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, June 4, 2016


S. Cyprian has been thought to introduce a view of the sacrifice differing from that of the earlier Fathers. With Clement, Justin, and Irenaeus, the oblata are the bread and cup, offered in token of thanksgiving, with a special remembrance of the death of Christ. This we have seen is the language also of the earlier Liturgies. S. Cyprian repeats the same doctrine, but adds that the Passion itself is the sacrifice, the Body and Blood of Christ are offered; and this was afterwards amplified into Christ Himself, slain and sacrificed on the holy table. Differently as these expressions sound to modern controversialists, they will be found, on examination, to mean substantially the same. Cyprian himself explains, that by offering the Lord's Passion he means shewing forth the Lord's death; the cup is offered in commemoration of the Lord and His Passion. And S. Chrysostom, the greatest proficient in these rhetorical expressions, after saying, "we offer the same sacrifice," qualifies the words by immediately adding, "or rather, we celebrate the remembrance of the sacrifice." Less than this could not have been intended by Justin or Irenseus. To offer bread and wine in remembrance of the Passion, is to offer the Passion itself in the only way that a thing past can be offered. The Fathers did not suppose these gifts to be literally delivered into God's possession, or that any event could be literally recalled to His memory. By "offering" and "presenting" they meant, pleading the sacrifice before God;—objectively (as Mede writes) to the Divine contemplation and acceptance. When the bread and wine were offered in visible symbol, the things signified by them — the Body and Blood or Passion of Jesus Christ—were offered in faith and prayer, as the propitiation through which pardon and acceptance were besought.

In the later Liturgies, the expressions point more to the things signified than to the signs; still, in all the actual oblata are the elements, not the Person of Christ, nor even His Death. For of neither of these could the Church implore God that "they might be carried by the angels to the altar in heaven." This petition, retained in the Roman Missal to the present day, is a standing protest against the Tridentine sacrifice. It is the worship of the Church below, that the angels are to bear up to heaven, for a memorial before God; indeed, the earliest Liturgy of all prays for the reception of the gift, "through the mediation of Christ," without mentioning the angelic ministry. The offering of Christ's death, or of Christ slain, means the presentation of the appointed symbols of His Body and Blood, to commemorate and plead the Sacrifice once for all made on the cross.

The Catholic Doctrine

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