17 March 2020


Throughout most of the twentieth century, Catholic theological expositors of Eucharistic Dogma were concerned to deny that the Church's teaching, as expounded by Trent and subsequently, did in fact fall into one quite horrible late Medieval error. Be you a Masure or a Vonier, you constructed your theology of the Sacrifice so as to be able to plead Not Guilty to a charge that you regarded it as a New Sacrifice; that you believed in a Christ who was sacrificed anew, slaughtered upon the Altar, each day. Because ... we have to admit it ... that is what those benighted Medievals did believe.

Or did they? There have long been Catholic writers who have in fact questioned whether the medievals really did fall into that terrible error. As a matter of History, so they argue, this error was never prevalent. It is part of a Protestant determination to produce an alibi for the hysteria towards the Most August Sacrament of the Altar ... with all the concomitant vandalism and murder ... which the 'Reformers' encouraged.

What not many people tend to notice is that, according to the Rite of Sarum, when, at the Offertory, the celebrant offered (together) the charged chalice and paten, he said a prayer which began Suscipe sancta Trinitas ... and ended In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, acceptum sit omnipotenti Deo hoc sacrificium novum. [God is asked to accept "this new Sacrifice"]. So, it seems, the Medievals were guilty.

Or were they? The 'reformers', as they harried Catholic priests to their deaths, sometimes advanced the entertaining ad hominem argument that they were self-condemned, since they actually claimed that they slaughtered Christ! ("Worse than the Jews, who only killed him once!") There are undoubtedly easy ways of avoiding this convenient conclusion. The Sacrifice of Christ upon Calvary, perpetually pleaded on high before the Throne of Grace and present mystikos upon our altars, is a new sacrifice in as far as it replaced and replaces (supersession) what some of the old secrets call the differentias hostiarum, the complex of different sacrifices prescribed by and under the Torah. Calvary ... and the Eucharist ... conjointly, in that sense, are a new Sacrifice in as far as they are the Sacrifice Novi et Aeterni Testamenti.


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

The four sacrifices in the Holy Holocaust of the Mass

1. The holocaust offered to God is an homage/offering to His sovereign greatness.

2. The sacrifice of propitiation is offered to appease His Justice.

3. The Sacrifice of impetration is offered to implore His bounty.

4. The Eucharistic sacrifice is offered to thank Him for his bounty.

The Mass is a Holy Holocaust which the One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church offers to God as an offering to His greatness and power; a sacrifice of propitiation to appease His Justice; a sacrifice of impetration to solicit His bounty; and a Eucharistic sacrifice offered to Him in thanksgiving for all of His favors.

The Holocaust demands a spirit of humility, the sacrifice of expiation, a spirit of penance, compunction, and penitence; the sacrifice of impetration, a spirit of fervor and submission; the Eucharistic sacrifice, a spirit of love and gratitude.

All of the above is a reminder of just how deficient is the Lil' Licit Liturgy and so ABS goes to the local SSPX Chapel (Our Lady of The Holy Rosary in West PalmBeach Florida) to assist at The Real Mass and as for the revolutionaries who created the radical rite,..well, ABS is trying not to curse these days.

As to what this reality says about the Popes following Paul VI, it suggests they are relatively indifferent to The Holy Holocaust even though it is the single Holiest and most important act occurring on earth at any moment in time.

Marko Ivančičević said...

What does "hoc sacrificium novum" refer to? Bread and wine or Christ himself?

Animadversor said...

"What does "hoc sacrificium novum" refer to? Bread and wine or Christ himself?"

It was simply a very easy and innocent way of saying this new instance of the one eternal sacrifice. Of course, "instance" is not a very satisfactory term, either. Nor is "re-presentation," nor any of the others. There is no truly satisfactory term, nor can there ever be on this earth. There can only be such a wholly satisfactory term in Heaven, where, of course, there is no need for it.

Animadversor said...

It ought to be added that no doubt the mediævals would have thought all this transparently obvious and perhaps us moderns a bit slow that we did not see that.

Colin Spinks said...

Interesting parallel with our own strangely illiberal liberal times when the 'woke' brigade pick up on the use of single words or short phrases to condemn even individuals who hold quite progressive views, never mind any hint of doubt or nuance. (And as for us "medieval religious nutters"!...) Examples include the now Prime Minister using the word 'letterboxes' to describe wearers of the Burkha in an article which actually vigorously defended the right of people to wear it; and a famous actor making a speech espousing racial equality but using the incorrect word to describe the people whose rights he was promoting. As regards the specific theology of this post, I think I disagree with Animadversor and suggest that "hoc sacrificium novum" does refer to Christ himself. Firstly, as Fr Hunwicke observes, the intertextuality of 'sacrificium novum' and 'novi testamenti' is significant: the contrast is surely with the Old Testament sacrifices which Calvary and the Holy Mass fulfill and (I add cautiously) 'supecede'. Secondly, does it not strike one as odd to refer to a specific offering of the Mass as 'new'? Was last week's, or even yesterday's, "old"? I wonder if word order makes a difference? Could "hoc novum sacrificium" mean something different from "hoc sacrificium novum"?

Banshee said...

The 32 Sermons by St. Albert the Great are "of course" about the Mass being the re-presentation of Calvary. Of course God sacrificing Himself was a new sacrifice compared to the OT sacrifices, duh.But

I will look for quotes when I get home. Long workday today.

Animadversor said...

Dixit Dnus Colin Spinks, “I think I disagree with Animadversor…” Well, Animadversor thinks that you don't, not really, and he's wondering how you got the impression that you do, since he suggested that “hoc sacrificium novum” meant (and means) “this new instance of the one eternal sacrifice.” It's really hard to see how one can infer even from his pretty incautiously-worded gloss that he was suggesting that “hoc sacrificium novum” could properly be understood not to mean the Priest and Victim Himself, if one takes it as a Catholic. Rather, he was suggesting that the term was a naïve—in the best sense—manner of speaking whose proper meaning would have been grasped without much trouble and quickly by the audience intended to hear it. It was not, he thinks, pronounced with much thought of needing to answer the objections of people not yet born.

You need not be cautious as you may think about your supersessionism, though you might about your orthography. But do be tactful if the matter comes up between you and those who piously wait the renewal of those sacrifices that were the index of the one Sacrifice.

As for the word order, Latin's daughter languages, at least some of them, do distinguish between the meaning of a phrase where the word for new comes before the noun and the meaning of one where it comes after, e.g., ma nouvelle machine, the car that I just got, even if it's an ancient rattletrap, as opposed to ma machine nouvelle, my brand-new car. Word order does make a difference in Latin, but I'm not sure that it was that “regularized.”

Colin Spinks said...

Dear Animadversor,

Thank you for your reply. I am sorry for any offence caused. My understanding of Fr Hunwicke's analysis is that the phrase in question means something like "this instance of the one eternal sacrifice of the New Testament" rather than "this new instance..." (Perhaps Father could intervene if I've understood him completely wrongly.) I certainly agree with you that we should be so self-obsessed as to think those in ages past should have given a second thought to what WE think!! However, the essence of this post and subsequent thread is OUR attempting to understand what THEY thought. My point about word order was to question whether your translation might better fit a rendition where 'hoc' and 'novum' are closely proximated: "hoc novum sacrificium" (ie. "[accept] the sacrifice - this is a new one") than "hoc sacrificium novum" which I and, as I understand him, Fr H paraphrase as above. Your own example from French is most helpful in that respect.

Colin Spinks said...

Correction: 'we should NOT be so self-obsessed as...'!!!!!