Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fudge on Hus at Constance

"He had once argued that the function of canon law was to restrain whatever conflicted with the church and revealed truth.  During his own legal process, Hus was unable to see how that applied to him."

     Thomas A. Fudge, Jan Hus:  religious reform and social revolution in Bohemia (London:  I. B. Tauris, 2010), 143, citing "De decimis, in Historia et monumenta, vol. 1, p. 159."  This would be Historia et Monumenta Joannis Hus, 2 v. (Nuremberg 1558).  Assuming that the pagination is the same, that would be here in the 1715 printing in Google Books (though I have not read and translated anything more than the most obvious paragraph in the Latin):
Jus Canonicum vocatur Jus a Prælato vel Prælatis institutum & promulgatum, ad rebelles sacris regulis coercendum.  Et potest etiam intelligi, ut communicans juri Evangelico, ut sunt articuli fidei, in sanctis Synodis sive consiliis explanati.  Sicut enim idem est homo in vestibus aut accidentibus notitiam inducentibus varians, sic eadem est lex vel veritas Evangelica in Evangelio implicita vel detecta, & per Ecclesiam postmodum aliter, sed non contrarie explanata, ut patet de fide, quam credimus. 
Canon law is [(vocatur)] law instituted and promulgated by a prelate or prelates for coercing rebels by holy rules.  And it can even be understood as participating in the Evangelical law [(communicans juri Evangelico)], as do [(sunt)] the articles of faith articulated clearly by [(in . . . explanati)] holy synods or councils.  For just as a man [who] varies in the garments or [other] incidentals [he has] put on [(vestibus aut accidentibus . . . inducentibus)] is known to be the same, so the law or Evangelical truth implicit or uncovered in the Evangelium, and by the Church afterwards otherwise but in no contradictory manner explained, is [known to be] the same, so that it is revealed to be 'of the faith' we believe [(de fide, quam credimus)].
Neander had translated this somewhat more loosely as follows:
Das kanonische Recht wird das von den Prälaten bestimmte Recht genannt, welches dazu dienen sollte, die den heiligen Gesetzen der Kirche Widerstreitenden in Schranken zu halten.  Und es kann verglichen werden mit dem evangelischen Recht, wie die Glaubensartikel, die von den heiligen Synoden sind bestimmt worden.  So wie der Mensch derselbe ist, wenn er auch in verschiednen Kleidern und under anderen, wechselnden, zufälligen Merkmalen erscheint, so ist es dasselbe Gesetz oder dieselbe evangelische Wahrheit, wenn sie in dem Evangelium implicite enthalten ist oder entfaltet, und nachher durch die Kirche auf andre, aber keine widersprechende Weise erklärt worden.
This Torrey rendered in the following manner:
Law, as determined by the prelates, is styled canonical law; and its purpose is to restrain, within due limits, whatever stands in conflict with the holy laws of the church.  It may be compared with the evangelical law, the latter being the articles of faith which have been determined by the holy synods.  As the man remains the same, though he may appear in a different dress, and under different, changeable and accidental characters, so it is the same law or the same evangelical truth which is contained implicitly, or unfolded in the gospel, and is afterwards expounded by the church in another but not contradictory manner.
The Latin of Hus is closely related to that of Wyclif.

     "whatever conflicted with the church and revealed truth", whether "outright doctrinal deviance" or "contumacy":  One was as good as the other; either was more than sufficient for a heresy conviction under prevailing canonical legislation and custom" (Fudge, Jan Hus, 144, in summary of the discussion on 140-141).
     By "the church and revealed truth" Hus would undoubtedly have meant only something like the church insofar as conformed to revealed truth as impressed (somehow) upon the conscience ("since men like Hus already held the a priori assumption that secular and religious authority might be invalid if these powers existed in conflict with what Hus considered principles of the law of God" (131)).  Fudge's response:  this was precisely the problem.  "After all, few heretics ever imagined they were truly heretical" (137).
     Still, the claim of conscience returns with the rest of the sentence:  "and it is nearly impossible to impute error to oneself when one is convinced, as Hus clearly was, their focus is truth" (137, italics mine).
     Yet if Fudge (who follows Kybal) is to be believed, there remains the curious stand (or "psychological dependence") on St. Augustine.  For "In the final rejection of the submission formula Hus declared that he feared accepting it on the grounds that it would be to go against Augustine" (133, citing "De Vooght, p. 445", italics mine).
     As for "the function of canon law," "Hus did accept force in matters of faith, at least theoretically, but certainly not to the extent of death" (144 and 286n4, where the Contra octo doctores, in Opera omnia, vol. 2, pp. 464-465 is cited; cf. the introduction to Jan Hus at the Council of Constance, ed. and trans. Matthew Spinka (New York:  Columbia University Press, 1965), p. 63):
I concede therefore that manifest heretics should be subjected to force by the church, that they may truly confess Christ and his law, for while no one may believe apart from his own free will, one may be forced to physical acts which then may induce one to believe.
That as quoted in Thomas A. Fudge, "'Infoelix Hus: the rehabilitation of a medieval heretic," Fides et historia 30:1 (Winter-Spring 1998): 72 (57-73).

