Saturday, March 25, 2017

Veritas carnis humanae

"O God, who willed that your Word should take on the reality [(veritatem)] of human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man, may merit to become partakers even in his [(ipsius)] divine nature.  Who lives and reigns. . . ."

"Deus, qui Verbum tuum in utero Virginis Mariae veritatem carnis humanae suscipere voluisti, concede, quaesumus, ut, qui Redemptorem nostrum Deum et hominem confitemur, ipsius etiam divinae naturae mereamur esse consortes.  Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum, . . ."

     Collect for the Annunciation of the Lord, Roman Missal.  Though I have not yet checked Corpus orationum, this one does not appear in Bruylants.  "ipsius" ("of his") is the emphasis on the human reditus side of the marvelous exchange corresponding to the "vertitatem" ("reality" or "integrity") of the Incarnation on the side of the divine exitus.  The corresponding collect in the Extraordinary Form was more mediatorily Mariological in focus:
O God, who didst will that Thy Word should take flesh, at the message of an Angel, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grant to Thy suppliant people, that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her interecession with Thee.  Through. . . . 
Deus, qui de beatae Mariae Virginis utero Verbum tuum, Angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti; praesta supplicibus tuis; ut, qui vere eam Genitricem Dei credimus, ejus apud te intercessionibus adjuvemur.  Per. . . .
Previous ICEL "translation":
"God our Father, your Word became man and was born of the Virgin Mary.  May we become more like Jesus Christ, whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man.  We ask this through. . . ."

Finitum non capax infiniti, sed Infinitum capax finiti

"God becomes and is man.  His condescension to us, His being as we are, is an event.  It is actuality [(ist Ereignis, ist Wirklichkeit)].  It is the act of the One who is free and able to do this.  It is the powerful execution of His eternal resolve.  It is a triumphant and indisputable and irrevocable fact [(Geschehnis)].  But man, on the other hand, only wants to exalt himself, only wants to be as God.  He can never do it.  He does not have the freedom or power.  He may determine on it for long enough, but nothing will ever come of it.  He will always fall back on himself and still be man.  It is not paradoxical or absurd that God becomes and is man.  It does not contradict the concept of God.  It fulfills it.  It reveals the glory of God.  But it is certainly paradoxical and absurd that man wants to be as God.  It contradicts the concept of man.  It destroys it.  Man ceases to be a man when he wants this.  It does not involve any alteration in God for Him to become a creature.  Even as such He is still the Creator [(Gott verändert sich nicht, indem er Geschöpf wird; er bleibt ja auch als solches der Schöpfer)].  But it does require an alteration in manand one that is not given to himto become God [(Der Mensch aber müßteund eben das ist ihm nicht gegebensich selbst verändern, um Gott zu werden)].  He cannot hope and he need not concern himself that this will finally be attained.  For his own good it is provided that he cannot pass his own limits, try how he will.  The only result of his attempts is the revelation of his impotence [(die Offenbarung seiner Ohnmacht)] to do so, and, because he ought not to do so, the revelation of his shame [(die Offenbarung seiner Schande)]."

     Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 418-419, underscoring mine.  =KD IV/1, 464-465.  In KD, as reproduced in the Digital Karl Barth Library, there are these words in bold, though CD does not emphasize them in any way.  In order to get them all in, I have modified Bromiley's translation ("only wants to exalt himself and to be as God") ever so slightly at just that one point.
     Heiko Oberman later argued that, of the two phrases in my header, only the second, i.e. Infinitum capax finiti, is faithful to the theology of Calvin ("Extra dimension in the theology of Calvin," Journal of ecclesiastical history 21, no. 1 (January 1970):  61 (43-64); see, four years earlier, "Die 'Extra'-dimension in der Theologie Calvins," in Geist und Geschichte der Reformation: Festgabe Hanns Rückert zum 65 Geburtstag, 323-356 (Berlin:  Walter de Gruyter, 1966)).

Friday, March 24, 2017

Crews on Freud

"if this man really discovered nothing and nevertheless persuaded the world to regard him as a titan of science, he was one of the most audacious figures in the history of thought."

