessimistic as is compatible with a belief in Divine Providence.  But as to the remaking of ourselves and our own local practices and institutions through a better understanding of what it is that, in an Aristotelian and Thomistic perspective, the unity of moral theory and practice now require of us, we have as much to hope for as we have to do, and not least within the community of this university."

     Alasdair MacIntyre, "The privatization of good," The review of politics 52, no. 3 (Summer 1990):  360-361 (344-361).

"When the Almighty himself condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it may be, is rendered dim and doubtful, by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated."

     [James Madison], The Federalist no. 37 (the Daily advertiser (New York), 11 January 1788, on "An abstract view of the subject"). 

"a proper distribution of the public burthens"

"Happy it is when the interest which the government has in the preservation of its own power, coincides with a proper distribution of the public burthens, and tends to guard the least wealthy part of the community from oppression!"

     [Alexander Hamilton], The Federalist no. 36 (the New-York packet, 8 January 1788, on "The representations of interests and federal taxation").  Hamilton is speaking here of "commercial imposts" imposed by federal rather than state regulation, and argues that "any real difficulty in the exercise of the power of internal taxation . . . must naturally tend to make it a fixed point of policy in the national administration to go as far as may be practicable in making the luxury of the rich tributary to the public treasury, in order to diminish the necessity of those impositions, which might create dissatisfaction in the poorer and most numerous classes of the society."

Monday, October 23, 2017

"Our transgressions, by which [our] adversaries" rule over us

Our transgressions, by which (the) adversaries rule, wipe away, O Lord, and in your compassion everywhere defend us.

"Delicta nostra, domine, quibus adversa dominantur, absterge, et tua nos ubique miseratione custodi."

     Opening 8th-century collect (Gelasian etc.) for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost later dropped from the Roman missal in favor of its contemporary, "Largire, quaesumus, domine, fidelibus tuis indulgentiam placatus et pacem", itself (I think) abandoned after Vatican II.  According to Corpus orationum no. 1062, the last occurrence of "Delicta nostra, domine" was in the mid-11th-century Udalricianus.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Is the Superior General Catholic?

Giuseppe Cardinal Pizzardo, prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities, "expressed his disdain for [college and university] administrators who were in constant communication with Jesuit authorities in Rome, but never with the Catholic authorities (the emphasis was his)."

     James Tunstead Burtchaell, The dying of the light:  the disengagement of colleges and universities from their Christian churches (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1998), 588.  This was somewhere between 1949 and 1965.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Well, good for her. And count me among those who "seemed to be sure what was right and what was wrong."

"Gerty Pestalozzi and Eduard Thurneysen really tried to understand the different problems each of the three had and did not advise a certain direction.  But others seemed to be sure what was right and what was wrong. . . .  His mother very often expressed how little she agreed to what he was doing.  In 1933, when they consider the option of divorce, he tells his mother that he is tired of having to discuss all issues with her:  'Again:  I would be very happy if you could tell yourself that a man who is 47 years old should be able to know what he does when he comes to such a conclusion after a marriage of 20 years, and if you could trust this son of yours who after all is not unfamiliar to you that he does not want unscrupulously [(er nicht gewissenlos will)].'  His mother responds the following day harshly that God’s commandments are for all.  'What is the most brilliant theology good for, if it is to be shipwrecked in one’s own house [(Was hilft die scharfsinnigste Theologie, wenn sie im eigenen Hause Schiffbruch leidet)]?'"

     Christiane Tietz, "Karl Barth and Charlotte von Kirschbaum," Theology today 74, no. 2 (July 2017):  106-107 (86-111).  There are problems with this article:  the fact that the wife of Barth's youth gets only a few lines in a footnote by way of a biography, but Charlotte, nine short paragraphs in a eponymously entitled sub-section of the main body; the clumsy translations; Tietz' (starstruck?) refusal to cut bait (as exemplified by the condescension exhibited here towards those who "seemed to be sure what was right and what was wrong", as well as the word "harshly"); and so forth.  And then there are the serious problems with Barth as outlined by (but by no means condemned in) it:  the compromised life, the theology of personal "experience [(Erfahrung)]" (!) and feeling constructed to justify it, and the implications of the said theology of personal experience for the very great confusions our own time, despite Barth's purported "No!" to all of that (though of course I am by no means a Barth specialist).  If this makes me "'the legalist that under different circumstances [(i.e. without the persistent adultery) Barth] might have become'" (111), then so be it.  For "We reject the false doctrine that with human vainglory the Church could place the Word and work of the Lord in the service of self-chosen desires, purposes and plans" (The Barmen Declaration).

