Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Return to infancy and return to God"

Bernanos acknowledged "that in the middle of his life, populated already with so many of [the] dead, 'the deadest of the dead' was the little boy he once was.  But he soon made haste to add:  'And yet, the hour is coming [when] it is [that little boy] who will retake his place at the head of my life, reassemble my poor years right up to the last, andlike a young captain [reassembling] his [grizzled] veterans, [and] rallying the disordered troup—enter first into the house of the Father.'"

     Georg Bernanos, as quoted by Jean-Pierre Batut.  "De la nature à la gloire, la grâce de la maladie," Communio:  revue international catholique 39, no. 3 (mai-juin 2014:  105 (97-107).
     I now have the official translation by Michael J. Miller (Communio:  international Catholic review 41, no. 3 (2014):  515-528):
Recall Bernanos, admitting that in the middle of his life, which was already populated by so many dead people, 'the most dead of the dead' was the little boy he used to be, although he hastened to add immediately:  'And yet, when the hour comes, he will be the one to take his place again at the head of my life, he will gather up my poor years down to the last one, and like a young leader rallying the veterans in his disorderly troop, will enter first into the Father's House.'

Monday, January 15, 2018

"'as a Gentile and a tax collector'"

Matthew "means by the verb [(Terminus)] 'sins' [in 18:15] not every little misadventure, every mistake, not the venial sins that can creep up on the man and [the] Christian; rather, 'sins' designates those cases in which a Christian [1] seeks the life of another [Christian] or [2] misleads him into an apostasy from the faith.  In this most wicked of cases, the fellow Christian cannot and may not look on in indifference, but must help and protect.  To put it concretely, when Judas goes about his wicked work, Peter is not permitted to remain idle.  The protection of the [1] life and [2] faith of the third [party] is the necessary and sufficient reason for church leadership [(Kirchenleitung)] and church discipline.  Where the perpetrator can be converted off of [(von . . . abbringen)] his wicked path, that is good.  But where not, the community must then tell him what he has himself done [(bewirkt)].  He has, by his own behavior. excluded himself from the community.  The phrase 'as a Gentile and a tax collector' denotes precisely the impossible possibility of being deprived, as a Christian—from even the [merely] human point of view [an] incalculable [loss]—, of the [Christian] community and salvation [itself]. . . .
     ". . . the keyword ἁμαρτάνω in v. 15 is closely linked with another word that occurs in [v. 6]:  σκανδαλίζω:  to sin within the community means to endanger a brother or sister in [2] faith and/or [1] life.  Here there can and may be none of that neutrality that Matthew otherwise so clearly enjoins on his community.  Church discipline becomes necessary when (and only when) a [member] of [(in)] the community stands in need of th[is] protection-and-help-for-the-third-[party].
     "The procedure that Matthew here prescribes for his community carries the procedure for bilateral conflicts known from the 'Testament of Gad' [(Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs)] and Qumran into the three-way relationship.  This means that the situation addressed by the New Testament text is not covered by the cases just cited [(TestGad 6, 1Q 5:24 ff., CD 9:2 ff)].  The relative mildness of the early Jewish texts cannot be opposed to the sharpness and unmercifulness of Matthew.  On the contrary:  the procedure laid down by Matthew is of a breadth and circumspection that stands in striking opposition to even the later penitential prescriptions of the Church, as Origen, for example, so obviously gives us to understand in his interpretation of th[is very] passage.
     "That the three-stage process of admonition is meant to effect the conversion of the one confronted requires no further proof.  [But] If the worst case of public obliviousness of guilt [(Schuldvergessenheit)] obtains [(if, that is, the sinner, having been 't[old] his fault', 'refuses to listen even to the church')], then the community—obviously the local community—can at that point only bear witness to what the sinner [has] already effected [(praktiziert)]:  Community is by him already so obviously renounced that it can no longer be healed by [any] human power."

     Christoph Kähler, "Kirchenleitung und Kirchenzucht nach Matthäus 18," in Christus bezeugen:  Festschrift für Wolfgang Trilling zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Karl Kertelge, Traugott Holtz, and Claus-Peter März, Erfurter theologische Studien 59 (Leipzig:  St. Benno-Verlag GMBH, 1989), 140, 144 (136-145).

Saturday, January 13, 2018

"Only a man who can say, 'I will not' is genuinely free."

     R. R. Reno, "Bondage and freedom," First things no. 279 (January 2018):  63 (61-64).  "We've had too much Erasmus of late, and too little Luther."

