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, May 25, 2015

False dichotomy

Artificially framing an either/or neatly allows both sides in this debate to actually agree upon the same false dichotomy. Of what do I speak? Of 'vain dealings'. First, the Pope:

25. But the words which until recently were commonly held by Anglicans to constitute the proper form of priestly ordination namely, "Receive the Holy Ghost," certainly do not in the least definitely express the sacred Order of Priesthood (sacerdotium) or its grace and power, which is chiefly the power "of consecrating and of offering the true Body and Blood of the Lord" (Council of Trent, Sess. XXIII, de Sacr. Ord., Canon 1) in that sacrifice which is no "bare commemoration of the sacrifice offered on the Cross" (Ibid, Sess XXII., de Sacrif. Missae, Canon 3).

This has the logical form: P and Q or R.

P = Consecrating the Body and Blood. R = Offering the Body and Blood. R = Nude commemoration. These are your only choices: P and Q or R.

But we say: P but neither Q nor R.

The Priest consecrates the Body and Blood but neither offers the Body and the Blood (to the Father) [Roman Catholicism] nor merely commemorates (in an empty fashion) the Sacrifice of the Cross [Radical Protestantism].

Consequently, the dispute really boils down to the last two: either sacerdotium, where sacerdotal power = Q, or no sacerdotium because only R (and never Q). And so the Radical Protestant can write: "Pope Leo XIII was correct to argue in Apostolicae Curae (1896) that Anglican ordination rites had never sought to create a sacrificing priesthood comparable to the model assumed in the Roman rite" and, therefore, "None of the Anglican Formularies expresses a sacerdotal understanding of the ordained ministry." (p. 9) Strange bedfellows.

Anglican priests are not Roman priests. True. The Anglican priesthood expresses nothing sacerdotal. False. But, thankfully, there is a third possibility.

“But you protestants,” ye say, “have no external sacrifice; and therefore ye have no church at all.” It pitieth me ... to see the vanity of your dealing. Have we no external sacrifice, say you? I beseech you, what sacrifice did Christ or his apostles ever command, that we have refused? Leave your misty clouds and generalities of words, and speak it plainly, that ye may seem to say some truth.

We have the sacrifice of prayer, the sacrifice of alms-deeds, the sacrifice of praise, the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and the sacrifice of the death of Christ. We are taught to present our own bodies as a pure, and a holy, and a wellpleasing sacrifice unto God, and to offer up unto him the burning oblation of our lips. “These,” saith St Paul, “be the sacrifices wherewith God is pleased." These be the sacrifices of the church of God. Whosoever hath these, we cannot say he is void of sacrifice. Howbeit, if we speak of a sacrifice propitiatory for the satisfaction of sins, we have none other but only Christ Jesus the Son of God upon his cross. “He is that sacrificed Lamb of God that hath taken away the sins of the world.”

You will say: “Ye offer not up Christ really unto God his Father.” No, ... neither we nor you can so offer him; nor did Christ ever give you commission to make such sacrifice. And this is it wherewith you so foully beguile the simple. Christ offereth and presenteth us unto his Father: for “by him we have access to the throne of grace.” But no creature is able to offer him. Christ Jesus upon his cross was a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech. As for our part, St Augustine saith: Holocausti ejus imaginem ad memoriam passionis sum in ecclesia celebrandam dedit: “Christ hath given us to celebrate in his church an image or token of that sacrifice for the remembrance of his passion.” Again he saith: Hujus sacrificii caro et sanguis ... post ascenionem Christi per sacramentum memoriae celebratur: “After Christ’s ascension into heaven the flesh and blood of this sacrifice is continued by a sacrament of remembrance.”

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