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"intellectual resources about which the contemporary academy, for the most part, has only crude and tendentious intimations"

     "What . . . academicians [invoking ‘the academic motif of intellectual freedom, patient research, evidence-based judgment, and rational argument’] ignore . . . is that the gospel within the church has continually been at the center of intense and critical dialectic:  textual, hermeneutical, historical, intercultural, philosophical, theological.  Further, the church has steadfastly recognized the revelatory powers of inspiration, witness, repentance, and communal conflict within and without, as a stimulant to continuous redefinition and purification.  These are intellectual resources about which the contemporary academy, for the most part, has only crude and tendentious intimations.
     "Christian scholars knowledgeable in the long dialectical tradition of their faith know that it has zestfully grappled with criticism in diverse cultures and centuries.  It has been able to learn:  often when it was right, and also from when it was wrong.  If Christian scholars have the insight and the nerve to believe that the gospel and its church are gifted, that together they offer a privileged insight, a 'determinative perspective,' then they will be grateful to grapple some more, using the very insights of the gospel to judge critically both the church and the academy and the culture.
     "But if they lose their nerve and are intimidated by their academic colleagues, . . . they, too, will end up judging the church by the academy and the gospel by the culture.  In time, they will probably lose the capacity to tell them apart.  They will fail to judge the academy, or to notice intellectuals who are in thrall, not free; argument that is not rational; judgments that have become dogmas roughly enforced."

     James Tunstead Burtchaell, The dying of the light:  the disengagement of colleges and universities from their Christian churches (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1998), 850-851.
     . . . sophisticated learning is [not] like wealth and power, those inexorable corrupters of authentic faith.  Yet . . . higher learning, if not an irresistible seducer, is still a very able one.  The mind's affluence does seem at least as beguiling as that of the body.  There was, in the stories told here, little learned rage against the dying of the light.  Yet this book is written in the belief that the ambition to unite 'knowledge and vital piety' is a wholesome and hopeful and stubborn one.  It is a shame that so much of yesterday's efforts has become compost for those of tomorrow. 
     . . . The failures of the past, so clearly patterned, so foolishly ignored, and so lethally repeated, emerge pretty clearly from these stories.  Anyone who requires further imagination to recognize and remedy them is not up to the taks of trying again, and better.

Veni Creator Spiritus

  Standard critical edition fingered by the 3rd rev. (2005) edition of the ODCC:  G. M. Dreves, Lateinische Hymnendichter des Mittelalters 2 =AHMA 50 (1907):  193-194.

God's "grace would not be grace without His [wrath]"

"the grace of God would not be grace if it were separated from the holiness in which God causes only His own and therefore His good will to prevail and be done, holding aloof from and opposing everything that is contrary to it, judging and excluding and destroying everything that resists it. And grace would not be free grace if it were bound to any single form of its appearance and manifestation, if God always had to show Himself monotonously as 'love,' or what we think of as love, if He were not permitted to negate that which has to be negated, if He could not conceal Himself when He is resisted, revealing His grace only in the alien form of unwillingness and wrath. Above all, grace would not be grace, the serious and effective address of God to man, the effective establishment of fellowship with him, if God did not oppose man's opposition to Himself, if He left man to go his own way unaccused and uncondemned and unpunished, if He ignored the miserable pride of man, if the man of sin had nothing to fear from Him, if it were not a fearful thing to fall into His hands (Heb. 1229). . . . His grace would not be grace without His judgment. . . ."

     Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 490 =KD IV/1, 545-546.  But of course, on the other hand,
That His grace would not be grace without His judgment is just as true as the supposed opposite with which it is indissolubly connected, that there is no holiness of God which can be separated from His grace, and therefore no wrath of Godthis is something which, unfortunately, A. Ritschl did not even remotely understandthat can be anything other than the redemptive fire of His love, which has its final and proper work in the fact that for our sake, for the sake of man fallen in sin and guilt, He did not spare His only Son.

Monday, October 16, 2017

"You owe God a penny, and He will not accept a pearl from you in its place."

"You owe God a penny, and He will not accept a pearl from you in its place.  Having lost chastity, do not allow fornication to remain in its place and give alms because of it:  God will not accept them, for in place of sanctification He requires sanctification....
     "Saint Ephraim said, 'In summertime, do not struggle against the scorching heat in winter clothing.'  Let each man reap by means that oppose the iniquity he has sown.  Every disease is cured with its own remedies.  And you, who are overcome with envy, why do you battle against sleep?"

