Monday, July 23, 2018

Keeping Up (4)

Some more from Catholicity and Covenant, this time on the richness of Cranmer's sacramental theology ... and very helpful it is, too, re the meaning of the bread and the wine of communion being the body and blood of Jesus ... with useful distinctions re natural/corporal, carnal.

I hope to write something more on the eucharist before the week is out ... beginning with Brant Pitre's argument about Johannine chronology for the Last Supper!

11 comments:

Perry Butler said...

As MacCulloch says in his biography , using B Gerrish's helpfull categorization (pp614 to 616) Cranmer'mature position appears nearest to the symbolic parallelism of Bucer and Peter Martyr..though we know when article 28 was written the author (Edmund Guest) had a rather different view..as did Hooker and the author of the sacramental section in the BCP catechism(Bishop Overall). But while we can all learn from the past might it not be better to think about the meaning of the Eucharist for the Third Millenium.Catholicity and Covenant seems to define things mostly in terms of the mid 16c as if present day Anglicanism can be dragged back and anchored there.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Perry - excellent point about the Third Millennium :)
I have begun exploring Hunsinger ...

Jean said...

Peter would it be accurate to say since Jesus shared the first communion after supper that the bread that was eaten at this time was the same as the last portion of bread/matzah that was broken and then shared or saved for last at the Jewish Passover; symbolic of the sacrafice of the Paschal Lamb? The meaning is pretty powerful if so as the disciples would have recognised or connected the significance of the association between the Paschal Lamb and Jesus saying this is my body.

I remember a few, splutter, years ago doing some research into a cup of wine being synonymous with God’s wrath in the context of the Old Testament; paralleling I guess for the sins of God’s people being placed upon an animal through the Priest before the animal was sacrificed - blood life for life - taking the punishment instead of the people. Once again made so much deeper when you think of Jesus words of if it is your will ‘take this cup away from me.’

I still like Cranmer : ) .

Liturgy said...

Dear Peter

Unlike you, I do not find the quote of Cranmer, ripped out of the fuller context of his argument, and out of the context of Richard Smyth's book, to whom Cranmer is responding, and out of the sixteenth-century heated political context, anything like as helpful as the ecumenical agreements we have come to since then.

I'm going to stand firmly with Perry Butler.

When you affirm "that we receive the self-same body of Christ that was born of the Virgin Mary, that was crucified and buried, that rose again, ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty" aren't you simply denying common biology - that the self-same body of Christ that was born of the Virgin Mary is a different natural body by the time we next meet Jesus as a young teenager, and quite a different natural body by the time we next meet up with him at his baptism?! And then, theologically: are you really going to argue that the Resurrected Christ does not have a glorified, transformed body, but that Jesus' natural body is located somewhere, sitting literally at a literal right hand of God the Father Almighty?

If by lauding "the richness of Cranmer's sacramental theology" in this quote you are affirming the above paragraph, do please explain how "we receive Christ’s own very natural body, but not naturally nor corporally".

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

When you put it like that, Bosco, the body of my argument is not the body I thought it had!

But, what then, on your argument, does it mean that we consume the body of Christ? What, in your terms, is the relationship between the "bread" and the "body of Christ"?

Liturgy said...

Peter, when Cranmer writes "In my book I have written in more than an hundred places, that we receive the self-same body of Christ that was born of the Virgin Mary, that was crucified and buried, that rose again, ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty", this, of course, as I'm sure you are aware, is simply a direct quote from the ninth century Paschasius Radbertus' book De corpore et sanguine Christi.

Radbertus, of course, had no access to Aristotle, so was limited to Augustinian/neoplatonic categories. My question of you is: did Cranmer (as we understand with Luther) not read Aquinas? Did he have no agility in Aristotelian categories?

To press Perry's point that we have moved on: Cranmer here is not simply stuck in the 16th Century - he is stuck in the ninth, prior to the Recovery of Aristotle.

Blessings,

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Bosco
I am sure the 9th was a very fine century theologically speaking and I am happier (on the strength of your comment) to pay it more attention that i have been paying to the 12th/13th centuries :)

Father Ron Smith said...

Is this just a little bit more of the question like: "How many angels could you sit on a pinhead"? The more we try to philosophise the reality of Christ in the Eucharist, the more we can be befuddled by the sheer mystery of it. As a North country priest friend of mine once said: "Don't fiddle with it, get it dahn yer".

I guess the reality of the benefits of receiving the Blessed Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood increases the more one experiences it. Like all good medicine, it needs faith as well as pharmaceutical acuity to believe in the benefits. However, it is definitely not a placebo.

Liturgy said...

Spot on, Fr Ron! Cranmer (rightly, IMNSHOITC) continues in his writing by connecting the Eucharist with the incarnation - the incarnation continues in the Eucharistic presence. We don't ask angels&pinhead questions of the Incarnation - why do so of the Eucharist. I don't understand how my typing here means you can read it there & that must be easy to explain in comparison to the Incarnation & the Eucharistic Presence. Blessings. Bosco

Liturgy said...

Peter, my question wasn't whether *you* read Aquinas, my question is: did Cranmer?
It certainly appears that Cranmer's attacks are based on ignorance.
Blessings,
Bosco

Jean said...

I admittedly have limited study to put it mildly in terms of philosophies of either thought or early theological thinking, or even current Eucharist theology so my viewpoints will no doubt have holes.

From what I discern there is only a nuance of difference between say Aquinas and Cranmer in terms of their understanding of the Eucharist. That being Aquinas appears to hold to a sense of Christ’s Passion and hence our real participation in the event itself through the consuming of the body (bread) and blood (wine) in the Eucharist. Cranmer appears to hold a sense of the Eucharist being a means by which we can connect again vicariously in a spiritual sense to Christ and what the Passion wrought in and for us. I cannot see that any view being held by a Christian would be inherently heresy : )

Cranmer’s view resonates more for me simply based on my own lived out faith. Being vicariously connected with Christ in His death in that His death becomes mine and His resurrection mine when I believe - ie: “having being reconciled by his death how much more shall we now be justified by his life.” In effect belief or faith in what He did incurs a spiritual transaction so to speak of Christ dying my death and me as a result being able to be a partaker in His life (hence intrinsically united to life in His body through the act of the shedding of his blood). For me in taking Communion I am reminded of this, I remember or recall His sacrifice and in believing am a part of it, but I struggle in conceiving of the consuming of the Eucharist as a participation in the Passion through the physical consumption of Christ’s body or blood, as St Christoymn (sp?) refers to it, as literally drinking out of Christ’s side. Neither would I be quick to think the taking of the Eucharist is a part of salvation itself.

I have no difficulty believing Christ’s sits literally in bodily form at the right hand of God. I acknowledge it is a glorified and transformed body; yet still Christ’s. I believe belief in His death and resurrection we become intricately entwined in his life and death and life; the sinless life he lived becomes ours, the death he died he died as us and the life he lives now is our source of life. For me this would explain Cramer’s use of receiving Christ’s natural body but not naturally (physically).