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, February 1, 2016

Anglo-Catholic Principles

Believe it or not, there are a few ...

But this happy simplicity of her faith [the One sacrifice] was destroyed when the restless speculations of men and the development of human devices began to give what almost amounted to independent atoning efficacy to the Christian commemorative sacrifice. Having carried, as we have seen, the Real Presence out of the act of reception, they deemed that they had on the altar the very Body and Blood of Christ; then they came to regard it as their office to offer them to God; then they considered that in so doing they offered Christ to His Father, which at once gave a meritorious, atoning or propitiatory efficacy to their sacrifices. It is a righteous protestation against these errors, made in the interest of truth,—but, as so constantly happens, going too far in the opposite direction,—which has caused the whole doctrine of the Christian commemorative sacrifice to be regarded with such suspicion and distrust, not to say hostility, that it has altogether fallen out of our ordinary teaching. Nor, indeed, can it be safely restored until it is put upon its true and primitive footing and cleared from all those corruptions and superstitions which have drawn down upon themselves the strong expressions of our Church, “blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits” (Article XXXI) …

This is the tenor of all the Ancient Liturgies, the sacrifice precedes consecration: and rightly so; for, as we have seen, consecration had only reference to reception, which followed immediately upon it. The sacrifice was a commemoration, and therefore necessarily symbolical, therefore an oblation of symbols or types of the great Sacrifice, not an oblation of the substance of that Sacrifice itself. And this is in accordance with the whole analogy of the two covenants. In the ancient dispensation, all sacrifices prefigured the offering of Christ yet to come; in the Gospel, the Eucharistic sacrifice postfigures the offering of Christ which has come. The ancient sacrifices were symbols, gross and heavy with bloodshedding, of the Lamb of God: the Gospel oblations are symbols, but bloodless and more spiritual,—so to speak, more refined,—symbols of the Lamb of God; but symbols still, and therefore always other than that which they symbolized: as Augustine says,— “The Flesh and Blood of this Sacrifice was promised before the Advent of Christ by means of victims bearing resemblances to them; in the passion of Christ, it (the 'flesh and blood,' or human nature) was rendered by the very Truth Himself; since the ascension of Christ it is set forth by means of the Sacrament of commemoration.” And again: “This visible Sacrifice is the Sacrament of an invisible Sacrifice; that is to say, it is a sacred sign.” And again: “That which is called sacrifice by all is a sign of the true Sacrifice.” So again: “In that Sacrifice of yours (i.e., in the Eucharist) there is a thanksgiving and a commemoration of the flesh of Christ, which he offered for us.” Eusebius says: “Christ, after all things done, making a most acceptable oblation, offered to His Father a wondrous sacrifice and slaughtered victim for the salvation of us all, and left to us also a memorial to be offered continuously to God instead of a sacrifice.” So St. Clement or the author of the Apost. Constit.: “Offer ye the Antitype of the royal body of Christ.”

This plain action of the Church, as exhibited in her liturgies, became confused in the Roman liturgy by innovations which were introduced into it. That liturgy retains the ancient, true, and catholic oblation—“Hanc igitur oblationem quaesumus ut placatus accipias”—then follows an invocation very similar to the consecrating invocation of the Eastern Churches; then follows the recital of institution (in this liturgy only placed after invocation), which Rome declares to be the formula of consecration. And after that a second oblation is interpolated in this form, “We offer to Thy Majesty out of Thine own donations and gifts a pure sacrifice, an immaculate sacrifice, the holy bread of eternal life, and the cup of everlasting salvation”—not even now making a direct oblation of the Body and Blood of Christ—but still of the elements as they are bread and wine, God's “donations and gifts” to man. But by placing an oblation after consecration, which everywhere else came before it, Rome opened the door to the uncatholic error, that the Body and Blood of Christ were offered to God. That this second oblation was an interpolation, is proved by the fact that it is not to be found in the Milan rite, which, at some early period, branched off from the Roman. In fact, as Palmer states, on reviewing the several liturgies of Christendom, “None contain a verbal oblation of Christ's Body and Blood. This is not found in the Roman Liturgy, nor is it a form that has at any time been used in the Christian Church.” This is of very great importance, for it proves that the dogma of offering the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice is an invention or development later than even the latest alterations of the liturgies [165-167].

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