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)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Quicunque vult

"The Prayer Book commends that at Christmas, Easter, Whitsun and no fewer than ten other feast days there shall be said or sung at Morning Prayer, instead of the Apostles' Creed, a confession of our Christian faith, 'commonly called the Creed of Saint Athanasius' ...

It seems to me that the Creed confronts us with three facts which we are extremely reluctant to recognize, and to which the prevalent mood of our age and society renders us particularly allergic.

The first fact is that Christianity is an intellectual religion ...

From this follows the second fact which we are desperately anxious to avoid seeing, namely, the possibility, indeed the probability, the prevalence, of failure ...

What is more, and this is the third fact which the Athanasian Creed will not allow us to evade, failure can be final, absolute and irrevocable ...

Once more, men have sought means to cushion and shield themselves against having to meet this truth face to face. The comfortable doctrines of purgatory and intercession for the dead attract because they offer some escape from the intolerable finality of judgement on the human life completed. Yet that finality is already implicit in the basic assertion of Christianity that salvation is about belief ...

It is an uncomfortable conviction to live with, a conviction which imposes solemn, almost insupportable responsibility. But here we stand already on the threshold of the content of the Catholic faith, 'which except everyone keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly'."

--- Enoch Powell, "Whosoever will," No Easy Answers (London: Sheldon Press, 1973).

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