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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  May 2004

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION May 2004

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Subject:

Re: abominable heresy of the mass

From:

Terrill Heaps <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 26 May 2004 10:27:04 -0800

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Gordon Arthur wrote:

> In the 1549 prayer book, the words are:
>
> The body of our Lorde Jesus Christe whiche was geuen for thee,
> preserue they bodye and soule unto euerlastinge lyfe.
>
> The bloud of our Lorde Jesus Christe whiche was shue for thee,
> preserue they bodye and soule unto euerlastinge lyfe.

For comparison, at that time the Communion Rite in the continental Liturgy
had this:

Córpus Dómini nostri Iesu Christi custódiat ánimam tuam in vitam aetérnam.
Amen.
(and, although not used--or, at least, rarely used)
Sánguis Dómini nostri Iesu Christi custódiat ánimam tuam in vitam aetérnam.
Amen.


> These at least allow for belief in the Real Presence, and in my
> opinion, they seem to presuppose it.

I agree. And I would say that the words of administration most definitely
presuppose the Real Presence.

> In 1552 these words were changed to:
>
> Take and eate this, in remembraunce that Christ dyed for thee, and
> feede on him in thy hearte by faythe, with thankesgeuing.
>
> Drinke this in remembraunce that Christ's bloude was shed for thee,
> and be thankefull.
>
> These clearly emphasise memorial, perhaps to the exclusion of belief
> in the Real Presence.

Well, remember that the Catholic party and the Puritan party struggled for
control of the Church. It was, I think, a strategy of the Catholic party to
respond to the Puritan power struggle (and the political realities were such
that the Puritans had great power)  by slipping by the Puritans various
words and phrases which were not out of consonance with Catholic faith and
doctrine, but which the Puritans could infer that they favored their views.
So, let's look closely at the 1552 words (spelling modernized):

"Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him
in thy heart by faith, with thanksgiving."

It says "Take and eat _this_" refering to the consecrated Bread. But, it
continues,
". . . feed on _him_".  It does not say feed on "it" (piece of bread); it
says "feed on _him_". Feed on whom? Aha! A craftily phased construct which
(when carefully parsed) can be seen to subtily express the Real Presence.
Otherwise, there would be no "him," on which to "feed."

> The 1662 Prayer book combined the two, perhaps in an attempt to avoid
> the problem rather than resolving it.

Perhaps. However, the second clause does quite gracefully express how the
manner of (to coin a phrase) "spiritual digestion" operates--as different
from "gastric digestion." Perhaps "sacramental appropriation" may be a
better phrase than "spiritual digestion." To be more technical: the
concomitation of sacramental grace. It goes without saying, that without a
"him" on which to feed, there could be no feeding "in thy heart by faith,
with thanksgiving," as such presumes a Sacramental Presence.

A similar sentiment is expressed in the "Corpus tuum, Domine" prayer of the
Priest, after his own Communion:

(Roman Catholic missal version)
Corpus tuum, Dómine, quod súmpsi, et Sánguis quem
potávi, adhaéreat viscéribus meis: et praesta; ut in me non
remáneat scélerum mácula, quem pura et sancta
refecérunt sacraménta: Qui vivis et regnas in saécula
saeculórum. Amen.

(Anglican Catholic missal version)
May the Body which I have taken and thy Blood which
I have drunk, O Lord, cleave unto mine inmost soul ; and
grant that no spot of sin may abide in me, whose meat hath
been thine incorrupt and holy sacraments. Who livest and
reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

I'm sure we all know enough about English history between 1642 and 1660,
that we need not rehash it here. However, it is worth noting that with the
collapse of the Puritan government in 1658, with the death of Oliver
Cromwell and the resignation of Richard Cromwell, the parliament, in 1660,
called for the restoration of the monarchy. The coronation of Charles II was
in 1661. The very next year saw the reintroduction of the Book of Common
Prayer, with the adoption of the 1662 book. In 1664, England limited the
power of the Nonconformists (which is the term used in England, for those
whom Americans refer to as "Protestants," i.e. non-Catholic Christians.

I don't think that the "theology" of the era can be understood in a vacuum;
the machinations of the politcal history must needs be taken into account.

Terrill

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