Sunday, August 20, 2017

Soul or flesh?

     "Someone will say to me, 'But the sin of Adam deservedly passed on to his posterity, because they were born of him.  Can it be said then that we are born of Christ, that we can be saved because of him?'  Do not think of these things in a carnal manner and then you will see how we are born of Christ, our parent.  In these last times Christ certainly received a soul together with the flesh [(animam . . . cum carne)] from Mary.  It is this flesh [(hanc)] which he has come to save.  It is this flesh [(hanc)] which he has freed from sin.  It is this flesh [(hanc)] which he did not abandon in hell.  It is this flesh [(hanc)] which he joined to his spirit and made his own.  And this represents the marriage of the Lord, joined together in one flesh, so that according to 'that great mystery' they might become 'two in one flesh, Christ and the Church.'  From this marriage is born the Christian people, with the Spirit of the Lord coming from above.  And at once, with the heavenly seed being spread upon and mingled with the substance of our souls, we develop in the womb of our [spiritual] mother, and once we come forth from her womb, we are made alive in Christ.  And so the Apostle says, 'The first Adam [became] a living soul; the last Adam [became] a life-giving spirit.'
     "Thus Christ engenders life in the Church through his priests, as the same Apostle states, 'And indeed, in Christ I have begotten you.'  And so the seed of Christ, that is, the Spirit of God, produces through the hands of the priests the new man. . . ."

     Pacian of Barcelona, On baptism 6.1-2, trans. Craig L. Hanson, FC 99 =Iberian Fathers 3 (1999), 91-92.  =CCSL 69B (2012) =SC 410 (1995) =PL 13, cols. 1093D-1094A.  Cf. LF, trans. E. B. Pusey (1894), 382, where this is sec. 7, and where the ambiguity of the Latin demonstrative hanc (which, all considerations of context aside, could refer back to either animam or carne) is preserved:
In these last days Christ took a soul with the flesh from Mary.  This He came to save.  This He left not in hell.  This He joined to His Spirit and made His own.  And this is the marriage of the Lord, joined together to one flesh. . . .
Cf., however, this sermon as reproduced in the Liturgy of the hours (Office of Readings for Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time, vol. 4, p. 111), citing PL 13 (not one of the modern critical editions) above:
In these times of salvation, Christ received body and soul from Mary.  He came to save this soul, not to leave it in hell.  He united it with his spirit and made it his own.  And this is the marriage of the Lord, the union of two in one flesh. . . .
With this translation (of whose origin I am unsure, though it can be found on Universalis) we return to the sound non-literalness of Hanson:
It is this flesh that he came to save, that he did not abandon to the underworld: he united it with his own spirit and made it his own. This is the marriage of the Lord, united with the flesh of man. . . .
I suppose that by "this soul" the Liturgy of the hours (and indeed the original hanc) could be referring to the whole, i.e. (in Pusey's translation) the "soul with the flesh from Mary" (animam . . . cum carne . . . ex Maria).  Unfortunately, "body and soul" (rather than "a soul with the flesh from Mary") doesn't lend itself well to this interpretation.

participes > conformes > consortes

"Made partakers of Christ through these Sacraments, we humbly implore your mercy, Lord, that, conformed to his image on earth, we may merit also to be his coheirs in heaven.  Who lives and reigns."

"Per haec sacramenta, Domine, Christi participes effecti, clementiam tuam humiliter imploramus, ut, eius imaginis conformes in terris, et eius consortes in caelis fieri mereamur.  Qui vivit et regnat."

     Post communion, Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman missal.  Though consors appears several times in Bruylants, this prayer is not present.  Corpus orationum traces it back to no. 4470 of the Missale Parisiense of 1738, which it says derives from

  • Heb 3:14:  "participes enim Christi effecti sumus si tamen initium substantiae usque ad finem firmum retineamus", "For we are made partakers of Christ: yet so, if we hold the beginning of his substance firm unto the end" (Douay-Rheims).
  • Rom 8:29:  "nam quos praescivit et praedestinavit conformes fieri imaginis Filii eius ut sit ipse primogenitus in multis fratribus", "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren" (Douay-Rheims).
  • 2 Pet 1:4:  "per quae maxima et pretiosa nobis promissa donavit ut per haec efficiamini divinae consortes naturae fugientes eius quae in mundo est concupiscientiae corruptionem", "By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world" (Douay-Rheims).

Friday, August 18, 2017

A beautiful Radnerian reading of Jeremiah

"We have to think of [Jeremiah], therefore, not merely as the one who stands magnificently alone in opposition and resistance to this people, but the one who is [like God himself] together with this isolated people, the representative of its election and calling, in solidarity with its being and status as a sinful people, sharing with it—and with a greater severity of suffering than that of any other member—the destruction which has come upon it in consequence of its sin.  Jeremiah is the man who with this people suffers all that is threatened, the sword and famine and pestilence, and finally disappears with it into the unknown, because he himself can and will be only one of this people, a man of this people in the truest and fullest sense, because his election and calling as a prophet is nothing other than the election and calling of this people in nunce."

     Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 476 (underscoring mine) =KD IV/1, 529 (note the emphases lacking in the English translation, in part because the last two have been translated out of it):
Man sehe ihn also gerade nicht nur als den diesem Volk gegenüberstehenden und widerstehenden großen Einsamen, sondern mit diesem ja ebenfalls einsamen Volk zusammen, als den Exponenten seiner Erwählung und Berufung, in seiner Solidarität mit seinem Sein und Stand als sündiges Volk und mit ihm – schwerer leidend als alle seine anderen Glieder – auch dem daraus folgenden Verderben verfallen. Jeremia ist der Mann, der alles diesem Volk Angedrohte, das Schwert, den Hunger und die Pest, darum miterleidet und schließlich darum mit im Dunkel verschwindet, weil er selbst nichts Anderes als einer der Seinigen – ja im eminentesten Sinn: der Seinige, der Mensch dieses Volkes sein kann und will, weil seine persönliche Erwählung und Berufung zum Propheten nichts Anderes ist als in nuce die Erwählung und Berufung dieses Volkes.
"And this time Jeremiah, too, . . . . disappears into the darkness" (473) | "And so they disappear and Jeremiah with them" (474):
Even at the end of all his years of conflict, [Jeremiah] could not alter the fact that those who had been saved in the catastrophe only appeared to have been saved in order to returnand he himself had to go with themto [Egypt] the house of bondage. . . . A circle againback to the zero point which had once been the bleak point of departure at which the election and calling of God had found his people, or rather made it a people [(475)].
I have not been able to determine whom to credit for this graphic rendition of the photograph.
     (And by "A beautiful Radnerian reading of Jeremiah," I mean the entire excursus covering pp. 468-478.)

Not a puzzle, not even a problem, but a mystery

"A culture whose very view of reality is technological, with all the assaults on human dignity that inevitably follow, will have every incentive not to think about the profound questions of human existence that for so long animated Western culture.  Education will largely consist in learning not to ask them, and so will be scarcely distinguished from ignorance.  But more worrisome still, the inhabitants of such a culture will be unable to think deeply about such questions, because there will be no depths to think about; for they will have already reduced [1] reality to an assemblage of superficial 'facts' and [2] thinking to the arrangement and manipulation of those facts.  For such a society there would simply be no such thing as a profound question, only problems awaiting technical or managerial solutions.  A society whose members are thus unable to think cannot ultimately be a free society, because they can never see beyond and thus transcend the fate which their powers have unleashed.  Their only consolation, and this is also their curse, is that they might never know the difference."

     Michael Hanby, "The gospel of creation and the technocratic paradigm:  reflections on a central teaching of Laudato Si'," Communio:  international Catholic review 42, no. 4 (Winter 2015):  738 (725-747).  The heading comes from pp. 18-19 of Mystery and philosophy (1957), by Michael B. Foster, though the burden of that book is a very different one.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"The almighty power of [God's] grace does not do despite to the freedom of man."

"The almighty power of [his] grace does not do despite to the freedom of man [(tritt ja der Freiheit des Menschen gerade nicht zu nahe, does not in any way encroach upon the freedom of man)].  On the contrary, it is the basis of it.  The God who is almighty in grace distinguishes Himself as the Creator from the creature, and therefore the being of the creature from his own being.  He does not deny but gives to man his proper place in relation to Himself.  He elects and calls him to be His partner, to an obedience which is not forced but free."

     Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 467 =KD IV/1, 519.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Responsible judgment

     "This should teach us never to judge the actions of our neighbor without having reflected very well beforehand.  Even then, of course, we are only entitled to make such judgments if we are responsible for the behavior of the people concerned, that is, if we are parents or employers [(pères et mères, les mâitres et mâitresses)], and so on.  As far as all others are concerned, we are nearly always wrong."

     St. John Vianney, Sermon for the Eleventh Week after Pentecost, On rash judgment.  The sermons of the Curé of Ars, trans. Una Morrisy (Chicago:  Henry Regnery, 1960), 40.  =Sermons (Lyon:  1883), vol. 2, pp. 409-410, italics mine.
Ce qui doit nous porter à ne jamais juger des actions de notre prochain sans avoir bien réfléchi auparavant, et encore, seulement lorsque nous sommes chargés de la conduit de ces personnes, comme pères et mères, les mâitres et mâitresses; mais, pour toute autre personne, nous faisons Presque toujours mal.
That's clearly the passage in question.  And yet the translation has to be doing some unmarked selection, as the rest of the surrounding text in English isn't just right there.  (The closing prayer of King David on p. 41 appears, e.g., a full three or four pages later, on p. 413 of the French.)
     But in any case, note that Vianney speaks only of the extreme difficulty ("nearly always") of judging accurately in cases for which we bear no responsibility.  It would be interesting to see how this gets fleshed out in the larger context of the whole of his sermons, e.g. in his opposition to dancing and such.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Homo artifactus/a; or Made, not begotten

"This [technocratic] conflation of what were once called the speculative and the practical orders means that technologically generated exceptions and possibilities now largely govern how we think about what is true.  This is difficult to see from within the paradigm, as we have largely grown accustomed to it, but once it is noticed, it appears to be a constitutive feature of contemporary thought.  Again the examples are endless.  The so-called sexual revolution, for instance, is most fundamentally the technological revolution turned on ourselves, not only in the deep sense that the canonical dualism of sex and gender presupposes a more basic dualism between the affective part, usually thought to be the locus of personal identity, and a meaningless material body regarded as a kind of artifact, but also in the more mundane sense that the technical conquest of human biology is its practical condition of possibility.  Just as same-sex 'marriage' would have remained permanently unimaginable were it not for the technological conquest of procreation, so too would it have never been possible to think that a man might 'really' be a woman if we did not think it were technically possible to transform him into one.  And yet these technologically generated exceptions have occasioned a radical rethinking of the whole of human nature, sexuality and embodiment."

     Michael Hanby, "The gospel of creation and the technocratic paradigm:  reflections on a central teaching of Laudato Si'," Communio:  international Catholic review 42, no. 4 (Winter 2015):  735-736 (725-747).