     Saint Isaac the Syrian, Homily 5/42-43.  The ascetical homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, rev. 2nd ed., trans. from the Greek and Syriac by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Boston, 2011), 156-157.  Cf. Mystic treatises by Isaac of Nineveh translated from Bedjan’s Syriac text with an introduction and registers by A. J. Wensink (Amsterdam, 1923), 43-44/63.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

"The art of man is the expression of his rational and disciplined delight in the forms and laws of the creation of which he forms a part."

     John Ruskin, The laws of Fésole . . . (Boston:  Dana Estes & company, 1877), 11 =chap. 1, All great art is praise.  I was put onto this by Michael Hanby:  "Homo faber and/or Homo adorans:  on the place of human making in a sacramental cosmos," Communio:  international Catholic review 38, no. 2 (Summer 2011):  230-231 (198-236).

"One world at a time."

     "By his own account [Parker] Pillsbury then remarked to Thoreau, 'You seem so near the dark river, that I almost wonder how the opposite shore may appear to you.'  Thoreau's answer remains, for all intents and purposes, his last word:  'One world at a time.'"

     Robert Hogue Harrison, "The true American," New York review of books 64, no. 13 (August 17, 2017):   17 (14-17).
     But would that be the Christian view?  I wonder that, too, about these beautiful words, also quoted (from Walden) on p. 17:  "Be it life or death, we crave only reality."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"the triumph of action and technologism over contemplation"

     "The crisis in liturgy is therefore a crisis of the first order that goes right to the heart of the 'social question,' and thus the human question.  Objectively, the loss of a transcendent horizon signals the eclipse of what Cardinal Ratzinger calls liturgy's 'cosmic dimension,' the relationship between the paschal mystery and the meaning and destiny of the universe.  Liturgy thus loses its connection with life.  Subjectively, it represents a deficit of adoration, wonder, and gratitude.  Both are reflected in the inorganic and a-cultural character of contemporary liturgical development and its failure to generate a culture of festive gratitude capable of reflecting the mysteries of creation and redemption in time and space or to penetrate the world of human making.  The crisis in liturgy thus reflects the triumph of action and technologism over contemplation.  To acquiesce to this crisis is ultimately to deliver up the laity to the inhuman dynamism of technological culture.  For if there is no place for beauty and for contemplative making in the life of the contemporary Church, what hope is there for the future of human making as a whole?  Those who would argue for the 'democratic' leveling of liturgy, for removing of all trace of grandeur or mystery or transcendence in the name of 'the people' argue at cross purposes with themselves."

     Michael Hanby, "Homo faber and/or Homo adorans:  on the place of human making in a sacramental cosmos," Communio:  international Catholic review 38, no. 2 (Summer 2011):  234-235 (198-236).

Saturday, September 23, 2017

"You do not pay any attention to what you are praying, yet you want God to?"

Σὺ οὐκ ἀκούεις τῆς εὐχῆς σου, καὶ τὸν θεὸν θέλεις εἰσακοῦσαι τῆς εὐχῆς σου;

     Pseudo John Chrysostom, De Chananaea (On the Canaanites) =PG 52, col. 458.  Literally, "You do not hear your prayer, yet you want God to hearken to your prayer?"  The subject is those who "'recite innumerable verses of prayer, yet are withdrawn; but they know not what they have said.  Their lips move but their ears hear not'" (DS, sv Attention (tom. 1, col. 1063), by R. Vernay).

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cardinal Bellarmine warns Pope Clement VIII in 1602 that he is no theologian

From the autobiography of 1613:

"Nevertheless [Bellarmine] himself often warned [(admonuit)] the Pope that he should beware of self-delusions [(fraudes)]; and that he should not think himself capable, by personal study (since he was not a theologian), of arriving at an understanding of the most obscure matters; and openly predicted to him that that question was not to be defined by His Holiness; and when [His Holiness] reiterated [that it] would be self-defined [(replicaret se definiturum)], [Bellarmine] responded:  ‘Your Holiness will not define it,’ and he predicted this same thing to Cardinal del Monte, who later reminded [Bellarmine] himself [of this]."

"Ipse tamen N. saepe admonuit Pontificem, ut caveret fraudes, et ut non putaret, se studio proprio, cum theologus non esset, posse ad intelligentiam rei obscurissimae pervenire, et aperte illi praedixit, a Sanctitate sua quaestionem illam non esse definiendam, et cum ille replicaret se definiturum, respondit N.:  Sanctitas vestra non eam definiet, et hoc idem praedixit Cardinali de Monte, qui postea ipsi N. in memoriam revocavit."

From the letter of 1602, as translated into German, with the original Italian (which I do not really read) inserted:

"the way [of self-study that] you have taken [will] turn out to be too long and too hard for Your Holiness."

