Thursday, January 16, 2020

EWTN Theology Round Table - The Sacraments of the East

Mediator Dei on Sacrifice

James Chastek: Translation of Mediator Dei

Not interested in the use of the word "symbol" here but on other aspects --

[A]ccording to the plan of divine wisdom, the sacrifice of our Redeemer is shown forth in an admirable manner by external signs which are the symbols of His death. For by the “transubstantiation” of bread into the body of Christ and of wine into His blood, His body and blood are both really present: now the eucharistic species under which He is present symbolize the actual separation of His body and blood. Thus the commemorative representation of His death, which actually took place on Calvary, is repeated in every sacrifice of the altar, seeing that Jesus Christ is symbolically shown by separate symbols to be in a state of victimhood.

Sacrifice here is linked to death, or involve death. But is that always the case for the sacrifices of the Israelites? And if death is a component, how is it a component?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

This Will Upset Traditional Eastern Catholics

Cardinal Sarah, fFrom Sandro Magister's post:

We must listen to the testimonies that emanate from the Eastern Catholic Churches. Several members of these Churches have clearly emphasized that the priestly state enters into tension with the conjugal state. […] The Eastern married clergy is in crisis. The divorce of priests has become an area of ​​ecumenical tension among Orthodox patriarchies. […] Why does the Catholic Church accept the presence of a married clergy in some united Eastern Churches? In the light of the affirmation of the recent magisterium on the ontological link between the priesthood and celibacy, I think that this acceptance has the aim of promoting a gradual evolution towards the practice of celibacy, which would take place not by disciplinary means but for properly spiritual and pastoral reasons.

I appreciate Cardinal Sarah as a voice for traditional Latin Christianity, but this is just Latin chauvinism, even if Cardinal Sarah thinks that it is well-grounded in (Latin) theology and the papal magisterium. His mistake, which is a consequence of Latin ecclesiology, is to attribute to these theologoumena a greater weight than they warrant, simply because they are opinions that have been held and repeated by men who have been bishops of Rome.

More on "THE Book"

Edward Pentin: Unpacking the Benedict XVI-Cardinal Sarah Book Fiasco
The book’s rollout caused a backlash against Benedict appearing as co-author of the book, even though it appears the Pope Emeritus had given at least tacit prior approval for the full manuscript.
Edward Pentin

Fr. Z: Summary of FACTS about the controversial new book by BOTH Card. Sarah and Benedict XVI
Rorate Caeli: Socci: The Backstory: here is what went on behind the scenes. The rage of the despot against the Catholic Pope
Sandro Magister: More From the Bombshell Book of Ratzinger and Sarah. A Little Anthology on Celibacy
First Things: Sex, Celibacy, and the Latest Curiosity From Rome by Francis X. Maier

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Chicago Manual of Style

Ignatius Press to keep Benedict XVI listed as coauthor of new celibacy book

Related: What does Benedict XVI actually say in new book on priestly celibacy? by Michelle La Rosa

Synodality at Work!

Rorate Caeli: Vatican - Bishops, Get Ready: The Amazon Fake-Synod Bomb is Coming Up! (Confidential Letter)

An Oddity of Latin Ecclesiology

Ignatius Press to keep Benedict XVI listed as coauthor of new celibacy book

On Jan. 13, Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican’s communications office, praised the book.
“Ratzinger and Sarah — who describe themselves as two Bishops ‘in filial obedience to Pope Francis’ who ‘are seeking the truth’ in ‘a spirit of love for the unity of the Church’ — defend the discipline of celibacy and put forth the reasons that they feel counsel against changing it,” Tornielli wrote.

Would any other ecclesial tradition say this about a retired bishop with reference to his successor?

Clerical Continence

From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy, and the Crisis of the Catholic Church by

Pope Emeritus Benedict, Cardinal Sarah author new book on priesthood, celibacy
“The priesthood is going through a dark time,” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah say in their new book. “Wounded by the revelation of so many scandals, disconcerted by the constant questioning of their consecrated celibacy, many priests are tempted by the thought of giving up and abandoning everything.”

Vatican: Pope Francis not in favor of optional priestly celibacy
The statement by Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni was issued Jan. 13 and was said to be in response to questions from journalists “regarding a recent editorial initiative.”

Ignoring the controversy generated by the "progressive" Roman Catholics in response to the announcement of the book. There needs to be some pushback against these people, though.
America: Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah coauthor book on celibacy, opposing the ordination of married men

Fr. Z: Lib reactions to the new book from Card. Sarah and Benedict XVI – ORDER SOON
Fr. Z: FIRST REMARKS about the new book by Card. Sarah and Benedict XVI
Analysis: On celibacy, what Benedict cannot say and Francis mustn’t hear


I'm going to focus on the sacramental theology instead.

Ignatius Press: Claim that Benedict XVI did not co-author book on celibacy is false

Some sort of ontology in which the priest is "another Christ" or acts "in persona Christi" -- can this be consistent if the sacraments of initiation, namely Baptism/Confirmation, makes us other Christs as well? Can a woman become another Christ, or act in persona Christi? Yes to the former question, and arguably yes to the latter, though it may be possible that some Latin has elaborated "in persona Christi" to show how that is different from merely being another Christ. (For example, those in Holy Orders somehow participate to a greater degree in Christ and His life, and this is linked to the mission of the Holy Spirit, as well.)
In the book, Benedict examines the history of the priesthood in the Old and New Testaments, saying that a proper understanding of the nature of the priesthood is crucial in answering contemporary questions about the priesthood.