"In adoration it is never the one who adores who traverses the distance, but the one who is adored."

     Adrienne von Speyer, Theologie der Geschlechter, NB 12 (Einsiedeln:  Johannes Verlag, 1969), c. 141/144, as summarized in French by Antoine Birot, "Le fondement christologique et de la différence sexuelle selon «Théologie des sexes» (NB XII) de Adrienne von Speyr," Revue catholique internationale Communio 31, nos. 5-6 (septembre décembre 2006):  127 (123-134).  But "Without this positive distance there would be only fusion."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"A sacrament supposes that one takes time".

"Un sacrement suppose qu'on prenne le temps. . . ."

     André Haquin, “La réforme liturgique de Vatican II:  a-t-elle fait prevue de créativité et en quell sens?,”  Recherches de science religieuse 101, no. 1 (2013):  66 (53-67).  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

"you now send me a semblance of death [(a serious illness)] in an exercise of your mercy, before you really send me death in an exercise of your judgment."

"vous m’envoyez maintenant une espece de mort pour exercer vostre misericorde, avant que vous m’envoiyez effectivement la mort pour exercer vostre jugement."

     Blaise Pascal, "Prière pour demander à Dieu le bon usage des maladies" 3, Œuvres de Blaise Pascal 9 (Paris:  Librairie Hachette, 1914), ed. Léon Brunschvieg & Pierre Boutroux, p. 326 (319 ff.).  Trans. Wight:
thou sendest me now a partial death in order to exercise thy mercy, before thou sendest me death effectively in order to exercise thy judgment.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A middling holiness redeemed via sickness and death

"Bernanos, again, very near his [own] end, expressed better than anyone [else] . . . this coincidence of our deepest [(profonde)] will, beyond all our lapses and all our villainies, with the divine will in view of the ultimate sacrifice:  'We will everything He wills, but we don't know [(savons)] that we will this, [for] we don't know [(connaissons)] ourselves[.]  Sin causes us to live on the surface of ourselves[.]  We re-enter into ourselves only in order to die, and it is there that He awaits us [(Nous voulons tout ce qu’Il veut, mais nous ne savons pas que nous le voulons, nous ne nous connaissons pas, le péche nous fait vivre à la surface de nous-mêmes, nous ne rentrons en nous que pour mourir, c’est là qu’Il nous attend)].'"

     Georg Bernanos, as quoted by Jean-Pierre Batut.  "De la nature à la gloire, la grâce de la maladie," Communio:  revue international catholique 39, no. 3 (mai-juin 2014:  106 (97-107).  This is, I think, an example of "the mute offering of the sinner" so characteristic of "the middling classes of sanctity" and "salvation" that is to be contrasted with "the heroic offering of the saint" (105).

The sick person as "minister of the celebration of the power of God that acts in weakness"

"the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, by impressing a messianic seal upon the person who receives it, prepares him to become [a] minister of the celebration of the power of God that acts in weakness, and, so, to become, for the whole people [of God, a] sign and instrument of this essential paschal truth among [them] all."

     Jean-Pierre Batut, "De la nature à la gloire, la grâce de la maladie," Communio:  revue international catholique 39, no. 3 (mai-juin 2014:  104 (97-107).
it is not by any of his acts of power that [Jesus] saves us, but precisely in and through his impotence.  If he is our great [high] priest, this is not despite his weakness, but inasmuch as [he is] 'enveloped in weakness' (perikeitai astheneian), as the Epistle to the Hebrews puts it (5:2).  It's not just that he is 'not unable to sympathize with our weaknesses' (4:15), but that weakness is the priestly garment [(vêtement)] in which he is clothed [(revêtu)] in order that he might consummate his offering. . . . [So] if [the sick person] is united with Christ, the state of sickness becomes [the] sacramental grace of participation in his salvific weakness, causing the sick person to pass over from the resources of his nature to the hope of glory in the blessed resurrection.
     Thus, just as in baptism the duel of one with death becomes [the] victory of life to the benefit of all, [so] in the sacrament of the sick the combat of one against sickness and against the death that it prefigures becomes for the multitude a participation in the sacrifice of the cross. . . .