"la via che ha preso riesce molto lunga e molto laboriosa a V. Beatitudine."

"such a great effort on the part of Your Holiness is not necessary, and you have already seen and read enough."

"tanta fatica della Sta Vra non è necessaria, e già ha visto e letto assai."

"many popes have, without struggling away at studying, happily condemned many errors with the help of councils and universities, and others have by much studying brought themselves and the Church into great suffering."

"molti Pontefici senza faticarsi in studiare hanno felicemente dannati molti errori con ajuto di concilii ed accademie, ed altri con molto studiare hanno messo in gran travaglio se stessi e l chiesa."

"Most Holy Father!  I do not mention these things to prevent you from studying, but to encourage you to consider that the way is too long, and that on this way the Church suffers the greatest harm."

"Bmo. Padre non dico queste cose per divertirla dallo studio ma per metterle in considerazione che questa via è troppo lunga, et in questo mezzo la Chiesa riceve grandissimo danno."

"commend the matter to God and then . . . decide to put this fire out quickly."

"raccommandi il negozio a Dio, e poi si risolva di estinguere presto fuoco."

     For the sources, go here.  Bellarmine was profoundly opposed to Pope Clement VIII's determination to master the intricacies of the de auxiliis controversy because he didn't think him capable of grasping and then deciding correctly on his own a matter that the Jesuit Bellarmine himself had been studying professionally (in opposition to the Dominicans) for thirty years.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The primary sources on Cardinal Bellarmine's slap-down of Pope Gregory VIII in 1602

Letter to Pope Clement VIII (1602):

* Italian original:

Autobiographical account (1613):

* Vita ven[erabilis] Roberti cardinalis Bellarmini (Louvain, 1753 (Rome, 1676, but composed in 1613)), p. 43 

* Sammlung der neusten Schriften, welche die Jesuiten in Portugal betreffen 4 (1762):  Latin/German, p. 84/85 ff.
* Selbstbiographie des Cardinals Bellarmin (Bonn, 1887)

     For some excerpts, go here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Semper ambigua

"The concept of the semper reformanda has been popular with persons of very different views.  And this popularity lies undoubtedly in the vagueness in which the semper reformanda is wrapped."

"de semper reformanda-gedachte bij personen van zeer uiteenlopende opvattingen populair is geweest.  En deze populariteit ligt ongetwijfeld in de vaagheid waarmee het semper reformanda omhuld is."

     J. N. Mouthaan, "Besprekingsartikel:  Ecclesia semper reformanda:  modern of premodern?," Documentatieblad Nadere Reformatie 38, no. 1 (2014):  89 (86-89), translation mine.  One of Mouthaan's contributions to the history is Anna Maria van Schurman's reference to "een 'ware particuliere gereformeerde, ofte sig reformerende kerke'" in 1670.  But unlike Johannes Hoornbeeck, who wielded the reformanda against schism, Schurman used it as an expression of schism.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

interior intimo meo


"Although being is not irrational, it is nonetheless always more than what a mind can comprehend just by looking at it.  As created being, it is not infinite; yet even as finite being it can never be so exhaustively captured that there is nothing further to grasp.  The infinite Creator has equipped it with the grace of participation in the inexhaustibility of its origin.  You are never finished with any being, be it the tiniest gnat or the most inconspicuous stone.  It has a secret opening, through which the never-failing replenishments of sense and significance ceaselessly flow to it from eternity [(Es hat eine geheime Öffnung, durch die ihm immer neue Vorrätte an Sinn und Bedeutung vom Ewigen her zufließen)]."

     Hans Urs von Balthasar, Theo-logic:  theological logical theory, vol. 1, The truth of the world (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 2000):  107, underscoring mine.  I was put onto this by Michael Hanby, "Homo faber and/or homo adorans:  on the place of human making in a sacramental cosmos," Communio:  international Catholic review 38, no. (Summer 2011):  216 (198-236).  The quote appears on p. 113 of the German edition of 1987.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

redemptio-libertas, adoptio-hereditas

"O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption, look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters, that those who believe in Christ may receive true freedom and an everlasting inheritance.  Through."

"Deus, per quem nobis et redemptio venit et praestatur adoptio, filios dilectionis tuae benignus intende, ut in Christo credentibus et vera tribuatur libertas, et hereditas aeterna.  Per."

O God, by whom to us both redemption comes and adoption is offered/accomplished, turn, [being] benificent, your attention to the sons/children of your love, to the end that, upon those who believe in Christ, both true liberty is bestowed, and an eternal inheritance.