     Frederick Crews, "Freud:  what's left?," The New York review of books 64, no. 3 (February 23, 2017):  10 (6-10).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cardinal Arinze on the purpose of dance

"Another area is the whole idea of singing and joy in celebration. Not dancing necessarily. Europeans and Americans think Africans are dancing all the time. It isn’t necessarily that. But if you give a basket of bananas to an American from the U.S. to bring to the celebrant, and you give the same basket of bananas to an African, their movements towards the altar will be a bit different. The Nigerian will move a bit left, a bit right. It is the whole body showing the joy in the giving.

"In your mind, that’s not really dancing…

"Not really. But they put their mind, and body, and soul in the act. And when they dance it becomes a lot more delicate. Because there are many types of dances. We have a traditional war dance. There’s a traditional normal dance for recreation, which we would have at a parish hall after the Mass when there’s a bishop visiting. And then we have the dance for the women who are looking for husbands. That would be a little provocative, because they’re looking for a husband, that’s the purpose of the dance. But you can see none of it fits into the Mass, because the reason for the Mass is adoration, thanksgiving, asking for what we need. That’s not going to go very well if there’s anything funny during the holy Mass …"

     Cardinal Francis Arinze.  John L. Allen, Jr., "Cardinal:  'By African standards, I’m not conservative, I’m normal'", Crux, 23 March 2017.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"unquestionable, and not to be suspected by Catholics"

"as regards mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, and similar subjects, one man will not, on the score of his religion, treat of them better than another . . . the works of even an unbeliever or idolator, while he kept within the strict range of such studies, might be safely admitted into Catholic lecture-rooms, and put without scruple into the hands of Catholic youths. . . .  so long as it is man who is the geometrician, or natural philosopher, or mechanic, or critic, no matter what man he be, Hindoo, Mahometan, or infidel, his conclusions within his own science, according to the laws of that science, are unquestionable, and not to be suspected by Catholics, unless Catholics may legitimately be jealous of fact and truth, of divine principles and divine creations."

     John Henry Newman, The idea of a university II.3 ("English Catholic literature").2.1; The idea of a university, ed. Frank M. Turner (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1996), 180-181.
I have been speaking of the scientific treatises or investigations of those who are not Catholics, . . . but I might even go on to speak of them in their persons as well as in their books.  Were it not for the scandal which they would create; were it not for the example they would set; were it not for the certain tendency of the human mind involuntarily to outleap the strict boundaries of an abstract science, and to teach it upon extraneous principles, to embody it in concrete examples, and to carry it on to practical conclusions; above all, were it not for the indirect influence, and living energetic presence, and collateral duties, which accompany a Professor in a great school of learning, I do not see (abstracting from him, I repeat, in hypothesis, what never could possibly be abstracted from him in fact) why the chair of Astronomy in a Catholic University should not be filled by a La Place, or that of Physics by a Humboldt.  Whatever they might wish to say, still, while they kept to their own science, they would be unable, like the heathen Prophet in Scripture, to 'go beyond the word of the Lord, to utter any thing of their own head'" (181, italics mine).

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Give the poor the benefit of the doubt, but love the truth above all

Historic Seals, The Weber Collection
"If a poor man has a quarrel with a rich man, support the poor rather than the rich—at least until the truth can be ascertained."

     Louis IX to the Dauphin, Enseignements 8; Mark Helprin, Digital barbarism:  a writer's manifesto (New York:  Harper, 2009), 179, italics removed.

Texte du confesseur de Marguerite:
Se il avient que aucune queréle, qui soit meue entre riche et poure, viègne devant toy, soustien plus le poure que le riche; et quant tu entendras la vérité, si leur fai droit.
Texte de Geoffroi:
et semper plus te teneas ex parte causæ pauperis quam divitis, donec sis certus de veritate.

Monday, March 13, 2017

"In the celebration of the sacraments it is thus the whole assembly that is leitourgos, each according to its function, but in the 'unity of the Spirit' who acts in all."

"Sic, in celebratione sacramentorum, tota congregatio « liturgus » est, unusquisque secundum munus suum, sed « in unitate Spiritus » qui in omnibus agit."

     CCC 1144.