10 June 2019

Are the Institution Narratives of the Roman Rite legalistic? (3)

To the explanations of the great but unregarded Christine Mohrmann, I will add the careful elucidations of another brilliant but  unregarded liturgist of the mid-century, Craddock Ratcliff, an Anglican.

Ratcliff demonstrates the great antiquity of  the Roman Institution Narratives by remarking that they antedate the Vulgate. " ... it is not unreasonable to infer that the Institution Narrative of the Roman Canon belongs to a liturgical tradition for which the careful preservation of the scriptural form and character of the narrative was held to be vital ... for the sacrificium novum to be right, valid, acceptable and effectual, it must be celebrated, as was the sacrificium vetus, in the correct manner prescribed by the Lord ... Any deviation from the procedure here enjoined vitiates the rite, so that there can be no assurance that the sacrifice of the Passion is offered." Ratcliff quotes S Cyprian: "[non] sacrificium dominicum legitima sanctificatione celebrari, nisi oblatio et sacrificium nostrum responderit passioni ... quia ... passio est ... domini sacrificium quod offerimus, nihil aliud quam quod ille fecit facere debemus". Hence the function of the Narrative in the Canon is not merely to revive the memory of a significant historical event, or to provide a rationale for the celebration of the Eucharist, as the Greek Narratives do; its function is rather to make the significant historic event continuously present and operative. By means of the Narrative, theefore, the Church's actio in the Eucharist is identifierd with, and becomes, the actio of Christ at the Institution".

5 comments:

Hickory Bow said...

It sounds like what is referred to as "anamnesis"...

Donna Bethell said...

"...not a liturgist" = "...not one of us."

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Father Christiaan Kappes has published an article where he argues that Lactantius wrote the Roman Canon. It is found on Academia.

Tee Pee Gee Eff said...

"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. " (Mt 6:7). What is our answer to those who cite this passage against Mohrmann's frank acknowledgment (in part 2 of this series) of the "monumental verbosity coupled with juridical precision" of the Roman Canon?

Timothy Graham said...

I'm much intrigued by the structure of the Roman canon & would be very interested to hear your thoughts on a doctoral thesis about its use of chiasmus. It isn't something I have read about elsewhere.

Cf. part II of "Lex Orandi, Lex Legendi: A Correlation of the Roman Canon and the Fourfold Sense of Scripture" by Matthew Thomas Gerlach (https://epublications.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1121&context=dissertations_mu)

The overall argument is that the structure of the canon is in part a deliberately constructed chiasmus overlaying an earlier (more Alexandrian?) anaphora: and it should therefore be read from its heart - the middle "pairing" of institution narrative / anamnesis - outwards to the edges, so to speak.