     Collect for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman Missal.  This is present in the Wilson edition of the mid-8th-century Gelasian sacramentary.  Bruylants, nos. 96 and 98 (vol. 1, pp. 45-46), fingers the post-790 sacramentary of Gellone, a sacramentary in the Gelasian tradition.  It also occurs as no. 427 in the post-790 Hadrianum, a sacramentary in the Gregorian tradition.  Father Z gives the pre-2010 "translation" as
God our Father, you redeem us, and make us your children in Christ. Look upon us, give us true freedom and bring us to the inheritance you promised.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Mahlmann, quoting Dittmer, on the phrase ecclesia semper reformanda

The traditional dichotomous division . . . of [the] church into [a] spiritual community (inward, eccl[esia] abscondita, proprie, community of believers) on the one hand, and [a] bodily community (outward, eccl[esia] visibilis, improprie, community of the baptized) on the other, must . . . be extended out into a trichotomously articulated concept of the church (I-III).  According to this [conception] it is (I) its pneumatic foundation ([the] opus Dei [(work of God)] that establishes the church as [a] spiritual community.  Within the sphere of the church as traditional so-called bodily community one must distinguish further between the dimension of [the] bodily community as (II) concept or typically ideal way of speaking or regulative idea, and th[at] dimension of the] bodily community as (III) [that] historical reality to which ecclesia semper reformanda est applies.   While the four classical notae internae or essential properties of the church (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic) are applicable to level I, the two reformed characteristics or notae externae (Word and Sacrament as means of grace; cf. CA 7) are to be applied to level II.
     "According to [the systematic theologian Johannes M.] Dittmer, ecclesia semper reformanda can therefore be applied exclusively to aspect of the 'church' no. III, and has therefore a narrow significance.  The call [for perpetual reform issued by] the formula can never [1] touch upon aspect of the 'church' no. II—that is its mission [(Auftrag)], the 'administration of the means of grace instituted by God' (CA 5, 7, and 8), to put it in the ancient phraseology [quite] deliberately—[2] dispense with it, or even [3] want only to alter ([i.e.] improve upon) it.  And certainly not aspect no. I of the 'church', for this is, as worked [(gewirkt)] by the means of grace (aspect II of the ‘church’ no. II), the opus Dei solius [(work of God alone).  But] in order that this might be grasped even more precisely, I propose to tease out of aspect of the 'church' no. III, in the sense of the optimal, an aspect no. IV in the sense of the deficient historical accomplishment of its task, and to relate ecclesia semper reformanda only to this aspect of the 'church' no. IV.  Every understanding of the formula that goes beyond this narrow significance is illegitimate, since this—to put it with Balthasar Mentzer (1565-1627)—[would be to] destroy 'die gantze Ordnung vnsers Heyls | und alle die Mittel | welche Gott zu vnser Seligkeit verordnet hat [(the entire order of our salvation | and all the means | that God has established for our beatitude)]'."

     Theodor Mahlmann, "'Ecclesia semper reformanda': eine historische Aufklärung: neue Bearbeitung," in Hermeneutica sacra: Studien zur Auslegung der Heiligen Schrift im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert:  Bengt Hägglund zum 90. Geburtstag, ed. Torbjörn Johansson, Robert Kolb, and Johann Anselm Steiger, Historia hermeneutica:  Series studia 9 (Berlin:  Walter de Gruyter, 2010), 383 (381-442).

Sunday, September 3, 2017

mysterio > virtute

"May this sacred offering, O Lord, confer on us always the blessing of salvation, that what it celebrates in mystery it may accomplish in power.  Through Christ our Lord."

"Benedictionem nobis, Domine, conferat salutarem sacra semper oblatio, ut, quod agit mysterio, virtute perficiat.  Per Christum Dominum nostrum."

A salutary benediction upon us, O Lord, may this sacred oblation always confer, that what it advances in mystery it may bring to a conclusion/perfect in virtue.  Through Christ our Lord.

     Super oblata, Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman Missal.  =Bruylants no. 81 (vol. 2, p. 32), from the 8th-century Gelasian sacramentary.

T. S. Eliot in 1935

"the fundamental problems are problems of theology":

"at a moment when ecumenical Christianity is engaged in a fight for its existence it finds itself deeply divided.  The most important divisions by no means always coincide with confessional differences; they are often found within the same confession.   Deeper in many cases than the differences which separate one confession from another are disagreements in the conception of God, in the understanding of His relation to the world and His purpose for mankind, in the interpretation of man and of the Christian ethic. . . ."