     Fudge should not, however, be taken as sympathetic to the Council of Constance:
In this major study of the trial of Jan Hus, Thomas Fudge argues that Hus was properly convicted of heresy, in a legal process that was on the whole procedurally sound.  His conclusions will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Fudge's 2010 biography of the Bohemian reformer, which advanced exactly these claims.  In the present study, however [(The trial of Jan Hus:  medieval heresy and criminal procedure (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2013))], he founds his case upon a remarkable breadth and depth of scholarship in canon law and in the history of the medieval Church's legal mechanisms for action against heresy. . . . .  What ultimately condemned Hus was less doctrinal unorthodoxy than his persistent refusal to subject his conscience to ecclesiastical authority, as manifested through (papal and conciliar) frameworks of law.  This is a richly detailed study, particularly in its scrutiny of the key texts for the Hus case, and it is sure to become an indispensable resource for anyone concerned with the beliefs and fate of the Bohemian reformer.  It should be added, however, that it is also a more committed account of its subject than its rather sober format suggests.  Those readers of Fudge's previous study of Hus who, he assures us (p. xxi), mistook its author for 'a right-wing Roman Catholic' cannot have been paying attention.  For Fudge's real point in arguing so forcefully that the fathers of Constance were, on their own terms, quite right to condemn a man to death for his sincerely-held beliefs is, of course, that we should judge those terms as fundamentally reprehensible. . . .  Fudge's valedictory anecdote, of Luther promising to hang his infant son with his own hands should the latter ever become a lawyer (p. 343), is offered to the reader as a key to the institution that condemned Hus.  If Fudge's ostensible subject matter is the trial of the reformer, his deeper business is with trying and condemning the late medieval Church itself" [(Len Scales, review of The trial of Jan Hus, Journal of ecclesiastical history 66, no. 4 (October 2015):  870-871)].

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"Division is the schism, if schism there be, not interference."

"If unity lies in the Apostolic succession, an act of schism is from the nature of the case impossible; for as no one can reverse his parentage, so no Church can undo the fact that its clergy have come by lineal descent from the Apostles.  Either there is no such sin as schism, or unity does not lie in the episcopal ordination.  And this is felt by the controversalists alluded to; who in consequence are obliged to invent a sin, and to consider, not division of church from church, but the interference of church with church to be the sin of schism, as if local dioceses and bishops with restraint were more than ecclesiastical arrangements, and by-laws of the Church, however sacred, while schism is a sin against her essense.  Thus they strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel.  Division is the schism, if schism there be, not interference.  If interference is a sin, division which is the cause of it is a greater, but where division is a duty, there can be no sin in inteference."

     John Henry Newman, An essay on the development of Christian doctrine: the edition of 1845, ed. J. M. Cameron (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1974), 286 (IV.ii).

"If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God [(θεοτόκον, Dei genetricem)], . . . let him be anathema."

"he who existed and was begotten of the Father before all ages is also said to have been begotten according to the flesh of a woman, without the divine nature either beginning to [(42)] exist in the holy virgin, or needing of itself a second begetting after that from his Father. . . . The Word is said to have been begotten of the flesh, because for us and for our salvation he united what was human to himself hypostatically and came forth from a woman.  For he was not first begotten of the holy virgin, a man like us, and then the Word descended upon him; but from the very womb of his mother he was so united and then underwent begetting according to the flesh, making his own the begetting of his own flesh. . . ."
[50] "the only-begotten Word of God, who was begotten from the very essence of the Father, true God from true God, the light from the light and the one through whom all things in heaven and [(51)] earth were made, for our salvation came down and emptying himself he became incarnate and was made man.  This means that he took our flesh from the holy virgin and made it his own, undergoing a birth like ours from her womb and coming forth a man from a woman.  He did not cast aside what he was, but although he assumed flesh and blood, he remained what he was, God in nature and truth. . . . For although visible as a child and in swaddling cloths, even while he was in the bosom of the virgin that bore him, as God he filled the whole of creation and was fellow ruler with him who begot him. . . ."
     [58] "Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was united hypostatically with the flesh, for that reason we call her mother of God [(θεοτόκον, Dei genetricem)], not as though the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh (for 'the Word was in the beginning and the Word was God and the Word was with God', and he made the ages and is coeternal with the Father and craftsman of all things), but because, as we have said, he united to himself hypostatically the human and underwent a birth according to the flesh from her womb.  This was not as though he needed necessarily or for his own nature a birth in time and in the last times of this age, but in order that he might bless the beginning of our existence, in order that seeing that it was a woman that had given birth to him, united to the flesh, the curse against the whole race should thereafter cease. . . ."
". . . What is [therefore] required for your reverence to anathematise we subjoin to this epistle.
     "1. If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is God in truth, and therefore that the holy virgin is the mother of God [(θεοτόκον, Dei genetricem)] (for she bore in a fleshly way the Word of God become flesh), let him be anathema."

