24 October 2009

Whom to name in the Te igitur?

Note that I do not say "in the Eucharistic Prayer". Because the EPs of other rites and the newer Roman EPs may have a different theology from that of the Canon Romanus.

More than half a century ago, Dom Eizenhofer (Sacris Erudiri 1956, 75 gives the Latin summary) demonstrated, in my view conclusively, that the word "Communicantes" goes grammatically and theologically with the end of the Te igitur (Memento being an originally diaconal parenthesis). The grammar is "una cum ...communicantes". And that the theology of the Prayer means that our sacrifice is commended to the Father as acceptable because we are offering it in and for the Church in union with its [earthly] head the Bishop of Rome. He backs this up with a great many pieces of contemporary Latin showing that the language expresses the ideology of the Roman See at the time the Canon acquired its present state: that being in communion with the Roman See is the touchstone of Catholic communion.

Of course not everybody accepts that notion. But what Eizenhofer's demonstration makes clear is that it would not be proper to substitute another prelate for the Roman Pontiff unless one were prepared at the same time to argue that he is not just a Catholic bishop, not just the Head of a Communion, but the actual Prelate communion with whom gurantees one's Catholicity. So the old Anglo-Catholic ploy of naming the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Orthodox 'Western Rite' practice of naming a Patriarch, are improper unless one really does believe that communion with that prelate is the universal touchstone of whether anybody is in full commuion with the Church Catholic.

This leaves big questions to which I shall soon, DV, return.

10 comments:

Chris Jones said...

The Orthodox practice (and, I believe, the correct practice) is to name one's own ordinary and the primate of the province (local autocephalous Church) to which that ordinary belongs. Of course, in the West the head of the autocephalous Church is the Pope. So for those who are in his communion, he is commemorated qua Patriarch, not qua Pope* (though I know he has disclaimed the title "Patriarch of the West" which makes absolutely no sense to me).

For Anglican Catholics such as yourself, the appropriate commemorations would be of your own bishop and of the Archbishop of Caterbury as head of your autocephalous Church. You are right that this liturgical commemoration is, in fact, a claim of catholicity and apostolicity for the bishop, the diocese, the primate, and the local Church; and a recognition that one's own catholicity depends upon that claim. At least, that is certainly how it is understood in the Orthodox Church, and was understood in the pre-schism Church.

I have followed your blog long enough to know that as an Anglican Papalist you acknowledge, in principle, the primacy of the Pope over the universal Church while maintaining a belief in the legitimacy and apostolicity (in some sense, at least) of the Church of England**. Thus while acknowledging the Pope you are not, as a practical matter, under the jurisdiction at present of the Roman ordinary ("personal" or otherwise). Under the circumstances I think you need to continue to commemorate your Anglican bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury, in recognition that your own catholicity depends on theirs.

If that dependency makes you nervous, at some point it will have to be resolved. I think the Pope may be about to make that a bit easier.

* This is what I think, but I am not sure that it is right. I wonder, do the Eastern-Rite Catholics commemorate the Pope, or the head of their own sui juris Church? (or both?)

** This is not a stance that I share, nor even understand very well, but I think I am correct that it is, in fact, where you stand.

johnf said...

When I last attended a Uniate Catholic Mass in the 1960's (the liturgy of St John Chrysostom, sung in Ancient Slavonic), I was interested to find that the priest commemorated not only the Holy Father but also the Patriarch of Constantinople. I cant remember whether he commemorated the local Bishop, but I presume that he did.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

I don't think Chris has quite taken on board what I cited Eizenhofer as having demonstrated: that the theological grammar of the Roman Canon implies that 'papa' is the person with whom it is essential to be in communion in order to be a Catholic.

I don't think anyone believes that Communion with the See of Canterbury is essential to Catholicity.

I once raised with a very eminent RC theologian the question of whether ALL christians are de jure under the jurisdiction of the Pope. He was indecisive. I rather think they are.

andrew said...

Although without the Te igitur or the grammar, this seems to be what the Phanariot Ascendency wishes to affirm concerning the Patriarch of Constantinople: that he is the one with whom one must be in communion in order to be Orthodox.

Concerning Eastern rite Catholics, the liturgical books I have studied all commemorate the Pope (as well as their own primates and bishops) at the anaphora.

William Tighe said...

Andrew is correct; we all commemorate the Pope, as well as our Patriarch (or "Major Archbishop") and diocesan bishop.

Chris Jones said...

I don't think Chris has quite taken on board what I cited Eizenhofer as having demonstrated

I understood what you were driving at (based on Eizenhofer); I don't agree with it. I was giving another view on the matter, one that I knew differed from yours.

Since I have not read Eizenhofer and have no access to it I cannot form an opinion of its validity. But I am not a Papalist so I cannot agree that any one hierarch or any one see is (in your words) communion with that prelate is the universal touchstone of whether anybody is in full communion with the Church Catholic. If (for example) a Western Rite Orthodox priest commemorates the Patriarch of Antioch, he is not simply transferring from the Pope to the Patriarch the status of "universal touchstone"; that would be just as Papalist as giving that role to the Pope. He is simply following the Orthodox practice, which expresses Orthodox, rather than Papalist, ecclesiology.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Chris: my point is that IF you use the Canon Romanus rather than another Euch Pr, THAT is what the CR means. If you don't want to mean that, then the CR is not the Prayer for you.

Chris Jones said...

OK, I see your point. I am still doubtful that the point is correct, for which I should have to understand Dom Eizenhofer's grammatical and theological reasoning. Unfortunately I am unwilling to plunk down the $20.00 for a journal article in a language that I read very poorly.

On the face of it, while the grammatical linkage of una cum with communicantes makes sense, there is nothing in the language of the prayer specifically to isolate Papa nostro from all the others we are said to be "united with": the bishop, all other orthodox faithful, our Lady, and all the saints. Again, I would have to see Eizenhofer's paper in a language I can read to see how he makes that leap.

In any case I think an Orthodox would indeed make the argument that communion with the primate of the territorial Church is the touchstone of Catholic communion -- so long as that prelate is orthodox. The sticking point is the idea that the bishop of Rome enjoys an a priori guarantee of orthodoxy. Given such a guarantee, communion with that bishop would indeed be a universal touchstone of Catholic communion; absent such a guarantee, there can be no universal touchstone.

That a priori guarantee isn't in the language of the prayer; it is assumed. Those who don't share that assumption can, and do, use the prayer without inconsistency.

Steve said...

"I once raised with a very eminent RC theologian the question of whether ALL christians are de jure under the jurisdiction of the Pope. He was indecisive. I rather think they are."

A very interesting statement. But to enable me to understand (as I would like to) exactly what is meant by it, I need your definitions of "christians" and "jurisdiction".

npmccallum said...

The greatest difficulty of this reading is of course the historical inclusion of the emperor in the first petition (unless of course the borders of the empire and Church are co-terminus). Perhaps the removal of the emperor in this petition reflects the shifting ideology of Rome, since the canon with the commemoration of the emperor in this section cannot (without heresy) mean that the "communicantes" is related to the "una cum."

It thus seems to me that all you can really say is that this interpretation is the Tridentine one, which is of course no surprise to anyone, especially in the wake of the failed union of Trent. It does not, however, preclude another (older) interpretation of this same canon in a restored use. It is, of course, precisely this restored use which claims the older interpretation, substituting the local ordinaries.

Though, I too lack access to Dom Eizenhofer's work. So perhaps I just need some proper convincing. :)