     T. S. Eliot, "The Christian in the modern world," a previously unpublished lecture "delivered at the annual meeting of the Church Union Literature Association at Church House on January 31, 1935."  "Outside the catacombs," Times literary supplement no. _____ (July 7, 2017):  18 (16-18).

Saturday, September 2, 2017

ICEL, the International Commission for Emotivism in the Liturgy

Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, 390, p. 84 (c. 980+)
How the heck do you get from
Domini est terra et plenitudo eius; venite, adoremus eum 
The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; come, let us adore him
Come, let us worship God who holds the world and its wonders in his creating hand 
(Antiphon to the Invitatory, Saturday, Weeks 1 and 3)?
Come, let us worship God who brings the world and its wonders from darkness into light 
(not yet sure where this one comes from)?

Friday, September 1, 2017

"The Christian can accept a fact which is incompatible with Christianity: he cannot accept a theory which is incompatible with Christianity."

     T. S. Eliot, "The Christian in the modern world," a previously unpublished lecture "delivered at the annual meeting of the Church Union Literature Association at Church House on January 31, 1935."  "Outside the catacombs," Times literary supplement no. _____ (July 7, 2017):  16 (16-18).  Eliot is discussing the distinction between "support[ing] a system which is in existence," and "giv[ing] assent to one which is as yet ideal," namely either Communism or Fascism.

"What ideological and semantic shifts might achieve better results, by enrolling everyone in a more productive dialogue?"

"Like Gay, when attempting to discuss white privilege, Eddo-Lodge encounters denial and defensivenessthis is, she says, 'one of the reasons why I stopped talking to white people about race.  Trying to convince stony faces of disbelief has never appealed to me.'  Gay is more circumspect.  'We need to stop playing Privilege or Oppression Olympics', she says, 'because we'll never get anywhere until we find more effective ways of talking about difference.  Indeed, Eddo-Lodge nuances her own stance:  'I am also an insider in so many ways.  I am university-educated, able-bodied, and I speak and write in ways very similar to those I criticize.'  This begs the question:  if we accept that privilege is 'relative and contextual', as [Roxanne] Gay suggests, do we need to re-examine the notion and naming of white privilege?  What ideological and semantic shifts might achieve better results, by enrolling everyone in a more productive dialogue?"

     Bernardine Evaristo, "Check your privilege:  a provocative argument about race relations," Times literary supplement no. ____ (July 7, 2017):  12.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The "'structural' sin of modern liberal cultures"

"the peculiarity of our age lies precisely in its ability to render invisible, as it were, the primacy it accords to relations of power, through its claim of a technology or technical expertise or institutional procedures considered 'neutral' 'in themselves,' and thereby supposedly equally open to moral or immoral use.  Our age's distinctive 'imbecilism,' in other words, consists in its ignorance of the more basicontological-theologicalsense in which a false primacy of power-relations is  hidden already in this claim of neutrality."

     David L. Schindler, "The meaning of the human in a technological age:  Homo faber, Homo sapiens, Homo amans," Communio:  international Catholic review 26, no. 1 (Spring 1999):  90-91 (80-103).
what is most objectionable about 'proceduralism' is not so much that it grants priority to (putatively empty) form over substance, but that the priority it grants to form itself already hiddenly contains (however unwittingly) the substance of mechanism.  'Empty' procedures are exactly the mechanized hence dumb procedures that Bernanos saw as the content of imbecilism.
     . . . an appeal to 'formal' institutional procedures and freedom of choice as the primary means for putting forward a genuinely creaturely notion of the self just so far already embodies (however hiddenly and unwittingly) a contrary, technological notion of the self.  Here, then, we see the peculiar difficulty in dealing with modern technological problems:  those who would offer a solution to these problems characteristically appeal to methods that imply a primacy of the (mechanistic) anthropology-ontology which, at the most basic (objective) level, generates the problems in the first place. . . .
     . . . particular attention must be given to the distinct way in which modern liberal societies conceal their (ontological-spiritual) ambiguity and indeed 'voluntarize-privatize' their sin:  that is, by claiming to have carved out 'public-institutional-technical-procedural' space empty in principle of any ('evil') ideology, leaving evil to be exhaustively identified with an always (supposedly) private abuse of freedom [(99-101)].

Hope springs eternal

"Believers told each other stories of how Hitler carryied a well-thumbed New Testament in his vest pocket.  Even in 1941, a rumor spread 'that Hitler had experienced a conversion [and] now confesses the Christian faith.'"

     Alec Ryrie, Protestants:  the faith that made the modern world (New York:  Viking, 2017), 273, citing The Third Reich and the Christian churches, ed. Peter Matheson (Edinburgh:  T & T Clark, 1981), 96.  This is followed immediately by the section on the German Christians, whose "de-Judaized Bible," the Botschaft Gottes (Weimar:  Verlag Deutsche Christen, 1940), got it nowhere with the Nazis (273-277).