“At the foundation of the serious situation in which the priesthood finds itself today, we find a methodological flaw in the reception of Scripture as Word of God,” Benedict said.

Abandoning a Christological interpretation of the Old Testament has led to a “deficient theology of worship” among many modern scholars, who fail to recognize that Jesus fulfilled the worship owed to God, rather than abolishing it, he continued.

Looking at the history of the priesthood in the Old Testament, Benedict said that “the relation between sexual abstinence and divine worship was absolutely clear in the common awareness of Israel.”

He noted that the priests of Israel were required to observe sexual abstinence during their time that they spend leading worship, when they were “in contact with the divine mystery.”

“Given that the priests of the Old Testament had to dedicate themselves to worship only during set times, marriage and the priesthood were compatible,” he said. “But because of the regular and often even daily celebration of the Eucharist, the situation of the priests of the Church of Jesus Christ has changed radically.”

But does the Levitical priesthood really correspond to the New Testament presbyterate? Or to the priesthood of Christ, which is shared by the Christian faithful?
Since the entire life of the priest in the New Covenant is “in contact with the divine mystery,” he said, it demands “exclusivity with regard to God” and becomes incompatible with marriage, which also requires one’s whole life.

“From the daily celebration of the Eucharist, which implies a permanent state of service to God, was born spontaneously the impossibility of a matrimonial bond. We can say that the sexual abstinence that was functional was transformed automatically into an ontological abstinence. Thus its motivation and its significance were changed from within and profoundly.”

The pope emeritus rejected the idea that priestly celibacy is based on a contempt for human sexuality within the Church. He noted that this claim was also dismissed by the Church Fathers, and that the Church has always viewed marriage as a gift from God.

“However, the married state involves a man in his totality, and since serving the Lord likewise requires the total gift of a man, it does not seem possible to carry on the two vocations simultaneously,” he said. “Thus, the ability to renounce marriage so as to place oneself totally at the Lord’s disposition became a criterion for priestly ministry.”

Just as the priests from the Tribe of Levi renounced ownership of land, priests in the New Covenant renounce marriage and family, as a sign of their radical commitment to God, he said.

This is seen in the Psalm prayed when a man entered the clergy before the Second Vatican Council, he said: “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.”

What does exclusivity with regard to God mean? Can a secular priest take care of his aged parents? If so, how is he being "exclusive"? God does not command that we love only Him, just that we love Him above all others. Does a married priest place his wife or children on the same priority as God? No. The claim is, rather, that a priest should not put his wife and family on the same level as his community, but is there necessarily a conflict between the two in all circumstances? Should those rare circumstances in which there is a conflict be enough to lay down an absolute rule?
Benedict’s theological reflection is followed in the book by a set of pastoral considerations from Sarah.

“My bishop’s heart is worried. I have met with many priests who are disoriented, disturbed and wounded in the very depths of their spiritual life by the violent challenges to the Church’s doctrine,” Sarah said.

“I speak up so that everywhere in the Church, in a spirit of true synodality, a calm, prayerful reflection on the spiritual reality of the sacrament of Holy Orders can commence and be renewed.”

The cardinal called priestly celibacy “the expression of the intention to place oneself at the disposal of the Lord and of men and women,” adding that “Priestly celibacy, far from being merely an ascetical discipline, is necessary to the identity of the Church.”

Ordaining married men would create a “pastoral catastrophe,” risking the Church’s understanding of both the priesthood and itself, Sarah warned. “If we reduce priestly celibacy to a question of discipline, of adaptation to customs and cultures, we isolate the priesthood from its foundation.”

“This total delivering of himself in Christ is the condition for a total gift of self to all men and women,” he said. “He who has not given himself totally to God is not given perfectly to his brethren.”

While some exceptions exist – such as when some married Protestant pastors become Catholic and are able to be ordained priests – the shortage of priests in isolated areas is not such an exception, he said. Ordaining married men in these communities “would prevent them from giving rise to priestly vocations of celibate priests,” which would create “a permanent state detrimental to the correct understanding of the priesthood.”

Is a secular priest required to become a religious, that is to say, to give up all family priorities and duties so that he may be free to minister to others? As for the protest that being a presbyter cannot be reduced to being a mere functionary or "profession" it is ironic that in the Latin churches, presbyters, who are celibate, are treated precisely as such, both by themselves and by the bishops. With the size of the typical American parish numbering more than a thousand families, there is no way a pastor or a parochial vicar can be a spiritual father to all of them. A presbyter becomes merely a rather impersonal minister of the sacraments to a mostly unfamiliar or even anonymous flock. (Is this true of Europe as well? It may be that the relationship between the pastor and his flock is rather loose even there, especially in major urban areas.) On the other hand, with the smaller size of Byzantine parishes, a married priest can become familiar enough with his flock so that he can serve as a spiritual father.

Monday, January 13, 2020

The End of Quantum Reality

CWR Dispatch: Nowhere to go but up: A review of The End of Quantum Reality by Dr. Edmund J. Mazza
Wolfgang Smith’s solution to both Cartesian “schizophrenia” and from a Multiverse which threatens to render individual human existence meaningless is a return to Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics.


A Year of Anniversaries

OCA: The Holy Synod Proclaims 2020 as a Year of Anniversaries for the Orthodox Church in America