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Catholic bishops of Greece on the suppression of the Filioque

"The Catholic Church does not renounce its faith in the Holy and Venerable Trinity as it has received it from its fathers and doctors in Christ.  In particular, it does not renounce the expression 'Filioque', which for it expresses, to the degree that human language can express the depths of the incomprehensible mystery of the divine life, the Trinitarian relation of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son.  In fact, the expression 'Filioque' will continue to be recited in the Symbol of faith in the whole universal Church and in all languages except the Greek[,] . . . that one exception.  When it comes to the articles of faith, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Greece wishes to . . . stress that in [the] matter of dogma there exists no compromise," however good the reasons for accommodation herein promulgated may be.  "As paradoxical as it may seem, it has made this decision precisely in order to guard intact its faith in this same 'Filioque' and its orthodox conception of the Trinitarian faith."  But misunderstandings have arisen out of the fact that "the verbs ἐκπορεύομαι in Greek, and procedere in Latin . . . do not signify exactly the same thing" (320), "are not exactly synonymous" (321), such that "each of these two formulas, Spiritus Sanctus qui ex Patre Filioque procedit and τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς διὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ ἐκπορευόμενον, in its own language and in its own theological system, express in [an] identical fashion the same faith" (322).  But "in the Greek language" "The addition of the words καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ to the participle ἐκπορευόμενον . . . risked simply . . . creating false dogmatic interpretations and reinforcing misunderstandings" (324).

     A summary of the "Instruction de l’épiscopat catholique de Grèce sur l’adoption du Symbole dit de Nicée-Constantinople dans la liturgie latine en langue grecque" as published in French in Istina 28, no. 3 (1983):  319-325.  Note that this seems to have been a ruling for Catholics of the Latin rite, not just Catholics of the Byzantine rite.  From pp. 321-322:
the crux of the problem . . . resides in the fact that the verbs procedere and ἐκπορεύειν are not exactly synonymous.  Procedere translates, in fact, other Greek verbs such as προέρχομαι and ἐξέρχομαι (see, for example, the Latin texts of the Vetus latina or of the Vulgate for Jn 8:42, where ἐξέρχομαι is translated by procedere).  One finds the inverse verification of this affirmation in the fact that, since Tertullian (d. 245), the Latin tradition employs the verb procedere (προέρχομαι) generically in order to express as much the Son’s as the Spirit’s relation of origin, and, thus, speaks of [the] processio (προέλευσις) of the Son and of [the] processio (προέλευσις) of the Holy Spirit, while the Greek tradition employs ἐκπορεύειν solely for designating specifically the relation of the Holy Spirit to the Paternal principle in as much as th[at relation] is distinguished from [the relation involved in] the generation of the Son.  This different usage of the two verbs in the two traditions is explained by the fact that the two verbs in their respective languages have different semantic nuances.  The fact of the matter is that the Greek ἐκπορεύειν—which signifies exactly 'to go out from the door' or 'from the first source'—references rather the origin from whence the thing which proceeds comes, while the Latin procedere—which wishes to say precisely 'to proceed'—has in view rather the very thing which proceeds without considering whether the source from which it proceeds is an ultimate [(première)] source or not. . . .  [Thus] language has played an important role in the formation and structuring of the two patristic traditions, oriental and occidental.  The Latin fathers can utilize the verb procedere in a generic fashion to designate the two Persons who come from the Father, ultimate source of the Trinity.  And yet, in order to safeguard the Monarchy of the Father in the Trinitarian relations, the Latin tradition, even while affirming that the Holy Spirit proceeds (προέρχεται or πρόεισι) from the Father and the Son, has always underscored, in the wake of St. Augustine, that the Spirit proceeds from the Father principaliter (πρωταρχικῶς).  The Greek fathers, whose verb ἐκπορεύομαι implies always the idea of a ‘going out from the ultimate source’, have, on their side, never said that the Holy Spirit ἐκπροεύεται καὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ.  They could not say this, for that formula would have signified that they considered the Son as being, he, too, an ultimate source of the Trinity, which would constitute a dogmatic error.  And yet, the doctrine according to which the Holy Spirit comes forth [(provient)] also from the Son (καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ) is found clearly expressed in the tradition of the Greek fathers, but always with other formulas.  The school of Alexandria, with St. Cyril at its head, affirms that the Holy Spirit πρόεισι ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ Υἱοϋ.  The Cappadocians and St. John of Damascus prefer to preserve the original verb that one finds in the Gospels, ἐκπορεύομαι, and, in order to express the same truth, to employ the phrase διὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦτὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς διὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ ἐκπορευόμενον.
     Each of these two formulas, Spiritus Sanctus qui ex Patre Filioque procedit and to τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς διὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ ἐκπορευόμενον, in its own language and in its own theological system, express in [an] identical fashion the same faith.