Saturday, August 26, 2017

"the empathetic freedom felt by interpreters of such distant epidemics, and their willingness to judge individuals’ failings or heroism"

Unauthenticated source
     "Eyam plague was not, of course, a romantic interlude in village life: the bloody weight of the epidemic is unavoidably asserted by the death roll of the parish register, whether it was over three-quarters or under one half of the inhabitants who died. The villagers, Mompesson, Stanley and their neighbours may or may not have saved the area from further infection, but that this question remains unresolved hardly diminishes the horror of the events they experienced. This very extremity of experience which gives the story its enduring interest must also give us greatest pause for thought when seeking to understand such events or to interpret the heroic or romantic narratives that continue to permeate accounts of epidemics, even in the more recent inversions where the old heroes are dethroned and bravery reinterpreted as tragic ignorance. It is salutary to contrast the empathetic freedom felt by interpreters of such distant epidemics, and their willingness to judge individuals’ failings or heroism, with the more recent recognition by historians and others of the difficulties of addressing and representing traumatic events such as genocide, which constantly escape our attempt to grasp and describe them. As William Mompesson noted after the epidemic had drawn to a close: 'The condition of the place has been so sad, that I persuade myself it did exceed all history and example.'"

    Patrick Wallis, “A dreadful heritage:  interpreting epidemic disease at Eyam, 1666-2000,” History workshop journal no. 61 (2006):  50 (31-56).

"The real city produces only criminals; the imaginary city produces the gangster."

     Robert Warshow, as quoted by Oliver Harris in "LA confidential," Times literary supplement no. ____ (August 11, 2017):  26.

"Is it wrong to take the minority position on the grounds that so many people can't be right?"

     Barton Swain, "Intellectual honesty," Times literary supplement no. ____ (August 11, 2017):  17.
This is where intellectual honesty comes into it.  I find it hard to dislike a public figure whom the vast majority of writers and intellectuals detest and fear and expend enormous amounts of energy denouncing and ridiculing.  Maybe they're right.  Maybe [Trump] is all the things his despisers say.  But there's just not much fun in joining the parade.  Writers don't write what everyone else is writing, because if they do no one will care enough to read them.  My instinct is to distrust, or at least to be bored by, what everyone agrees is the true and right view of things—not because I'm so high-minded and independent, but because I'm afflicted with that writerly perversity that can't quite be happy in any overwhelming majority.  It's not so much contrarianism—the desire to contradict for its own sake—as a suspicion of consensus. 
     Is it intellectually dishonest, though, to hold a view in part because you regard those who hold the opposite view to be silly or off-putting or distracted?  Or to ask a related question:  Is it wrong to take the minority position on the grounds that so many people can't be right?"

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sententia semper reformanda

On the rather astonishing history of the saying Ecclesia reformata et semper reformanda, my summary of a comment by Theodor Mahlmann:

These, the concept's rather innovative and elemental roots in late 17th-century Dutch proto-Pietism (rather than the 16th-century Reformers) aside, it was in fact the 20th-century Reformed theologian Karl Barth who from 1947 both crystallized (Mahlmann (2010), 384 ff.) and popularized the saying we tend to think of as so ancient today.

Yet within a decade or so, Barth himself had forgotten that 
he had been the one to assemble it into an aphorism, and was asking the Catholic theologian Hans Küng—who, following Barth, had called the Catholic Church, too, an "Ecclesia reformanda" in an unpublished lecture delivered at Barth's invitation in January of 1959, and was later instrumental in getting the phrases "Ecclesia . . . semper purificanda" and "perennem reformationem" inserted into the documents of Vatican II (Mahlmann (2010), 391n43)—if he (Küng) could perchance shed any light on its presumably ancient origins (since by that time Barth had apparently accepted that the formula, too, was owed to ancient tradition (in the German of Mahlman (2010) at 388, "scheint Karl Barth . . . gar angenommen zu haben, diese verdanke sich alter Überlieferung").  It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that Peter Vogelsanger, editor-in-chief of the journal Reformatio, was calling it "th[at] ancient [(alt)] Reformed formula of the ecclesia semper reformanda" as early as 1961 (Mahlmann (2010), 394)!

Etc.  Sententia semper reformanda!