     Second and third letters of St. Cyril of Alexandria to Nestorius, as translated in Decrees of the ecumenical councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner, S.J., Volume one:  Nicaea I to Lateran V (London:  Sheed & Ward Limited; Washington D. C.:  Georgetown University Press, 1990), 41-42, 50-51, 58, and 59.

Monday, December 31, 2012

"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account."

"On the whole I conclude as follows:—if there is a form of Christianity now in the world which is accused of gross superstition, of borrowing its rites and customs from the heathen, and of ascribing to forms and ceremonies an occult virtue;—a religion which is considered to burden and enslave the mind by its requisitions, to address itself to the weak-minded and ignorant, to be supported by sophistry and imposture, and to contradict reason and exalt mere irrational faith;—a religion which impresses on the serious mind very distressing views of the guilt and consequences of sin, sets upon the minute acts of the day, one by one, their definite value of praise or blame, and thus casts a grave shadow over the future;—a religion which holds up to admiration the surrender of wealth, and disables serious persons from enjoying it if they would;—a religion, the doctrines of which, be they good or bad, are to the generality of men unknown; which is considered to bear on its very surface signs of folly and falsehood so distinct that a glance suffices to judge of it, and careful examination is preposterous, which is felt to be so simply bad, that it may be calumniated at hazard and at pleasure, it being nothing but absurdity to stand upon the accurate distribution of its guilt among its particular acts, or painfully to determine how far this or that story is literally true, what has to be allowed in candour, or what is improbable, or what cuts two ways, or what is not proved, or what may be plausibly defended;—a religion such, that men look at a convert to it with a feeling which no other sect raises except Judaism, Socialism, or Mormonism, with curiosity, suspicion, fear, disgust, as the case may be, as if something strange had befallen him, as if he had had an initiation into a mystery, and had come into communion with dreadful influences, as if he were now one of a confederacy which claimed him, absorbed him, stripped him of his personality, reduced him to a mere organ or instrument of a whole;—a religion which men hate as proselytising, anti-social, revolutionary, as dividing families, separating chief friends, corrupting the maxims of government, making a mock at law, dissolving the empire, the enemy of human nature, and a 'conspirator against its rights and privileges;—a religion which they consider the champion and instrument of darkness, and a pollution calling down upon the land the anger of heaven;—a religion which they associate with intrigue and conspiracy, which they speak about in whispers, which they detect by anticipation in whatever goes wrong, and to which they impute whatever is unaccountable;—a religion, the very name of which they cast out as evil, and use simply as a bad epithet, and which from the impulse of self-preservation they would persecute if they could;—if there be such a religion now in the world, it is not unlike Christianity as that same world viewed it, when first it came forth from its Divine Author."

     John Henry Newman, An essay on the development of Christian doctrine (London:  James Toovey, 1845), 240-242 (IV.i).

"The human longing for God, however, persists from age to age."

"The distinctly modern metaphysical picture of reality is one that makes it possible to regard this world as a cave filled only with flickering shadows and yet also to cherish those shadows for their very insubstantiality, and even to be grateful for the shelter that the cave provides against the great emptiness outside, where no Sun of the Good ever shines. With enough therapy and sufficient material comforts, even gnostic despair can become a form of disenchantment without regret, sweetened by a new enchantment with the self in its particularity. Gnosticism reduced to bare narcissism—which, come to think of it, might be an apt definition of late modernity as a whole.
     ". . . This is no cause for despair, however. Every historical period has its own presiding powers and principalities on high. Ours, for what it is worth, seem to want to make us happy, even if only in an inert sort of way. Every age passes away in time, moreover, and late modernity is only an epoch. This being so, one should never doubt the uncanny force of what Freud called die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten—'the return of the repressed.'  Dominant ideologies wither away, metaphysical myths exhaust their power to hold sway over cultural imaginations, material and spiritual conditions change inexorably and irreversibly. The human longing for God, however, persists from age to age. A particular cultural dispensation may succeed for a time in lulling the soul into a forgetful sleep, but the soul will still continue to hear that timeless call that comes at once from within and from beyond all things, even if for now it seems like only a voice heard in a dream. And, sooner or later, the sleeper will awaken."

     David Bentley Hart, "Jung's therapeutic gnosticism," First things (January 2013).