We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sacrificium laudis

The Catholic Encyclopedia asserts that "four things are necessary to a sacrifice."

  • a sacrificial gift (res oblata)

    In contrast with sacrifices in the figurative or less proper sense, the sacrificial gift must exist in physical substance, and must be really or virtually destroyed (animals slain, libations poured out, other things rendered unfit for ordinary uses), or at least really transformed, at a fixed place of sacrifice (ara, altare), and offered up to God.

  • a sacrificing minister (minister legitimus)

    As regards the person offering, it is not permitted that any and every individual should offer sacrifice on his own account. In the revealed religion, as in nearly all heathen religions, only a qualified person (usually called priest, sacerdos, lereus), who has been given the power by commission or vocation, may offer up sacrifice in the name of the community. After Moses, the priests authorized by law in the Old Testament belonged to the tribe of Levi, and more especially to the house of Aaron (Hebrews 5:4). But, since Christ Himself received and exercised His high priesthood, not by the arrogation of authority but in virtue of a Divine call, there is still greater need that priests who represent Him should receive power and authority through the Sacrament of Holy Orders to offer up the sublime Sacrifice of the New Law.

  • a sacrificial action (actio sacrificica)

    Sacrifice reaches its outward culmination in the sacrificial act, in which we have to distinguish between the proximate matter and the real form. The form lies, not in the real transformation or complete destruction of the sacrificial gift, but rather in its sacrificial oblation, in whatever way it may be transformed. Even where a real destruction took place, as in the sacrificial slayings of the Old Testament, the act of destroying was performed by the servants of the Temple, whereas the proper oblation, consisting in the "spilling of blood" (aspersio sanguinis), was the exclusive function of the priests. Thus the real form of the Sacrifice of the Cross consisted neither in the killing of Christ by the Roman soldiers nor in an imaginary self-destruction on the part of Jesus, but in His voluntary surrender of His blood shed by another's hand, and in His offering of His life for the sins of the world. Consequently, the destruction or transformation constitutes at most the proximate matter; the sacrificial oblation, on the other hand, is the physical form of the sacrifice.

  • a sacrificial end or object (finis sacrificii)

    Finally, the object of the sacrifice, as significant of its meaning, lifts the external offering beyond any mere mechanical action into the sphere of the spiritual and Divine. The object is the soul of the sacrifice, and, in a certain sense, its "metaphysicial form". In all religions we find, as the essential idea of sacrifice, a complete surrender to God for the purpose of union with Him; and to this idea there is added, on the part of those who are in sin, the desire for pardon and reconciliation. Hence at once arises the distinction between sacrifices of praise and expiation (sacrificium latreuticum et propitiatorium), and sacrifices of thanksgiving and petition (sacrificium eucharisticum et impetratorium); hence also the obvious inference that under pain of idolatry, sacrifice is to be offered to God alone as the beginning and end of all things. Rightly does St. Augustine remark (City of God X.4): "Who ever thought of offering sacrifice except to one whom he either knew, or thought, or imagined to be God?".

In far fewer words: (1) substance; (2) authority; (3) offering; and (4) union.

Furthermore, however, it seeks to drive a wedge between sacrament and sacrifice:

The simple fact that numerous heretics, such as Wyclif and Luther, repudiated the Mass as "idolatry", while retaining the Sacrament of the true Body and Blood of Christ, proves that the Sacrament of the Eucharist is something essentially different from the Sacrifice of the Mass. In truth, the Eucharist performs at once two functions: that of a sacrament and that of a sacrifice. Though the inseparableness of the two is most clearly seen in the fact that the consecrating sacrificial powers of the priest coincide, and consequently that the sacrament is produced only in and through the Mass, the real difference between them is shown in that the sacrament is intended privately for the sanctification of the soul, whereas the sacrifice serves primarily to glorify God by adoration, thanksgiving, prayer, and expiation.

So, the sacrament is grace for us, while the sacrifice is worship for God.

But even if we get as far as sacrifice, Anglicans tragically misidentify it:

As to the establishment of our second proposition, believing Protestants and Anglicans readily admit that the phrase: "to shed one's blood for others unto the remission of sins" is not only genuinely Biblical language relating to sacrifice, but also designates in particular the sacrifice of expiation (cf. Leviticus 7:14; 14:17; 17:11; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Hebrews 9:10, etc.). They, however, refer this sacrifice of expiation not to what took place at the Last Supper, but to the Crucifixion the day after. From the demonstration given above that Christ, by the double consecration of bread and wine mystically separated His Blood from His Body and thus in a chalice itself poured out this Blood in a sacramental way, it is at once clear that he wished to solemnize the Last Supper not as a sacrament merely but also as a Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Therefore, the sacrificial defect is the salient misidentification of the sacrifice of Christ, indicated by the complete absence of the following words (marked in red):

Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, eiusdem Christi, Filii tui, Domini nostri, tam beatæ passionis, necnon et ab inferis resurrectionis, sed et in cælos gloriosæ ascensionis: offerimus præclaræ maiestati tuæ de tuis donis ac datis hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam, Panem sanctum vitæ æternæ et Calicem salutis perpetuæ.

This response is therefore deemed insufficient because there can be no identification of this third meaning (below) with anything properly correspondent in the words of the Anglican liturgy -- i. e., our Anamnesis is defective:

Further, since the Pope reminds us somewhat severely of "the necessary connection between faith and worship, between the law of believing and the law of praying," it seems fair to call closer attention, both on your part and ours, to the Roman Liturgy. And when we look carefully into the "Canon of the Mass," what do we see clearly exhibited there as to the idea of sacrifice? It agrees sufficiently with our Eucharistic formularies, but scarcely or not at all with the determinations of the Council of Trent. Or rather it should be said that two methods of explaining the sacrifice are put forth at the same time by that Council, one which agrees with liturgical science and Christian wisdom, the other which is under the influence of dangerous popular theology on the subject of Eucharistic propitiation. Now in the Canon of the Mass the sacrifice which is offered is described in four ways. Firstly it is a "sacrifice of praise," which idea runs through the whole action and so to say supports it and makes it all of a piece. Secondly it is the offering made by God's servants and His whole family, about which offering request is made that it "may become to us the Body and Blood" of His Son our Lord. Thirdly it is an offering to His Majesty of His "own gifts and boons" (that is, as Innocent IIIrd rightly explains it, of the fruits of the fields and trees, although the words of the Lord have already been said over them by the Priest), which are called the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation. Fourthly and lastly (in the prayer Supra quas propitio) the sacrifice already offered in three ways, and according to Roman opinion now fully consecrated, is compared with the sacrifices of the patriarchs Abel and Abraham, and with that offered by Melchisedech. This last, being called "holy sacrifice, unblemished victim," shows that the comparison is not only in respect to the offerer, but also to the things offered. Then the Church prays that they may be carried up by the hands of the holy Angel to the altar of God on high. Lastly, after the second series of names of Saints, there occurs the piece of a prayer (Per quem haec omnia) which appears rather suitable to a benediction of fruits of the earth, than to the Eucharistic sacrifice.

Perhaps not in 1662. But 1928?

WHEREFORE O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of thy dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we, thy humble servants, do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.

Still only three out of four? Discuss amongst yourselves.

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