See Theodor Mahlmann, "'Ecclesia semper reformanda': eine historische Aufklärung: neue Bearbeitung," in Hermeneutica sacra: Studien zur Auslegung der Heiligen Schrift im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert:  Bengt Hägglund zum 90. Geburtstag, ed. Torbjörn Johansson, Robert Kolb, and Johann Anselm Steiger, Historia hermeneutica:  Series studia 9 (Berlin:  Walter de Gruyter, 2010), 381-442.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

"whether the human body—the sexually differentiated bodies of men and women—has any inherent meaning prior to the arbitrary imposition of one by an act of will"

"the deepest theological meaning of the Reformation. . . . turns not on whether the Son assumed human nature—most communities that identify themselves as Christian still agree on that—but rather, ultimately, on whether there really is such a thing as nature, including human nature, for the Son to assume.  Of course the answer to this question determines not only the meaning of the Incarnation and every other theological question, but whether we can any longer mount a coherent and comprehensive defense of the humanum.
     "It is around this question of fundamental anthropology and the salvation of the humanum that the New Reformation is likely to take place, even if that too is not always fully clear to the people and communities that take part in it.  For it is ultimately this question that is dividing Protestant communities internally, and it is ultimately the Church’s various attempts to maintain and even deepen the understanding of the human person as a per se unum, a meaningful body called in love to a gift that is comprehensive, complete, and fruitful, that has provoked the most vociferous opposition from the world, from other Christian communities, and from within the Church itself.  These facts suggest that the Catholic Church, though battered and bruised from without and humiliated by scandal within, will remain for all that the last bastion of a complete and genuine humanism capable of comprehending the incomprehensible mystery of the person in its totality.  As those who find themselves stranded have this question forced upon them, they may find, like Peter himself, that there is nowhere else to turn."

Insofar as the Reformation is not sustained by theology, or rather insofar as the real theological stakes of the Reformation remain misidentified [(cf. 567.2)], none of the factors currently upholding it is sufficient to prevent it from succumbing to the ravages of contemporary culture or is capable of preserving those traditions in their distinction from that culture [(568)].
Cf. this, which strikes me as problematic for those "conservative" groups operating on the margins of the mainline:  "few Protestant denominations maintain their separation from Rome out of commitment to the same theological convictions that prompted their separation in the first place" (567).
     There is much more of value here.
     The heading comes from p. 570.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Not a Spiritual presence only, but a Christological one as well

"the Lord was not satisfied with sending the Holy Spirit to abide with us; he has himself promised to be with us, even unto the end of the world.  The Paraclete is present unseen because he has not taken human form, but by means of the great and holy mysteries [[1a] we offer] [1b] the Lord submits himself to our sight and touch and through the dread and holy mysteries, because he has taken our nature upon him and bears it eternally.
     "Such is the power of the priesthood, such is the Priest.  For after [2] once offering himself, and being made a sacrifice he did not end his priesthood, but [3] is continually offering the sacrifice for us (leitourgei tēn leitourgian hēmin), by virtue of which he is our advocate before God for ever."

     Nicholas Cabasilas, A commentary on the divine liturgy 28.3-4, as trans. Hussey & McNulty (Crestwood, NY:  St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1977), 71, as reproduced in David Bentley Hart, The hidden and the manifest:  essays in theology and metaphysics (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 2017), 195.  Greek:  Explication de la divine liturgie, trans. Salaville, ed. Bornert, Gouillard, and Périchon (Paris:  Cerf, 1967), 178.  The numbers I've inserted draw attention to the "threefold sense" in which the Eucharist is, for the Orthodox (and of course Catholic) tradition, a sacrifice (193- ).  "[we offer]" has been inserted into the words of Nicholas to bring them into line with the schema as presented on p. 193, where the stress is on [1a] our "offering of bread and wine and so of ourselves (our substance)," though there is no question of [1b] the Lord's not "submitting himself to our sight and touch" and taste in the form of the Real Presence (that being indeed the burden of the entire essay, despite the purely obligatory excursus on the Orthodox hesitancy with respect to unleavened bread and transubstantiation (200.1-203.1).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church"

". . . ne respicias peccata nostra, sed fidem Ecclesiae tuae. . . ."

     The peace, Communion rite, Roman Missal.
     Marie-Thérèse Nadeau, on pp. 103-106 of Foi de l’église:  évolution et sens d’une formule, Théologie historique 78 (Paris:  Beauchesne, 1988), follows the scholarship back into early 11th-century Germany, or, more specifically, "an ordinary of the Mass of Minden c. 1030," Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. 1151 Helmst. (105).  In the 1570 Missal of Pius V (and probably earlier) it was one of three prayers said by the priest in private just before communion (104):
. . . ne respicias peccata mea sed fides Ecclesiae tuae. . . .