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. . . .